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Compact Flash for D800 ....

pollarda

Provo, US
68 posts

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pollarda Registered since 23rd Feb 2007
Sun 15-Apr-12 03:24 AM

Well, if all goes well I'll be picking up my D800E this week. (Nikon USA is shipping D800Es starting Friday the 13th -- at least for NPS and perhaps others in limited supply.) I'm going to need new memory cards as I've been using 4GB cards for my D300 so far. I have no idea what speed I need _really_.

Here are the facts as I see it:

* I shoot raw. (Compressed / Lossless)
* I do intend to shoot video. However, it seems as if video only requires about 6MB/sec transfer speeds anyway.
* Mostly I shoot landscape which doesn't move like sports figures do.
* It seems (online) as if the D800 will buffer about 16 RAW images before it bogs down. (Is this right?)

Is there any reason why I need a 90MB/sec card? Heck, it sounds as if I'll be able to do video extremely well with even a 30MB/sec card and rely on the camera's buffer for rapid firing still photography -- at least for up to four seconds of shooting or so.

Is there something I'm missing? Is there any reason why I need a 60MB/Sec or 90MB/sec card for video or still photography?

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Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
5757 posts

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#1. "RE: Compact Flash for D800 ...." | In response to Reply # 0

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Sun 15-Apr-12 02:15 PM | edited Sun 15-Apr-12 02:17 PM by Ferguson

No, you are thinking exactly correct. I have found that Raw, compressed, lossless, FX gets about 15-18 shots in the buffer no matter the speed of the card before it slows.

If you keep shooting once slow faster cards help, and if you want to do another 15 soon after, a faster card helps a lot. But if you rarely will fire a long burst and even more rarely two bursts close together, the card speed is almost irrelevant.

Things I have found that make it somewhat relevant.

1) If you use two cards in backup mode, they are more or less going to write sequentially, so using (say) a very large SD card that is 133x to backup a very fast CF card (say 1000x) is pointless, as I found out. It still has to finish writing to the slower card before the buffer empties.

2) Related to the above, while I never get anywhere close to emptying the buffer, I do tend to shot a few hots (either fast or burst) then want to look at them. While it is still writing to the card, review is flakey - works sometimes, not others. This is not a shooting problem at all, and if you don't review your shots quickly, often, it is moot. But if you do, it is an argument for not getting extremely slow cards.

3) Video for very long, HD shots, can get over 4 Gig. I understand only XC type SD cards can handle that, but I also have seen indications the D800 does something internally to string 4G clips together, but I cannot confirm either. This is all from reading. CF cards do not have that problem only SDHC and SD.

I'm planning to use the cards in backup mode, so I am aiming for a blend of speeds of 40 (SDXC) and 60 (CD) mbs. That seems something of a sweet spot, if a tad pricy (but nowhere near the 90mbs price). I would frankly probably be happy one step down in price/speed.

I have tried the Lexar 133x, it was cheap for 128G, it would be great for someone who doesn't care about speed, but the review issue makes it a bit annoying. I am ordering now Sandisk 128G at 40mbs, figuring that is a good blend with 60mbs CF cards, but I am continuing to use older 40mbs and 20(?) mbs cards in the 16g range.

I also had a Lexar CF 1000x card fail twice in the camera. I have never had a Sandisk card fail in any camera. That could be pure luck, but it makes me wonder if the very high speed cards are also potentially a bit less reliable. I have exactly one data point on that, but it is some rationale for me to stick with medium speed cards as well.


Comments welcomed on pictures: Http://captivephotons.com

Ferguson

Cape Coral, US
5757 posts

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#2. "Size does matter" | In response to Reply # 0

Ferguson Silver Member Fellow Ribbon awarded for the generous sharing of his high level expertise in the spirit of Nikonians Nikonian since 19th Aug 2004
Sun 15-Apr-12 02:33 PM

But... while I think speed is not nearly as relevant as most people make out, size is.

No matter how much you do the math, coming from the D300 (which I did), you will be shocked how quickly you fill up a card. Partly it's the immense size of raw images, partly you will just be having fun with the new toy and shooting more than usual.

But the card that used to last you all day now not only will not, two of them might not. And if you decide you want to use the backup feature that means instead of 2-3x, it is 4-6x as much space.

Now if you are one who transitioned from film and still tends to shoot 36 shots and call it a day ... no problem.

Here's the simple math -- 20 shots is about a gigabyte.

So if you have a 16 Gig card, think of it as roughly "I can shoot 20 bursts and my card is full".

Or (and not sure how you do landscapes, but if in bracketed shots of 5) you could do about 60 sets of shots on a 16G card. For me 16G was huge before. Now not so much.


Comments welcomed on pictures: Http://captivephotons.com

David D Busch

US
178 posts

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#3. "RE: Compact Flash for D800 ...." | In response to Reply # 0

David D Busch Silver Member Nikonian since 07th Nov 2011
Tue 17-Apr-12 02:58 AM

>Is there something I'm missing? Is there any reason why I
>need a 60MB/Sec or 90MB/sec card for video or still
>photography?
>
You're not really missing anything, as far as shooting goes. I've standardized on 64GB 400X CF cards for my D800 (and 64GB SDXC cards in the SD slot) simply because I notice that images seem to transfer from them a lot faster to my computer from my FireWire card reader. I've never done any measurements, when when you're shooting 1000 images, especially RAW+JPEG, and you're an impatient sort, it's nice to have those shots zip over as quickly as possible.

G