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10-15-2017, 04:46 PM   #1
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Question on memory cards

Hello All

I recently used up my stash of memory cards I got from Costco two years ago. I looked online at B&H and visited the local Costco wholesale club and it looks like the selection of SD cards has changed a lot in two years. It used to be a 32 GB card was a high capacity card now they seem to be 64 GB and up! My question is regarding my K-5 and K-3 camera bodies, and my son's K10D. Can they use these faster, higher capacity cards? Before I buy, I would want to be sure that what I get will be compatible with my cameras. All of them are on the latest firmware. Any feedback on what works and what is too much would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, John

10-15-2017, 05:14 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jddwoods Quote
Hello All

I recently used up my stash of memory cards I got from Costco two years ago. I looked online at B&H and visited the local Costco wholesale club and it looks like the selection of SD cards has changed a lot in two years. It used to be a 32 GB card was a high capacity card now they seem to be 64 GB and up! My question is regarding my K-5 and K-3 camera bodies, and my son's K10D. Can they use these faster, higher capacity cards? Before I buy, I would want to be sure that what I get will be compatible with my cameras. All of them are on the latest firmware. Any feedback on what works and what is too much would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks, John
We have a very detailed article on SD card specs, performance, and compatibility:

Comprehensive SD Card Guide for Photographers - Articles and Tips | PentaxForums.com

The TL;DR is that any UHS-I card with a 90Mb/s write speed will deliver optimal performance with your cameras, and any SDXC, SDHC, or SD card can be used with your K-5 and K-3. (i.e. sizes <1Gb up to 2048Gb)

The K10D can only use SDHC and SD cards, i.e. sizes <1Gb up to 32Gb. Aim for Class 10 for the best performance.

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10-15-2017, 06:09 PM   #4
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For bang for the buck I love the PNY Elite cards. You can get a 64GB for $30 on Amazon.

For most shooting you don't really need more than 30MB/s, but you'd notice it slow down when you shoot many consecutive shots or during a long burst. Where I notice it most myself is in playback when you hold down the right or left button. The K-3 flicks through extremely fast with a 90MB/s card but lags a bit with slower cards.

I always migrate my cards down to other devices when I get newer ones so I use microSD to fit everything. They work great in my K-3 with an adapter. (I always test new cards with h2testw to make sure there are no issues before I trust them with thousands of new pictures.)

10-16-2017, 01:00 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by jddwoods Quote
Hello All

I recently used up my stash of memory cards I got from Costco two years ago.
Are you not emptying your cards onto your PC for processing then copying onto backup devices?
Then formatting the card in camera (or with SDFormatter) for re use?
10-16-2017, 05:11 AM   #6
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at the moment, I can assure you, that it doesnt make any sense to buy an SD-card that offers faster write speeds than 100MB/s, cause thats pretty much where UHS-I bus write speed tops out.

not a chance to profit from higher write speeds.

I would especially avoid to buy UHS-II cards, since i hope that PENTAX - RICOH Imaging shows a last bit of common sense
and switches to XQD very soon, since that is the memcard-technology of the future,
that already offers app. 500MB/s write speed at nearly the same pricing as 100MB/s writin mere UHS-I SD card...

and in its 2nd generation it will offer 8GBit/s write speed (that is one Gigabyte per second!!!) and more than 1TB capacity should be possible.

I suggest you to not invest too much and rather buy max. 16GB moderately fast SD cards.
Toshiba Exceria Pro N401 SDHC 16GB


... seems to be the best bang for the buck right now.

(not so sure how much capacitiy is supported by the K10D though)

Much Luck!
10-16-2017, 11:10 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by TheOneAndOnlyJH Quote
I always migrate my cards down to other devices when I get newer ones so I use microSD to fit everything.
That's what I was going to ask - whether anyone uses microSD cards regularly and what are your thoughts and experience with them. In terms of reliability, there isn't any reason why they should differ from the regular SD cards, is there?

Thanks for the tip about the h2testw, btw.
10-16-2017, 04:06 PM   #8
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Maybe I am lucky, but I've never had a problem with my SD cards, or compact flash cards from my Canon days. I use three class 10 SD cards that I rotate through. After I use a SD card I insert the card into my laptop for downloading, then back to the camera to be formatted. I never delete a file in camera, all get downloaded first then I will delete unwanted files in LR. I used the same cards in the K-5 II, then KS-2 and now my KP. One card is 32 gig, other two are 16 gig.

10-16-2017, 08:32 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Happyman Quote
That's what I was going to ask - whether anyone uses microSD cards regularly and what are your thoughts and experience with them. In terms of reliability, there isn't any reason why they should differ from the regular SD cards, is there?

Thanks for the tip about the h2testw, btw.
A few years back some people said microSD was less reliable as more heat generating circuitry was crammed into smaller packages. I think it really took off as cheap, slow, large storage for phones but the technology has progressed quite a bit since then. As with any technology, the longer it's been out the better they get at making it. If anything I just wouldn't completely trust the newest 256GB cards yet. (I've never been one to put all my eggs in one basket anyway.)

I've been using microSD in all my cameras with no issues since 2009, including an HD video camera and my K-3. I've corrupted a couple cards on my computer, but they were my fault since I was messing around with bootable partitions and such. My only major card fail was a slow 64GB card partitioned as extended memory in a phone, so it had higher than normal write cycles. It was still readable when it failed, it just wouldn't write anymore.

Definitely stick with reliable brands though. You should be safe with Samsung, SanDisk, PNY, and a few other well known brands. Of those three I think Samsung has the fastest cards at the top end but PNY is the best bang for the buck.

As with any card, format it when you empty it to keep it running at to speed. If you're doing anything you don't want to risk losing it's also not a bad idea to rotate through a few cards during the event just in case.
10-16-2017, 10:52 PM   #10
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I prefer SanDisk. I have a couple I bought with my K10D in 2007 that are still 100% functional. I always format in camera. I seldom delete in camera, and only do so when running off the end of the card in an emergency. (I do use Continuous High ....). I second the motion above that the write speed should be 90 or higher. I bought a couple of 80's at the Source and the buffer clearing times were terrible.
11-12-2017, 04:24 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
We have a very detailed article on SD card specs, performance, and compatibility:

Comprehensive SD Card Guide for Photographers - Articles and Tips | PentaxForums.com
The guide does not mention that Linux and BSD operating systems cannot natively read SDXC cards, although they can be read with third party drivers (of which I have no experience). That is because SDXC uses the extFAT file system which requires licencing from Microsoft.

Also I would question the idea of using micro SD cards in full-size adaptors in the camera. The adaptor contacts are an extra point of potential failure - introduced for what purpose? I am not intending to transfer my camera SD card to a phone or anything else at any time in the future, and full-size SD card readers (if that is how you download pictures from the card) will be around for far longer than the life of the card itself or the camera.
11-12-2017, 04:29 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lord Lucan Quote
Also I would question the idea of using micro SD cards in full-size adaptors in the camera. The adaptor contacts are an extra point of potential failure - introduced for what purpose? I am not intending to transfer my camera SD card to a phone or anything else at any time in the future, and full-size SD card readers (if that is how you download pictures from the card) will be around for far longer than the life of the card itself or the camera.
The micro card itself is a point of failure, IMO. They are super fragile. My recommendation is to go for a standard size card whenever such a card is supported.

QuoteOriginally posted by Lord Lucan Quote
The guide does not mention that Linux and BSD operating systems cannot natively read SDXC cards, although they can be read with third party drivers (of which I have no experience). That is because SDXC uses the extFAT file system which requires licencing from Microsoft.
Did a quick search on this and it looks like the exfat-fuse and exfat-utils packages are all you need, and they seem to be widely available for many different distros.

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