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CompactFlash Performance Database updated  
Saturday, January 15, 2005 | by Rob Galbraith

The CompactFlash Performance Database has been updated to include data for the Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro.

In addition, we've retested the Canon EOS-1D Mark II. One of the undocumented changes in firmware v1.1.0, released in December 2004, is a signficant boost to in-camera write speed.

So big is the difference in throughput to better-performing CompactFlash cards that we opted to run the entire suite of cards here (CompactFlash and SD) through this camera again. The test results are now online.

Note: Late 2004 firmware updates for the EOS-1Ds Mark II and EOS 20D did not alter write speed performance in those models. With firmware v1.0.3 for the EOS-1Ds Mark II, and v1.1.0 for the EOS 20D, loaded into these cameras, the time it takes to write pictures is the same as before. Which means that both cameras remain quick at moving data to the card, and that now the EOS-1D Mark II is similarly quick.

We've also completed testing of the recently-released Ridata 80X/PRO. II CompactFlash card. As of today, we've published the results for this card in these four sections:

  • Canon EOS-1D Mark II
  • Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II
  • Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro
  • Card-to-Computer

We've also tested the GS Magicstor 2.2GB and Seagate ST1 5GB CompactFlash cards to the database. Well, sort of, anyway.

The Seagate ST1 5GB sustained a fall of about 2 inches onto a desk here, midway through testing. The drop proved fatal - the card's miniature hard drive will no longer spin up. Also harmed irreparably was our desire to track down a replacement ST1. While it could have been an unfortunate fluke that the card didn't survive its encounter with our desktop, it could also mean that Seagate's new CompactFlash offering isn't designed to withstand minor bumps and jolts unless it's nestled inside a portable music player (the CF card has been shipping as an embedded part of MP3 devices for several months, and it was a card pulled from a music player that we tested). Either way, the ST1 is off our To Do list for the foreseeable future.

Update, January 19, 2005: After this article was first published, a Seagate representative got in touch to discuss the paragraph above. John Paulsen, Sr. Manager in Corporate Communications at the company, indicates that the version of the Seagate CompactFlash card we tested is intended for use in embedded applications only, and that the design of the upcoming retail version, to be known as the Seagate CompactFlash Photo Hard Drive, is different enough from the ST1 that we should rethink our decision to exclude it from further testing. As we have no particular axe to grind with Seagate, we're likely to have a look at the Seagate CompactFlash Photo Hard Drive when one comes available, in the hopes that it will in fact withstand slight rough handling better than our tester ST1 did.

Both of the GS Magicstor 2.2GB units we have on hand are functioning, though they don't always seem happy about it. When both units behaved erratically in our reference card reader (the Lexar FireWire CompactFlash RW019), we cycled the two cards through about a dozen other USB 2.0 and FireWire readers. While each card seemed to work fine in some, in others they would fail to mount without repeated insertions of the card and, on the Mac, one of them would also occasionally and spontaneously disappear from the system (complete with a warning that the card was not ejected properly). We also had difficulties getting older Nikon cameras to recognize either card. Based on this apparent flakiness, we opted to suspend testing of the GS Magicstor 2.2GB.

State of the Union

We're a bit behind in bringing all actively tested cameras in the CompactFlash Performance Database up to date. Testing isn't lagging, it's the posting of the results that has been taking a back seat to other things. The goal is to plug the remaining data holes by the end of this month. Thanks for your patience if your camera's information hasn't yet been made current.

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