I won’t be the first one to tell you that fast cameras need fast memory cards. However, even the fastest cards differ in their read/write speeds between the theoretical and the actual achieved speeds. Read/write times not only depend on the tech specs of your card, but also your camera and transfer devices.
In the field, card read/write speed affects not only how fast the camera’s buffer can clear, but also how fast you can copy images to your computer. When transferring your images to a computer, the following factors are important to consider:
- Card Speed
- Reader Speed
- Reader Interface (eg. USB/Firewire)
D810 Performance with CF Cards
I compared download speeds for 27 images (14-bit, lossless compressed) from the Nikon D810 using two different cards:
- SanDisk Extreme Pro (90MB/s) UDMA 7 CF 16GB card
- SanDisk Extreme Pro (160MB/s) UDMA 7 CF 32GB card
I tested each card using the Hoodman Raw Steel reader via USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 interfaces. I downloaded my images to my computer using Photo Mechanic 5 and my typical settings. These settings included file renaming and adding IPTC data to each image as it was copied.
I tested the buffer performance by setting the D810 to capture 14-bit lossless compressed full-size raw images (NEF format) in continuous high-speed release mode (5fps). I determined the number of images I could capture before the buffer was full, and I timed how long it took for the buffer to clear. With these settings, the buffer count shows 19 frames. Continue reading Why Fast Cards Matter: Nikon D810 Performance