Wednesday, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2011 in Las Vegas, SanDisk announced the newest addition to their family of memory cards: the SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash 128GB card. What makes this card better than the rest? In their press release, SanDisk is calling it the world’s fastest high-capacity CompactFlash® card.
So, just how fast is fast? The 128GB SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash card has write speeds of up to 100MB/s. Compared to SanDisk’s Extreme CompactFlash cards that boast 60MB/s, that’s an extra 40MB/s. Further, the new CompactFlash card has a whopping 128GB of storage space.
How much will the new SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash card set you back? A staggering $1500. So, just how important is size and speed to you?
In my opinion, for what it’s worth, I don’t think this card is worth its cost. Why? For two reasons: 1) I prefer to have several smaller-sized cards rather than one large card, and 2) the extra write speed offered isn’t so important to me that I’m willing to spend the extra money on it. Let’s take a closer look at how I feel:
I’m not one for putting all my eggs in one basket, which is essentially what I’d be doing if I were to purchase a 128GB card. In SanDisk’s defense, they have released other Extreme Pro cards that come in different sizes (16GB, 32GB, and 64GB, in addition to the 128GB) BUT – and this is a big BUT – these smaller-sized cards have a write speed of “only” 90MB/s, not the 100MB/s the largest card offers.
Since we can’t fairly compare the 128GB Extreme Pro to any of the Extreme CompactFlash line of cards because the latter doesn’t come in such a large storage size, let’s compare the price of the two 32GB options (the largest the Extreme comes in):
The 32GB SanDisk Extreme CompactFlash card costs $415 and has write speeds of up to 60MB/s.
The 32GB SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash card costs $560 and has write speeds of up to 90MB/s.
Is the additional 30MB/s write speeds worth an extra $145 to you?
Yes, the speed of a memory card is important to some degree but, for me, it’s not an extra $145 important. Shooting in continuous burst mode (which is what will benefit from such a fast card) isn’t something I do very often, I’m more the type of photographer that has an image in my mind before I shoot, and like to take my time composing my shot, rather than going in with my eyes closed and hoping for the best.
With that said, I can appreciate the photographer who could benefit from the extra write speed, such as those shooting fast-action sports or even wedding photographers who don’t want to miss a single moment. I’m not turning my nose up at SanDisk’s newest, fastest, largest CompactFlash card, I just don’t think it’s for everyone.
Also from SanDisk’s press release (linked to above):
Best-in-class quality assurance offers photographers peace of mind knowing that the card is backed by rigorous stress, shock, vibration, humidity and moisture testing procedures and a lifetime limited warranty. The card features RTV silicone coating for added protection.
That all sounds great, but I have to wonder about the limited part in the warranty. Will that cover my clumsy arse when I drop the card and it gets trampled by a heard of elk or eaten by a black bear when I’m in the field shooting wildlife? Maybe that scenario is somewhat unlikely, but you get my point. I’d rather lose a $145 8GB card than a $1500 128GB one.
Photoletariat readers: how important is the speed and size of a memory card to you and your photography needs? Leave a comment to share your thoughts!
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