SD cards - which ones are "best" and why?

Discussion in 'Open Gear Talk' started by BBW, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    I've noticed we have SD card discussions in several different camera specific forums. Does it really matter which camera one is using in regard to which SD card one should choose?

    For example I used to always use a Sandisk Extreme Class 10 (4 GB, 30MB/s*), now I have two Extreme Pro 8GB, 45MB/s* cards that have a little 1 next to the SDHC icon and another 1 inside a little sort of "bucket" underneath the 45MB/s* denotation. I'm pretty sure the second cards were recommended to me by Don/Streetshooter, and I believe I bought these when I purchased the Fuji X100.

    Can someone knowledgeable give an overview of SD cards and what people should look for and whether or not the decision is camera dependent?
  2. Brian

    Brian Top Veteran

    Jul 7, 2010
    I had many problems with the Sandisk 45mb/s "UHS-1" cards. The problems with the M9 were splashed over the Internet: I never used this card in my M9. It failed in the Sandisk Imagemate Card reader used with my WIN7 machine. I used the SDFORMAT utility from the organization that sets the standards for SD. The card reader works with all others cards, and it is a new model bought when I received the first replacement card. I am on my third card, the second replaced under warranty from Sandisk. No chance of it being counterfeit. When I bought a handycam for Nikki at a local electronics store, the salesman told me that they had problems with Sandisk UHS-1 cards, and he steered customers to Transcend. They did not carry PNY.

    SO: I am buying PNY cards. Sandisk has compatibility issues with their latest generation of cards and needs to fix it. Sad, I have used their memory cards since 1995.
  3. Biro

    Biro Super Moderator

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    I'm surprised about SanDisk UHS-1 cards. I guess the good news is that SanDisk Extreme Class 10 30mb/s cards are still probably fast enough for most cameras - even when doing video - and they have been 100 percent reliable in my experience.
  4. Is there anyone who's really knowledgeable? I know that in Australia there have been issues with people buying Sandisk and ending up with a fake. Thats when buying from HK, but I have heard that reputable Aussie dealers have also been selling fakes, its almost impossible to tell the difference and I guess the wholesale suppliers dont care much where they get theirs.

    I was sold a class 10 "Silicon Power" when I bought the X100 and I wouldnt bother again. I've had other cards in the X100 (class 6) and the 10 doesnt seem to get written to any faster. I have Verbatim class 6 cards which have never missed a beat since I bought them, a Panasonic Class 4 which is OK for the FZ and F550, and a Lexar Class 6 thats currently in the XZ. All the Class 6 cards seem to be much of a muchness, and I had a Sandisk Extreme Pro (given to me by a friend) which was decent but only 2G so I sold it on with one of the cameras, once.

    I'd LOVE to know which card to put in the X100, because I do find it painfully slow to write to the card, no matter which I have in there. The rest of my cameras seem to manage fairly well with what they have.
  5. adanac

    adanac Veteran

    Sep 30, 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    I have three Sandisk UHS-1 Extreme Pro 45 MB/S 8GB cards, bought from two different sources in two different countries. All of them work flawlessly and have done in a Fujifilm X100, NEX-5N, and GXR.

    They read just fine in a cheapo 10$ reader attached to my desktop; they also read just fine in the built in reader on my Lenovo ThinkPad 220 laptop.

    I've got an older Sandisk card which I initially used in the X100 and ditched in favour of the faster card as it reduced startup and write times substantially. I only shoot RAW (or in the case of the GXR, RAW+JPEG because it won't let me turn JPEG off; mind you there are some advantages to having a JPEG as it enables faster preview in Lightroom).

    Some cameras will not take full advantage of faster cards but in my experience, all of them so far have performed better with the faster UHS-1 card. I bought UHS-1 cards with a view to future proofing my storage, hoping that I wouldn't feel compelled to update for a while.

    I've run into a few sales people in photo shops that aren't even familiar with the UHS nomenclature. A couple times now when trying to get price and availability info out of a walk-in shop, when asking for their fastest 8GB card I've been presented with a "Class 10" card usually far slower than anything I'm currently using. Some sales folks haven't read the memo... there are faster cards than "Class 10".

    There are faster cards than what I'm using but what I have is fast enough; at this point the camera remains the bottleneck.
  6. Biro

    Biro Super Moderator

    Aug 7, 2011
    Jersey Shore
    Sue... I don't know what qualifies any of us as experts other than personal experience. But I will say that fake cards can happen anywhere. Perhaps because SanDisk is such a trusted brand it may be attractive to counterfeiters.

    But let me say this: Regardless of how fast the write speed of your card is, it won't write faster than your camera can manage. I personally advise a Class 10 card (30 mb/sec) as a minimum. I have never had problems with SanDisk. I've never had problems with their UHS-1 cards either. Perhaps that is camera-dependent. But if you had the Extreme Pro UHS-1 card and it worked well with capacity being the only problem, I would try one again if I were you.
  7. Landshark

    Landshark PhotoDog

    Jul 15, 2010
    no problem with the UHS cards for me either I have only used the 8mb so far, I do own a few 16mb ones I will try those too see if there are any issues.
    There are all sorts of fake products out there as well.
  8. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Thanks you all. Although I can see there are some varied opinions, it's good to have a thread, I think.

    I've had no problems with mine, either. I've pretty much always gotten mine from B&H.
  9. Thanks from me, too. I think I'll relegate the "class 10" to the FZ and revert to using the older Verbatim in the x100 until I can get a UHS-1 or two of them. Can never have enough cards... unless they arent any good, and then they may as well be relegated to the trash.