Why does my D300s use up my mem­ory cards quicker than my D80?

Paul Moss, Wa­ter­ing­bury, UK

NPhoto - - Nikopedia -

Chris says… It sounds like this co­nun­drum has been caus­ing you sleep­less nights. You tell me that you set up both your Nikons for a shoot with newly-for­mat­ted 8GB cards, but while the D80 of­fered you a ca­pac­ity of 620 NEF files, the D300s in­di­cated space for 320.

The D80 has a 10.2-megapixel sen­sor, whereas the D300s has a 12.3-megapixel chip, so we would as­sume that the D80 will be able to fit more shots onto a card. But that does not ex­plain why the dif­fer­ence in ca­pac­ity is so great. How­ever, not all RAW files are the same. The D80 of­fers only one type: 12-bit com­pressed NEFs. This is the most mem­ory-ef­fi­cient set­ting. The more pro-level D300s gives you a choice be­tween 12-bit and 14-bit and be­tween Un­com­pressed, Loss­less Com­pressed, and Com­pressed op­tions.

My guess is that you have your D300s set to the 14-bit Un­com­pressed op­tion, which gives the best qual­ity but the fewest shots per card. Switch to 12-bit Com­pressed in the Shoot­ing menu (look for Type, within the NEF (RAW) Record­ing op­tion), and you should get 540 shots on your 8MB card.

Nikon SLR in­struc­tion man­u­als have a ta­ble at the back telling you the rough ca­pac­ity for ev­ery Im­age Qual­ity set­ting your cam­era of­fers.

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