Tuesday 16 March 2010

Way back when........

......................I bought my first DSLR, I remember my first memory card was a 512mb Lexar, and I got a cracking deal on it at the Focus show at the time.

The price had recently been slashed to a mere £95 for what was, IIRC, the fastest card, although obviously not the largest.  I think that was a 2GB card for about £500

Now at the risk of ending up like we are in a Monty Python Sketch, it would be great to hear of what you paid for your first card and what size it was -  so why not leave us some comments.

Which brings me on to my current way of thinking, which has actually remained unchanged for the last two years.

I generally use 4GB Sandisk Extreme 111 cards which cost about £17 two years ago.  I remember taking some out for Dave and Peter when I went to Switzerland.

Now that price for that card has remained pretty much the same although it is now a faster card with write speeds of 30x

Technology continues to move on, and cards are getting larger and larger, and write times are going through the roof, with up to 600x.

Now why would you want that.  Well I guess if you are a pro sports shooter, with a 10fps pro body, than you probably don't want buffer capacity to limit you, and if the card can keep up then, the more the merrier.

For wildlife, that may or may not be important to you.

On the two bodies I use, the 7D and 1Dmk111, faster cards would be an improvement on the 7D as the files are just about twice the size of the those on the Mark111 .  As I shoot RAW, those are big files.

However, my approach is that I very rarely machine gun anything.  I have found as I get to understand my subjects better, I can use the slower drive speeds and only press the shutter when needed.

For example, when I took these Short Eared Owl images this year, with the Mark 111 I was shooting at 5FPS and only a couple or three in a burst, and that was when the bird was at it's largest in the frame.

Whereas, other photographers nearby were busy machine gunning them to death long before and after I had taken mine - so maybe they would need the larger cards.

Back to Compact flash cards, and it seems the 600x write speed cards are available in 16, 32 and 64 GB sizes.  This is now truly on an epic scale when I think back to my first card purchase, although with prices of £145, 260 and 480 respectively, they are at prices to match.

So on that basis, I am happy to stay with 4GB Sandisk 111 for both bodies for the time being.



  1. My first ever memory card was a Vivitar 1Gb SD (That was used before I did photography and was in a compact camera)
    My first memory card for DSLR photography was a Sandisk 4GB Ultra II. I now use both CF & SD cards in the camera the same time. both are Sandisk Extreme III's.

  2. My first decent card was a 128mb Nikon at £129 !!! way back in the early days...how things change.