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Major update of CF/SD Performance Database underway  
Friday, February 10, 2006 | by Rob Galbraith

It's a period of renewal in the CF/SD Performance Database. In the latter half of 2005, other commitments limited the time we could devote to maintaining and growing an important and popular section of this site. But we're back, with new CompactFlash and Secure Digital (SD) cards, new cameras and a viable plan to bring all key sections of the repository of camera media transfer rate information up to date.

As before, the focus is on the digital SLR cameras that serious and pro shooters use most, which means Canon and Nikon models primarily, and a wide variety of CompactFlash and (SD) in capacities starting at 1GB. Going forward, we intend to test more 2GB and up CompactFlash cards, since these are the capacities requested most, while also expanding the range of higher-capacity SD too.

Today, we've added the Canon EOS 5D and Nikon D200 to the database, plus we've updated the Nikon D2X section. In the days ahead we'll be adding or updating performance numbers for the Canon EOS-1D Mark II N, EOS-1Ds Mark II and EOS 20D, as well as the Nikon D70s and SD-only Nikon D50. If all goes according to schedule, you'll see updated card-to-computer transfer rate data published before the end of February 2006 as well. A second wave of updates will occur a bit later this spring, and will include the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT/350D and several older digital SLR cameras that remain frequently visited within the database.

CompactFlash Additions

The CompactFlash cards that are either brand new to the database or hadn't yet been tested with some current/recent cameras include:

  • Corsair 1GB 80X 
  • Hoodman PPO 4GB 150X-133X
  • Kingston Ultimate 4GB 100X
  • Lexar Pro Series 2GB 133X
  • PNY Optima 1GB 80X
  • Pretec 2GB 80X
  • SanDisk Extreme III 4GB
  • SanDisk Ultra II 8GB
  • Transcend 1GB 80X
  • Transcend 2GB 120X
  • Transcend 4GB 120X
  • TwinMOS Ultra-X 2GB 140X

A Google search will turn up information on all of these cards, except one: the Hoodman PPO 150X-133X. That's because the digital camera accessory maker has yet to ship their new camera media line, but made a card available to us in advance of the official release. The southern California-based company has hooked up with contract electronics manufacturer Streamline/PC Partner to develop a high-performance CompactFlash series aimed at professional photographers.

Hoodman PPO series

Called Hoodman Professional Performance Only (PPO) 150X-133X, capacities of 512MB, 1GB, 2GB and 4GB are in the works, with assembly of the cards taking place in Streamline's Fremont, California facility using a new, speedy controller from Silicon Motion (SMI). As you'll see in our testing, Hoodman's line of cards is going to offer in-camera write speeds that are competitive with top-performing CompactFlash models like SanDisk Extreme III and Lexar Pro Series 133X, owing in part to the SMI controller's support for the fastest data timing modes of the CompactFlash v3.0 specification.

Bob Schmidt, Hoodman's VP of Sales, says the company is finalizing some of the remaining details of the PPO line, including which photo recovery software is going to be part of the PPO offering. The cards will have a lifetime warranty and will be bundled with Hoodman's FlashPack H-FP4 CompactFlash wallet. Schmidt says his company recognizes the importance of priority tech support for the working photographer, and will have both phone and dedicated email support for Hoodman PPO owners. They also have a commitment from Streamline to assist with advanced photo recovery should a professional photographer require it.

Hoodman plans to distribute its PPO CompactFlash cards only through pro photo retailers; the cards are to be available worldwide at the same pro dealers that carry Hoodman products now. The cards will officially be introduced at the PMA 2006 trade show later this month, with shipping to commence on March 1, 2006 around the globe. Pricing has not been set, though Schmidt indicates that they will be charging "a bit more" for the card's impressive performance.

While the PPO series isn't likely to make a significant dent in the sales of industry heavyweight SanDisk and their Extreme III line, or a resurging Lexar and their 133X models that are now coming available, it's always good to see competition in products that are critical to photographers who make a living with their digital camera.

SD Additions

We're also beefing up SD's representation in the database. As we continue the new information rollout this month, you'll find in-camera and card-to-computer throughput data for these cards:

  • A-Data Turbo 2GB 150X
  • ATP Pro Max 2GB 150X
  • Corsair 2GB 133X
  • Kingston 1GB 133X
  • Lexar Pro Series 2GB 133X
  • Panasonic Pro High Speed 1GB
  • Pretec 1GB 133X
  • Ridata Pro 2GB 150X
  • Transcend 1GB 80X
  • Transcend 4GB 150X

Please bear with us as we undertake the task of bringing online what amounts to the most significant update of the CF/SD Performance Database ever.

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