Compact Flash or Microdrive for D200?
As I've mentioned in a couple of the D200 posts, this will be my first DSLR. I've been pricing CF cards and microdrives and it seems that the microdrives have more GB for the dollar. Is there something about the CF cards that makes them better, other than the fact that they don't have moving parts inside?
One other question to add. Would there be any reason for me to get a card reader, since both my computer and printer have a CF/Microdrive slot on them?
#1. "RE: Compact Flash or Microdrive for D200?" | In response to Reply # 0Hua Registered since 31st Oct 2005Thu 03-Nov-05 03:47 AM
Although I have no experience with Microdrives, the less moving parts, the less things to break. I would stick with CF cards.
As far as the card reader, you don't need to buy one since there is already one on-board your computer.
edit: This question was already asked on the D70 forum, here are more replies: https://www.nikonians.org/dcforum/DCForumID86/3872.html
#2. "RE: Compact Flash or Microdrive for D200?" | In response to Reply # 0C Ferreira Registered since 29th Oct 2005Thu 03-Nov-05 03:50 AM
That small detail about the moving bits is the reason you should go with CF. If you drop your card wich you will more often than not you wont be using the microdrive again. CF cards will take a few meters of fall aslong as the body does not break it will still work. CF comes with a lifetime garantee for a reason they will outlast you in years and in photo making. I had a card reader with a bad terminal inside causing smoke to come out of the card from the heat I realy thaught it was the end of the CF card. Im still using the same card I did not even lose one photo throug the nervwrecking ordeal. I did learn a valuable lesson thoug dont buy cheap card readers. If you have one on your computer it will be as fast if not faster than a usb 2 reader so you dont need one and it is bound to be of a reasonable quality the one on the printer will more than likley be usb 1. Also buy a fast card dont buy a bottom of the range 20X card it is a waste on a D200 80X is the way to go.
Snapshots are taken but Photos are made
Snapshots are taken but Photos are made
#3. "RE: Compact Flash or Microdrive for D200?" | In response to Reply # 0Thu 03-Nov-05 03:54 AM
The D200 will take advantage of the fastest media you can feed it. Microdrives are much slower than fast CF media.
Go with Sandisk Extreme III media. This is the fastest media tested for the D2X and that's a good rule of thumb for the D200.
See the CF database at robgalbraith.com
The only reason I can see for you to get a card reader is if the computer's reader is slow.
#4. "D200 USB very fast" | In response to Reply # 0jimtan Basic MemberThu 03-Nov-05 04:01 AM
Welcome to digiland! The D200 connects directly to the computer using the USB cable. See the Connections section on this page:
This camera (according to Phil askey) has a throughput twice as fast as Canon's 5D. I read somewhere that it is also much faster than a card reader.
I would recommend that you use the USB cable connection. Don't mess with the card in the camera. Continual removing+inserting the card may result in damage to the pins in the camera or computer.
I would recommend that you stick with the flash cards which are extremely reliable and rugged. You can get used cards at a good price. The pros are switching to 4gb cards. So, 2x512mb or one 1gb Sandisk Ultra II is a good buy and reasonably fast.
#5. "RE: D200 USB very fast" | In response to Reply # 4Pursuit Nikonian since 04th Jan 2003Thu 03-Nov-05 05:00 AM
I'm not sure how practical it is to leave a single card in your camera. For a single soccer game I change 2GB cards at least once in my D2H. With my D2X I have to change cards three or four times. I've never had (nor heard of) pins being bent from removing/reinserting the cards.
One more thing to consider about Microdrives - they use air for lubrication. If the air becomes too thin, then you run the risk of the read/write head touching the recording surface - which would be very, very bad. Microdrives aren't supposed to be used above 10,000 feet for this reason.
Wandering the Cascades
#12. "RE: D200 USB very fast" | In response to Reply # 5Fri 04-Nov-05 02:38 PM
The 10,000' limitation applied to the original IBM Microdrives. My brother tells me (I haven't looked up the specs to verify) that Hitachi has redesigned the drives so that there is no practical alititude limitation.
That said, I've had a Microdrive fail, they're slower than solid state media for write speed, they have a spin-up lag time, they're more vulnerable to impact from a drop, and they consume more battery power. No more Microdrives for me - at least not for my cameras.
Pins can be bent on insertion. One reason is a low quality card slots that don't have precise guide tolerances. Another cause would be a foreign object stuck in a pin hole (pocket junk contaminating a card that's carried around naked). Nikon card slots are high quality so alignment concerns are minimal. If you take just a little care and never force an insertion, I think bent pin concerns can be close to zero.
In any case, it's out of the question for me to consider hooking up the camera to a computer when I want to transfer files. I use a PSD in the field and it requires card insertion. I wouldn't be happy taking my camera out of use waiting several minutes for a transfer that's consuming camera battery power needlessly. When doing studio shooting I don't want to mess up my composition to take the camera to the computer.
#6. "RE: Compact Flash or Microdrive for D200?" | In response to Reply # 0
Congratulations on selecting what will probly be another one of Nikons major triumphs in the world of photography. It looks awesome!
I've been using CF cards and readers since 2000, when I got my first Nikon digital camera, the 990. I've never even bought or tested a microdrive, because all of my research on them indicates that they are slightly inferior to the CF cards, and always have been. They may be a slight cost saving advantage for those who do mostly studio work, and aren't worried about speed or durability. I want and need the responsibility and speed, because I am out in the field, most of the time. My personal opinion is CF is the way to go.
As far as the card reader question goes, that depends. Some computer companies (compaq,et al), sometimes plug their "all-in-one" card readers into a port on the motherboard that is actually slower than the original usb port. I couldn't believe it when it happened to me, but it did. My 1 GB CF card was downloading at 20 minutes on my brand new "Store-Bought" computer. Meanwhile, on my home-built computer that i built a year earlier, that same 1 GB CF card always downloaded in 18 minutes. I solved that little problem by getting a good usb2 card reader. That 1 GB CF card now downloads in four minutes or less.
The download time makes a difference. As does the power drain on your digital camera batteries, if you hook it up to your pc via the included cables of most cameras. Why waste battery power? I've been using digital cameras since 1999, and have never found a good reason to use the camera to transfer my images to the pc.
A good CompactFlash card reader is a must, in my opinion. But it may be true that the one that you already have built into your pc is a darnded good one. Mine was not, and that was probly just an aberration from the norm. I hope so, anyway. I also hope that some of what I've written will be of some help to you, and anyone else that has similar questions.
#7. "RE: Compact Flash or Microdrive for D200?" | In response to Reply # 0
I would also recommend CF cards but would like to defend the performance of microdrives. When I bought my first D100 back when it was first launched, microdrives were much cheaper and I bought a couple of 1gb IBMs. They were thrashed for two years and gave great service (including being dropped a couple of times). I still pack them on big shoots as extra capacity.
#8. "RE: Compact Flash or Microdrive for D200?" | In response to Reply # 7vultureacs Basic MemberThu 03-Nov-05 01:45 PM
Hitachi is now marketing a new version of the microdrive which supposedly detects a fall greater than 10cm and then shuts down the HD so it won't be damaged (that much). Interesting to see how this works out in practice.
However, Microdrive will never get to the speed of good flashmemory, just as your computer RAM will always outpace your harddrive.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#10. "RE: Compact Flash or Microdrive for D200?" | In response to Reply # 9edmun Registered since 16th Sep 2003Fri 04-Nov-05 10:37 AM
I have 2 store bought computers (HP and E machine) both have card readers and both have USB 2 ports.
the card readers are very very slow and one of them has failed.
The USB reader takes 4 minutes and both built in ones take 20 plus minutes. Why do manufactures save a nickle and loose a customer.
#11. "RE: Compact Flash or Microdrive for D200?" | In response to Reply # 10mwhals Nikonian since 18th Apr 2004Fri 04-Nov-05 12:37 PM
I built my own PC and put an internal card reader in it that connects to the internal USB header, which seems to be just as fast as the external ports on the PC. As a result, the internal reader is pretty fast. Maybe the PC manufactures are connecting to USB 1.1 headers instead of USB 2.0 headers on their motherboards?
Shoot nature with respect and don't trample it or startle its inhabitants. :)
#13. "I use MD's exclusively" | In response to Reply # 0
I use 4 GB Hitachi MD's exclusively to shoot weddings. I have done so for about a year now and after 25,000 images find them flawless.
I've used them in Canon 20D's and the D70 and D70S.
The Hitachi's are the only one's I'd trust though. People who have used them love them and people who have never used them usually spout off about why you shouldn't. There's also the people that hacked some wierd MD out of a music player and it failed and they wonder why...
#15. "RE: I use MD's exclusively" | In response to Reply # 13Fri 04-Nov-05 10:36 PM
I've used them. I also "spout off" about why I don't use them any longer since I've got a dead one and have two others stuffed at the bottom of the camera bag. I've seen many posts from folks who have retired their MDs. I'm glad you've had good experiences and hope your good luck continues. It would really bite to lose 4GB of wedding shots.
A Sandisk Ultra has a mean time between failures of 1,000,000 hours and an error rate less than 1 bit per 10^14 bits read.
A Microdrive has no published MTBF that I'm aware of. It has a start/stop cycle rating 300,000 and has an error rate of 1 bit per 10^13 bits transferred. In a digital camera, there are a lot of spin up and down cycles. Besides the spin up time contributing to how slow MDs perform, 300,000 doesn't sound like all that many cycles for heavy photo use. I'd be especially wary of keeping high mileage Microdrives for mission-critical shooting.
#14. "RE: Compact Flash or Microdrive for D200?" | In response to Reply # 0
I use both CF cards and microdrives. I've never had a microdrive fail. Of course, I make sure I handle them correctly. Do not throw them in your pocket or bag, and do not drop them. Even though the new microdrives are more shock resistant than the older ones, I still would not drop them.
Other problems with microdrives are: they are slower to write than CF cards, they use more battery power, they heat up.
That said, if you're in the studio shooting products or even portraits, there's no reason why you couldn't use microdrives. But if you're out in the field running around, I would go with CF cards. Use the microdrives as backup.
Stock and Fine Art Photography
#16. "RE: Compact Flash or Microdrive for D200?" | In response to Reply # 14greendog9 Registered since 06th Nov 2005Sun 06-Nov-05 12:50 PM
Hi- this will also be my first DLSR and getting ready for it by researching info on CF cards too. Will the Sandisk Extreme III cards make a difference over Lexar 80x cards? I see that the Extreme cards are rated at 60x, but not sure what teh Extreme III are. Essentially, are the Extreme III cards too much for the D200 and you don't use all the speed? Any insight will be greatly appreciated.
#18. "RE: Compact Flash or Microdrive for D200?" | In response to Reply # 16swong13 Registered since 24th Aug 2007Mon 07-Nov-05 03:57 PM
>Hi- this will also be my first DLSR and getting ready for
>it by researching info on CF cards too. Will the Sandisk
>Extreme III cards make a difference over Lexar 80x cards? I
>see that the Extreme cards are rated at 60x, but not sure
>what teh Extreme III are. Essentially, are the Extreme III
>cards too much for the D200 and you don't use all the speed?
>Any insight will be greatly appreciated.
I have always used Lexar cards in my D100 because the firmware in the D100 utilized the Write Acceleration technology in the Lexar cards. In one of the D200 previews that I read, I noticed an asterisk after the specs for frames per second. The asterisk was a note that that speed was acquired when using SanDisk Extreme III CF cards. I also checked Rob Galbraith's website. Rob has an extensive database of card performance in various cameras. I checked his results for the D2X and the SanDisk Extreme III cards were significantly faster than the Lexar cards. I have a D200 on order and I bought a couple of 2GB Extreme III cards last week in anticipation of using the D200. I do some sports photography and need all of the speed that I can get.
#17. "RE: Compact Flash or Microdrive for D200?" | In response to Reply # 14
>That said, if you're in the studio shooting products or even
>portraits, there's no reason why you couldn't use
>microdrives. But if you're out in the field running around,
>I would go with CF cards. Use the microdrives as backup.
If you're shooting in a studio, why not save directly to a computer?