Compactflash recommondations

puckhead193

macrumors G3
Original poster
May 25, 2004
9,243
466
NY
I want another card for when i got to China. Since I have an 8 MP camera i and something big so i was thinking of 1GB cause i have a 1 GB card already.
Whats up with microdrives? are they any good?
Also i notice them have speeds. The more speed the faster it write to the card? I think i currently have a lexar professional 80x 1 GB card. Will this do.
Incase it helps I have a nikon Coolpix 8800...
Also since i'm posting. How should I shoot?
obc. i'm gonna shoot at the highest resolution bit i can chance image quality?
it gives me:
Raw
hi
extra
fine
normal
basic

Do these settings really make a difference.
 

Wes Jordan

macrumors regular
Jan 4, 2006
143
0
RAW give you the best ability after the shoot to edit anc correct. You can easily change color balance without losing quality as well as set a white balance. it has been said that you can get get about two stops more light out of the picture with RAW. RAW files are large however, and shot-to shot times can slow drastically, but many feel it is worth it. The post processing time may also take longer as it takes special software to view and edit the files.

If you decide to shoot RAW, you may be interested in buying an Extreme III card from Scandisk. I have a 2 gig version and I think it is fantastic. I cannot atest to the speed difference between the Ulta II and Extreme III, but I only paid about $120 for my card from Adorama. I'm sure B&H would have similar prices as well as other stores.
 

balamw

Moderator
Staff member
Aug 16, 2005
19,368
974
New England
Wes Jordan said:
It has been said that you can get get about two stops more light out of the picture with RAW. RAW files are large however, and shot-to shot times can slow drastically, but many feel it is worth it.
That would make sense since most cameras with RAW give you 36 bit color information instead of 24 bit, and that's two factors of two per color. ;)

puckhead. Get the fastest card you can find/afford. Then as Wes implies, use the highest quality mode you can to support your desired shot-to-shot time. Personally, I find RAW excellent for shots which I can take time composing, otherwise I leave my camera in "Fine" mode to be able to catch he kids in action on the fly.

Ultimately, the higher the image quality stored on the card, the more postprocessing you can do to it, and the larger a print you can make.

B
 

Wes Jordan

macrumors regular
Jan 4, 2006
143
0
I know this is a little off topic, but with my 20d I noticed that sometimes th buffer doesn't fill to the stated 23 JPEG files. I know that possibly some files are larger than others, but I find I usually get 21, sometimes 16. Should I be concerned? Is there some option I have selected that would cause it to write more info to the buffer? I have no idea....should I just accept this as normal?
 

bousozoku

Moderator emeritus
Jun 25, 2002
13,979
3
Gone but not forgotten.
I definitely recommend the SanDisk Ultra II and Extreme III cards but you have to have a camera which writes quickly enough to really push them to their limits and a Nikon Coolpix 8800 doesn't require a lot of speed. The Ultra II would probably be plenty but the Extreme III would be overkill for that camera.
 

iGary

Guest
May 26, 2004
19,583
1
Randy's House
bousozoku said:
I definitely recommend the SanDisk Ultra II and Extreme III cards but you have to have a camera which writes quickly enough to really push them to their limits and a Nikon Coolpix 8800 doesn't require a lot of speed. The Ultra II would probably be plenty but the Extreme III would be overkill for that camera.
I agree totally. :)
 

Grimace

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2003
3,541
35
with Hamburglar.
I'll probably get flamed for saying this, but I wouldn't mess with Microdrives. They are cheaper per GB than Flash, but they also are far more delicate. I know a lot of people who have hundreds of shots wiped out because the drive gets dropped or banged around.

[recap of my big find: 8GB flash card for $309 at Datamem.com -- search for Transcend. ]
 

bousozoku

Moderator emeritus
Jun 25, 2002
13,979
3
Gone but not forgotten.
carletonmusic said:
I'll probably get flamed for saying this, but I wouldn't mess with Microdrives. They are cheaper per GB than Flash, but they also are far more delicate. I know a lot of people who have hundreds of shots wiped out because the drive gets dropped or banged around.

[recap of my big find: 8GB flash card for $309 at Datamem.com -- search for Transcend. ]
You're right. Microdrives are great for cameras that don't move. If someone leaves a camera on a tripod that almost never moves, a microdrive will be just fine.
 

Chip NoVaMac

macrumors G3
Dec 25, 2003
8,892
30
Northern Virginia
bousozoku said:
You're right. Microdrives are great for cameras that don't move. If someone leaves a camera on a tripod that almost never moves, a microdrive will be just fine.
Keep in mind that Microdrives have been used in the iPod mini, and these IMO are on the move.

IMO Microdrives have a value for some users. For my $ I would rather go solid state.
 

Clix Pix

macrumors demi-goddess
Wes Jordan said:
RAW files are large however, and shot-to shot times can slow drastically, but many feel it is worth it.
The CP 8800 already has agonizingly slow shot-to-shot and read-to-card times; I'd think the LAST thing someone would want to do with that camera is shoot in RAW unless they're shooting static subjects that don't move and if they have a lot of time to spend during the shooting session.

The CP 8800 has a wonderful lens on it and can produce some outstanding macros but for me it was an exercise in frustration every time I tried to shoot with it. That was what propelled me into getting the D70 last year. Maybe that was Nikon's intent all along.... LOL!
 

puckhead193

macrumors G3
Original poster
May 25, 2004
9,243
466
NY
yea i have mixed feelings about the camera. It takes really good static pictures but try doing sports/motion forget about it...
Should have gone the DSLR route, maybe in a year or 2 i'll upgrade..
 

bousozoku

Moderator emeritus
Jun 25, 2002
13,979
3
Gone but not forgotten.
Chip NoVaMac said:
Keep in mind that Microdrives have been used in the iPod mini, and these IMO are on the move.

IMO Microdrives have a value for some users. For my $ I would rather go solid state.
Yes, and from what I've heard of the frequency of repairs on them, I wouldn't use one at all. Those 1.8 inch Toshiba drives in the standard iPods are frail enough.

Microdrives are great for studio work.
 

-hh

macrumors 68030
Jul 17, 2001
2,528
323
NJ Highlands, Earth
puckhead193 said:
I want another card for when i got to China. Since I have an 8 MP camera i and something big so i was thinking of 1GB cause i have a 1 GB card already.
You're thinking of taking only 2GB total?

FWIW, had you been shooting film, how many rolls would you have planned to take on this trip? (10 - 20 - 30 - 40 - more?)


Also i notice them have speeds. The more speed the faster it write to the card? I think i currently have a lexar professional 80x 1 GB card. Will this do.
The I/O speed of Flash Media has two places where it bottlenecks.

The first is when you take the picture...this can factor into how many shots in a row (quick succession) your system may be able to take. How often you need to take a burst depends a lot on your subjects ... ie, wildlife action needs it, but landscapes don't :)

The second bottleneck is when you're downloading the card onto your computer - - with slow cards, it can be a looooooooong wait (10+ minutes) while you're sitting there impatiently waiting for the results.

My personal rule of thumb is to definitely not get "standard" speed. While the Extreme, 80x or newer still 120x cards are obviously better, I'd get at least an "Ultra II" speed rating or equivalent (40x). You can find this speed sold today at under $50 per 1GB.


How should I shoot? ... i'm gonna shoot at the highest resolution bit i can chance image quality?
it gives me:
Raw...
RAW will give you the maximum image potential. The problem is that it eats up storage like mad. IIRC, on my 20D (also 8MP), when I save each shot as RAW+JPG, it eats up around 13MB per image, which means that I only get around 75 photo's per 1GB card - - - that's the equivalent of 2 rolls of 35mm film!

With 2GB in CF cards, I'd expect that you'll be carrying only enough for 150 shots before you need to download your cards. How many photos you'll shoot in China is up to you, as well as what you plan to do when your cards get filled.

YMMV, but with film, I've been able to shoot over 300 images/day when on vacation (Alaska). Translating that into a GB equivalent with an 8MP RAW consumption rate, it means I would have used 4GB per day.

What all this means is that depending on how much you expect to shoot, how long your trip is and if you're planning on carrying a laptop with you, you might want to consider some storage alternatives, such as a pair of Hyperdrive HD80's.

This is one of the downsides that I've seen to digital - - how are you going to manage what do you do when you're "away from home" (the computer you're going to download to) for an extended period of time?


Because CF cards are reusuable, it is easy to get by with just 1 or 2 of them when kicking around at home. But the problem is when you don't have the home desktop, Digital Wallet, Laptop (or time out of your vacation to go search out a store who will burn them to CD for you, etc) to get the data off your cards so that you can reuse them: this determines how many GB you need to get through the demand, and it just becomes one more thing you have to plan for.

FWIW, I'm getting organized for my first trip to Africa, and I'll be taking an 8MP 20D and shoot in RAW+JPEG. I figure that to be reasonably safe, I'll want to have 4-6GB worth of cards for it in order to be able to get through each day, maybe more, and due to weight restrictions, I'll be carrying a pair of HD80's (for redundency) instead of a laptop. If there's an opportunity to burn to CD's en route, I'll do that too, so as to have another backup copy. The cost of buying two HD80's and a couple more GB of cards is cheap compared to the rest of the trip, so its worth doing.


-hh
 

ChrisA

macrumors G4
Jan 5, 2006
11,612
424
Redondo Beach, California
Today 1GB is the almost a smaller card. 2GB are afordable

Microdrives are being passed up by flash memory. Now that flash can do 4GB there is less need for a micro drive.

Speed: You can't by a slow CF card anymore. "50X" is about the lowest I've seen so this is almost a non-issue only a very fast DSLR isgoing to over drive a 50X card.

The biggist bottle nect is if the data has to go through a USB 1.0 interface. You can't
do much if the camera is UBS1 but you can make sure all the hubs and readers are
USB2 (Note that ther Apple keyboard port is USB1.)

Those setting fine, raw, ... allow you to trade image details for file size. CF cards are cheap now. Go for big files and big CF cards.

The best advice is to buy several cards. Don't keep all photos on one card. Better to have a set of 1GB cards then one big 8GB card. Less is lost if a crad fails. Swapping out a CF card every two days is not that much of a hassel. Also do NOT take new untested equipment with you. Shot with watever you buy for a few weeks near home. Go through a few cycles of shoot, download, erase card, shoot...... Find problems NOW when they matter less and are easier to fix.
 

Chip NoVaMac

macrumors G3
Dec 25, 2003
8,892
30
Northern Virginia
Wes Jordan said:
RAW give you the best ability after the shoot to edit anc correct. You can easily change color balance without losing quality as well as set a white balance. it has been said that you can get get about two stops more light out of the picture with RAW. RAW files are large however, and shot-to shot times can slow drastically, but many feel it is worth it. The post processing time may also take longer as it takes special software to view and edit the files.

If you decide to shoot RAW, you may be interested in buying an Extreme III card from Scandisk. I have a 2 gig version and I think it is fantastic. I cannot atest to the speed difference between the Ulta II and Extreme III, but I only paid about $120 for my card from Adorama. I'm sure B&H would have similar prices as well as other stores.
Good advice, though if the camera allows for it, I use RAW+JPEG mode.

According to the Time & Sizes page over on DPR (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikoncp8800/page11.asp), there does not appear to be any advantage of faster cards. Also note that RAW allows for only 81 images on a 1gb card, verses 129 in the Extra Fine JPEG mode. That being said, many users are just as happy shooting in JPEG mode. They have little desire to spend lots of time "fixing up" their images.

IMO the only reason to spend money on a high speed card is to be better set on a future camera purchase.

ChrisA said:
Today 1GB is the almost a smaller card. 2GB are afordable

Microdrives are being passed up by flash memory. Now that flash can do 4GB there is less need for a micro drive.Those setting fine, raw, ... allow you to trade image details for file size. CF cards are cheap now. Go for big files and big CF cards.
You are right. At the shop I work at the Sandisk Ultra II 4gb CF cards are only $199.99 now. For that same price you can get a 6gb MicroDrive.

The best advice is to buy several cards. Don't keep all photos on one card. Better to have a set of 1GB cards then one big 8GB card. Less is lost if a crad fails. Swapping out a CF card every two days is not that much of a hassel. Also do NOT take new untested equipment with you. Shot with watever you buy for a few weeks near home. Go through a few cycles of shoot, download, erase card, shoot...... Find problems NOW when they matter less and are easier to fix.
Very strong advice there. About multiple memory cards - one would never go out with just one roll of film. One would always have s second one on hand, just in case.

I have had some memory card issues in the past (solid state) where I was only getting half the storage. Getting a new card solved the problem.
 

Mr. G4

macrumors 6502
Mar 29, 2002
298
1
Rohnert Park, CA
Chip NoVaMac said:
Keep in mind that Microdrives have been used in the iPod mini, and these IMO are on the move.

IMO Microdrives have a value for some users. For my $ I would rather go solid state.
There is a big different between read and write.
I don't think you can corrupt data by reading it.
 

jayb2000

macrumors 6502a
Apr 18, 2003
748
0
RI -> CA -> ME
I have used SanDisk CF for 5 years in different cameras and have yet to have one crap out.
Now, I only shoot about 1500 pictures per year (currently Nikon CoolPix 5400), but this is with traveling, beach photos, etc.

I will stick with them. I am getting a 2gig Ultra II now, going on vacation for 8 days with no computer, so I wanted extra space. And I hope to get a D50/70/?? in about a year, so I wanted something with some decent size.

I would get the camera sooner, but trying to process photos on a G3 iMac is just painful :), gotta get that MacBook first.
 

ikonq

macrumors member
Apr 30, 2006
59
0
I'm not huge on actual CF cards themselves, as i survive on the 512mb one i have in my dads EOS350D.

That said, Think about a 60GB iPod + iPod Camera Connector. It works out that 60GB of CF memory would cost about AUD$9000+ (from what i worked out using 512 cards :p), whereas the iPod and the camera connector clocks just under AUD$650.

I use it and have had no problem with RAW files, other than that i cannot preview them on the iPod. They transfer fine though. You can sometimes tell your camera to take a RAW and a low res jpeg (for previewing on ipod) at the same time...
 

Grimace

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2003
3,541
35
with Hamburglar.
ikonq said:
I'm not huge on actual CF cards themselves, as i survive on the 512mb one i have in my dads EOS350D.

That said, Think about a 60GB iPod + iPod Camera Connector. It works out that 60GB of CF memory would cost about AUD$9000+ (from what i worked out using 512 cards :p), whereas the iPod and the camera connector clocks just under AUD$650.
But, you go through half of your camera's battery and most of your iPod's battery in the process...:rolleyes:
 

puckhead193

macrumors G3
Original poster
May 25, 2004
9,243
466
NY
I got a 2GB sandisk extreme III, (they didn't have the II) this was the only way to go. I got GB. i'm bringing my powerbook so if i need more i'll have that to result in. (i'll bring some CD-R/DVD-R to back up) How come when the camera is in full auto it says it will take about 257 pictures. but when i change to M,A,S or P i get like 85. Why is that? :confused:
 

Grimace

macrumors 68040
Feb 17, 2003
3,541
35
with Hamburglar.
puckhead193 said:
I got a 2GB sandisk extreme III, (they didn't have the II) this was the only way to go. I got GB. i'm bringing my powerbook so if i need more i'll have that to result in. (i'll bring some CD-R/DVD-R to back up) How come when the camera is in full auto it says it will take about 257 pictures. but when i change to M,A,S or P i get like 85. Why is that? :confused:
The resolution for those modes is probably a LOT higher -- maybe RAW; it appears to be 3x the resolution of the "full auto" mode.

Can you clarify which camera, what size CF card, and the resolution you are using?