SanDisk Extreme III CompactFlash Card

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      In summary

      Our first memory card review looks at SanDisk’s Extreme III CompactFlash card, which is designed for professional photographers who work in extreme conditions and claims to offer high-speed viewing and downloading of shots plus the ability to recover accidentally deleted pictures. For our tests, we used two totally different DSLR cameras – the Nikon D2X, which claims to be one of the fastest cameras on the market and the comparatively sluggish Canon EOS 300D. . . [more]

      Full review

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      Leadpic_SanDiskExtreme

      Quality rating (out of 10) Build: 9.0Data transfer speed: 9.0Value for money: 9.0

      Our first memory card review looks at SanDisk’s Extreme III CompactFlash card, which is designed for professional photographers who work in extreme conditions and claims to offer high-speed viewing and downloading of shots, plus the ability to recover accidentally deleted pictures. For our tests, we used two totally different DSLR cameras: the Nikon D2X, which is claimed to be one of the fastest cameras on the market; and the comparatively sluggish Canon EOS 300D.

      We compared the Extreme III write speeds with two alternative CF cards (a SanDisk Ultra II and a standard CF card from Mittoni). Each card was first formatted in the camera, which was set to the manufacturer’s default processing settings. The same test target, with a moderately high level of detail, was used under the same lighting conditions. The camera’s batteries were fully charged and the ISO was set to 400. Flash was not used.

      For each test cycle we made two test runs with each camera, the first recording in RAW format only and the second capturing JPEG images at the highest resolution and quality setting, and fastest burst speed offered by the camera. In each case, the objective was to time how long it took to fill the camera’s buffer memory. Timing started when the camera’s card status light lit up and stopped when it went out.

      Since the EOS 300D’s buffer memory is limited to four shots, we repeated each test cycle five times and averaged the results to provide the most accurate figures. The JPEG files averaged 3.5MB, while the CRW-RAW files averaged 7.4MB. With the D2X we were only able to compare the two 1GB cards due to the large file sizes and high buffer capacities of the camera. The D2X’s buffer held 29 NEF-RAW shots (averaging 18.4MB) or 35 large/fine JPEGs, averaging 8.7MB. Each cycle was repeated twice with the camera set to record 12.21MP files.

      Test Results:

      Camera/file format

      Card

      Data

      Time to write data

      Write speed

      EOS 300D CRW-RAW

      SanDisk Extreme
      III 1GB

      29.6 MB

      22.4 sec.

      1.32 MB/sec.

      SanDisk Ultra II
      256 MB

      23.5 sec.

      1.26 MB/sec.

      Mittoni 1GB

      31.6 sec.

      0.94 MB/sec.

      EOS 300D Large/Fine JPEG

      SanDisk Extreme
      III 1GB

      14 MB

      10.5 sec.

      1.33 MB/sec.

      SanDisk Ultra II
      256 MB

      11.1 sec.

      1.26 MB/sec.

      Mittoni 1GB

      15.6 sec.

      0.89 MB/sec.

      Nikon D2X NEF-RAW

      SanDisk Extreme
      III 1GB

      533.6 MB

      60.5 sec.

      8. 8 MB/sec.

      Mittoni 1GB

      117.5 sec.

      4.54 MB/sec.

      Nikon D2X Large/Fine JPEG

      SanDisk Extreme
      III 1GB

      305 MB

      37.2 sec.

      8.2 MB/sec.

      Mittoni 1GB

      71 sec.

      4.3 MB/sec.

      Comments

      It is obvious from the table that both cameras are noticeably faster with the fastest memory card, despite the inherent differences in their write speeds. The EOS 300D writes relatively slowly, regardless of the card used and, when the buffer memory is full, you can’t take another shot until it empties. Nor can you review captured shots. The D2X’s performance is, at least in part, due to the fact that it supports the new PIO Mode 5 timing protocol, which is only utilised in the SanDisk Extreme III cards. Used with the Nikon, write speeds with the Extreme III card were almost double the speeds of the standard CF card.

      Our test results should be used as guidelines only. Write speeds will vary according to the amount of detail in recorded images, changes to ISO speeds and variations in other processing parameters. RAW files are normally transferred faster than JPEGs because they require less processing. There can also be some differences in write speeds between the same types of cards with different capacities – and even between identically branded cards. It is unlikely a photographer would notice speed differences of up to 10% in the course of normal shooting.

      Our tests show the SanDisk Extreme III CF cards can handle large amounts of image data very quickly, which is a key reason for photographers to invest in them and justifies their higher price. SanDisk supplies each card with a mini-CD containing RescuePRO data recovery software for recovering shots that were accidentally deleted, plus a neat, zippered travel case that holds up to three cards in their plastic cases. SanDisk also produces Extreme III memory cards in Secure Digital and Memory Stick Pro formats, with capacities ranging from one to four gigabytes.

       

      Specifications

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      Leadpic_SanDiskExtreme

      Card type tested: CompactFlash type I
      Card capacity tested: 1GB
      Claimed write/read speed: 20MB/sec sequential
      Temperature rating: -25 to +85 degrees Celsius
      Supplied with: Travel case, RescuePRO data recovery software
      RRP: $249
      Distributor: VME Systems; ph. (03) 9845 2600; www.vme.com.au.

       

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      Rating

       

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