Nearly all contemporary digital cameras are able of producing a huge amount of information (footage) in no time. This is also possible due to the UDMA standard (Ultra Direct Memory Access) that they maintain.

Translated by Maya Golemanova

Unfortunately, most of us, the amateur photographers, don’t pay due attention to this essential aspect of shooting. With cameras like Canon 7D and Canon EOS 1D Mark IV, the choice of a card is crucial when it comes to shooting actions in RAW files for a long time.

Just imagine: 8 or10 fps and files with size 33 MB each. That makes around 260 MB data transfer per second for 7D and over 300 MB for 1D Mark IV.

I actively used the well known brand SanDisk years ago but since acquiring their new faster cards nearly made me bankrupt, 2 years ago I started using other brands which offered cards with the same speed but twice cheaper – Transcend.

For nearly 2 years (since I started using them) the Transcend cards have proved to be as effective as SanDisk. The decisive tests were for duration at extremely low, as well as at very high temperatures. They’ve never misfired. A lot of my friends bought the same cards and they are pretty satisfied with them too.
As to their fast performance, the tests were done in the following way:

  • Leave the camera with no lens attached (with cap only), on manual mode and set to 1/5000 sec, ISO 400, RAW file format.
  • Pull the trigger till the buffer seizes to accept more files.
    Start the chronometer immediately until the indicator for saving files goes off (the annoying indicator that blinks red).

  • Repeat the test 3 times in a row and count the RAW files in the folders.

If done this way, the test will most probably show higher productivity than use in a real situation since the saved RAW files will be absolutely black and thus smaller in size. But still what matters is the relevance between the results of cards from different brands.

Apart from SanDisk and Transcend, I have also tested other cards and I will soon publish the results in this article. But before giving you the specific numbers I’d like to mention that the card I am most satisfied with so far is Transcend CF 600x UDMA 16 GB, which surprisingly turned out to be even faster than Transcend CF 600x UDMA 8 GB which has low capacity.

Tests with Canon EOS 7D:

  • Transcend 8GB 600X CompactFlash Extreme Plus UDMA – 24 RAW files per 5.9 sec
  • Transcend 16GB 600X CompactFlash Extreme Plus UDMA – 24 RAW files per 4.9 sec
  • SanDisk 16GB 400x 60MB/sec Extreme CompactFlash UDMA-5 – 24 RAW files per 7.2 sec

Tests with Canon 5D Mark III:

  • Transcend 600X 16 GB Extreme Plus CF UDMA 6 – 39 RAW files per 3.8 sec
  • Lexar Professional 1000x 16 GB CF UDMA 7 – 26 RAW files per 4.8 sec

Tests with Nikon D800:

  • Transcend 600X 16 GB Extreme Plus CF UDMA 6 – 17 NEF files per 24.5 sec
  • Lexar Professional 1000x 16 GB CF UDMA 7 – 17 NEF files per 30 sec

Tests with Nikon D300:

  • Transcend 600X 16 GB Extreme Plus CF UDMA 6 – 20 NEF files per 20 sec
  • Lexar Professional 1000x 16 GB CF UDMA 7 – 28 NEF files per 20 sec

Price of CF cards in BHPhoto:

on 2.03.2011
Transcend 8GB 600X – 56 USD
Transcend 16GB 600X – 74 USD
SanDisk 16GB 400x 60MB/sec – 100 USD

on 18.05.2012
Transcend 8GB 600X – 40 USD
Transcend 16GB 600X – 59 USD
SanDisk 16GB 400x 60MB/sec – 60 USD
Lexar 16 GB 1000x – 139 USD

Related posts:
Canon 5D Mark III and Lexar Professional 1000x CF card is love at first sight
Lexar Professional 1000x CF card field test, Nikon D800 and D300 rejoice
Lexar reveals 1000x PRO CF card, says bye-bye to Sony XQD cards

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Comments to “The fastest memory cards and the wildlife photography”

  1. Rodrigo
    February 8th, 2013 07:57

    Are you sure you did write that the Transcend 16GB 600X does 39 RAW in 3.8s (10 FPS) on a 5D Mark III making it even faster than Lexar Pro 1000X?

  2. Nikolay
    February 16th, 2013 11:31


    I do not remember what the actual case was with these couple of cards on 5d3. It is possible to have mistakenly switched the results. I will check today the lexar 1000x with 5d3, but the other card is no longer my belonging.

  3. Ранни записвания в Турция
    February 27th, 2014 12:34

    Благодаря ви за тази интересна статия. На скоро ми подариха един професионален апарат, на който тепърва започвам да уча всички екстри , с които разполага и да виждам как снима и как да променям цветовата гама, , и установих, че колкото по професионални, то толкова по сложно се снима с тях аххаха Ето това – Transcend 600X 8 GB Extreme Plus CF UDMA 6 – 24 RAW файла за 5.9 секунди – ми изглежда доста добре като опция, но не знам дали става дума за всички.Надявам се да покаже и видове снимки как се полиучават за да видим и разликите.

  4. Nikolay
    February 28th, 2014 12:06

    Да, има го този момент – нещо като с обикновените коли и формула 1. Ако си карал и 50 години, като се качиш на булид и няма да може да направиш и една обиколка без да се пребиеш.

    Колкото до какртите, много се промениха нещата от както е написана статията, картите са станали още по-бързи и по-евтини.

    Ако ми кажеш апарата ще мога да те посъветвам за най-добрата опция на пазара.

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