compact flash vs SD cards

Started Sep 2, 2010 | Discussions
gio14
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compact flash vs SD cards
Sep 2, 2010

Hi all,

Can someone please explain the real advantages of CF over SD cards???

I'm asking this because after 60D's announcement I've seen a lot of people complaining about card choice Canon made developing this new camera...

To be honest, I much prefer SD over CF card, but that's a personal opinion.

Giorgio

slado
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Re: compact flash vs SD cards
In reply to gio14, Sep 2, 2010

Basic differences:
CF cards are faster (+- 90MB/s) but much bigger
SD cards are a bit slower (+- 60MB/s) but much smaller

SD cards have max speed 104MB/s defined in current standard, this will increase in future.

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Mark B.
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Re: compact flash vs SD cards
In reply to gio14, Sep 2, 2010

gio14 wrote:

Hi all,

Can someone please explain the real advantages of CF over SD cards???

I'm asking this because after 60D's announcement I've seen a lot of people complaining about card choice Canon made developing this new camera...

To be honest, I much prefer SD over CF card, but that's a personal opinion.

And that's really what it comes down to. I prefer CF because of the size. My wife & I have compacts that use SD, and I hate handling them. They're very small, and easy to lose track of. I simply prefer the larger size of the CF - easier for me to handle. I'm happy my 7D still uses CF.

Mark

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Fra_Pe
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Re: compact flash vs SD cards
In reply to gio14, Sep 2, 2010

gio14 wrote:

Hi all,

Can someone please explain the real advantages of CF over SD cards???

I'm asking this because after 60D's announcement I've seen a lot of people complaining about card choice Canon made developing this new camera...

To be honest, I much prefer SD over CF card, but that's a personal opinion.

Giorgio

I like CF much more then SD because I had never troubles with CF (including
some old microdrives) but sometimes with SD. The CF cards are mechanically
very solid but I broke a SD card while photographing in the wildness.. They
are also easier to lose in field and to change them with gloves on mountain
hiking is really bad.

The performance - here is a intensive test on serveral canon bodys unfortunately in german (but you can translate it with translate.google.com and it includes a table with the results so it maybe 'selfspeaking'):
http://www.traumflieger.de/desktop/kameras/testverfahren/kartentest.php

In short:
The best performance with UDMA on a 50D is 67,2 MB/sec., with non UDMA
is 41,6 MB/sec. On a 550D the fastest SDHC (not SXDC) was 22.6 MB/sec.

Regards, Franz Peter.

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007peter
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In Reality = SD card are so slow between 10 MB/s - 30 MB/s
In reply to slado, Sep 2, 2010

I"m not sure where you got your information, sd card cannot hit 60mb/s. Check wikipedia here: / http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SD_memory/

CF card has the overwhelming SPEED advantage. CF uses the same parallel technology as your computer HD. Currently,

In reality, most SD card are class 6 (6mb/s), and most SDHC card are Class 10 (10mb/s). Either way, CF enjoy the overwhelming advantage in transfer speed.

Rob Galbraith has the real world CF/SD card speed based on actual camera. You might want to study his result:

-

slado wrote:

Basic differences:
CF cards are faster (+- 90MB/s) but much bigger
SD cards are a bit slower (+- 60MB/s) but much smaller

SD cards have max speed 104MB/s defined in current standard, this will increase in future.

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gio14
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Re: In Reality = SD card are so slow between 10 MB/s - 30 MB/s
In reply to 007peter, Sep 2, 2010

ok, thanks...

so ther's a real speed advantage (not sure if the extra speed is really needed/used with current hardware, at least useful in future hw improvements...)

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John1940
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Re: In Reality = SD card are so slow between 10 MB/s - 30 MB/s
In reply to 007peter, Sep 2, 2010

007peter, to avoid confusion, remember that case sensitivity matters when one is throwing around speed numbers:

m means milli
M means mega

b means bit
B means byte

k means 1000
K means 1024

So does M mean 1000*1000 or 1024*1024 (where * is a multiplication sign)?
It depends on the context.

You would be amazed at the number of errors this causes in network design. Serial communications traditionally uses k and bits/s (also written as b/s or bps).

Computer lingo chose to go with something that makes sense by picking an approximation to the decimal 1000 (i.e., 1024, which is 2 raised to the 10th power). The reason for that is that all current computers work with binary digits or bits.

Bus speeds are therefore quoted in MB/s. But, anybody, what is the value of M?

In the context of this thread, it doesn't matter much. Just watch the m and M and, especially, the b and B. Everybody knows you meant mega by m, but you start on a slippery slope if you use m. The misuse of b for B (or B for b) really causes problems.

As an aside, I like SD cards over CF cards because I use SD cards on my laptops and netbook as the first method of backup for my programming and presentation purposes. For example, if you are using Office 2010 or earlier versions, you can do a Save (to disk) as you go along and you can do a copy of what you are working on to the SD card is a few seconds. If your computer fails, you've got the latest version on the SD card. Also, SD cards can be used on many new DSLRs and most camcorders--but not on my 40D.
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John1940

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slado
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Re: In Reality = SD card are so slow between 10 MB/s - 30 MB/s
In reply to 007peter, Sep 2, 2010

Check SD Association. Latest SDXC cards have max speed 104 MB/s

http://www.sdcard.org/developers/tech/sdxc/ with future increase to 300 MB/s planned.
Even latest Panasonic SD cards are 60 MB/s
http://www.dpreview.com/news/1009/10090105panasonicuhsisdhccards.asp

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Yehuda Katz
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Ever tried to replace an SD in subzero temperature?
In reply to gio14, Sep 2, 2010

gio14 wrote:

Hi all,

Can someone please explain the real advantages of CF over SD cards???

I'm asking this because after 60D's announcement I've seen a lot of people complaining about card choice Canon made developing this new camera...

To be honest, I much prefer SD over CF card, but that's a personal opinion.

Giorgio

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Lights
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Re: compact flash vs SD cards
In reply to gio14, Sep 2, 2010

Even if SD cards were exactly the same in write speed, I'd prefer CF for a couple of reasons: No biggies...just bothersome.
1. I've got a bunch of them (even a microdrive which is sorta slow)

2. The CF cards are physically bigger and easier for my big fingers-especially when cold.

3. I've got an MP3 player with SD and I've spent a couple hours looking for the cards...I only use one mostly in it now and keep the other in a safe place for backup.

4. I remember when my first camera used smart media...roughly comparable in size to SD. I was changing it on a windy day, and the wind got it...took me an hour of looking through grass and dead leaves to find.
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YoyozFotog
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Re: compact flash vs SD cards
In reply to gio14, Sep 2, 2010

SD has the advantage that it doesn't depend upon pins physically entering the card. So if you jam your CF card in at an angle, (which I've never managed to do, knock on wood), you could bend/break a pin inside the camera. Or in the dark, try putting the CF card in upside down...

I personally prefer CF, even with these dangers, as I tend to misplace really tiny objects. And they feel more solid.

I've put an older 1 GB cf card through the clothes washer and dryer twice when I accidentally left it in a pants pocket. Not in a plastic case, either. Let it dry out. Works like a charm...

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007peter
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Theory vs Practical, Compact Flash also have a new CFast (SATA 300MB/S) mode
In reply to slado, Sep 2, 2010

Thanks, I see where you got your information. I think we should probably make a clear distinction between SDHC vs SDXC

Comparing Current PATA (parallel ATA) Compact Flash vs SDHC

  • Both format that can be used on existing Card Readers today

  • CF enjoy the 133 MB/s and around 92 MB/s * practical 600x speed.

  • SDHC currently only guarantee Class 10 speed ( 10 MB/s ) with Sandisk extreme claiming the fastest SDHC card currenlty at 30 MB/s

Comparing CFAST (serial ATA compact flash) vs SDXC

  • both format required NEW CARD READERs

  • both claim to 300 MB/S as theoretical limitation

  • SDXC claim speed up to 104 MB/S with 300 MB/S on roadmap

  • SDXC practical speed is 60 MB/S but it isn't in the retail shop yet

The link you provided on 60 MB/S SDXC is very new (Sept 01, 2010). The card isn't even in retail shop yet.

Checking Newegg.com, there are only three SDXC card now. None of them claim faster than 25 MB/S (Read speed), all of them indicates writing speed to be slower. In the piratical world, the compact flash enjoy enormous speed advantage today. You can buy many 600x CF cards that does 90 MB/S easily without having to buy a special card reader.

  • $ 220 Sandisk 64g SDXC

  • $ 327 Patriot 64g SDXC

  • $ 365 Kingston 64g SDXC

Anyhow, I'll keep an eye on SDXC. Future prices bound to be cheaper...( I hope). The only thing I'm still annoyed by SDXC.org is their unwillingness to set a required minimum writing speed for the new SDXC. Class 10 ( 10 MB/S ) required writing speed is outdated. The only way I can justify spending money on SDXC is for the SD association to create a new minimum writing speed requirement, instead of quoting me that 104 MB/S "theoretical read speed". I don't need SDXC to exceed Compact Flash, but I would like to see a bare minimum of 50 MB/S write speed. That is a reasonable figure and should be attainable from all manufactures.

slado wrote:

Check SD Association. Latest SDXC cards have max speed 104 MB/s

http://www.sdcard.org/developers/tech/sdxc/ with future increase to 300 MB/s planned.
Even latest Panasonic SD cards are 60 MB/s
http://www.dpreview.com/news/1009/10090105panasonicuhsisdhccards.asp

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spaltzer
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Re: compact flash vs SD cards
In reply to gio14, Sep 2, 2010

I prefer SD over CF. I like the smaller size of SD and that my iMac has an SD card slot reader built in.

I have an old PowerShoot S45 that uses CF and whenever I see a CF card it feels like traveling back in time.

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Mark B.
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Re: compact flash vs SD cards
In reply to YoyozFotog, Sep 2, 2010

YoyozFotog wrote:

SD has the advantage that it doesn't depend upon pins physically entering the card. So if you jam your CF card in at an angle, (which I've never managed to do, knock on wood), you could bend/break a pin inside the camera. Or in the dark, try putting the CF card in upside down...

I've been using CF for about 10 years now - always using a card reader which means lots & lots of removing & installing - not one bent pin.

I personally prefer CF, even with these dangers, as I tend to misplace really tiny objects. And they feel more solid.

I've put an older 1 GB cf card through the clothes washer and dryer twice when I accidentally left it in a pants pocket. Not in a plastic case, either. Let it dry out. Works like a charm...

LOL, I've done that on more than one occassion myself. I've always let it dry on a window sill getting plenty of sun, never had a problem. But I have a feeling SD cards would probably be ok as well.

Mark

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archiebald
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Re: compact flash vs SD cards
In reply to Mark B., Sep 2, 2010

I've put SD cards through the wash with no problem.

It would be really nice if people would stop giving their opinions, such as "I don't like them because they are too small" etc. I too have been looking for realistic technical comparisons between SD and CF. So, can we please have a topic where everyone just sticks to the facts?

Now a practical question. Granted that the current state of affairs is that CF is faster than SD, but does this cause any practical limitations for SD usage.

Example, the recent 50D to 60D "upgrade" - fps has gone down from 6.3 to 5.3 fps but resolution has gone up from 15MP to 18MP. Calculate these out and the total data being output is nearly identical. Burst limit for RAW is also identical. JPEG burst has come down, but that might very well be processing speed of the Digic IV. At the same time, the camera has changed from CF to SD. So in practical terms, the choice of SD card does NOT seem to be the reason for the slowdown, it is more likely due to the Digic IV and buffer limitations.

Are there any other cases where this occurs. For example a couple of bodies have dual CF+SD cards. Does the camera performance change at all when saving to either card??

If it doesn't then I see all this talk about one being faster than the other as simply being a red herring. If it does make a difference then lets hear about it.

All current video enabled cameras that can do 30fps 1,920 x 1,080 can perform just as well on CF or SD so for video at least, does it really matter?

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Mark B.
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Re: compact flash vs SD cards
In reply to archiebald, Sep 3, 2010

archiebald wrote:

I've put SD cards through the wash with no problem.

It would be really nice if people would stop giving their opinions, such as "I don't like them because they are too small" etc. I too have been looking for realistic technical comparisons between SD and CF. So, can we please have a topic where everyone just sticks to the facts?

The fact is, I find them too small to handle. Sorry if that bothers you, but to me that is a very real technical issue.

Mark

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archiebald
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Re: compact flash vs SD cards
In reply to Mark B., Sep 3, 2010

Mark B. wrote:

archiebald wrote:

I've put SD cards through the wash with no problem.

It would be really nice if people would stop giving their opinions, such as "I don't like them because they are too small" etc. I too have been looking for realistic technical comparisons between SD and CF. So, can we please have a topic where everyone just sticks to the facts?

The fact is, I find them too small to handle. Sorry if that bothers you, but to me that is a very real technical issue.

Mark

Let me say this slowly so that you can understand.....

No, it is not a technical issue, it is simply your personal preference caused by your lack of manual dexterity, or at worst a case of ergonomics - but it is certainly not technical.

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Lights
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Re: compact flash vs SD cards
In reply to gio14, Sep 3, 2010

I remember seeing a video of a photo sequence, a long time back, a guy had 2 Canons set up with radio transmitters set to fire off a burst rate, when a bridge was demolished with dynamite. Well he set them up too close to the bridge, and when it blew...it blew up his cameras. The cameras were just very small chunks of alloy pretty much. BUT the CF cards survived. Maybe SD cards would have too, but I always remember that.
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slado
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Re: Theory vs Practical, Compact Flash also have a new CFast (SATA 300MB/S) mode
In reply to 007peter, Sep 3, 2010

I think that this war between CF and SD never ends. Toshiba announced another faster SD just today:
http://www.dpreview.com/news/1009/10090305toshibauhsisdhc.asp

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DougH
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Re: compact flash vs SD cards
In reply to slado, Sep 3, 2010

If the only disadvantage to CF is size, I have to wonder how many people have so many CF cards, they don't have room to store them. And there's plenty of room in a DSLR to house the CF slot.

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