Category Archives: Camera Bag

There’s No Card Up My Sleeve!

CF Cards
Pick a Card!

With a trip to Florida looming (more on that another time), and finally converging my world onto a new MacBook Pro (more on that another time also), I figured I would do a little prep work for the trip.

For most people, that would mean figuring out what to visit, what to pack, and other trip details. For me, that means speed tests of CompactFlash cards.

(Yeah, I wear my geek on my sleeve.)

So here’s the deal. I have a Lexar USB 2.0 card reader that’s served me well for years. And within the last year or so, I invested in a couple of pretty dang speedy Transcend 16GB 600x CompactFlash cards. I wanted more capacity, and found these cards on sale for cheap a while back.

Well, with the new laptop, I now have access to USB 3.0 ports, so I picked up a Lexar USB 3.0 card reader. It basically looks the same as the USB 2.0 version, with the exception of the plug difference, distinguishing it as a USB 3.0 device.

While in Florida, I want to shoot some long time lapse series of star trails over the water, and I knew I’d need more capacity for that if I was going to shoot those with my 7D. That led me to look at high capacity cards. I’d been pleased with the other Transcend cards, so I looked to them again. I figured I would shoot for a 64GB card this time, with a thought toward 10-14 hours of shooting at night.

The Transcend 600x card was about $200, with the 400x card being about $100. I didn’t need speed for shooting, but having speed for pulling the images off the card was pretty key. Reluctantly, I went with the 400x card. Doubling the price for a little faster card was something I just couldn’t justify.

Little did I know that I made a great decision.

That’s the backstory. Here’s what I found, when transferring just about 4GB of video files from the cards to the SSD in my MacBook Pro.

USB 3.0 USB 2.0
SanDisk Ultra II 8GB *** 5′ 39″
SanDisk Extreme III 16GB 1′ 29″ 2′ 02″
Transcend 600x 16GB 0′ 47″ 1′ 45″
Transcend 400x 64GB 0′ 31″ 1′ 42″

Yeah, you read that right. The 400x card is faster than the 600x card, which was quite unexpected. Here’s my theory.

I know the 400x card is UDMA 7. The newer editions of the Transcend 600x cards say they’re UDMA 7, but my slightly older ones don’t. I suspect they are likely UDMA 6, and that’s probably why they’re slower. At USB 3.0 interface speeds, there’s not a ton of difference in the times with 4GB of data aboard.

4GB transferred in about 30 seconds. That’s simply amazing. I can remember copying data to/from 5.25″ floppies — 360KB each — and it taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r to move data around. 4GB is something like 11,000 of those floppies, and I can’t imagine how long it would take to move data off those. Of course, I only had a 40 *megabyte* Seagate harddrive at the time, so it would’ve been moot to try it anyway.

How’s that for some vacation planning? 🙂

Camera Bag: AA Batteries

After a few years of juicing the same rechargeable batteries, I figured it was time for new AA’s to power my flashes.  The last rechargeables I put in my camera bag were used, coming with another camera a few years ago, and it seems as though they’d been showing their age a bit — longer charge times, and less productive use.

I’m pretty brand agnostic with things like batteries.  Duracell, Energizer… about the same to me.  Now, I know there are folks out there that swear by Maha cells, and I respect that, but there’s a certain amount of comfort in just being able to run to Home Depot to pick up rechargeable cells!

I picked up four new sets — one eight-pack, and two four-packs.  Not rhyme or reason there, just the luck of what was on the endcap display.  As it ends up two four-packs were just a few pennies higher than an eight-pack, but I’m not gonna sweat the few cents extra.

I kept each of the four-pack sets together, and divided the eight pack up into two groups of four.  Once I had the cells in hand, I labeled them with a medium Sharpie.  I used a single letter to identify each group of four.  This will allow me to quickly identify if a particular set of cells begins acting funny.

Remember I said it’d been a while since I’d last put new cells in the bag?  The problem I had was that I couldn’t pinpoint when I’d put those cells into rotation.  I decided to fix that this time around.  With a fine Sharpie, I labelled each cell with the month and year I bought the cells.  That oughta jog my memory down the road!