Is Your Memory Slowing You Down?

Before you blindly answer this question, you should know that fast memory cards are not only for sport and wildlife photographers. Wedding, event, and portrait photographers all benefit from having cards with fast write speeds to capture that unexpected moment. Even landscape photographers who take far less images can benefit. Cards with fast read speeds can download large image files to computers much faster. Memory card speed is just as important to your camera as it is to you in order to perform your best on the job. With this in mind, the folks over at Photoshelter have documented a series of tests to help determine which card is the fastest for your camera.

For this experiment, Photoshelter performed an audio test of the camera’s shutter actuations, observing the cadence between shots when the card’s buffer is filled. In other words, the longer the camera paused between each successive shot, the slower the card. Then they documented the number of images that popular cameras like the Nikon D4s and the Canon 6D can capture in 30 seconds, as well as the time it took each camera to capture 30 images. This extensive test was carried out using CF, SD, and XQD memory cards that differed in storage capacity, write speeds, and brand. A total of 12 professional camera bodies were used in the test, including the Fuji X-T1 and each of the Sony A7 camera series.

This information can be quite helpful in making purchasing decisions for your gear and also to solve any problems you may have as a result of a slower card. You can download the results of this test for free over at Photoshelter.

[via Photoshelter]

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David Vaughn's picture

You also have to take into account the internal card writer/reader. The 6D, for example, can't take full advantage of the 95 mb/s cards, because the camera's card writer is too slow. At least that's what I've gathered.

It's one of the reasons why you can't shoot 1080p video with Magic Lantern. It tops out at around 40mb/s, when 1080p RAW DNG requires somewhere around 50-60.

Spy Black's picture

Not sure about that landscape photographer remark, but certainly if you're doing any kind of time critical shooting, you should have the fastest card, or at least the fastest you can afford. Although Sandisk are essentially the king of speed, I traded some speed for storage and got some PNY 60MB/s 64 gig cards for cheap. They've been working out just fine for me:

Anonymous's picture

Anyone else having issues getting the guide? I tried with 3 different email addresses and nothing.