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CF/SD Performance Database Archive - Continued

February 8, 2006: The Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro section of the database is no longer being updated, as we no longer have access to this camera.

CompactFlash Write Speed - Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro (Firmware Version 1.00)

The data in the table below was derived by timing how long it took the Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro to write out 12 Fine JPEG (12MP setting) and 7 RAW .RAF 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.

Note: This camera accepts both CompactFlash and xD format media. The latter format is not widely used, tops out at 512MB currently (though 1GB cards are on the near horizon) and is relatively slow in card-to-computer transfers, relative to top-tier CompactFlash like the SanDisk Extreme III. But, because of a CompactFlash interface in this camera that's seriously underpowered, it's likely that any number of xD cards on the market will be quicker at writing photos in the S3 Pro. For example, we tested a Fujifilm-branded SanDisk 256MB xD card and found that at 3.731MB/second and 3.811MB/second for JPEG and RAW respectively, it's almost twice as fast as the fastest CompactFlash card in Fuji's latest digital SLR. So, if maximum card speed is a requirement, one that overshadows the drawbacks of going with a relatively obscure card format in the pro digital photography world, you might consider xD. Unfortunately, we don't have the resources to properly test a range of xD cards in the S3 Pro, so we won't be able to provide any speed benchmarks for xD other than the one SanDisk/Fujifilm 256MB we have on hand.

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 -
Fine (12MP) JPEG4
Write Speed -
RAW .RAF4
SanDisk Extreme III 2GB
(Edge stamp: BE04091F USA)
SanDisk I 2005/1/15 2.098MB/sec 2.156MB/sec
SanDisk Extreme III 1GB SanDisk I 2005/1/15 2.084MB/sec 2.155MB/sec
Lexar 2GB 80X Write Acceleration *second edition*10
(Edge stamp: 39132GBAI3904A4B6)
Lexar I 2005/1/15 2.084MB/sec 2.118MB/sec
Delkin Devices PRO 2GB
(Label: CFLS1VM1-02G)
Samsung I 2005/1/15 2.082MB/sec 2.116MB/sec
Kingston Elite Pro 2GB
(Edge stamp: 4DC02G1MY1-2LA00)
Samsung I 2005/1/15 2.080MB/sec 2.115MB/sec
SanDisk Extreme 2GB SanDisk I 2005/1/15 2.078MB/sec 2.115MB/sec
SanDisk Ultra II 2GB SanDisk I 2005/1/15 2.078MB/sec 2.114MB/sec
SanDisk Extreme 1GB
(Edge stamp: BB0307VZ CHINA)
SanDisk
I
2005/1/15
2.077MB/sec
2.114MB/sec
Lexar 1GB 80X Write Acceleration *second edition*10
(Edge stamp: 39121GBBB4304A4B6)
Lexar I 2005/1/15 2.077MB/sec 2.109MB/sec
SanDisk Ultra II 1GB
(Edge stamp: BB0306VZ CHINA)
SanDisk
I
2005/1/15
2.077MB/sec
2.107MB/sec
ATP 1GB
(45X label on packaging; edge stamp: 2GC01G1MY1-2LA00)
Samsung I 2005/1/15 2.076MB/sec 2.107MB/sec
Kingston Elite Pro 1024MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF1G02CA)
Toshiba (SLC)5 I 2005/1/15 2.074MB/sec 2.104MB/sec
Microtech (Pexagon) X-treme 1GB
(Edge stamp: THNCF1G02CA)
Toshiba (SLC)5 I 2005/1/15 2.072MB/sec 2.103MB/sec
Lexar 4GB 80X Write Acceleration *second edition*, formatted FAT32 with 32K cluster size8,10
(Edge stamp: 39134GBAI3904A4B6)
Lexar I 2005/1/15 2.068MB/sec 2.104MB/sec
Delkin Devices PRO 1GB
(Label: CFLS1VM1-01G)
Samsung I 2005/1/15 2.068MB/sec 2.103MB/sec
Microtech (Pexagon) X-treme 512MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF512MCA)
Toshiba (SLC)5
I
2005/1/15
2.059MB/sec
2.064MB/sec
SanDisk Extreme 512MB
(Edge stamp: AX0310WJA CHINA)
SanDisk I 2005/1/15 2.051MB/sec 2.157MB/sec
SanDisk Ultra II 512MB
(Edge stamp: AX0308VZ CHINA)
SanDisk I 2005/1/15 2.049MB/sec 2.157MB/sec
Transcend 1GB 45X
(45X on front label)
Transcend
I
2005/1/15
2.039MB/sec
2.055MB/sec
Ritek/Ridata 52X/PRO. 2GB
(Edge stamp: U3F06116)
unknown7
I
2005/1/15
2.038MB/sec
2.062MB/sec
Ritek/Ridata 80X/PRO. II 2GB
(Edge stamp: U41005293222)
unknown7 I 2005/1/15 2.038MB/sec 2.062MB/sec
Ritek/Ridata 52X/PRO. 1GB
(Edge stamp: S4N88116)
unknown7 I 2005/1/15 2.028MB/sec 2.052MB/sec
Kingston Elite Pro 512MB
(Edge stamp: 1GC5121MY0-2EA00)
Samsung I 2005/1/15 2.027MB/sec 2.068MB/sec
Lexar 1GB 80X Write Acceleration *first edition*10
(Edge stamp: 39011GBBI32049D66)
Lexar
I
2005/1/15
1.981MB/sec
2.053MB/sec
SanDisk Ultra II 4GB, formatted FAT32 with 32K cluster size8,11
(Edge stamp: BH04092X USA)
SanDisk (MLC)12 I 2005/1/15 1.975MB/sec 2.023MB/sec
Hitachi Microdrive 1GB
Hitachi
II
2005/1/15
1.966MB/sec
2.036MB/sec
SanDisk "new" Ultra 1GB
(Edge stamp: BB0303TV CHINA)
SanDisk
I
2005/1/15
1.959MB/sec
2.060MB/sec
SanDisk "new" Ultra 512MB
(Edge stamp: AX0303TV CHINA)
SanDisk
I
2005/1/15
1.948MB/sec
2.060MB/sec
Lexar 1GB 40X Write Acceleration
*new and improved*
9
Lexar
I
2005/1/15
1.924MB/sec
1.993MB/sec
Hitachi Microdrive 4GB, formatted FAT32 with 32K cluster size8
Hitachi
II
2005/1/15
1.923MB/sec
1.998MB/sec
Delkin Devices PRO 640MB
(Label: CFPRO-640D)
For Delkin6
I
2005/1/15
1.881MB/sec
1.933MB/sec
Transcend 512MB
(30X label on packaging)
Transcend
I
2005/1/15
1.868MB/sec
1.923MB/sec
Delkin Devices PRO 512MB
(Label: CFPRO-512D)
For Delkin6
I
2005/1/15
1.852MB/sec
1.898MB/sec
Lexar 2GB 40X Write Acceleration
Lexar
I
2005/1/15
1.811MB/sec
1.872MB/sec
Lexar 1GB 40X Write Acceleration
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38; WA on front label)
Lexar
I
2005/1/15
1.803MB/sec
1.869MB/sec
Lexar 512MB 40X Write Acceleration
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38; WA on front label)
Lexar
I
2005/1/15
1.782MB/sec
1.868MB/sec
Lexar 4GB 40X Write Acceleration, formatted with 32K cluster size8
Lexar
II
2005/1/15
1.777MB/sec
1.843MB/sec
SanDisk "original" Ultra 512MB
(Edge stamp: AX0211RX CHINA)
SanDisk
I
2005/1/15
1.766MB/sec
1.816MB/sec
SimpleTech PRO X 512MB
(Internal: STI/FLASH 1T)
SST
I
2005/1/15
1.707MB/sec
1.749MB/sec
SimpleTech PRO X 1GB
(Internal: STI/FLASH 1T)
SST
II
2005/1/15
1.701MB/sec
1.750MB/sec
Viking 512MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF512MMA)
Toshiba (MLC)5 I 2005/1/15 1.440MB/sec 1.451MB/sec
PNY 512MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF512MMG (TOOCK))
Toshiba (MLC)5 I 2005/1/15 1.422MB/sec 1.425MB/sec
Kingston 1024MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF1G02MA)
Toshiba (MLC)5
I
2005/1/15
1.357MB/sec
1.329MB/sec
Kingston 512MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF512MMA)
Toshiba (MLC)5
I
2005/1/15
1.314MB/sec
1.299MB/sec
SanDisk Standard 1GB
(Edge stamp: BB0205NK CHINA)
SanDisk I 2005/1/15 966K/sec 1.035MB/sec
GS Magicstor 2.2GB
(Model: GS1022C 65)
unknown13 II 2005/1/15 excluded from testing14 excluded from testing14
Seagate ST1 5GB
(Model: ST650211CF)
Seagate II 2005/1/15 excluded from testing15 excluded from testing15
Delkin Devices PRO 4GB, formatted FAT32 with 32K cluster size8
(Label: CFLS1VM1-04G)
Samsung I 2005/1/15 data to be added data to be added
(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.
(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 binary-type (often called single level cell, or SLC) or slower (but less expensive to manufacture) multi level cell (MLC) architecture. Kingston's standard orange-labeled line uses MLC; the Elite Pro line uses SLC.
(6) Delkin has not revealed the design and manufacturing partner for their PRO line of CompactFlash cards up to 640MB; above that capacity, the cards are sourced from Samsung.
(7) These cards contain controllers from an unknown manufacturer, likely of Taiwanese origin.
(8) This camera's built-in formatter will reformat cards over 2GB as FAT32 with a 32K cluster size, which usually means more efficient transfers than the more-common 4K cluster size.
(9) This card, which began to ship in mid-March 2004, contains faster memory than the original 40X card. Lexar has revamped their entire 40X Pro Series lineup, from 256MB to 4GB, with the faster memory, though we've only tested the 1GB model. The packaging for the revamped 40X doesn't indicate that the card inside is different from an original 40X, though the card itself does: if the series number stamped on the card's edge ends in C977, it's a revamped 40X.
(10) Lexar began shipping their 80X line of cards in late June 2004. The card marked *first edition* in the table is a production model representative of the 80X lineup that began shipping at that time. In October 2004, Lexar began to ship a revised version of their 80X cards, which we've dubbed *second edition* here. As of early January 2005, second edition cards remain identical in appearance to their first edition predecessors and are sold in similar retail packaging (a red mylar tab sealing the end flap is the one hint that a second edition card lurks inside). The last four digits of the edge stamp, visible only once the package is opened, also differentiate first edition from second edition. If the last four digits are A4B6, it's a second edition 80X CompactFlash card.
(11) This card includes a switch that enables it to operate as either a 2GB or 4GB card, for compatibility with older cameras that are unable to recognize cards over 2GB. Card-to-computer throughput has been tested with the card's switch set to the 4GB position. See the next note for more information on this card.
(12) In October 2004, SanDisk announced that its Ultra II line of memory cards was being revamped to utilize multi level cell flash memory instead of the binary-type flash memory (often referred to as SLC) used in Ultra II since the fall of 2003. As of this writing, we're not sure how a prospective purchaser will be able to differentiate older, binary-type Ultra II CompactFlash cards from newer, MLC Ultra II CompactFlash cards. As of January 2005, however, SanDisk was shipping MLC Ultra II at all capacities except 8GB (which wasn't expected to ship until later in the first quarter of 2005).
(13) This card contains a controller from an unknown manufacturer, likely of Chinese origin.
(14) We opted to suspend testing of the GS Magicstor 2.2GB after experiencing ongoing erratic behaviour, with two different cards, in several cameras and CompactFlash readers (and especially the readers).
(15) Midway through testing, this card was accidentally dropped from a height of no more than 2 inches onto a wooden desk. The drop was fatal.
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