Why do high end dslr's use compact flash instead of SD cards ? Is there a difference in capacity or performance ? I believe sd-hd cards go up to 8GB and so do Compact Flash. If that is the case wouldn't it make sense for dslr's to all use the smaller SD card ?
#1. "RE: SD Cards vs. Compact Flash" In response to Reply # 0
New York, US
Heretic! Having an SD card in a pro camera is like having a pop-up flash in a D2Xs! (believe it or not, the pop-up flash in the D200 is often seen as a *negative* since it makes it "less pro" to a certain class of people)
Really, I think we're almost there. CF cards go up to at least 16G today and they're a little cheaper at comparable sizes and speeds than SD cards. According to Sandisk, their fast SD cards are 20MB/s and their fast CF cards are 40MB/s (of course you pay for the extra speed). Pro shooters (or at least people who like to buy pro cameras ) also like that CF cards are physically more rugged feeling.
However, this doesn't mean that SD cards won't be in pro cameras soon. I'd rather have two SD cards writing redundant files than a single CF card. The physically larger CF-sized microdrives have fallen out of vogue. Nikon had SD cards in the D50 for their first generation, then D40/D40X/D80 in the second generation of cameras - SD cards are moving up the food chain. SD cards have a more durable card-edge connector (the CF pins can get bent more easily). Finally, a lot of the compact P&S cameras are running with SD cards which brings huge volume and R&D dollars so I would imagine that SD card development will soon outpace CF card development.
Keep in mind that Nikon builds their lineup from the top down, that means that when the D200 was designed (not released) SD cards may not have been there for what the target market needs, that may even be the case for the D3*, but I'd be curious to see what format the D300 uses. Of course, what card type a camera uses is an interesting guessing game, but not exactly in the critical path for producing excellent images
#2. "RE: SD Cards vs. Compact Flash" In response to Reply # 1
Thanks for the detailed answer. I recently bought my 1st DSLR - a D40 and a 50MM 1/8 and an 18-200mm Nikkor. After I run the photos through DXO Optics Pro the photos look good to me (not that they looked bad right out of the camera). I am very happy with the D40, the kit lens, and the extra 2 lenses I bought. It seems logical to me that the autofocus motor would only be in the lens (if you don't have any old lenses) and that the top LCD would be eliminated ( a holdover from film cameras ) along with an SD card instead of a CF card. But you wouldn't know it from some of the reviews on the web and the magazines. IMHO a small lightweight camera is preferable to carrying around a brick with a strap. It seems like Nikon designed the D40/D40x almost from scratch. It seems so logical to me that I hope they design future DSLR's this way - and not just entry level cameras. I am not saying they should stop building cameras that can autofocus their legacy lenses. That would be suicide for Nikon. I know my opinion will annoy my some of my fellow Nikonians but maybe the D40/D40x is a precursor of things to come.
#3. "RE: SD Cards vs. Compact Flash" In response to Reply # 2
It's also a hang over from when digital cameras were first introduced. The only media was CF which incidentally was never developed with photography in mind. In the CF format you could get IBM mini hard drives (can't remember their proper name now) in a whopping 360 and later 540MB size! This was the media of choice for the Pro who had to deal with those huge 1 MB plus image sizes in their cameras of the day. The result of this is the Pros have developed a warm fuzzy feeling for CF that they are reluctant to break. Panasonic, Toshiba and San Disk jointly developed the Sd format to overcome the many faults of CF including too large physical size for smaller devices, potential problems with the connection pins during constant insertion and ejection, no write protection facility and excessive power draw. CF will die out over the next 3 -5 years in the same way that floppy drives have now completely disappeared and CD drives are virtually obsolete. The unfortunate part is that SD is probably not far behind CF in terms of obsolescence as newer technologies are being developed.
#4. "RE: SD Cards vs. Compact Flash" In response to Reply # 3
SD is certainly gaining ground and I like the idea of edge connectors instead of pins. However I'm sure some clever person will make and sell an CF > SD adaptor (if they don't already) so your D2X etc will not be obsolete!