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CF/SD Performance Database Archive - Continued

March 27, 2003: The D1 section of the database is no longer being updated, as we no longer have access to this camera.

The Nikon D1 moves data to and from any CompactFlash card at a too-leisurely pace for a pro camera. As a result, our strong encouragement to D1 users, especially those that have tasted the forbidden fruit of the RAW NEF format, to pick from the cards that test the absolute fastest in this camera. In our experience, it's the only way to be able to reasonably quickly review test frames while on assignment, and to ensure that regardless of the format selected, the camera will always be ready to fire even after several consecutive bursts. Write speed is important with any camera; it's doubly important with the D1.

CompactFlash Write Speed - Nikon D1 (Firmware Version 1.05)

The data in the table below was derived by timing how long it took the Nikon D1 to write out 21 JPEG Fine and 10 RAW NEF 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 -
JPEG Fine4
Write Speed -
Raw NEF4
Lexar 256MB 12X
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 37)
Lexar
I
2002/3/26
942K/sec
924K/sec
Transcend 256MB
(25X label on packaging)
unknown8
I
2002/3/26
866K/sec
832K/sec
Microtech 256MB
(Internal: TOSHIBA THNCF256MAA)
Toshiba (SLC)5
I
2002/3/26
858K/sec
817K/sec
Ritek/Ridata 256MB
unknown8
I
2002/3/26
857K/sec
825K/sec
Delkin Devices 256MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF256MAA)
Toshiba (SLC)5
I
2002/3/26
855K/sec
829K/sec
Apacer Steno Pro 256MB
(Edge stamp: 83.29040.410 2002401-00006)
SST
I
2002/10/28
831K/sec
835K/sec
Sandisk Ultra 256MB
(Edge stamp: ARO110MQ USA)
Sandisk
I
2002/3/26
825K/sec
797K/sec
Lexar 256MB 24X
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38)
Lexar
I
2002/10/28
815K/sec
851K/sec
Lexar 256MB 24X Write Acceleration
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38; WA on front label)
Lexar
I
2003/2/25
813K/sec
836K/sec
Lexar 256MB 4X
Lexar
I
2003/2/25
798K/sec
817K/sec
Transcend 256MB
(30X label on packaging)
unknown8
I
2003/2/25
784K/sec
811K/sec
Lexar 160MB 10X
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 35)
Lexar
I
2002/3/26
753K/sec
722K/sec
Microtech 512MB
(Internal: TOSHIBA THNCF512MAA)
Toshiba (SLC)5
I
2002/3/26
753K/sec
724K/sec
Delkin Devices 512MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF512MAA)
Toshiba (SLC)5
I
2002/3/26
748K/sec
724K/sec
Ritek/Ridata 512MB
unknown8
I
2002/3/26
748K/sec
727K/sec
Lexar 512MB 24X
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38)
Lexar
I
2002/10/28
745K/sec
750K/sec
Think Perfect Pix 320MB
(Label: USA DEM LX-FLASH 320MB)
Lexar
I
2002/3/26
742K/sec
730K/sec
SimpleTech 256MB
(Internal: STI/Flash 5.1.0)
Hitachi
I
2002/10/28
738K/sec
718K/sec
Lexar 512MB 24X Write Acceleration
(Edge stamp, first two digits: 38; WA on front label)
Lexar
I
2003/2/25
715K/sec
738K/sec
Transcend 512MB
(30X label on packaging)
unknown8
I
2003/2/25
697K/sec
716K/sec
Delkin Devices PRO 256MB
(Label: CFPRO-256C)
For Delkin6
I
2003/2/25
682K/sec
867K/sec
SimpleTech 512MB
(Internal: STI/Flash 5.1.0)
Hitachi
I
2002/10/28
658K/sec
617K/sec
Delkin Devices PRO 512MB
(Label: CFPRO-512D)
For Delkin6
I
2003/2/25
656K/sec
748K/sec
Sandisk Ultra 512MB
(Edge stamp: AX0211RX CHINA)
Sandisk
I
2003/2/25
636K/sec
649K/sec
Pretec 512MB
(Label: P/N: ACH512-P)
undisclosed7
I
2003/2/25
627K/sec
625K/sec
Delkin Devices PRO 320MB
(Label: CFPRO-320C)
For Delkin6
I
2003/2/25
613K/sec
728K/sec
Kingston Memory 256MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF256MMA)
Toshiba (MLC)5
I
2002/10/28
572K/sec
626K/sec
SimpleTech 1GB
(Internal: STI/Flash 5.1.0)
Hitachi
II
2002/10/28
541K/sec
504K/sec
Delkin Devices PRO 640MB
(Label: CFPRO-640D)
For Delkin6
I
2003/2/25
529K/sec
557K/sec
Kingston Memory 512MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF512MMA)
Toshiba (MLC)5
I
2002/10/28
524K/sec
572K/sec
Pretec 1GB
(Label: P/N: CFP01G)
Pretec
I
2003/2/25
524K/sec
551K/sec
Sandisk "standard" 512MB
Sandisk
I
2002/3/26
517K/sec
501K/sec
Kingston Memory 1024MB
(Edge stamp: THNCF1G02MA)
Toshiba (MLC)5
I
2002/10/28
477K/sec
534K/sec
Hitachi Microdrive 1GB
Hitachi
II
2002/3/26
412K/sec
385K/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.

Note: Be sure to examine the wake-from-sleep test data also; the Nikon D1 is one of the cameras affected by the lengthy wakeup time of certain CompactFlash cards.

Next Page: Nikon D1X
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