SD Cards revisited UHS-1 v. Type 10

Started May 27, 2012 | Discussions thread
Panda9 Regular Member • Posts: 423
Re: SD Cards revisited UHS-1 v. Type 10

Crimguy wrote:

I asked for advice on a better SD card as my Type 6 card was taking a long time to clear the buffer with burst shooting, and I was pointed to the Sandisk Extreme Pro line of UHS-1 cards, which are indeed the fastest out there by most everyone's estimation.

I'm curious if anyone has done any real-world usage in the OM-D using this card versus, e.g., the regular SanDisk Extreme Type 10 SDHC card. Or would be willing to do so for the benefit of the rest of us.

Specifically, I'm curious about the two following issues:
1) how fast the fps is once the buffer is cleared with each card; and

2) write time for, e.g., 9 shots fired in high speed burst mode - in other words how much time before you can start shooting again after firing off a large burst.

I've looked at a lot of the benchmarks out there and one thing that struck me, which should be obvious to anyone with computer experience, is that just because your camera supports the fastest doesn't mean it'll take full advantage of the potential speed of the card due to internal I/O restrictions.

I did a test last week when I received a Sandisk 32GB UHS-1 95MB/s SDHC card. I compared it with a Transcend 32GB Class 10 30MB/s SDHC card. I have just run the test again so I have repeatable numbers.

I set up my E-M5 for 9fps and held down the shutter until around 14 shots were fired and the buffer filled (RAW + LF JPEG). Then I timed how long it took for the card-writing indicator in the LCD to stop blinking. I did this a few times for each card.

I found that it took roughly 28 secs for the Class 10 card to clear the buffer, and about 11-12 seconds for the UHS-1 95MB/s card to clear the buffer. Additional runs seem to show this 2.4x speedup is consistent. I'm just counting ticks on a clock, so there's a small margin of error and these are ballpark figures, but it seems to be fairly repeatable.

I originally did not test how fast/slow the cards were after the buffer filled as I rarely fill the buffer and keep shooting. I mostly want to be able to have access to my shots faster, even if it is 2 sec versus 5 sec. However, for completeness I did do a really quick test of this.

It appears that after the buffer fills, I can get just under 3 seconds a shot with the Class 10 card. I can get just under one second a shot with the UHS-1 card, so a 3x speedup. This speed difference is probably closer to what you'd expect with shots that don't fill the buffer.

If all you do is shoot single shots and don't review your shots immediately, then it may not be worth spending the price premium for the UHS-1 card (3x the price). However, if, like me, you're constantly chimping, do bursts to capture fluid situations, and bracket on occasion, the speedup is worth the money. You can't adjust some of the camera settings or chimp photos until the buffer clears, and when out shooting fluid situations, a few seconds can make a difference for me. As with all things photo, YMMV.

BTW - the sound of the E-M5 in 9fps burst mode is amazing. BTW2 - I think I just doubled the number of shutters on my E-M5 running these tests

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