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large capacity Microdrive vs. compact flash (1gb+) for D100

Jeannie Tom , Nov 12, 2003; 12:52 p.m.

Now I've decided to shoot in RAW (10MB/file), what I thought was large enough 512MB CF card is not anymore.. :(

It looks like I need probably a 2GB CF card or microdrive. Should I be looking at a CF or microdrive?

There are so many brands and "speeds" of CF cards, which one should I buy???

- Jeannie

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L G , Nov 12, 2003; 01:12 p.m.

Stick to the 512MB or 1GB cards if you can. The larger cards are nice, but they cost more per MB and you risk losing more pictures if the card dies. I have an old 1GB microdrive wich works very nice with my D100 in RAW mode - I get 107 images on it, but it looks like the newest CF cards are much better. I would get CF instead of the microdrive now, given the price. Check out http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=6007 for performace between the two.

Greg Lyon , Nov 12, 2003; 01:24 p.m.

Also consider that the D100 is limited to 2GB cards and under, especially if you thought you might be interested in the new Hitachi 4GB Microdrive...

I decided to go with 1GB cards for D100. I just have 1 now but will buy at least 1 more as my finances go up or the prices go down. Based on Rob Galbraiths site I chose Lexar 40x WA CompactFlash. I get 104 uncompressed raw images or 300+ Large Fine JPGs on it.

Happy Shooting!

Joseph Wisniewski , Nov 12, 2003; 02:32 p.m.

2 gig CF.

The cost per gig is either the same, or very close, between 1 gig and 2 gig cards (Sorry, L.W.). For example, at www.mydigitaldiscount.com the 2 gig RiData is $479.99, and the 1 gig is $239.99. So it costs an extra penny to go to 2 gig.

The CF card is most likely to fail due to ESD (electrostatic discharge) or to physical damage. It's most vulnerable while you're putting it in (or removing it from) your camera or computer CF reader. 2 gig cards mean 1/2 the physical handling of 1 gig cards, therefore less lost images.

The failure rate on microdrives is many times that of CF cards.

Your D100 is quite happy with cards or microdrives larger than 2 gigs (Sorry Greg). Firmware 2.0 on the D100 will recognize drives above 2 gigs and format them FAT32 if they haven't been formatted already. (Firmware 1.01 couldn't format FAT32, but would use it, if you formatted the cards first on a PC). Firmware 2.0 has been out since January 2003. Nikon will upgrade your D100 free at the service center if you have one with 1.01, or you can download the firmware on the net and do the upgrade yourself. That's not a Nikon sanctioned procedure, but I've done it several times, and it works just fine.

No financial connection to MyDigitalDiscount, just a satisfied customer.

Ciao!

Joe

Edward Chen , Nov 12, 2003; 03:11 p.m.

2 GB won't be enough for you. or 4 GB or 6 or... Try to use Image Tank (portable hard drive) that you can transfer the image from CF to this hard drive. I use 1 GB (103 pics in RAW)and 20 GB Image Tank (+/- $300). You already have 512 MB which takes about 50 pics in RAW. IF I were you, I won't spend on another CF. I just buy portable 20 GB of this can save 40 times capacity of you 512 MB CF. just a thought.

Greg Lyon , Nov 12, 2003; 06:42 p.m.

To Joe: No sorry's needed I'm happy to learn that the D100 (I have the firmware upgrade) can handle the bigger CF cards! Musta missed that in the list of changes that the 2.0 firmware made (hey, the firmware list doesn't actually mention it, but LEXAR does), and I was going on info provided on luminous-landscape which seems to be out of sync.

Very happy I am to learn something new today. Happy Shooting!

Elliot :) , Nov 12, 2003; 09:13 p.m.

"you can download the firmware on the net and do the upgrade yourself. That's not a Nikon sanctioned procedure, but I've done it several times, and it works just fine." - Joseph Wisniewski

Joseph - where did you find the files to do this?

tim sewell , Nov 13, 2003; 12:06 a.m.

Joseph Wisniewski : The CF card is most likely to fail due to ESD (electrostatic discharge) or to physical damage. It's most vulnerable while you're putting it in (or removing it from) your camera or computer CF reader. 2 gig cards mean 1/2 the physical handling of 1 gig cards, therefore less lost images.

Joseph, isn't your logic a little astray? If we assume that ALL CF card failures occur during insertion or removal from the camera, then surely in the long term you would get half the number of card failures using 2gig cards (compared with 1 gig), but at each failure you could lose twice the number of images. That doesn't sound like much of a gain to me.

Joseph Wisniewski , Nov 13, 2003; 03:30 p.m.

Tim, you're quite right. It's not much of a gain, but it's also not much of a loss, and certainly no reason to avoid the larger cards. Regardless of card size, you'll lose about the same number of images in any given year. The "too many eggs in one basket" arguments simply don't fly.

Pretty much everything is a wash. 1/2 the failure rate, but double the number of images lost to a failure. 1/2 the chance of losing a card, but double the cost of replacing a lost card.

Although the larger cards do have a slight advantage. 1/2 the insertions and removals means 1/2 the chance of damaging (or contaminating) a camera.

Joseph Wisniewski , Nov 13, 2003; 03:41 p.m.

Greg, you're quite welcome. And glad there was no offence taken.

Nikon doesn't seem very forthcoming about what the firmware updates actually fix. It looks to me like they only tell us about the things they can't easily hide (i.e. the PTP support for MacOS and XP added an item to the camera's menus, the Adobe RGB profile fix altered the output files, and the voice memo fix changed the wave file names produced by the camera).

Anything subtle isn't going to get mentioned. The firmware loader fix wasn't mentioned because no one outside a Nikon service center was supposed to be updating firmware. The FAT-32 fix is something they probably thought they wouldn't get caught at.


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