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May 25 2011

Flash card testing

After ordering yet another grade of SDHC card, I decided to compare the three different models we have quantity of on hand using the SD4000 cameras.

SD official grading is supposed to be for minimum worst-case write speed from class 2 to class 10, so class 6 gets 6MB/s, class 10 gets 10MB/s, et cetera. Faster speeds are not graded under that system. Sandisk presents their own grades of 15MB/s, 20MB/s, 30MB/s, etc for their Sandisk Extreme line under non-industry-standard testing conditions. Recently, another official SD consortium grade, UHS-1, has come into existence for 45MB/s under controlled testing conditions.

Tests were performed by leaving the cameras with the shutter depressed until they ran out of battery. Lighting (and scene complexity) appeared to affect the results - the highly compressible files that were written when the lights were turned off 20 minutes into the tests came out at a steady 158 shots per minute. 10 minutes of lights-on shots were averaged to get these figures:

  • Transcend Class 6 16GB $26.75  - 110 shots per minute
  • Transcend Class 10 16GB $27.11 - 116 shots per minute
  • Sandisk Extreme 30MB/s 16GB $53.45  - 156 shots per minute
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