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What SD card has the best reliability?

Steven Arellano , Jan 14, 2012; 02:44 p.m.

I am a total n00b when it comes to photography. My experience is limited to a digital point and shoot. I am finally ready to step up to a real camera and have ordered the Sony a65. My question is for someone who will be doing a lot of outdoor shooting what is the most reliable SD Card? I plan on only shooting stills and won't be doing any video recording. I am not worried about cost, I just want something that will have plenty of capacity. Also, is the class of the SD card important? Sorry for sounding like a total n00b, but I am one.

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Michael Chang , Jan 14, 2012; 03:06 p.m.

Hi Steven, the class of the SD card designates speed. If you're only shooting stills then write speed won't be particularly important unless you shoot in bursts often.

As for reliability, make sure you buy name brand from a reputable seller to avoid counterfeit cards (very important).

For the cost difference, I'd get at least two Class 10 cards.

R.T. Dowling , Jan 14, 2012; 03:37 p.m.

"My question is for someone who will be doing a lot of outdoor shooting what is the most reliable SD Card?"

Are you planning on getting them wet or something? I think there are some SD cards that are moisture resistant, but there's no particular brand that is going to be more "outdoor shooting"-friendly than another brand.

Steven Arellano , Jan 14, 2012; 03:44 p.m.

My concerns about shooting outdoors have more to do with temperature than moisture. Especially cold, temperatures in my region have been known to drop to -50F in winter. I doubt you'll find me out in those frigid temperatures, but rather quick temperature drops are not unusual.

R.T. Dowling , Jan 14, 2012; 03:50 p.m.

At those temperatures I'd be a lot more worried about the camera than the SD card. The card has no moving parts; the camera has moving parts that could potentially get sluggish or completely freeze up. Check the specs of the A65 to see if it can operate in those kinds of temps.

R.T. Dowling , Jan 14, 2012; 04:03 p.m.

According to SanDisk's web site, their SD cards have an operating temperature range of -13ºF to 185ºF (-25ºC to 85 ºC). That includes their Ultra and Extreme cards, which are used by many professionals.

According to Sony's web site, the operating temperature range for the A65 is 32°F to 104°F (0°C to 40°C).

So, a SanDisk card will be good down to -13, but don't expect your A65 to be able to make use of it. ;-)

Steven Arellano , Jan 14, 2012; 04:05 p.m.

That is one of the main reasons I went with the a65, the guys over at Sony tell me that even though the recommended operating temperature is 32F it can successfully be used in below zero temperatures for limited periods of time. But like I said, most of the time I have better sense than be out in those temperatures.

R.T. Dowling , Jan 14, 2012; 04:16 p.m.

Honestly, I don't think the SD card is going to be the limiting factor in your cold-weather photography. As long as you buy a reputable brand from a reputable retailer, the card will be the least of your worries. I own SD cards from the following brands and have not had trouble with any of them:

Kingston
Patriot Memory
Transcend
Lexar
SanDisk
PNY

I'm currently using one of these:
http://amzn.com/B003ZHTNNU

You might save a dollar or two with lesser-known brands, but considering how inexpensive SD cards are to begin with, you might as well go with a good brand that has a good warranty. Most of the better ones have lifetime warranties.

R.T. Dowling , Jan 14, 2012; 04:19 p.m.

p.s. I never noticed it before, but the PNY card I linked to in my last message has an operating temperature range of -25 ºC to 85 ºC -- identical to the higher-priced SanDisk Extreme cards.

Steven Arellano , Jan 14, 2012; 04:50 p.m.

Wow, you have definitely given me something to chew on. Moving up to a real camera is certainly a big step for me and I am feeling more than a little lost. I appreciate all the advice.


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