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Flash cards vs. micro drives.

Ok, just a quick question. I’m looking at adding more storage to my kit. I looked at CF cards and Microdrives (like IBM’s). Can anyone tell me what the differences are? The pros and cons of micro drives? Thanks.


by Bill Putnam at 2006-01-27 06:47:45 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) Baggers , Iraq | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Well micro drives are really slow for data transfer. The main thing is they are really fragile! You can pretty much do anything to a CF card (besides brake it in half) and it will still hold onto the data. I have put a few through the washing machine with no problem, plus they’re fast and cheap.

Go with the CF cards no question.

by [former member] | 27 Jan 2006 08:01 | toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
Hi Bill,
Obviously, there is a big difference in price between equal size formats, i.e. a good 2Gb CFlash card costs about $190.00 and a 3Gb (yes 3Gb) Microdrive cost about $120.00. That is in the US, don’t know about other countries but I expect the same parity. Now, every time I want to save some money and buy a big Microdrive I’m discouraged by other photographers (I’m doing the same here…) There are two things going against a MD: Moving parts and speed. It is, after all, a tiny hard drive; if you drop it, it could become unusable (and better pray you don’t have 500 pixs in there.) Then, there is the speed issue… Those same moving parts make them much slower in data transfer than a comparable CF.  If you have a fast camera, let’s say it shoots 5fps, you may be waiting for a while until the camera flushes the cache into the MD.
If speed is not an issue and you are extra careful, hey,! you can save some serious bucks with a MD.



by Luis E. Andrade | 27 Jan 2006 09:01 | Philadelphia Metro Area, United States | | Report spam→
Oops!! Chris was a faster typist… :-)

by Luis E. Andrade | 27 Jan 2006 09:01 | Philadelphia Metro Area, United States | | Report spam→
HeHe…I beat you.

by [former member] | 27 Jan 2006 09:01 | toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
Ok, good points. So I’ll be going for CF cards. Thanks for the advice, guys.

by Bill Putnam | 27 Jan 2006 09:01 | Baggers, Iraq | | Report spam→
Hi, Bill,

There’s also something to be said for NOT getting the largest card or drive possible. If you have all/most/many images on one device (i.e. CF card), and for some reason it fails, you’re ‘up you know what creek.’


by Wayne E. Yang | 27 Jan 2006 10:01 | | Report spam→
Great point Wayne!

I know it could be a pain to swap cards on a shooting but my biggest cards are 1GB, for that same reason.


by Luis E. Andrade | 27 Jan 2006 10:01 | Philadelphia Metro Area, United States | | Report spam→
Solid state wins for reliability hands down. Compact flash less likely to fail, no moving parts…

by Sean Dwyer | 27 Jan 2006 10:01 | Dublin, Ireland | | Report spam→
I’ve thought about that poin too. But I like compatibilty. Call it a curse from my time in the military. I also record a lot of sound on a CF recorder and the biggest card it’ll take is a 2GB. Sooo I bought 2GB cards for my camera and recorder. I’ve thought about going smaller but decided against it. I will probably order another couple of San Disk Ultra III 2GB cards this week.

by Bill Putnam | 27 Jan 2006 11:01 | Baggers, Iraq | | Report spam→
There used to be a time, like 4 years ago, where Microdives gave much faster speed than the solid state cards did and a about %25 of the price. Now they are much more expensive than ss cards are and still quite fragile. End of story.

by Jonathan Castner | 27 Jan 2006 13:01 | Denver, United States | | Report spam→
I just found some 2GB MDs for $150 and 2GB SS were $195.

by Bill Putnam | 27 Jan 2006 14:01 | Baggers, Iraq | | Report spam→
I was a Lexar shooter for a long time…until I got my hands on the Sandisk Extreme III! A couple bucks more than the Ultra but well worth it, the speed is amazing. Also the Ultra’s didn’t do well for me, was given (5) 512mb to try out, second day I had them 4 of the 5 failed. Now that was a few years ago so maybe Sandisk work out the bugs but I still have issues with trusting the Ultra cards (one of the reasons I went with Lexar, but now I’m back the Sandisk).

by [former member] | 27 Jan 2006 14:01 | toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
I’m using delkin efilm pro and never a burp…

by Sean Dwyer | 27 Jan 2006 14:01 | Dublin, Ireland | | Report spam→
Chris, looking on B&H’s site now. What’s the speed difference between the San Disk Ultras, Extremes and the "regular" cards?

by Bill Putnam | 27 Jan 2006 14:01 | Baggers, Iraq | | Report spam→
I can’t tell a difference between the San Disk Ultras and Extremes, but maybe with a camera that fires faster than my 20D you would notice something—or not.  I think it’s mostly hype.  No matter the card, you are still limited by your camera’s buffer, and whether you are shooting RAW or JPEG (file sizes).

by [former member] | 27 Jan 2006 15:01 | | Report spam→
Microdrive can easily be damaged since they have moving parts. CF cards have no moving parts and are more secure. I ditched my microdrives more than a year ago. I won’t use a microdrive for anything important. For more information on CF cards go to http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=6007 This site is a great resource for photo tech questions.

Using a microdrive is like taking film to a cheap lab that might or might not process it correctly. Why take the chance?

by Oscar Sosa | 27 Jan 2006 15:01 | Jacksonville, FL, United States | | Report spam→
I shoot RAW exclusively. I’m ordering two of the Ultra IIs this weekend. Need more memory. Only have two total for the recorder and two extra for the cameras (one each). The buffer issue isn’t really a problem. I don’t use burst modes, only single shot.

by Bill Putnam | 27 Jan 2006 15:01 | Baggers, Iraq | | Report spam→
Thanks, Oscar. I’ve book marked that site. I shoot with a D2H and D1X over here and the SanDisk Ultra IIs should be good to go. It’ll be a different matter when I my D200s. I’ll probably have to buy a portable harddrive!


by Bill Putnam | 27 Jan 2006 15:01 | Baggers, Iraq | | Report spam→
I think the Ultra cards last time I looked were at about 10mb per second (66x) wirte/read speed. the Extreme cards have a few more advantages first the speed is 20mb per second (133x) write/read and the other major thing is the “extreme” tempatures the cards will work in ,-13º F to 185º F (-25º C to 85º C)

When it comes to the cameras I really noticed a difference when I starting using the Extreme III cards (this was with D2h and D1X). Now that I’m shooting with the D2X there is no way I would think of using anything slower. SO with a D200 I would go with the ExtremeIII

Hope this helps.

by [former member] | 27 Jan 2006 16:01 | toronto, Canada | | Report spam→
I found that info too after looking on the site Oscar gave me. Well, when ever my images start selling I’ll by a D200. Till then, I’ll keep using the Ultra IIs.

by Bill Putnam | 28 Jan 2006 03:01 | Baggers, Iraq | | Report spam→

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Bill Putnam, Producer. Bill Putnam
Washington, D.C. , United States
Luis E. Andrade, I shoot and I write Luis E. Andrade
I shoot and I write
Philly Metro Area, Jersey Side , United States
Wayne E. Yang, Writer/Photographer Wayne E. Yang
Kaoshiung , Taiwan
Sean Dwyer, Press Photographer Sean Dwyer
Press Photographer
Dublin , Ireland
Jonathan Castner, Photojournalist Jonathan Castner
Denver , United States
Oscar Sosa, Photojournalist Oscar Sosa
Jacksonville, Fl , United States


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