Mini Test

Is it worth in­vest­ing in a high-end SD card? We put six of the best to the test

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We test six pre­mium 32GB SD cards to see if they re­ally can de­liver the speed you need in a rugged form

Speed is a ma­jor con­sid­er­a­tion when you’re buy­ing a mem­ory card. In con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing mode, your cam­era is cap­tur­ing data faster than it can write to the card, so this data is stored in a tem­po­rary mem­ory buf­fer. When this buf­fer is full, the shoot­ing rate slows. The faster the card’s write speed, the quicker the buf­fer is cleared, which means you’ll be able to take more shots be­fore it fills up.

We’ve taken a look at a se­lec­tion of pre­mium 32GB UHS-1 (Ul­tra High Speed) Bus SDHC/SDXC cards, as th­ese are the most com­pat­i­ble with the present Nikon range. Each card has been put through two tests. The first checks the time it takes to clear the buf­fer: a D600 is set to 1/1000 sec in man­ual mode, then we shoot on con­tin­u­ous un­til the buf­fer is full and record the time it takes to clear the files to the card. By di­vid­ing the size of the files by the time taken to clear the buf­fer we’re able to es­tab­lish each card’s in-cam­era write speed. The sec­ond test uses Quick­Bench soft­ware to es­tab­lish the read/write times us­ing the built in PCIe Bus SD card reader on a Mac­Book Pro.


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