Fast SD card required

I am looking for an SD card at around 4GB to 8GB in capacity.
I am looking for a fast and reliable card. Ideally the card will be fast enough to shoot AVCHD Lite movies.
Recommendations anyone?

SanDisk Extreme III cards are very fast and also very expensive.

SanDisk Ultra II cards are quite fast and reasonably priced.

This is based on using said cards as removable storage in pc’s however, not using them in cameras.

There are also SanDisk Video HD cards labeled specifically for Video HD use, but that could be a marketing trick to sell the Ultra II cards at a higher price. EDIT: The listed price is actually the same as for Ultra II cards.

Pretty much any SDHC card labelled “Class 6” will work fine as these provide a minimum write speed of 6MB/s (assuming no fragmentation), more than quick enough for AVCHD Lite. Generally most Full HD camcorders recommend using Class 6 cards for 1080p recording. Class 4 cards should also work fine and are also a little cheaper. :slight_smile:

Class 2 SDHC cards may not be quick enough and will likely result in the camera stopping the recording if the card cannot keep up. I would also avoid SD and SDHC cards without an advertised class rating.

Generally the only time you would need extreme speeds (such as the SanDisk Extreme III) would be for continuous or rapid shooting, especially in professional DSLR cameras. For most compact cameras, the benefit they provide is likely negligible.

Thanks for the info.

I was looking at a Kingston class 6 133x 8GB card. Would this be any use?
SD6/8GB-U

[QUOTE=Bunny;2294158]I was looking at a Kingston class 6 133x 8GB card. Would this be any use?
SD6/8GB-U[/QUOTE] You’ll find it compared to some other cards in a Tom’s Hardware review here.

[QUOTE=Seán;2293599]Generally most Full HD camcorders recommend using Class 6 cards for 1080p recording. Class 4 cards should also work fine and are also a little cheaper. :slight_smile:

Class 2 SDHC cards may not be quick enough and will likely result in the camera stopping the recording if the card cannot keep up. I would also avoid SD and SDHC cards without an advertised class rating. [/QUOTE]

Actually, most Full HD camcorders recommend the use of Class 4 or faster SDHC cards for Full HD recording at maximum quality. (Note that “Full HD” is key, since nearly all consumer AVCHD camcorders are natively 1080i, and the currently-in-production Panasonic and Canon AVCHD camcorders “create” 1080p by way of software pulldown tricks. Panasonic used to offer a couple of high-consumer camcorders which natively recorded in 1080p - but their replacements, alas, reverted to the software-emulated 1080p in a native 1080i unit.) And the maximum supported bandwidth of AVCHD is just 24 Mbps - well within the 32 Mbps (note that “Mbps” means “megabits per second”, not “megabytes per second”) guaranteed minimum bandwidth of a Class 4 SDHC card.

The lesser Class 2 SDHC cards may not keep up with Full HD recordings made at the higher quality settings - but should suffice for those HD recordings made at lower quality settings or for Standard Definition recordings.

[QUOTE=Bunny;2294158]I was looking at a Kingston class 6 133x 8GB card. Would this be any use?
SD6/8GB-U[/QUOTE]

It would do, but there are better choices at the same or lesser price point (in other words, if you choose that Kingston card, you may be paying too much money for merely middling performance). The Kingston is relatively slow in sustained write speed for a Class 6 SDHC card; in fact, it is nearly as slow at writes as the same company’s standard Class 4 card (and slower than even a SanDisk Ultra II Class 4 card - in that card’s current revision, in production since the beginning of this year, which restored the performance which was lost in the revision which was produced during the second half of last year).

[QUOTE=RJL65;2299953](and slower than even a SanDisk Ultra II Class 4 card - in that card’s current revision, in production since the beginning of this year, which restored the performance which was lost in the revision which was produced during the second half of last year).[/QUOTE] [Rant]
This is what I hate about today’s technology - companies change the actual specifications of hardware such as flash memory cards and USB sticks without changing product names or official specifications. :rolleyes:

So when you think you have found something that works and want to buy it again, you may end up with something completely different.

I have (at least) three different versions of an A-Data 200x USB flash drive, one being significantly faster at writing (SLC) than the others (MLC). :doh:

[QUOTE=DrageMester;2300023][Rant]
This is what I hate about today’s technology - companies change the actual specifications of hardware such as flash memory cards and USB sticks without changing product names or official specifications. :rolleyes:

So when you think you have found something that works and want to buy it again, you may end up with something completely different.

I have (at least) three different versions of an A-Data 200x USB flash drive, one being significantly faster at writing (SLC) than the others (MLC). :doh:[/QUOTE]

Yes, I encountered something similar (but nowhere near the extremities of your case) when I compared 1GB and 2GB SD sizes of the SanDisk Extreme III card to the 8GB SDHC Extreme III (the original version, not the newer 30 MB/s Edition). The SD cards were SLC; the SDHC, MLC. Not surprisingly, the SDHC version is slightly slower at writing than its smaller-capacity mates.

And I have all three revisions of the SDHC Ultra II 15 MB/s card. The first revision (manufactured in the first half of last year) was quite fast at writing but slightly sluggish at reading. The second revision was faster at reading but noticeably slower at writing (but note that it was the only revision of the Ultra II which had a “Class 2” rating rather than the Ultra II line’s usual “Class 4” rating). The latest revision was pretty fast at both (just slightly slower at writing than the original Extreme III SDHC cards). All of these Ultra II cards are MLC.

I’ve the Panasonic DMC-LX3 which records in the legacy MJPEG format at 720p, consuming about 3MB/s.

With both my Adata 16GB Class 6 cards, I can shoot clips up to the 15 minute (~2GB) limitation, regardless of how filled the card is, as long as there is enough space left to shoot a 15 minute clip.

However, with my Dane-Elec 8GB Class 4 card, if there are some photos on the card, I can shoot between 3 and 5 minutes of video before it stops the recording with the following message:

In the above case, the card was nearly full, but I’ve seen this happen on me even when this card was partially filled. I’m sure it would record video fine if this card was completely empty, as from what I read (at least on Wikipedia), the class rating is the minimum write speed the card is capable of when completely empty.


[QUOTE=Seán;2300265]I’ve the Panasonic DMC-LX3 which records in the legacy MJPEG format at 720p, consuming about 3MB/s.

With both my Adata 16GB Class 6 cards, I can shoot clips up to the 15 minute (~2GB) limitation, regardless of how filled the card is, as long as there is enough space left to shoot a 15 minute clip.

However, with my Dane-Elec 8GB Class 4 card, if there are some photos on the card, I can shoot between 3 and 5 minutes of video before it stops the recording with the following message:

In the above case, the card was nearly full, but I’ve seen this happen on me even when this card was partially filled. I’m sure it would record video fine if this card was completely empty, as from what I read (at least on Wikipedia), the class rating is the minimum write speed the card is capable of when completely empty.[/QUOTE]

Seán, you may have an earlier version of the Dane-Elec Class 4 SDHC card. That earlier card maxed out at only around 6~7 MB/s sequential write speed and thus was ill-suited to HD video recording. They (and other companies which used that revision of the Toshiba-made SDHC card) should have rated it as a Class 2 card, not a Class 4 card. Currently shipping revisions now write at just over 10 MB/s and thus justify their Class 4 labeling.

I just checked my Dane-Elec Class 4 card with a few simple write tests and it seems like it’s a really early one based on its write performance, not even giving the 6MB-7MB/s speed you mention.

I timed the copying of a few reasonably large files (~180MB) to the card and got a measured write speed of about 3.6MB/s. I repeated using the Adata Class 6 card and got a measured write speed of just over 11MB/s for each file. I repeated the test with the Dane-Elec card (due to source file caching) and got about 3.9MB/s this time.

On the other hand, I don’t particularly mind as generally I always keep the 16GB card in the camera and use the 8GB card for music and video files in my media player. :wink:

[QUOTE=Seán;2300321]I just checked my Dane-Elec Class 4 card with a few simple write tests and it seems like it’s a really early one based on its write performance, not even giving the 6MB-7MB/s speed you mention.

I timed the copying of a few reasonably large files (~180MB) to the card and got a measured write speed of about 3.6MB/s. I repeated using the Adata Class 6 card and got a measured write speed of just over 11MB/s for each file. I repeated the test with the Dane-Elec card (due to source file caching) and got about 3.9MB/s this time.

On the other hand, I don’t particularly mind as generally I always keep the 16GB card in the camera and use the 8GB card for music and video files in my media player. ;)[/QUOTE]

Sounds like your particular Dane-Elec card did not meet the Class 4 spec. In fact, that card might also fall short of even the Class 2 spec as well. Your particular card was made in Toshiba’s factory in Taiwan (not Japan) - and that factory also made the Class 2 cards sold under the Kingston brand. The Toshiba cards made in Taiwan have always been much slower and less reliable than the same company’s cards made in Japan.

The 6MB/s-7MB/s write speed I obtained came from an early PNY-branded 4GB SDHC Class 4 card that was made in Japan.

Going by the back of my card, it says “Made in Japan”, although it’s quite possible that this is where the card itself was made, but not the flash chip inside.

The only other two Dane Elec’s I have are two 16GB USB pen drives. They don’t say where they’re made in (even on the packaging), but with a quick write test, I get about 9.3MB/s on this.



I ended up with the Kingston class 6 card. The price was right and it works in my camera perfectly.

Thanks all again for the suggestions.