While I understand the importance of having good quality memory cards for your camera, I have always pretty much treated them as a commodity that you use and not really something to analyze enough to want to review. Yes, I know that like everything else, there are different levels of quality when it comes to memory cards, but I always looked at them like I would a camera battery – buy a good one and move on.
My thinking was that you want to buy from a reputable company that is known to make good, reliable products, and always buy from a known distributor – there are many black market look-alikes out there and you do have to be careful that you are getting the genuine product. That was until I came across the Lexar Professional 1000x 64GB Compact Flash!
Lexar Professional 1000x 64GB Compact Flash
I have had many Lexar products in the past and have always considered it to be one of those high quality companies. I have never had a failure with a Lexar memory card and I have a number that look as though they have been through a war zone. They get beat up, battered, exposed to the elements and they always keep right on going.
I also understand the ramifications of the different speeds that memory cards have and how that impacts how quickly the camera can record to the card. While most of the stuff I shoot is landscapes, portraits, creative art, weddings, and other items that do not require any great speed in writing to the device, there is one area that does. My daughter does do equestrian eventing and there are times where the enhanced speed in writing to the card is needed.
I recently purchased a Canon 5D Mark III camera and it has the ability to shoot up to 6.0 fps. As I said, my daughter does eventing and this consists of three disciplines – dressage, stadium jumping, and cross-country. If you have ever watched Olympic equestrian events, chances are you have seen eventing.
Dressage is pretty much a slow-paced discipline and a high-speed card is not really necessary. While stadium jumping can move pretty fast and a faster card is appreciated, if you have a good eye and steady hand, you can still get some good shots. It is during cross-country that a high speed card is really appreciated.
Since the event takes place on a large course, to shoot it you have to anticipate where the action is going to be. If you are lucky, you might be able to hustle from a first location to a second location while the rider is off in the woods – the courses can be anywhere from 2 – 4 miles in length depending on the level of the rider.
One of the usual areas is the water courses. This is where, depending on the complexity of the course, will approach the water, jump one set of obstacles, go through the water – perhaps jumping another obstacle, and then leave the water, jumping one or more sets of obstacles. Obviously this one of the more exciting portions of the run since you never quite know what the horse may do and how the rider will react.
This is one of those places that the Lexar Professional 1000x Compact Flash really excels! The Lexar Professional 1000x Compact Flash uses UDMA 7 technology that gives it that 1000x (150MB/s) sustained read transfer speed. This is especially true with some of the newer cameras and their high-speed capabilities.
When I got my new Lexar Professional 1000x Compact Flash I wanted to see for myself how much faster. While I appreciate scientific testing, to me it is about the feel in the field. I started with one of my old reliable cards – a Lexar Professional 133x. With 5D MKIII in hand I held down the shutter. I did this three or four times and the best I could achieve was 8 shots before it went into slow motion and the camera had to wait until the writing completed to take the next shot. Keep in mind I am capturing 22MP Raw + 2MP+ JPEG files.
Next I popped in the 1000x Compact Flash. I held down the shutter…and held it down… and held it down for a full 30 seconds. I was floored! 192 RAW+JPEG files later, the camera and card were not even breathing hard. This comes out to around 6.4 fps. I was completely blown away.
This past weekend I took my daughter for her cross-county and stadium lesson and played with card some more. I did both high-speed shooting as well as video capture. The card will handle 1080p full-HD and 3D video as well as supporting VPG-20 for professional-quality video. Again I was not disappointed! Everything capture smoothly without ever a slowdown. Next weekend is her first competition of the season and I can’t wait to see it work live.
Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader
Another thing that I always took for granted is the card reader. I always popped the card in copied the files over and was done. Again, as long as it was reliable, I didn’t worry about it that much. Well that was then. If you are going to invest in larger capacity media – which you ostensibly have to do with larger megapixel camera, you may want to look at the higher speed drive transfers of card readers.
Again, not being scientific, but rather real-world based. I popped my 64GB card which was somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 full and started downloading to my computer using my old card reader. It took 11 and 1/2 minutes to complete.
Then I switched to the Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader and did the same. It only took 5 1/2 minutes to complete. Effectively less than half the time! I don’t know about you, but when I come back from a week-end long equestrian shoot and I have 3-5 cards filled, that extra time will pay for the cost of the reader in one shoot.
Any way you look at it, I am sold on the Lexar Professional 1000x Compact Flash. They come in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB sizes so there is a size for everyone. I can see additional Lexar Professional 1000x cards in my future. They are not that much more expensive than slower speed cards, and, at least to me, it is nice to know I can use my camera to its utmost ability on a moment’s notice.
If you shoot anything that may need the high-speed capabilities of your camera – auto racing, football, hockey, basketball, and even other applications such has street shooting or wedding receptions where there a lot of action going on and you want to make sure that your card doesn’t give out when the action happens, then I have to very highly recommend Lexar Professional 1000x Compact Flash.