Pros:Supposedly one of the fastest products of it's kind, reliable
Cons:Really aren't any
The Bottom Line: A fast memory card complements a fast DSLR. Good company, good product.
I currently own two of these cards. If the specs are to be believed, this is one of the fastest cards currently available. Most digital cameras don't need the kind of speed this card is capable of but if you have a Digital SLR such as the Canon 20D or one of its competitors you'll appreciate what this card can do for an already very competent camera.
Recommend this product?
I shoot karate (fast action, lots of moving around) with my 20D, the 20D has a huge internal buffer already, but a high speed card such as this only makes it even better. Shooting continuous shots is generally where your typical digital falls down but the 20D does a very competent job getting around that problem with big internal i/o buffers and fast write speeds to the memory card. A camera like the 20D will write to the card as fast as the card can take it, so putting a typical slow card into a camera like a 20D is like putting a $150.00 set of tires on a Ferari---a total waste. The combination of big buffers and a fast card like this means I've never run into buffer bog (when buffers are full you can't shoot till it empties at least some out to the card) when using this card; even shooting at all out 5 frames per second.
Compact flash vs. other types of flash memory:
Compact flash is the oldest widely available form of flash memory commonly used in digital cameras and other devices. Because it's the oldest, all the bugs are worked out. There are other varieties of flash memory such as secure digital, transflash, and XD. There are also "mini hard drives" available in compact flash format that will work in most devices that use compact flash memory. If you have SD cards laying around you can buy an adapter that will let you use them in your compact flash devices. There's been a push to discontinue compact flash but there apparently is a lot of opposition to discontinuing the use of such a proven and reliable storage technology. Compact flash cards are currently available over 4 gigabytes but 1,2,4 gigabytes are the most commonly carried for sale (bigger is mega bucks).
This kind of storage is pretty expensive per megabyte but it's also very reliable and sturdy. A dropped compact flash memory storage card probably will survive, a mini hard drive in this format probably won't because it has moving parts just like a regular hard drive. Flash memory has a set number of times that a particular memory area can be written to, it's a huge number of cycles so even a relatively heavily used card should easily last a couple of years. You don't buy these cards with the idea that you want to keep all your photos on them, you buy them with the idea that you are going to clean it off right away by moving the pictures to your laptop or digital wallet until you can get home and put them on a bigger hard drive. A 20 gig digital wallet stores a LOT of photos even in full quality mode and they are pretty cheap if you build them yourself (kits on ebay pretty cheap).
SanDisk offers a decent warranty on their flash memory products. I've owned a lot of their products, have never had to return a single one yet, most are now just too small to use in anything but my old rarely used point and shoot digitals.
When a card develops a problem or just plain starts to get to the end of its life you'll start to have bad memory spots. Most of the time at most you'll lose a picture or two, but, a really serious error can presumably take out the whole card; this has never happened to me with a SanDisk product. (But it can happen so backup your photos as soon as you can.) Products such as norton can sometimes fix errors on a card. The cards use FAT32 file system like windows 98 and earlier (XP can understand FAT32 but doesn't use it for hard drives) if a card displays errors sometimes formatting it from your desktop computer (not the camera) can fix it.
As with anything that involves computers sometimes you might run into something that works fine in one camera but won't in another. I swap my cards around all the time, have never a problem with this product NOT working in any of my other older cameras.
I've got a couple of Lexar high speed products and now two of these SanDisk products, this card claims higher write speeds than the Lexar. If you own a DSLR and shoot fast action with it then this product or one like it is a necessity for your gadget bag. At full 8 mp resolution I get something like 140 shots on a 2 gig card, dropping the resolution one notch I get a LOT more. Card capacity will be affected by image format, and other factors, i.e. each camera is going to be a bit different. For me I usually fill up 1 gig cards too darn fast, in a three hour event I only occasionally fill up a 2 gig card and need to pop in a fresh one. This is a great product, prices dropping all the time as larger capacity cards go into wide production, my last 2 gig card cost twice as much as this one did and I'm looking forward to haveing the 4 gig cards become affordable.
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