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D300 - Which Compact Flash Card??

Kevin Pataky , Jan 03, 2008; 11:06 p.m.

Most of my cards that I own are made by SanDisk. I want to get an 8GB card and the new SanDisk Extreme IV is priced around the same as Lexar's Professional UDMA 300X CompactFlash 8 GB. I wondered which card people prefer to use with their new D300 and whether or not anyone bought either company's FireWire card reader to use with either of these cards and what sort of experience you've been having with those. Thanks.


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Hector Amengual , Jan 03, 2008; 11:24 p.m.

I bought the card but and 8GB and a 2 GB Sandisk IV but so far I'm just learning how to use the camera. The real test comes in 9 days when I go to Hawaii. I bought the firewire card reader before I realized that my laptop has the 4 pin variety instead of the 6 pin type. I bought a card for my laptop with the right connectors before I realized that the do not supply power to the reader (as required). Short answer, unless your PC or laptop have a builtin firewire reader I would not buy one. I could plug in an AC adapter to power the reader but I can't find one. I have been using an old USB reader that I already had. I guess I'll hate that when I have to transfer 8 GB worth of pictures when I get back.

Bruce Margolis , Jan 04, 2008; 12:27 a.m.

Kevin, this is just a FWIW.......

I have the 8Gb Sandisk Extreme IV for the D300. I thought it would be more efficient for 6 fps action shots. Maybe it is, maybe not. Nikon recommends both the Extreme III and Extreme IV. I am not a memory card expert and I have nothing against Lexar or any other company.

As for card readers, I have one but never use it. I just got in the habit of downloading directly from my camera into my computer. It really doesn't take that long to me but I know other prefer using a card reader. To each their own.

Dave Lee , Jan 04, 2008; 12:51 a.m.

I use a Lexar 1gb 40x WA card for most of my casual day to day JPG shooting with my D300, works great too. For the more serious long day shoots I picked up a couple 4gb Sandisk Ultra II CF cards, and they work great too. No need to buy a faster card, I'm not fast enough to need it!!

Keith B , Jan 04, 2008; 12:57 a.m.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the "speed of the card" really comes into play when you are downloading off of the card. In my case, i don't really care how long it takes to get the data off the cards...

I spoke with someone at the local Calumet shop and that was her impression too. The camera-buffer will cover your "bursts" enough to compensate for the slower cards in most cases...

Anyone have better info?

Tom Luongo , Jan 04, 2008; 03:04 a.m.

Keith is correct. The D300 buffer will be used until it is full so the card speed is not a factor. (About 18-27 frames if shooting raw, up to 100 if shooting jpeg)

If you do manage to fill the buffer, a faster card will clear space in the buffer more quickly. If you shoot a long burst, you must also wait for the buffer to clear before removing the card. But in most situations, speed of the card will not impact your shooting.

I use the Sandisk 8gb Extreme III and it works fine with USB card readers. I notice little difference between my Firewire reader and my USB reader unless I'm downloading lots of small files.

Michael Kohan , Jan 04, 2008; 03:39 a.m.

I have a Firewire 800 reader for my MacBook Pro, which has a built-in 800 port (so no power supply is needed). It reads very very fast from my 266x 4g card. (NOTE: Even though the listed speed of USB 2 is 480, and standard Firewire is listed as 400, Firewire is always about 50 to 100% faster, because the transfer mechanism is very different in Firewire, and that much faster with Firewire 800.)

Jose Angel , Jan 04, 2008; 04:31 a.m.

Another topic to consider is the image recovery software provided with the card. Does anybody knows what`s the best here? Mine doesn`t work so good.

Kevin Pataky , Jan 04, 2008; 07:10 a.m.

A couple of key things to focus on here. The "speed of the card" being only important when d/l off the card to the PC and the firewire card readers inability to connect to most laptops due to the laptops 4 pin only connection.

With SanDisk's cards, the IVs are running about 20% more for that extra speed. So, the question is, "do I need that?" With the Firewire readers, an adapter can be purchased to make their 6 pin connector fit into the 4 pin input that most laptops have - but you will still need to provide external power to that reader (the extra 2 pins missing are the ones that carry the power to the external device).

Douglas Lee , Jan 04, 2008; 07:30 a.m.

I am a bit confused regarding the comments about card speed. It is my understanding that the faster card speed allows the buffer to clear faster as pointed out by Tom. That is the whole point of having a faster card. If you are shooting 6-8 fps (or 9 fps on the D3) you want the buffer to clear as fast as possible to maintain the fps rate for as long as possible. If fps is not an issue in your style of shooting, then Extreme III or IV it doesn't matter. But if maintaining fps is important then get the IV.

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