Home > Hardware, Photography Technic > Compact Flash card benchmark

Compact Flash card benchmark

December 5, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

I did a little test on three of my compact flash memory cards. Respectively a 2gb Kingston Ultimate 266x and 4gb and 16gb Kingston Elite 133x. Although this is not a lab condition test and time readings are not of perfect precision they reflect quite well the real performances of these cards. The test has been conducted on an Olympus E-3 and E-420 with same shutter speed and ISO rating speed. Batteries are genuine Olympus in good condition and fully charged. The subject and camera position was the same for all tests. The time in the tables below is, of course, expressed in seconds. Note the strange “low performance” achieved by the 4b 133x card on the E-3 which doesn’t occur on the E-420. I have no clue about that.

Olympus E-3 – shutter  speed 1/500s – ISO 200

Memroy Card Frames Written Write Time Write Time / Frame
Kingston Ultimate 266x 2gb 18 15.08 0.84
Kingston Elite 133x 4gb 16 19.14 1.19
Kingston Elite 133x 16gb 16 15.02 0.94

Olympus E-420 – shutter speed 1/500s – ISO 200

Memroy Card Frames Written Write Time Write Time / Frame
Kingston Ultimate 266x 2gb 10 6.79 0.68
Kingston Elite 133x 4gb 9 7.89 0.88
Kingston Elite 133x 16gb 8 6.90 0.86

According these results it appears that a 133x card is the best choice taking into account the price/performance ratio. I paid the Ultimate 266x 2gb nearly the same price than the Elite 133x 4gb. Half of storage capacity but not twice the performances on the E-3, far from that. Is it due to a limitation from the camera itself ? I don’t know but my guess is yes. My best buy was the Elite 133x 16gb. Bought it 45 US$ in a retail shop 6 months ago, quite a good price at this time for retail. Some people argues that 16gb is too much. I almost agree. On an empty card the E-3 announces a 930 frames capacity. In fact, it is between 30 and 40% more due to the Olympus raw file compression. With 1200 to 1300 pictures (in raw) on a single memory card you loose a lot if the card goes broken, lost or whatever. 4gb allows between 290 and 320 shots. This is nearly 8 or 9 rolls of films we used in the (not so) old times. Way enough for a short vacation, not to mention that you can carry more than one card. However 8 or 16gb can be a good choice for a short trip and depending on the subject. A good example is car race shooting or such kind of event which often requires horizontal panning shooting thus resulting in an important amount of pictures taken in a short time. Suppose you are covering such an event for one or two days, there is little chance that your 16gb (or more) card goes broken, stolen or lost. Depending on the subject and other factors a large memory card can be very convenient.

  1. February 1, 2010 at 08:52

    I truly believe that we have reached the point where technology has become one with our world, and I am fairly confident when I say that we have passed the point of no return in our relationship with technology.

    I don’t mean this in a bad way, of course! Ethical concerns aside… I just hope that as the price of memory drops, the possibility of copying our memories onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It’s one of the things I really wish I could experience in my lifetime.

    (Posted on Nintendo DS running R4i SDHC DS ZKwa)

  2. April 26, 2013 at 12:16

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  3. April 26, 2013 at 21:48

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