Tag Archives: Transcend

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? 🙂

New Gear : Transcend 600X 16GB CompactFlash Card

Transcend 600x CF
Transcend 600x CF

B&H Photography has graced me with some new CF cards — a pair of Transcend 16GB 600X cards!

I’ve been pining for new cards for a while. My largest card — a Sandisk 16GB Extreme III — was plenty fast enough in my 40D, but was lacking on the 7D. When I shot the Three State Three Mountain Challenge from Mom’s driveway a few weeks ago, I kept having to pause to let the buffer on the camera clear. Admittedly, I was shooting RAW (probably shoulda been shooting JPEG), and was shooting big bursts as the cyclists went by… but still… waiting for the buffer to clear was painful. Since it was just an experimental shoot for me, there was nothing lost by having to wait occasionally. Doesn’t mean I enjoyed waiting!

I’ve been looking at faster CFs since I bought my 7D over a year ago. I don’t often need speed, so I haven’t really pursued it real hard. I’d seen a tweet from someone extolling the virtues of the relatively new Transcend cards, and that piqued my interest again. When I was at the Canon EOS Immersion Seminar last weekend, Transcend’s name came up again, alongside Lexar and Sandisk. My fate was cast. If the folks representing Canon, who told us to use good cards and beware the cheap stuff, still had Transcend up on the big screen with the big kids of flash cards, then that was good enough for me.

The cool thing about these cards is the price. B&H has ’em for about $75/ea for 16GB cards. At 32GB, they’re more than twice the price of the 16GB’s. The good news is that at $75 for 16GB, they are way under half the price of their Sandisk counterparts.

And BTW, for me, going to 32GB cards sounds attractive, but if I lose a card — which in nine years of shooting has never happened (except for the old microdrive cards, which were disastrous for me) — I simply lose too much at 32GB. And frankly, it’s rare that I can’t take the time to change cards. My subjects just ain’t that dynamic typically!

So, how’s the performance?

In camera, they seem pretty dang fast. Compared to my Sandisk 16GB card, I overran the buffer after about 23 shots and started pausing between images. However, the buffer seemed to clear much more quickly with the Transcend than the Sandisk. Shooting JPEG, the difference was much more pronounced.

Shooting large JPEG, the Sandisk card gave me about 28 seconds of shooting (approx 200 images) before there was a pause. The Transcend card? Well, let’s just say that I stopped after 40 seconds (approx 280 images). I mean, when am I gonna shoot 40 seconds solid of something?!

I’m pleased so far, and can’t wait to get this little guys out in the field. If they pan out like they appear they could, I’m pretty sure there’ll be more of ’em in my bag, replacing some cards that are long-in-the-tooth.