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TOPIC: Memory Card Confusion

Memory Card Confusion 7 years 5 months ago #1

  • Pablo
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Hello everyone!

I decided I want to get a new memory card so I went to have a look and now I think I have a headache.
I'm currently using pretty cheap two year old Kingstone 8GB class 4 SDHC card and it sometimes bothers me how it handles writing raw files from my Pentax K-x. so here's some options I've been looking, staying on the cheap side (remember these are Israel prices):

1 - Transcend SDHC 8GB Class 10 - 28 USD
2 - SanDisk Extreme III X133 8GB SDHC (says class 6 on the card) - 35 USD
3 - SanDisk Ultra II SDHC 8GB (says X60 in the description) - 22 USD

I looked up the X's and Classes and as the title says it, I'm pretty confused.
As I understand the class number means minimum writing speed of whatever class times mb/s, and and X is 1.2 Mbits/s, so X133 would be about 160 Mbits/s i.e. 20 mb/s, so how is the Extreme III a class 6? what am I missing here?

The answer might be rather simple or awfully complicated but either way I don't know it, hopefully you guys can help me. :wth:

Thanks :D
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Re: Memory Card Confusion 7 years 5 months ago #2

  • Friendly Photon
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I tried a bunch of different memory cards on my wife's K-x, from class 4 budget cards to class 10 high end brand name cards. The verdict: barely any difference in write speed. The K-x does not take advantage of fast memory cards the way the K-7 and K-5 do. I'd say class 6 is the most improvement you'll see.

The class rating refers to the minimum sustained writing speed of the card (in MB/s), but it's really more of a differentiator between grades of cards. Even class 10 cards are affordable these days, so there's no reason to skimp.

The X's refer to the old way of measuring CD drive write speeds. So a 133X is 133 times faster than an original CD-ROM drive (which was 150 KB/s).

Together, those two different ratings combine to give consumers a giant headache and confuse them into buying something they don't understand. It's a brilliant marketing ploy.

Having said that, there's a fairly big difference in reliability between name brands and generic crap. I've had a lot more luck with SanDisk cards than most others. I've had bad luck with A-Data and Transcend. I think the SanDisk Extreme III you mention above would be a good choice for balance between speed, reliability and value.

The absolute best you could buy at this time is probably a Kingston Ultimate XX, but those are super-'spensive. I use a SanDisk Extreme Pro, which has been very satisfactory in my K-5, but are also pretty expensive.
Photons are your friends! :-)
Last Edit: 7 years 5 months ago by Friendly Photon.
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Re: Memory Card Confusion 7 years 5 months ago #3

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Thanks for the info Frank, I tend to go for the Extreme III but I'm not quite convinced it would be better than the others.
When you say you had bad luck with Trascend, what do you mean? did you find them particularly slow or did they fail to work in some way?
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Re: Memory Card Confusion 7 years 5 months ago #4

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By reliability, I'm referring to data loss. I've had many budget cards fail on me, whether by becoming corrupted and losing a bunch of pictures on the card, or by physically breaking in some way and becoming unreadable. If any part of the plastic casing breaks off, it might mean that the card will no longer register in either your camera or a card reader, and then those pictures become lost. I've had this happen a few times. The lesser-known brands tend to have cheaper casings that break more easily.

SanDisk, Kingston and Lexar are considered "known brands". Transcend is also popular, though I've had one fail on me with a broken casing. I've lost a couple PNYs before too, though I still have some in rotation. I think my wife's current cards are both PNYs, and they've been ok so far.
Photons are your friends! :-)
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Re: Memory Card Confusion 7 years 5 months ago #5

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Thanks, I never had a card fail on me even though I mostly go for the budget stuff. I'm sure it is inevitable and I will hate the day it will finally hit me.


One more question for everyone: what do you think about buying memory cards from ebay? is there a chance of actually getting a genuine card?
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Re: Memory Card Confusion 7 years 5 months ago #6

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For contrast, my cousin had her brand new K-x at our family Christmas party last year, and she was sporting an archaic 2GB SD card (not even SDHC, no class, just a generic SD card). It was PAINFULLY SLOW!!!!!! It would take endless seconds before you could review the picture you just took. I was trying to show her how to make best use of it, and the slowness of each shot was excruciating. I couldn't wait to hand the camera back to her and stop using it.
Photons are your friends! :-)
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Re: Memory Card Confusion 7 years 5 months ago #7

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Pablo wrote:
Thanks, I never had a card fail on me even though I mostly go for the budget stuff. I'm sure it is inevitable and I will hate the day it will finally hit me.
Well I swap cards out more often than you probably do. I tend to use multiple smaller cards rather than one big card. That way if a card fails, I only lose some of the pictures. And I use a card reader on my computer instead of the USB cable on the camera. Pictures transfer way faster that way.
Pablo wrote:
One more question for everyone: what do you think about buying memory cards from ebay? is there a chance of actually getting a genuine card?
I've never bought a memory card on eBay. 90% of the time, Amazon or Newegg have the same or better prices, and are more reliable. But I assume there's no Israel version of Amazon or Newegg :lol:
Photons are your friends! :-)
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Re: Memory Card Confusion 7 years 5 months ago #8

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Friendly Photon wrote:
I assume there's no Israel version of Amazon or Newegg :lol:

You are correct :~(
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Re: Memory Card Confusion 7 years 5 months ago #9

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Just to let you know, at the end I got a SanDisk Extreme SDHC UHS-I Class 10 8GB card, it says its 'up to' 30 MB/s and 200X which is consistent with the calculation on my first post. I still don't know what the class 10 means.
Anyway, I only have my old cheap card to compare but after filling the buffer with bursting shots, the camera is ready to go in about a second. that's a huge difference compared to my old class 4 which would take at least 5 seconds (not a controlled test but definitely feels much better).

thanks for the help! :D
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Re: Memory Card Confusion 7 years 5 months ago #10

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just for reference, this is my new card: new card

this is the old one: old card
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Re: Memory Card Confusion 7 years 5 months ago #11

  • tiffpix
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Hope the new card works well for you Pablo! I actually have a PNY card that fails to read photo files reliably anymore and a SanDisk card, both 8GB.
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Re: Memory Card Confusion 7 years 5 months ago #12

  • blackcloudbrew
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I can't say that I have a complete knowledge of these cards, however, empirically speaking SanDisk is my most reliable brand. Recently when I got my K5, I picked up a 16gb PNY Class 10 card thinking that would be just fine, I've experienced two failures of it in the first month of use to write on it. It actually did store the images but the directories were munched. I'm still using it but based on a tip from another user, I format the card twice now. Have not had a problem since, however, I don't feel comfortable with it either. I have used Transend, SanDisk, Promaster, and one other brand beginning with an "L" that I can't remember right now. I have really liked the SanDisk Extreme III cards.
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