You bought your first DSLR, congrats then the accessories buying spree comes on. It’s common for all of us.Bags to go along, straps and so on. Then the decision to buy more cards for your camera. It can be confusing and well, some just go for the cheapest, some go for the fastest but do you need it?
SD Cards are defined by the SD Association as 8 megabits per second (MBit/ sec) which equals 1MB per second (MB/sec). A Class2 is rated at 16MBit/sec or 2MB/sec. Class4 are “up to” 4MB/sec, Class 6 is up to 6MB/sec and class 10 are 10MB/sec. Recently announced UHS Speed Class 1 (UHS for Ultra High Speed) has speeds up to 312MB/sec with SDHC and SDXC cards.
So what about CF cards? CFs care commonly branded as 1x which is 1.2Mbit/sec which equals 155kilobits per second (Kb/sec). So a 100x CF card has up to 15MB/sec and 133x will be 20MB/sec. There are the Extreme Pro CF Cards now that has speeds up to 100MB/sec.
Sandisk are straight forward now with their new branding and better customer information with their clearly labelled speeds on the cards itself.
Depending on your needs, we take almost exclusively panoramas thus do not really have to own really speedy cards for for the matter, speedy cameras. SD cards prices have plummeted quite a bit and we’ve switch some cards to SD cards with CF Cards adaptors seeing also that most DSLR seems to be making the switch to SDs.
So, see your camera specs and since you are starting out, we assume you are taking jpg and not RAW. Based on your burst rate, size of your camera sensors. You can easily calculate how much data are being written to your camera per second.
On our primary camera, the Canon 5D MKII, we’ve never need more but it sure can do more than 500 – 800 jpg images with a single burst on a Sandisk Ultra 16Gb with 30MB/s printed on the CF Card at the rated 3.9fps before the battery runs out.
So most times, you do not need that super fast, super expensive, super high capacity SD or CF card for your SGD$1000 camera. Just get something affordable like Sandisk Ultra series. It might also be wise to get 2 pieces of 16Gb if you can or 2 x 8Gb. Loosing one on a trip means you don’t loose all your photos. Of course, remember to backup often.