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CF/SD Performance Database Archive - Continued

March 27, 2003: The D30 section of the database is no longer being updated, as we no longer have access to this camera.

In almost every respect, the D30 is designed to make a fast CompactFlash card a necessity.

  • First, it's not able to shoot and write simultaneously. Therefore, if you hit the buffer limit when shooting an extended sequence, as often as not you'll need to wait for the camera to write out at least one file (and sometimes more it seems, depending on when the camera returns control to the shutter button). The length of time you'll wait is largely dependent on the write speed of the card. This will be a significant factor when shooting Large Fine JPEGs of detailed scenes at higher ISO settings, since the buffer limit can drop pretty close to the camera's 8 frame minimum. It becomes a huge factor when shooting RAW .CRW files, given the camera's 3 frame buffer for that format.

  • Second, the camera doesn't permit reviewing of photos until the buffer is completely emptied to the card.

  • Third, the D30's write interface is slow by today's standards.

Our recommendation is to consider only the fastest cards available for the D30. Because of the methods it uses to interact and pass data to the card, CompactFlash models that are speediest in other Canon digital SLR models fall well back of the D30 speed leaders. This can make choosing a CompactFlash card tricky if your other camera is, for example, an EOS-1D, and you want to pick cards that perform well in both.

CompactFlash Write Speed - Canon EOS D30 (Firmware Version 1.0.3.0)

The data in the table below was derived by timing how long it took the D30 to write out 10 Large Fine JPEG and 3 RAW .CRW photos to the card. Timing commenced when the camera's card status light illuminated, and stopped when the light went out. Each test cycle was performed 3 times (if the card's capacity allowed for that) to ensure accurate results.

Card-to-card speed variation within the same brand and model, photographing scenes of varying detail and at different ISO settings - these and other factors may slightly alter write speed performance. As a result, write speed differences of 5% or less from card to card in the table below should be considered insignificant. If one card's write speed is within 5% of another's, the two cards are likely to offer effectively the same performance in the real world. Similarly, it's unlikely that most photographers would notice a difference between the fastest card and one that was up to 10% slower.

The results are arranged in the table from fastest to slowest (based on JPEG write speed). The top 10% (based on JPEG write speed) are marked in blue. 

Brand and Model
(Card Identifier)1
Key Components Source2
Card
Type3
Date Added or Updated
Write Speed -
Large Fine JPEG4
Write Speed -
Raw .CRW4
SimpleTech 1GB
(Internal: STI/Flash 5.1.0)
Hitachi
II
2002/10/28
1.177MB/sec
1.152MB/sec
SimpleTech 512MB
(Internal: STI/Flash 5.1.0)
Hitachi
I
2002/10/28
1.167MB/sec
1.133MB/sec
Pretec 512MB
(Label: P/N: ACH512-P)
undisclosed7
I
2003/2/25
1.164MB/sec
1.121MB/sec
SimpleTech 256MB
(Internal: STI/Flash 5.1.0)
Hitachi
I
2002/10/28
1.104MB/sec
1.073MB/sec
Hitachi Microdrive 1GB
Hitachi
II
2002/3/26
806K/sec
837K/sec
Lexar 512MB 24X Write Acceleration
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38; WA on front label)
Lexar
I
2003/2/25
776K/sec
807K/sec
Lexar 512MB 24X
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38)
Lexar
I
2002/10/28
760K/sec
811K/sec
Lexar 256MB 24X
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38)
Lexar
I
2002/10/28
748K/sec
775K/sec
Lexar 256MB 24X Write Acceleration
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38; WA on front label)
Lexar
I
2003/2/25
741K/sec
772K/sec
Ritek/Ridata 512MB
unknown8
I
2002/3/26
737K/sec
745K/sec
Transcend 256MB
(25X label on packaging)
unknown8
I
2002/3/26
722K/sec
737K/sec
Ritek/Ridata 256MB
unknown8
I
2002/3/26
719K/sec
733K/sec
Sandisk Ultra 512MB
(Edge stamp: AX0211RX CHINA)
Sandisk
I
2003/2/25
697K/sec
712K/sec
Microtech 256MB
(Internal: TOSHIBA THNCF256MAA)
Toshiba (SLC)5
I
2002/3/26
691K/sec
719K/sec
Microtech 512MB
(Internal: TOSHIBA THNCF512MAA)
Toshiba (SLC)5
I
2002/3/26
678K/sec
703K/sec
Delkin Devices 256MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF256MAA)
Toshiba (SLC)5
I
2002/3/26
666K/sec
698K/sec
Delkin Devices 512MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF512MAA)
Toshiba (SLC)5
I
2002/3/26
664K/sec
706K/sec
Sandisk Ultra 256MB
(Edge stamp: ARO110MQ USA)
Sandisk
I
2002/3/26
660K/sec
721K/sec
Lexar 160MB 10X
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 35)
Lexar
I
2002/3/26
608K/sec
641K/sec
Kingston Memory 1024MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF1G02MA)
Toshiba (MLC)5
I
2002/10/28
605K/sec
663K/sec
Delkin Devices PRO 640MB
(Label: CFPRO-640D)
For Delkin6
I
2003/2/25
599K/sec
640K/sec
Kingston Memory 512MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF512MMA)
Toshiba (MLC)5
I
2002/10/28
584K/sec
643K/sec
Kingston Memory 256MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF256MMA)
Toshiba (MLC)5
I
2002/10/28
571K/sec
607K/sec
Delkin Devices PRO 512MB
(Label: CFPRO-512D)
For Delkin6
I
2003/2/25
570K/sec
622K/sec
Delkin Devices PRO 320MB
(Label: CFPRO-320C)
For Delkin6
I
2003/2/25
569K/sec
610K/sec
Delkin Devices PRO 256MB
(Label: CFPRO-256C)
For Delkin6
I
2003/2/25
551K/sec
573K/sec
Lexar 256MB 12X
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 37)
Lexar
I
2002/3/26
521K/sec
550K/sec
Lexar 256MB 4X
Lexar
I
2003/2/25
517K/sec
614K/sec
Apacer Steno Pro 256MB
(Edge stamp: 83.29040.410 2002401-00006)
SST
I
2002/10/28
512K/sec
530K/sec
Transcend 512MB
(30X label on packaging)
unknown8
I
2003/2/25
451K/sec
487K/sec
Think Perfect Pix 320MB
(Label: USA DEM LX-FLASH 320MB)
Lexar
I
2002/3/26
444K/sec
471K/sec
Transcend 256MB
(30X label on packaging)
unknown8
I
2003/2/25
439K/sec
475K/sec
Sandisk "standard" 512MB
Sandisk
I
2002/3/26
415K/sec
437K/sec
Pretec 1GB
(Label: P/N: CFP01G)
Pretec
I
2003/2/25
333K/sec
366K/sec
(1) To help determine whether the card you purchase is substantially similar to the one tested, the card's description includes an identifier - series number, internal name or other unique value - where possible and applicable. See How can I be sure the card I buy is the same as the one tested in this report? for information on interpreting the card identifier. With CompactFlash cards from companies that source components from other manufacturers, it's particularly important to compare the identifier noted here with the card you might select.
(2) Many companies sell CompactFlash media; relatively few actually design and manufacture the key internal components, including the controller and flash memory. This column lists the manufacturer of the controller.
(3) Type I CompactFlash cards are 3.3mm in thickness; Type II, 5.0mm.
(4) K/sec = Kilobytes per second (1 kilobyte = 1024 bytes); MB/sec = Megabytes per second (1 megabyte = 1024 kilobytes).
(5) Companies that source CompactFlash cards from Toshiba may opt for either the faster single level cell (SLC) or slower (but less expensive to manufacture) multi level cell (MLC) arhictecture. The Kingston cards tested were MLC; the company does, however, offer SLC-based CompactFlash cards on special order. Kingston's SLC-based cards have "-S" appended to the end of their part number, ie CF/512-S. Not all of Kingston's distributors will have the SLC cards listed among the products they can ship to dealers. For more information, contact Kingston.
(6) Delkin has not revealed the design and manufacturing partner for their Pro line of CompactFlash cards.
(7) Pretec has not disclosed the source of the controller in the Pretec 512MB card tested.
(8) These cards contain controllers from an unknown manufacturer, likely of Taiwanese origin.
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