Kingston this week has unveiled a new performance line of Secure Digital (SD) cards aimed at serious and professional photographers.
The new series, dubbed Ultimate, are rated by Kingston to have read speeds of 23MB/second and write speeds of 20MB/second (the test conditions aren't specified).
The Ultimate SD cards began to ship in volume on May 16, 2005, in capacities of 512MB and 1GB, says Kingston's Public Relations Manager Heather Skinner.
Though we haven't received official word from Kingston regarding their technology partner for Ultimate SD, the production units we received from the company are stamped with production codes that are nearly identical to the Panasonic Pro High Speed 1GB SD card we also have in-house.
It seems likely, therefore, that Kingston is sourcing its Ultimate SD cards from the Japanese electronics giant.
In brief testing here, it would appear that Kingston's Ultimate SD cards offer real-world performance approaching that of SanDisk's speedy Extreme III SD.
In the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, for example, throughput trails SanDisk's fastest SD cards by only about 10% when recording RAW photos, while card-to-computer transfer rates are comparable (in the latter test, both company's SD cards are hampered by the fact that no card readers take full advantage of their speed potential).
Kingston is planning to grow the Ultimate line to include high-performance CompactFlash cards mid-summer, says Skinner, though what level of performance, and at what capacities, is still being determined. The current Elite Pro series of CompactFlash and SD cards will co-exist with Ultimate in Kingston's lineup, and will continue to be sourced mostly or exclusively from Samsung and Toshiba.