It looks like Lexar Media has some new competition. Delkin Device's PRO series Compactflash cards, introduced today, are the first flash memory-based CompactFlash cards to either beat the longtime speed leader's 24X-rated cards in certain digital SLR cameras, or trail by a relatively small margin. For example:
- In the Nikon D1X, Delkin's PRO 512MB and 640MB cards provide the fastest JPEG and RAW NEF format write speeds of any of the 27 cards currently in the CompactFlash Performance Database on this site, besting Lexar's 256MB 24X and 512MB 24X.
- In the Nikon D1H, the Delkin PRO 512MB and 640MB cards are quickest at writing NEF format photos.
- In the Canon EOS D60, the Delkin PRO 640MB offers the shortest JPEG and RAW CRW write times.
Update, November 7, 2002: Lexar's Pro Series 24X CompactFlash cards with Write Acceleration have regained top spot in the Nikon D1X and D1H, as long as the cameras are running the just-released v1.10 firmware. See Lexar Media's Write Acceleration delivers promised performance boost for more information.
Delkin PRO CompactFlash
Delkin's PRO cards, which were developed by the Poway, California-based company in conjunction with an unspecified design and manufacturing partner, may not occupy top spot in Nikon digital SLR cameras for long. Nikon's imminent release of new firmware for the D1X and D1H, which adds support for Lexar's Write Acceleration technology, will likely return Lexar to the pole position in those cameras (as it does in a D100 with Write Acceleration-enabled firmware).
Even so, Delkin's PRO CompactFlash will still be neck and neck with the fastest cards in almost all recent-vintage digital SLR cameras; in my testing, they placed out of the running only in the Nikon D1 and Canon EOS D30. In addition, they've already endured about ten days of steady shooting here, in a mix of Canon and Nikon digital SLRs, without missing a beat. In short, these cards seem to be the real deal.
Delkin PRO CompactFlash cards will be available in 128MB, 256MB, 320MB, 512MB and 640MB capacities. They are expected to hit the shelves of photo dealers, in North America, Europe and elsewhere, starting in the second week of November. Delkin has not provided suggested list or street prices as I write this, though company CEO Martin Wood indicates that the cards will be priced aggressively. Delkin's consumer line of CompactFlash cards will not be discontinued with the introduction of the PRO cards.
For a comparison of CompactFlash write speed performance in 11 different digital SLR cameras, check out the CompactFlash Performance Database.