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08-13-2015, 08:23 AM   #1
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What type of scan disk card

Hi, can anyone advise me on the difference between the different types of SD cards, I presently have an ultra plus 16 GB and an Extreme HD Video 8 GB. I originally bought these cards for shooting sports (not that I can say I knew they were the right choice for that kind of photography either lol) My kids have since graduated HS and I will be shooting more stills and portrait. I am going to be shooting my sisters wedding next month. I would like to get a larger memory card any suggestions?
Thanks
Kim

08-13-2015, 08:45 AM   #2
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'Ultra', 'Extreme' and so on really are nothing but marketing. The only accurate information on a card is the MB/s rating. Which can also be misleading as we do not know the parameters used for the testing. Still, it is the best guide to go on.

Current 'fast' cards should have a rating of 80MB/s or greater. My newer ones are rated at 95MB/s. However, this is much faster than current cameras can use and even 45MB/s is likely more than your camera can use. Still at the slight price penalty for the faster cards my inclination is to go with those for future proofing.

Note that not all cameras can use the newest cards and some might need a firmware update to use them. You do not say what camera you have so be aware of this. k-5 and newer I believe can use all current cards.

I use SanDisk ExtremePro cards. More expensive than some but I have never had a problem and they have been very reliable. Speeds on mine range from 45MB/s on the older ones to 95MB/s on the last ones I bought.
08-13-2015, 08:53 AM   #3
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Well, first off, there is no such thing as a "scan disk" card.
I hear people use the term all the time, not realizing they have mis-heard the popular brand "SanDisk".
Cards come in different read/write speed ratings. If you shoot a lot of video, you may need to stick to the faster cards. Then again, if your camera doesn't support the very latest and greatest read/write speeds, then buying top of the line might be wasting your money. On the plus side, a newer card reader combined with a fast card can make copying to your computer much quicker.

But to my mind, the main thing is to stick to genuine, good quality brands. High grade cards don't cost $1000 any more (yes, they used to), so saving a few bucks on a bargain card isn't a bargain if it craps out and all your data is irrevocably lost.
I tried my best the other day to recover any data from an off-brand card a distraught woman brought to me. Sadly, nothing turned up of the hundreds of photos she had taken of her newborn in the past few weeks. She got the card bundled with her DSLR package. It may have seemed like a good deal at the time.

It doesn't help that there are still counterfeit cards out there, sold to unsuspecting customers on the internet and at flea markets to travellers. I've seen one that claimed to be a SanDisk Extreme, but the packaging was less than perfectly executed. The label on the card wasn't quite right. More importantly, while it claimed to be an 8GB card, only 4GB could be accessed. I'm guessing it wasn't up to Extreme standards for speed or reliability either.
I've also seen a 16GB SD off-brand card that only recorded the first 4GB of images, the rest just disappeared.

The only other thing to fret about these days is whether to get a 64GB card or not. Those cards are technically SDXC format (Xtreme Capacity). Older cameras won't work them, and there's a lot of card readers out there too that won't read them. So if you are frequently putting your cards into other people's equipment, you can expect issues.
08-13-2015, 08:55 AM   #4
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Depending on the exact specs of what you've got, you might just want more of the same.

With regard to read-write speeds proudly advertised on many of these cards, it's important to know what your particular camera is capable of. Most of the ultra-high-end cards can accept data much faster than your DSLR can shove it on to them (from memory, my K-5 empties its buffer at 30MB/s), and to a certain extent anything significantly greater is a waste as you're paying for something you don't really need - especially if you're not taking DSLR video or heaps of shots in high-speed burst mode. Where you benefit from the excess is in transfer of the files to a PC or similar - subject, again, to the limitations of the computer accepting the transfer. If you desperately want the pics off the card ASAP so you can get on with serious stuff (like taking more photos or editing them), you might want to over-invest in this fashion.

As far as size is concerned, consider what you are doing now. How often (if at all) are you filling the card before transferring the files elsewhere? Have you ever been caught short with the 16GB and wished you had more room? Then you need a 32.

08-13-2015, 08:59 AM   #5
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Are you looking at speed or capacity?
Select the speed (MB/s) based on how many frames a seconds your camera can take. My K-30 does not benefit from a 95 MB/s card - not in a way I can notice. Select the capacity based on image size and how many pictures you like to take before you have to swap in a new card.

Take a look at this: https://www.sdcard.org/consumers/choices/index.html
And this: https://www.sdcard.org/consumers/speed/speed_class/index.html

Hope this helps.

(sorry, a bit late - y' all type fast here.)

Last edited by kiberkli; 08-13-2015 at 09:06 AM.
08-13-2015, 09:00 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ontarian50 Quote
It doesn't help that there are still counterfeit cards out there, sold to unsuspecting customers on the internet and at flea markets to travellers. I've seen one that claimed to be a SanDisk Extreme, but the packaging was less than perfectly executed. The label on the card wasn't quite right.
I've seen a few recently in a bricks and mortar store that ought to be reputable. The packaging looked a bit off, as if it had been trimmed down with scissors. To quote Obi-Wan Kenobi, I feared something terrible had happened.
08-13-2015, 10:36 AM   #7
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Sorry I should have included my camera model😁 I have a K-50. The 16 I have now is 40mb's the 8 is 30. I am look for more capacity because I would like to start shooting more RAW. And I really don't shoot much video at all.
08-13-2015, 10:52 AM   #8
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All the above advice is good. To repeat their advice,

Stay with a good name brand card. a cheap card may work, but it also may not be reliable.

Write speed, how fast your camera can right to the card. Having a faster card does not help you here, but for the most part it cannot hurt.

Read speed. This is a different story, in most cases you can easily upgrade your computer to match the speed of the card.

Capacity, the advantage to a larger card is you can store more pictures without changing the card. The disadvantage is that if something happens to one card, You have lost more pictures. Also it can take longer to transfer those pictures to your computer, depending on your setup.

Something else to consider. If you do not fill up your card before you transfer and erase it, You have shortened the life of your card. Each cell has a specific life, The number of times that you can write to it. if you only write to the first part of the card, this area will have a shorter life than me extreme end of the card. Once the first part of the card starts getting corrupted data, the whole card is useless. You cannot map out the corrupted parts. on a large card, it may take you longer to fill it up. But you should avoid erasing or reformatting the card until it is full. Considering this if you have a large card and don't routinely fill it up before you Erase the data, you're just wasting your money.

08-13-2015, 11:03 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by promacjoe Quote
Something else to consider. If you do not fill up your card before you transfer and erase it, You have shortened the life of your card. Each cell has a specific life, The number of times that you can write to it. if you only write to the first part of the card, this area will have a shorter life than me extreme end of the card. Once the first part of the card starts getting corrupted data, the whole card is useless. You cannot map out the corrupted parts. on a large card, it may take you longer to fill it up. But you should avoid erasing or reformatting the card until it is full. Considering this if you have a large card and don't routinely fill it up before you Erase the data, you're just wasting your money.
This is interesting. I wonder if the SD card formatter can mark these cells as bad (https://www.sdcard.org/downloads/formatter_4/index.html).
08-13-2015, 11:33 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by promacjoe Quote
Something else to consider. If you do not fill up your card before you transfer and erase it, You have shortened the life of your card. Each cell has a specific life, The number of times that you can write to it. if you only write to the first part of the card, this area will have a shorter life than me extreme end of the card. Once the first part of the card starts getting corrupted data, the whole card is useless. You cannot map out the corrupted parts. on a large card, it may take you longer to fill it up. But you should avoid erasing or reformatting the card until it is full. Considering this if you have a large card and don't routinely fill it up before you Erase the data, you're just wasting your money.

I would need to see supporting evidence before I accepted this claim.
08-13-2015, 12:52 PM   #11
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although manufacturers can maps bad sectors on their hard drives, they normally use low-level utilities to do this, not standard formatting programs. I have never heard of any camera manufacturer, That checks the integrity of each memory cell when formatting the card. I don't think the users want to stand and wait for hours while the card formats in their camera. it's just not a good use of their time. Also checking the integrity of a memory cell, Can shorten its life. So in that respect it is not recommended. Check the data sheet for your particular card to see what the write cycle life is. also it is recommended that you used the camera to format the cards. It is not recommended that you use external software to do this. That has been echoed time and time again on this board as well as others.

There is nothing worse in photography, then going out and taking hundreds of pictures, only to find out that your memory card has failed.
It is better to be safe then sorry. Also cards are cheap and getting cheaper. It is a good idea to replace your cards every so often regardless if they have failed or not. You can use the old ones for emergencies.

if you don't agree with this, fine it's not going to affect me. If you want to take a once-in-a-lifetime shot only to find out that your memory card failed, that is your problem not mine. For me, I am going to use Every little trick that I can to make sure that the picture that I took, is actually recorded.
08-13-2015, 01:00 PM   #12
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The SD Association claims the typical life of an SD card is 10 years or more.

Some good info here too.

How Long Do Memory Cards Last? - Improve Photography

QuoteQuote:
The truth is that time has less to do with the longevity of a memory card than the number of write cycles. That means that number of times that data is written to the card. Industry insiders often refer to this as the number of “Program/Erase Cycles” or “P&E Cycles.” Almost all modern memory cards can withstand at least 100,000 Program/Erase Cycles, and some cards can withstand as many as 10 times more cycles than standard cards. What this all means is that, according to the card manufacturers, you could fill a memory card every day for a couple decades without having any problems.
Don't buy a cheap generic card and you should be fine.
08-13-2015, 03:28 PM   #13
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Three quick comments.

First, keep an eye on the write speed if you intend to do heavy continuous shooting that fills the buffer fully. On the K50, pretty much all the Class 10 cards will write at least as fast as that buffer offers (I did testing on several brands with the K30 - which has the same buffer). Many of the Class 6 cards are nearly as fast (Panasonic is especially fast). You will find a great many 90 or 80 mbs read cards that are far slower at writing - and you have to look at the fine print to learn that they are, in fact, quite slow in the camera. For my K3, I have the SanDisk Extreme Plus which easily can handle the maximum buffer output. It would be overkill for the K50 - but the price is competitive with some slower cards, so you might want to consider it, especially so if you are considering an upgrade within a few years. My only concern about SanDisk is that the brand attracts the most counterfeits by far - so be careful about your sourcing.

Second, some cards just don't work well in certain applications. Some (most?) of the Sony cards have been a problem in Pentax cameras; I'd stay clear. When the term "generic" is offered, I'm not sure which brands fall into the category; although PNY does have an especially spotty reputation. Lexar and Panasonic are premium brands, but not as well known. Transcend has an excellent reputation while maintaining highly competitive pricing.

Third, I never shoot with less than two cards available. You are far better off carrying two smaller cards, rotating them, than one big card that might fail. In addition, when I was doing the tests with various cameras and cards, I found that the smaller cards tended to be a bit quicker for whatever reason - not significantly, but worth mentioning.
08-15-2015, 12:43 AM   #14
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Probably more then you wanted to know:
08-15-2015, 07:15 AM   #15
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All the technical information above is excellent and worth your time to study, however, choosing a card is really not all that daunting. On a K-50 (16mp sensor) a 32 GB card will hold hundreds of images. If the counter on my K-5IIs is to be believed, the capacity is on the order of 1000 raw images. If you shoot in RAW+ the capacity will be somewhat but not drastically lower. If you shoot only Jpeg then the capacity is "ginormous!"


Get a top-level name brand Class 10 card from a reputable vendor. SanDisk and Transcend both have good reputations and are readily available at reasonable cost. The other advice I would have is while you may collect all your eggs in one basket; don't leave them there. After every session I download all my images to external storage on my computer. Every few days I erase the SD card. As reasonable as the cost is for a good SD card, it's really a no-brainer to have a couple of spares. Even the best ones can and do fail.


What you do with the images once you get them on the computer, in terms of processing, backup, archival storage, etc. is a whole different discussion and there are multiple threads on all of those in the forums.
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