Lexar, Sandisk... Does it matter? - Digital Photography School

Lexar, Sandisk… Does it matter?

Sorry to bother you, what memory card do you have in your camera right now?”

I’ve been thinking a lot about the memory that my camera uses and why I use one brand as opposed to another. If I open up my PixelPocketRocket right now and see what cards are in there, this is what we have… (most used to least used)

1. Sandisk Extreme Pro 32GB
2. Lexar Professional 600x 16GB
3. Sandisk Extreme IV 16GB
4. Sandisk Extreme III 4GB
5. Sandisk Extreme III 4GB
6. Sandisk Extreme III 4GB
7. Kingston 133x 4GB
8. Transcend 120x 4GB
9. Transcend 120x 4GB
10. adata compact flash 16GB

I have recently taken delivery of the two new “pro” cards, the Lexar 600X and the SanDisk 600x and I had in mind to do a traditional “speed test” however, when every other man and dog went and did the same thing, it became quite clear that both cards were high end and that they would both be very suitable for high end dSLR cameras with HD video and all the other bells and whistles that are currently offered in the glossy brochure.. I had a re-think and decided that I’d “go public” and start my own little month long project… I decided to ask as many people in the street (with cameras!) and other people that I know just what memory cards they use, I was faced with blank stares, quizzical shrugs and long, in depth conversations!

Here’s what I came up with…

There was a very clear winner! With 89 startled tourists and some wary professionals surveyed, 73 of them were using Sandisk memory cards, 5 of them were using Lexar and 11 of them, the remainder, were using another brand, which for this little write up is largely unimportant… (3 x Transcend /3 x Dixons /4 x Canon and one Kingston).

So let’s say I reviewed 78 people and only 5 of them were using Lexar, the rest were using Sandisk, and of those five, two were professionals and the other three were very proficient amateurs (The kind that stop you on the street to talk depth of field) That means that in very general terms, if we were to apply this minute set of numbers to the photographic world, that Sandisk holds about 93.6% of the compact flash camera memory market – now, before you all click the comments button and tell me to get a grip, yes, I’m aware that surveying 78 people doesn’t make it even close to a “proper technical result” but it’s interesting, isn’t it!


The next question would have to be “why”

I asked the people that I stopped why they chose to use the memory cards that they had, again there was a resounding statistic! almost everyone said that someone they know or trusted had recommended Sandisk and they had purchased their memory on that basis. There were a couple that had purchased based on technical specifications and one or two that liked the packaging of one over the other…

Let’s break it down a little…

Both cards are almost identical speed wise, they’re almost the same price (Based on Amazon pricing) with Sandisk at $191.45 and Lexar at $219.00. They both come with some form of recovery software and they both offer a decent warranty – Lexar Pro Series is the life of the original purchaser (or 10 years in Germany.. No idea why!) and Sandisk has a life time warranty on their pro products too, but this time you get 30 years if you’re in Germany… Hmmm (Anyone, Why?) — So, we see that there really isn’t much in it right? Wrong!

So it all comes down to marketing, does it?

Sandisk has been with us in some form or other since 1988 and are easily the largest camera memory manufacturer around today, Lexar was born in 1996, a spin off from Cirrus Logic (remember them?!) so there is more history with Sandisk and there is, no doubt one heck of a marketing budget…

Does it matter what you use?

Yes, it certainly does! How many of you have lost images due to a faulty memory card? I know I have, and it won’t happen again… Two reasons, I only use well known brands now (Lexar and Sandisk) with a couple of others as absolute back-ups in case of some large scale disaster (..lost at sea and the Lochness Monster appears to tow me to safety and all I have left is the aData!) but more importantly, I keep my cards clean and in my PixelPocketRocket at all times when they’re not in my camera…

Bottom Line?

  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket (photos on one card) I would always suggest that two 4gb cards will serve you better than one 8gb card!
  • Buy the best you can afford, do you put cheap oil in an expensive car? (I know, what an awesome analogy!)
  • If someone comes up to you in the street to ask what CF card you have, don’t be scared!

http://www.lexar.com/ — http://www.sandisk.com/

I hope this helps someone, somewhere… It was an interesting research project for me!

Sime

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Sime is the community manager of the dPS Forums and lead blogger in our Cameras and Gear Blog. He's a Melbourne based photographer, www.gtvone.com and please feel free to follow him on Twitter

  • spb

    Sime, I hope you will get a minute to look at this thread. Nice timing :)
    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=868319

  • http://WIP Peter Richardson

    Hi all,

    I have never had any card fail on me.

    It is still a constant worry.

    I use a 16GB SanDisk Extreme 30MB/s and am very happy with it.

    I usually fill/a;most fill the card up every day and empty every day, the card rarely leaves the camera, which, I prefer to constantly switching smaller cards, which I feel, rightly or wrongly has more potential for loss /damage.

    Peter

  • Harry Abernathy

    I found this very interesting because I just found out that my new (last fall) Sony alpha A900 just goes cabloozie if it meets a memory card larger than 4 gigabytes!!! I assumed it was the card, so I tried three different makes and models of cards and none of them worked any better than the others. It was only when I thought to check the manual that I discovered that it does, indeed, go “off the map sideways” (technical jargon for cabloozie) when you use a memory card larger than 4 gigs. Given the movement towards ever greater capacities, I’m wondering how much longer makers will produce 4 gig cards, especially CF types. I expect that sony will find a firmware/software upgrade that will address this issue but for now I’m relegated to 105 raw images at a time (not that I’m complaining). Remember when 36 exposures seemed like a lot?

    Keep up the great work.

  • http://www.dbmcbride.com David

    I have used SanDisk mostly. I did use a ‘microdrive’ version for a while when that was the cheapest way to get a higher capacity card, but I did have one fail.

    I also stick to 4Gig cards as once downloaded they transfer nicely to DVD for offline backup.

  • http://www.don-peterson.com Don Peterson

    I have always purchased SanDisk memory for my cameras mainly because it is a familiar brand and has been around for a long time. I do have some memory that was given to me or came free with other purchases including Lexar, and Transcend. I have taken thousands of pictures and have never lost any to a faulty memory card.

  • Ralph Durtschi

    I hope I do not come off too harsh here.
    I hear a lot of opinion in this article but see no factual data regarding failure rate or speed and the minimum speeds required for certain camera functions.

    Here is a great article for some real facts:http: //www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=6007

    Go to page two, select your camera and look at the data for each type of card. Excellent comparisons.

    Ralph

  • mare53

    Hi Everyone —

    First let me say that I am not a technical person; this is just my two cents and it’s all based on personal experience. When I first bought my Canon 20D back in the day, I only used SanDisk and they worked very well. I too, threw a couple of cards in the washer and dryer and even had one that was slightly chewed up by my dog and yes, they all continued to work with no problem. I was pretty happy with SanDisk — and yes they were the most popular brand and readily available in all the local stores. Along the way, I added larger (SanDisk) memory cards to my collection going from the 512mb to 1G to 2G and finally purchasing several 4G SanDisk cards. I also invested in a 4G Hitachi HD that failed the first day — although a friend of mine who bought one the same day is still using it; go figure.

    Things changed when I upgraded to a Canon 40D — all of a sudden I started to get “corrupt file” messages when attempting to download my SanDisk cards; and I had to start shooting in RAW and JPEG because inevitably one of the RAW files would come out looking like the old timey color television “test pattern” screens. So I started to talk to other photographers, doing a similar survey to the one done here and finally called a couple of the larger NYC-based camera stores and got their opinion on the matter; bottom line: I switched to LEXAR and haven’t had a problem since. [NB: everyone I spoke to agreed that the "speed" is totally driven by the how fast the camera can write to the card.]

    It may all boil down to luck of the draw, but I will stick with Lexar for now. I have three of their 8GB cards and they perform flawlessly in my Canon 5D Mark II — still images as well as movie images.

    I invested in a Lexar firewire card reader and it’s quite fast however, my older MacBook (2008) does not have a firewire connection so I am using a good old-fashioned USB reader and with the Canon 5D files the USB reader is slower than molasses in winter! Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks everyone; ciao
    mare

  • http://gadeyne.smugmug.com/ Philippe Gadeyne

    In most cases, the decision boils down to availability, as in what brand the retailer carries, how they are displayed (what brand has the most real estate), price, advertising exposure and comments and recommendation posted on websites. For more advanced photographer, brand recognition becomes more important as does performance.
    It is important to recognize that so called generic, or less known brands are manufactured by big name brands and lesser known brands in the photographic arena (like Viking) are giants in the memory market. the fact that they do not advertise heavily in the photography market does not mean their product is of inferior quality. Often times they are built to higher specifications than commercial memory cards, built for military or aerospace markets under much stringent specifications (reliability, temperatures).
    The study as described was too superficial to actually draw valid conclusions

  • http://Davidsweddingphotography.com David

    I shoot weddings with a nikon d700 and had a lexar “professional” 32gb compact flash. It crashed on it’s 3rd wedding and only 50% of the files could be recovered. In my opinion, Sandisk is the only way to go. After 5 years of shooting, a sandisk has never crashed. I’ll never buy lexar again.
    David
    davidsweddingphotography.com

  • Veronica

    I can only add my own experience here – I’ve only ever used Lexar Pro CF cards and, thankfully, they have never let me down. They are plenty fast and I’ve never lost a single photo or had a corrupted file so far.

  • Glenn

    The card that I use mostly is made by Toshiba, they are reasonably priced and I’ve never had a compatibilty problem.

  • Lisa

    I am also a SanDisk user. I’ve purchased an off brand card from a local camera store and that was a mistake. I Lost pictures using that card. Never any issues with my SanDisk though.

  • Mike

    I’m with Jim,
    I reckon Sime must have a skewed analysis. I use sandisk, transcend,kingston and adata. 8s 16s and 32s.
    Whatever I can get at the best price. I transfer directly to 2 hard drives then reformat the sd. No problems so far with any brand.

  • Pio Danilo P. Cuadra

    I use Kingston and RiData CF cards, which are the most available here in Southeast Asia. I am particularly fond of Ridata 8GB 233X Lightning series cards which I used during a tour to Beijing City last year at the end of winter. I have taken with it great pictures of Forbidden City, Great Wall, Summer Palace,Temple of Heaven etc. This year when, I went to Singapore, and I used this same tyoe of CF card to take pictures at Sentosa island, Universal Studios etc. It served me well and I have three (3) of this , which I bring everytime i travel.

  • Nicholas Fulford

    I use two 16GB Extreme III cards, and offload fairly regularly. My camera eats memory like nobody’s business, and especially if I am shooting 14-bit raw over 24MP. The Extreme III’s seem plenty fast enough, but then I do mostly floral, landscape, architectural, and almost always from a tripod. Hence, speed is not the issue, though robustness of the memory is. So far so good, no lost shots in about a year with them.

  • http://www.bobbymayberry.com bobby62914

    Shooting speed is not a concern with my 40D, I have found no difference because of the buffer. Downloading with an external reader there is a big difference. I have three SanDisk 8gb (two have 30MB/s speed, the other 15MB/s), two SanDisk 2GB, a Lexar 1GB and a U-Teck 4GB that I bought off of eBay when cards were expensive.

    The two 8gb with 30MB/s speed I bought at Walmart for $39 each and I love them.

    I also reformat card every time.

    Never had a problem with my 40D or with my previous camera, the Rebel XT that I had for three years. I have also washed them on occasion…

  • ant

    correction…. also trying to help.

    loosing is a word. as in “loosing an arrow, robin hood called for help”
    but I agree the word he wanted WAS “losing”

  • Mick-H

    The first post from “C A McLaughlin” mentions the most important thing for reliable memory cards! RE-FORMAT.
    I know of quite a few people who have had trouble with card errors etc, in the past, but no longer have the same problems since re-formatting their cards after every use, instead of just deleting the images and re-shooting.
    BTW I have used aprox 4 brands of card and have never had a card error since I started to re-format them aprox 7 years ago (shouldn’t have said that lol, tempting fate) I’m not saying there aren’t any dodgy cards out there, but there are less than most people think, as allot of it is down to “user error”.
    Just remember to Re-Format your card (IN CAMERA) on a regular basis, or before every new shoot, and you will greatly lessen your chances of card errors.
    ATB
    Mick

  • George E. Norkus

    Generally I purchase cards that will hold about 1,000 shots. For my present Pentax K20D, (RAW plus jpeg equals about 21meg per shot.). That boils down to an 8 to 16 gib card. If I lower the size then I can go to a 4 or 8 gig card.

    It’s no promise you’ll not have a bad card later on but one good initial check is to use your computer and fill the card with photos and see what happens.

    BTW: Sandisk for me. Out of a dozen, I’ve never had a bad one yet.

  • http://www.lourceyphoto.com/blog Larry Lourcey

    Great point about using more small cards vs putting all your images on one giant card. Just makes sense.

  • Tomas

    San Disk only
    In a REBEL XSI

  • http://gtvone.com Sime

    I mentioned that everyone else was talking about speed, and so I wasn’t going to…

    Sorry but an overstated article I think.
    Most DSLRs have a buffer speed or built in ram for processing that limits the potential of the camera.

    …It’s more about who’s buying what and seemingly why…

    …and if you used the oil from the Porsche 911e in a Cosworth engined Escort, It would go as fast – but largely have nothing to do with the oil… (or the CF card) :P

  • http://gtvone.com Sime

    and thanks for all the spelling lessons… ?? (laughing here) don’t you people have photos to take?!…

  • Mick-H

    @ Mike (May 7th, 2010 at 2:06 am)

    Hi Mike
    The best thing you can do is format the card after every use. Just upload your images to your PC, (make sure you have saved them all, and back-up if necessary) then re-format your card.
    This will re-write the structure (FAT etc) of the card, and if any bad sectors do exist on your card, it should isolate them, so as not to be used in future.
    Always format your card in your camera, and not on the PC.
    Not only is it quicker to format the card to erase your images/data, than it is to delete them individually, but by re-formatting and essentially wiping the slate clean and starting again, you are less likely to receive corrupt data errors.
    Image “quality” will not suffer at all because of overwriting etc, as an image is actually just made up of 1′s & 0′s.
    If you can get into the habit of formatting your cards on a regular basis, I guarantee you will suffer allot less errors/problems than someone that doesn’t.
    All the best
    Mick

  • http://n/a Mike

    Thanks Mick,

    I do indeed format my cards every time after downloading my photos.
    I format in my camera as well.
    Happy to hear that by doing all of the above that my chances of having any problems
    is slight.

    Thanks again for the great information.

    MIke

  • Mick-H

    No probs Mike, you’re welcome.
    While I’m about it, I think I ought to try and simplify my explanation about the image quality, if I can :-) .

    Suppose the colour Red was represented digitally as (10101010) and you had 2 cards, one new and one well used & tatty etc.
    The colour red will still be recorded as (10101010) on both cards, despite their condition.

    Image quality will only be degraded by the lens, light, camera shake or image compression etc.
    I hope this explains it a bit better, I think it does lol, but if not, I’m sure there will be something on the internet that will explain it in more detail than I can.
    All the best (happy snapping)
    Mick

  • Paul Finnigan

    I use the largest, cheapest cards I can find! OK last time I bought any 16Gb were considered large enough, and probably are for my Nikon. I just look for the best deal.

    In my experience most problems with cards are caused when you insert/remove them from the camera. I therefore avoid doing this as much as possible, I even put up with lower transfer rates and copy everything over USB rather than remove the card from the camera.

    I have over the years lost about 4 cards, all when moving them about. Brand has not been a factor so I just buy on price. After only using SANdisk initially I have not noticed a difference in moving to other brands. I used SAN for about five years before changing my buying policy. The failure rates? About the same, two of the failures were SANdisk and two were not. I know that all the failures happened when I removed/inserted them into a camera.

  • Lily Sampson

    I have Lexar, Canon and Kingston in my camera bag. Until a year or so ago I just had San Disk. Then I unfortunately had a problem with a San Disk card. It was faulty and ruined the card compartment in my Canon DSLR. The repair cost was $210.00. The repair shop said it doesn’t happen often but unfortunately it does happen. I contacted San Disk and they got right back to me although I had to make all comments through their site and not regular e-mail. They said the same thing as the repair shop owner (after it was proven that it was the card that caused the problem) and said that it was unfortunate but that their responsibility was to replace the card only. They asked for my mailing address to send me a new card and that was the last I ever heard of it. No card, no more correspondence. When I went back to their site, used the password to check, all I could get was a statement saying that the problem was successfully taken care of. I realize it could have happened with any card from any company but I am leery of San Disk now. I realize it is a very popular brand but I like to deal with a company that I feel would follow through on it’s promise.

  • http://www.marielloydphotography.co.uk Jason Lloyd

    Sandisk and Lexar – why use anything else!

    Bewware of fake Sandisks though on ebay…

  • Mick-H

    Hi Lily
    I expect whatever Sandisk actually told you was a standard bull$&*t reply, and if you had got some legal advice, you’d have probably found that they would have been held accountable for damage caused by their product, as long as you could prove it was a faulty card that caused the damage.
    Either way, I would have expected more from a company as big as Sandisk! (tight-ar$*s :-)
    Anyway, let’s hope you have better luck in the future,
    All the best
    Mick

  • Lily Sampson

    Thanks so much Mick. Your reply made me feel much better. It was proven that the card caused the damage. Even Sandisk admitted that. I guess I shouldn’t have made it so easy for them but hind sight is 20-20. I just hope it never happens to another photographer.
    Cheers,
    Lily

  • Gerome

    Actually, I find neither to be as good as newer brands. Sandisk likes to overprice dramatically. And my Lexar card literally fell apart after only about a dozen uses. I will never buy another Lexar card. The card I use has faster read/write speeds, is reasonably priced and seems to be really durable. I also bought a new USB stick from the same manufacturer.

  • photoman022

    The truth is, I have four memory cards and none of them are bigger than 2 GB. They are also cheaper than buying much larger cards. I rotate their usage and format them every time I put them in the camera. In four years of digital photography I haven’t lost any images. If I travel overseas, or the like, I’ll consider buying a larger memory card, but I’d much rather just download my photos regularly so that, if a memory card goes berserk, I won’t lose too many memories.

  • Matthew Parakas

    Hey what a great ad for for Sandisk and Lexar. Anyway, I’m not sure where this post if from but I live in Australia and frankly, the only cards your can get eaily are Sandisk. No one seems to stcik anything else, so it’s little wonder most people use them. You can other brands but you have to go searching. I buy mine online, and I don’t buy Sandisk. It would seem that there are a bunch of other brands readily availabel in other countries that don’t get stocked by lockal shops. Does anyone else have a problem paying $150 and over for something only lightly larger than your fingernail? All my cards are 16GB and conform the the camera manufacturer’s specs. Most are Transcend with a couple of others I found in Hong Kong. None have ever failed me and typically take over 3000 photos on a Cannon 60D in RAW when on holiday. And they are all well under $100. If you’re not a full time professional and can’t afford the exorbitant prices of the big brands then don’t use them. They are ripping you off.

  • Matthew Parakas

    Hey what a great ad for for Sandisk and Lexar. Anyway, I’m not sure where this post if from but I live in Australia and frankly, the only cards you can get easily are Sandisk. No one seems to stock anything else, so it’s little wonder most people use them. You can get other brands but you have to go searching. I buy mine online, and I don’t buy Sandisk. It would seem that there are a bunch of other brands readily availabel in other countries that don’t get stocked by local shops. Does anyone else have a problem paying $150 and over for something only slightly larger than your fingernail? All my cards are 16GB and conform the the camera manufacturer’s specs. Most are Transcend with a couple of others I found in Hong Kong. None have ever failed me and I typically take over 3000 photos on a Cannon 60D in RAW when on holiday. And they are all well under $100. If you’re not a full time professional and can’t afford the exorbitant prices of the big brands then don’t use them. They are ripping you off.

  • http://www.gtvone.com Sime

    Matthew, this post is from me, I’m in Coffs Harbour… I can get (I was in there yesterday) seven different types of memory card in the local camera shop…

    As for paying for something that, as you put it, is only slightly larger than your finger nail… errr, I pay for the technology that works for me… If my CF cards were bigger, they would’t fit in my camera :D

    The only card that’s failed me was a cheap aData, and I doubt that it had anything to do with the card… more me… You get recovery software and good support when you pay for it, you don’t when you don’t…

    Choice is yours, but please don’t be narrow minded about why prices are higher with certain brands…

    Simon

  • Matthew Parakas

    No worries Sime, just a shout out to other cash strapped enthusiast out there not to be affriad of the less expensive brands. As for finding different brands, I might have to move to Coffs Harbour! The range in Brisbane is distinctly lacking.

  • Janine Eastman

    All I know is right now I have two Lexar CF cards (1 professional 1 regular) that just went thru the washer and dryer and didn’t lose a single image.

  • http://mmcamaro@c-zone.net lisa Thomas

    bought a sandisk 15 days ago its an extreme pro 16gb. and it quit working in my d7000. Luckily the pictures were ok, contacted the company I got it from and they said the would only exchange it if I had the original packaging. did matter if i had a receipt for it or not. Not to sure if sandisk will be my next card for my camera!!

  • http://N/A Artie Andrews

    I have used all kinds of cards (most all are MICRO SD form factor, and all different sizes, up to 16GB. I have used them in cellphones, cameras, and computers.

    I like Sandisk and would recommend it not only because I think they’re more reliable than cheaper brands, but because i KNOW they are.

    I have used the following:

    - SANDISK
    - PNY
    - Lexar
    - No name brands from china

    The PNY cards are cheap as to the sandisk ones. However, i have had issues with TWO SEPARATE PNY cards in the past, and so have my family members!

    PNY cards often tend to pixilate images. I have taken images on cellphones and digital cameras using PNY cards and often 5-10 out of every 100 pictures taken is messed up. Half of the picture shows up and the other have is BLENDED WITH ANOTHER PICTURE YOU TOOK! Its very strange. Or sometimes 25% of the picture is colorful lines and static looking. Its very odd. It has happened to me multiple times as well as my sister after emailing pictures taken from a PNY card.

    Sandisk i have never had that problem. And lexar i don’t know, Ive only had 1 lexar card in the past (i don’t recall it ever doing this.

    Bottom line, I would recommend Sandisk.

  • Defying Gravity

    Sandisk manufacture everything, from the flash wafer, to the chip, to the encasing, to the packaging. Other manufacturers purchase their memory from Toshiba etc and then get their controllers from other companies, hence their lack of consistency.
    SanDisk is used in in the Space shuttle, they supply all the memory for IPhone, Ipod, Ipad and even supply memory for Samsung galaxy tabs (samsung being a flash memory manufacturer themselves)….This should tell you something…
    Yes, a failed card can happen, but their failure rate is almost non-existent. Most of the failures I have heard about come after incorrect use, like plugging the card in while the camera is on, or taking it out while the camera is on, taking the card out while the camera is still writing to the card (which can’t happen on the new Sandisk cards by the way).
    So there is a huge difference and like the one person said here, they have a reputation to uphold so their product will always be excellent

    Yes, failiuer

  • KimBokeh

    Used Lexar Pro CF on my D700 shooting a football game. At half full, the camera indicated I had to format the card. I had to format and lose the first half of the game. That was regretful. Called Lexar Customer Service, and they told me never to delete photos in camera, I should format the card only with the computer, restrictions, restrictions. I then bought the Sandisk Extreme card, and had absolutely no problem EVER. I can delete photos in camera, format in camera, store movies, documents, program files on the card, and use it to shoot photos, without any issue.

  • david

    Hi,

    I need price quote for this below promotional item for my company
    forthcoming trade fair.The company
    Item:MICRO SD MEMORY CARD 1GB OR 2GB THE ONE WITH ADAPTER BLACK TYPE.
    Item Quantity:2000 units.
    Get back to me on this ASAP.

    Regards,
    David Lawson.
    davidsonlanson@gmail.com

  • terryh2c

    I have had only bad experiences with Lexar cards of varying sizes. I bought a 16Gb for my 5D – it fried the logic and motherboard on insertion. Just waiting for the quote to fix. Bought an 8Gb for my 300D – it looks like it has done the same. And yes, they were bought from a reputable dealer etc.
    I can’t begin to tell you how angry I am.
    I have used Sandisk’s for years – never had a problem.

  • Paul Anderson

    Perhaps a bit of an update for this blog? Comments from 2010 and obvious no comment on the newer and faster CF cards that are on the market now? Has the market share shifted at all – even within a minute non-scientific sample of less than 100?

  • Robinski

    It helped me. Thanks!

Some older comments

  • Paul Anderson

    March 18, 2013 02:13 am

    Perhaps a bit of an update for this blog? Comments from 2010 and obvious no comment on the newer and faster CF cards that are on the market now? Has the market share shifted at all - even within a minute non-scientific sample of less than 100?

  • terryh2c

    February 3, 2012 11:04 am

    I have had only bad experiences with Lexar cards of varying sizes. I bought a 16Gb for my 5D - it fried the logic and motherboard on insertion. Just waiting for the quote to fix. Bought an 8Gb for my 300D - it looks like it has done the same. And yes, they were bought from a reputable dealer etc.
    I can't begin to tell you how angry I am.
    I have used Sandisk's for years - never had a problem.

  • david

    January 29, 2012 07:46 am

    Hi,

    I need price quote for this below promotional item for my company
    forthcoming trade fair.The company
    Item:MICRO SD MEMORY CARD 1GB OR 2GB THE ONE WITH ADAPTER BLACK TYPE.
    Item Quantity:2000 units.
    Get back to me on this ASAP.

    Regards,
    David Lawson.
    davidsonlanson@gmail.com

  • KimBokeh

    November 2, 2011 04:49 pm

    Used Lexar Pro CF on my D700 shooting a football game. At half full, the camera indicated I had to format the card. I had to format and lose the first half of the game. That was regretful. Called Lexar Customer Service, and they told me never to delete photos in camera, I should format the card only with the computer, restrictions, restrictions. I then bought the Sandisk Extreme card, and had absolutely no problem EVER. I can delete photos in camera, format in camera, store movies, documents, program files on the card, and use it to shoot photos, without any issue.

  • Defying Gravity

    October 13, 2011 07:50 am

    Sandisk manufacture everything, from the flash wafer, to the chip, to the encasing, to the packaging. Other manufacturers purchase their memory from Toshiba etc and then get their controllers from other companies, hence their lack of consistency.
    SanDisk is used in in the Space shuttle, they supply all the memory for IPhone, Ipod, Ipad and even supply memory for Samsung galaxy tabs (samsung being a flash memory manufacturer themselves)....This should tell you something...
    Yes, a failed card can happen, but their failure rate is almost non-existent. Most of the failures I have heard about come after incorrect use, like plugging the card in while the camera is on, or taking it out while the camera is on, taking the card out while the camera is still writing to the card (which can’t happen on the new Sandisk cards by the way).
    So there is a huge difference and like the one person said here, they have a reputation to uphold so their product will always be excellent

    Yes, failiuer

  • Artie Andrews

    September 11, 2011 07:22 pm

    I have used all kinds of cards (most all are MICRO SD form factor, and all different sizes, up to 16GB. I have used them in cellphones, cameras, and computers.

    I like Sandisk and would recommend it not only because I think they're more reliable than cheaper brands, but because i KNOW they are.

    I have used the following:

    - SANDISK
    - PNY
    - Lexar
    - No name brands from china

    The PNY cards are cheap as to the sandisk ones. However, i have had issues with TWO SEPARATE PNY cards in the past, and so have my family members!

    PNY cards often tend to pixilate images. I have taken images on cellphones and digital cameras using PNY cards and often 5-10 out of every 100 pictures taken is messed up. Half of the picture shows up and the other have is BLENDED WITH ANOTHER PICTURE YOU TOOK! Its very strange. Or sometimes 25% of the picture is colorful lines and static looking. Its very odd. It has happened to me multiple times as well as my sister after emailing pictures taken from a PNY card.

    Sandisk i have never had that problem. And lexar i don't know, Ive only had 1 lexar card in the past (i don't recall it ever doing this.

    Bottom line, I would recommend Sandisk.

  • lisa Thomas

    August 9, 2011 03:22 pm

    bought a sandisk 15 days ago its an extreme pro 16gb. and it quit working in my d7000. Luckily the pictures were ok, contacted the company I got it from and they said the would only exchange it if I had the original packaging. did matter if i had a receipt for it or not. Not to sure if sandisk will be my next card for my camera!!

  • Janine Eastman

    August 7, 2011 04:38 am

    All I know is right now I have two Lexar CF cards (1 professional 1 regular) that just went thru the washer and dryer and didn't lose a single image.

  • Matthew Parakas

    August 1, 2011 03:16 pm

    No worries Sime, just a shout out to other cash strapped enthusiast out there not to be affriad of the less expensive brands. As for finding different brands, I might have to move to Coffs Harbour! The range in Brisbane is distinctly lacking.

  • Sime

    August 1, 2011 01:41 pm

    Matthew, this post is from me, I'm in Coffs Harbour... I can get (I was in there yesterday) seven different types of memory card in the local camera shop...

    As for paying for something that, as you put it, is only slightly larger than your finger nail... errr, I pay for the technology that works for me... If my CF cards were bigger, they would't fit in my camera :D

    The only card that's failed me was a cheap aData, and I doubt that it had anything to do with the card... more me... You get recovery software and good support when you pay for it, you don't when you don't...

    Choice is yours, but please don't be narrow minded about why prices are higher with certain brands...

    Simon

  • Matthew Parakas

    August 1, 2011 01:37 pm

    Hey what a great ad for for Sandisk and Lexar. Anyway, I'm not sure where this post if from but I live in Australia and frankly, the only cards you can get easily are Sandisk. No one seems to stock anything else, so it's little wonder most people use them. You can get other brands but you have to go searching. I buy mine online, and I don't buy Sandisk. It would seem that there are a bunch of other brands readily availabel in other countries that don't get stocked by local shops. Does anyone else have a problem paying $150 and over for something only slightly larger than your fingernail? All my cards are 16GB and conform the the camera manufacturer's specs. Most are Transcend with a couple of others I found in Hong Kong. None have ever failed me and I typically take over 3000 photos on a Cannon 60D in RAW when on holiday. And they are all well under $100. If you're not a full time professional and can't afford the exorbitant prices of the big brands then don't use them. They are ripping you off.

  • Matthew Parakas

    August 1, 2011 01:33 pm

    Hey what a great ad for for Sandisk and Lexar. Anyway, I'm not sure where this post if from but I live in Australia and frankly, the only cards your can get eaily are Sandisk. No one seems to stcik anything else, so it's little wonder most people use them. You can other brands but you have to go searching. I buy mine online, and I don't buy Sandisk. It would seem that there are a bunch of other brands readily availabel in other countries that don't get stocked by lockal shops. Does anyone else have a problem paying $150 and over for something only lightly larger than your fingernail? All my cards are 16GB and conform the the camera manufacturer's specs. Most are Transcend with a couple of others I found in Hong Kong. None have ever failed me and typically take over 3000 photos on a Cannon 60D in RAW when on holiday. And they are all well under $100. If you're not a full time professional and can't afford the exorbitant prices of the big brands then don't use them. They are ripping you off.

  • photoman022

    May 30, 2010 02:59 pm

    The truth is, I have four memory cards and none of them are bigger than 2 GB. They are also cheaper than buying much larger cards. I rotate their usage and format them every time I put them in the camera. In four years of digital photography I haven't lost any images. If I travel overseas, or the like, I'll consider buying a larger memory card, but I'd much rather just download my photos regularly so that, if a memory card goes berserk, I won't lose too many memories.

  • Gerome

    May 16, 2010 01:26 am

    Actually, I find neither to be as good as newer brands. Sandisk likes to overprice dramatically. And my Lexar card literally fell apart after only about a dozen uses. I will never buy another Lexar card. The card I use has faster read/write speeds, is reasonably priced and seems to be really durable. I also bought a new USB stick from the same manufacturer.

  • Lily Sampson

    May 12, 2010 12:08 pm

    Thanks so much Mick. Your reply made me feel much better. It was proven that the card caused the damage. Even Sandisk admitted that. I guess I shouldn't have made it so easy for them but hind sight is 20-20. I just hope it never happens to another photographer.
    Cheers,
    Lily

  • Mick-H

    May 11, 2010 11:07 pm

    Hi Lily
    I expect whatever Sandisk actually told you was a standard bull$&*t reply, and if you had got some legal advice, you'd have probably found that they would have been held accountable for damage caused by their product, as long as you could prove it was a faulty card that caused the damage.
    Either way, I would have expected more from a company as big as Sandisk! (tight-ar$*s :-)
    Anyway, let's hope you have better luck in the future,
    All the best
    Mick

  • Jason Lloyd

    May 11, 2010 10:18 pm

    Sandisk and Lexar - why use anything else!

    Bewware of fake Sandisks though on ebay...

  • Lily Sampson

    May 11, 2010 06:44 am

    I have Lexar, Canon and Kingston in my camera bag. Until a year or so ago I just had San Disk. Then I unfortunately had a problem with a San Disk card. It was faulty and ruined the card compartment in my Canon DSLR. The repair cost was $210.00. The repair shop said it doesn't happen often but unfortunately it does happen. I contacted San Disk and they got right back to me although I had to make all comments through their site and not regular e-mail. They said the same thing as the repair shop owner (after it was proven that it was the card that caused the problem) and said that it was unfortunate but that their responsibility was to replace the card only. They asked for my mailing address to send me a new card and that was the last I ever heard of it. No card, no more correspondence. When I went back to their site, used the password to check, all I could get was a statement saying that the problem was successfully taken care of. I realize it could have happened with any card from any company but I am leery of San Disk now. I realize it is a very popular brand but I like to deal with a company that I feel would follow through on it's promise.

  • Paul Finnigan

    May 11, 2010 01:36 am

    I use the largest, cheapest cards I can find! OK last time I bought any 16Gb were considered large enough, and probably are for my Nikon. I just look for the best deal.

    In my experience most problems with cards are caused when you insert/remove them from the camera. I therefore avoid doing this as much as possible, I even put up with lower transfer rates and copy everything over USB rather than remove the card from the camera.

    I have over the years lost about 4 cards, all when moving them about. Brand has not been a factor so I just buy on price. After only using SANdisk initially I have not noticed a difference in moving to other brands. I used SAN for about five years before changing my buying policy. The failure rates? About the same, two of the failures were SANdisk and two were not. I know that all the failures happened when I removed/inserted them into a camera.

  • Mick-H

    May 10, 2010 09:08 pm

    No probs Mike, you’re welcome.
    While I'm about it, I think I ought to try and simplify my explanation about the image quality, if I can :-) .

    Suppose the colour Red was represented digitally as (10101010) and you had 2 cards, one new and one well used & tatty etc.
    The colour red will still be recorded as (10101010) on both cards, despite their condition.

    Image quality will only be degraded by the lens, light, camera shake or image compression etc.
    I hope this explains it a bit better, I think it does lol, but if not, I'm sure there will be something on the internet that will explain it in more detail than I can.
    All the best (happy snapping)
    Mick

  • Mike

    May 10, 2010 12:21 am

    Thanks Mick,

    I do indeed format my cards every time after downloading my photos.
    I format in my camera as well.
    Happy to hear that by doing all of the above that my chances of having any problems
    is slight.

    Thanks again for the great information.

    MIke

  • Mick-H

    May 9, 2010 10:14 pm

    @ Mike (May 7th, 2010 at 2:06 am)

    Hi Mike
    The best thing you can do is format the card after every use. Just upload your images to your PC, (make sure you have saved them all, and back-up if necessary) then re-format your card.
    This will re-write the structure (FAT etc) of the card, and if any bad sectors do exist on your card, it should isolate them, so as not to be used in future.
    Always format your card in your camera, and not on the PC.
    Not only is it quicker to format the card to erase your images/data, than it is to delete them individually, but by re-formatting and essentially wiping the slate clean and starting again, you are less likely to receive corrupt data errors.
    Image "quality" will not suffer at all because of overwriting etc, as an image is actually just made up of 1's & 0's.
    If you can get into the habit of formatting your cards on a regular basis, I guarantee you will suffer allot less errors/problems than someone that doesn't.
    All the best
    Mick

  • Sime

    May 9, 2010 08:33 pm

    and thanks for all the spelling lessons... ?? (laughing here) don't you people have photos to take?!...

  • Sime

    May 9, 2010 08:32 pm

    I mentioned that everyone else was talking about speed, and so I wasn't going to...

    Sorry but an overstated article I think.
    Most DSLRs have a buffer speed or built in ram for processing that limits the potential of the camera.

    ...It's more about who's buying what and seemingly why...

    ...and if you used the oil from the Porsche 911e in a Cosworth engined Escort, It would go as fast - but largely have nothing to do with the oil... (or the CF card) :P

  • Tomas

    May 8, 2010 10:06 pm

    San Disk only
    In a REBEL XSI

  • Larry Lourcey

    May 8, 2010 09:23 am

    Great point about using more small cards vs putting all your images on one giant card. Just makes sense.

  • George E. Norkus

    May 8, 2010 04:31 am

    Generally I purchase cards that will hold about 1,000 shots. For my present Pentax K20D, (RAW plus jpeg equals about 21meg per shot.). That boils down to an 8 to 16 gib card. If I lower the size then I can go to a 4 or 8 gig card.

    It's no promise you'll not have a bad card later on but one good initial check is to use your computer and fill the card with photos and see what happens.

    BTW: Sandisk for me. Out of a dozen, I've never had a bad one yet.

  • Mick-H

    May 8, 2010 01:33 am

    The first post from "C A McLaughlin" mentions the most important thing for reliable memory cards! RE-FORMAT.
    I know of quite a few people who have had trouble with card errors etc, in the past, but no longer have the same problems since re-formatting their cards after every use, instead of just deleting the images and re-shooting.
    BTW I have used aprox 4 brands of card and have never had a card error since I started to re-format them aprox 7 years ago (shouldn't have said that lol, tempting fate) I'm not saying there aren't any dodgy cards out there, but there are less than most people think, as allot of it is down to "user error".
    Just remember to Re-Format your card (IN CAMERA) on a regular basis, or before every new shoot, and you will greatly lessen your chances of card errors.
    ATB
    Mick

  • ant

    May 7, 2010 05:31 pm

    correction.... also trying to help.

    loosing is a word. as in "loosing an arrow, robin hood called for help"
    but I agree the word he wanted WAS "losing"

  • bobby62914

    May 7, 2010 03:21 pm

    Shooting speed is not a concern with my 40D, I have found no difference because of the buffer. Downloading with an external reader there is a big difference. I have three SanDisk 8gb (two have 30MB/s speed, the other 15MB/s), two SanDisk 2GB, a Lexar 1GB and a U-Teck 4GB that I bought off of eBay when cards were expensive.

    The two 8gb with 30MB/s speed I bought at Walmart for $39 each and I love them.

    I also reformat card every time.

    Never had a problem with my 40D or with my previous camera, the Rebel XT that I had for three years. I have also washed them on occasion...

  • Nicholas Fulford

    May 7, 2010 02:18 pm

    I use two 16GB Extreme III cards, and offload fairly regularly. My camera eats memory like nobody's business, and especially if I am shooting 14-bit raw over 24MP. The Extreme III's seem plenty fast enough, but then I do mostly floral, landscape, architectural, and almost always from a tripod. Hence, speed is not the issue, though robustness of the memory is. So far so good, no lost shots in about a year with them.

  • Pio Danilo P. Cuadra

    May 7, 2010 11:33 am

    I use Kingston and RiData CF cards, which are the most available here in Southeast Asia. I am particularly fond of Ridata 8GB 233X Lightning series cards which I used during a tour to Beijing City last year at the end of winter. I have taken with it great pictures of Forbidden City, Great Wall, Summer Palace,Temple of Heaven etc. This year when, I went to Singapore, and I used this same tyoe of CF card to take pictures at Sentosa island, Universal Studios etc. It served me well and I have three (3) of this , which I bring everytime i travel.

  • Mike

    May 7, 2010 09:39 am

    I'm with Jim,
    I reckon Sime must have a skewed analysis. I use sandisk, transcend,kingston and adata. 8s 16s and 32s.
    Whatever I can get at the best price. I transfer directly to 2 hard drives then reformat the sd. No problems so far with any brand.

  • Lisa

    May 7, 2010 09:28 am

    I am also a SanDisk user. I've purchased an off brand card from a local camera store and that was a mistake. I Lost pictures using that card. Never any issues with my SanDisk though.

  • Glenn

    May 7, 2010 08:42 am

    The card that I use mostly is made by Toshiba, they are reasonably priced and I've never had a compatibilty problem.

  • Veronica

    May 7, 2010 07:25 am

    I can only add my own experience here - I've only ever used Lexar Pro CF cards and, thankfully, they have never let me down. They are plenty fast and I've never lost a single photo or had a corrupted file so far.

  • David

    May 7, 2010 07:18 am

    I shoot weddings with a nikon d700 and had a lexar "professional" 32gb compact flash. It crashed on it's 3rd wedding and only 50% of the files could be recovered. In my opinion, Sandisk is the only way to go. After 5 years of shooting, a sandisk has never crashed. I'll never buy lexar again.
    David
    davidsweddingphotography.com

  • Philippe Gadeyne

    May 7, 2010 06:43 am

    In most cases, the decision boils down to availability, as in what brand the retailer carries, how they are displayed (what brand has the most real estate), price, advertising exposure and comments and recommendation posted on websites. For more advanced photographer, brand recognition becomes more important as does performance.
    It is important to recognize that so called generic, or less known brands are manufactured by big name brands and lesser known brands in the photographic arena (like Viking) are giants in the memory market. the fact that they do not advertise heavily in the photography market does not mean their product is of inferior quality. Often times they are built to higher specifications than commercial memory cards, built for military or aerospace markets under much stringent specifications (reliability, temperatures).
    The study as described was too superficial to actually draw valid conclusions

  • mare53

    May 7, 2010 06:38 am

    Hi Everyone --

    First let me say that I am not a technical person; this is just my two cents and it's all based on personal experience. When I first bought my Canon 20D back in the day, I only used SanDisk and they worked very well. I too, threw a couple of cards in the washer and dryer and even had one that was slightly chewed up by my dog and yes, they all continued to work with no problem. I was pretty happy with SanDisk -- and yes they were the most popular brand and readily available in all the local stores. Along the way, I added larger (SanDisk) memory cards to my collection going from the 512mb to 1G to 2G and finally purchasing several 4G SanDisk cards. I also invested in a 4G Hitachi HD that failed the first day -- although a friend of mine who bought one the same day is still using it; go figure.

    Things changed when I upgraded to a Canon 40D -- all of a sudden I started to get "corrupt file" messages when attempting to download my SanDisk cards; and I had to start shooting in RAW and JPEG because inevitably one of the RAW files would come out looking like the old timey color television "test pattern" screens. So I started to talk to other photographers, doing a similar survey to the one done here and finally called a couple of the larger NYC-based camera stores and got their opinion on the matter; bottom line: I switched to LEXAR and haven't had a problem since. [NB: everyone I spoke to agreed that the "speed" is totally driven by the how fast the camera can write to the card.]

    It may all boil down to luck of the draw, but I will stick with Lexar for now. I have three of their 8GB cards and they perform flawlessly in my Canon 5D Mark II -- still images as well as movie images.

    I invested in a Lexar firewire card reader and it's quite fast however, my older MacBook (2008) does not have a firewire connection so I am using a good old-fashioned USB reader and with the Canon 5D files the USB reader is slower than molasses in winter! Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks everyone; ciao
    mare

  • Ralph Durtschi

    May 7, 2010 04:31 am

    I hope I do not come off too harsh here.
    I hear a lot of opinion in this article but see no factual data regarding failure rate or speed and the minimum speeds required for certain camera functions.

    Here is a great article for some real facts:http: //www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=6007

    Go to page two, select your camera and look at the data for each type of card. Excellent comparisons.

    Ralph

  • Don Peterson

    May 7, 2010 04:30 am

    I have always purchased SanDisk memory for my cameras mainly because it is a familiar brand and has been around for a long time. I do have some memory that was given to me or came free with other purchases including Lexar, and Transcend. I have taken thousands of pictures and have never lost any to a faulty memory card.

  • David

    May 7, 2010 04:13 am

    I have used SanDisk mostly. I did use a 'microdrive' version for a while when that was the cheapest way to get a higher capacity card, but I did have one fail.

    I also stick to 4Gig cards as once downloaded they transfer nicely to DVD for offline backup.

  • Harry Abernathy

    May 7, 2010 03:22 am

    I found this very interesting because I just found out that my new (last fall) Sony alpha A900 just goes cabloozie if it meets a memory card larger than 4 gigabytes!!! I assumed it was the card, so I tried three different makes and models of cards and none of them worked any better than the others. It was only when I thought to check the manual that I discovered that it does, indeed, go "off the map sideways" (technical jargon for cabloozie) when you use a memory card larger than 4 gigs. Given the movement towards ever greater capacities, I'm wondering how much longer makers will produce 4 gig cards, especially CF types. I expect that sony will find a firmware/software upgrade that will address this issue but for now I'm relegated to 105 raw images at a time (not that I'm complaining). Remember when 36 exposures seemed like a lot?

    Keep up the great work.

  • Peter Richardson

    May 7, 2010 03:14 am

    Hi all,

    I have never had any card fail on me.

    It is still a constant worry.

    I use a 16GB SanDisk Extreme 30MB/s and am very happy with it.

    I usually fill/a;most fill the card up every day and empty every day, the card rarely leaves the camera, which, I prefer to constantly switching smaller cards, which I feel, rightly or wrongly has more potential for loss /damage.

    Peter

  • spb

    May 7, 2010 02:58 am

    Sime, I hope you will get a minute to look at this thread. Nice timing :)
    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/showthread.php?t=868319

  • garyrobert7

    May 7, 2010 02:56 am

    All things being nearly equal, I'd buy the Sandisk, and pocket $18.00. That isn't chump change.

  • Stratman

    May 7, 2010 02:23 am

    I've stayed away from the Sandisk brand due to the high incidence of fake Sandisk cards being sold in Malaysia, where I live. Besides Sandisk, the Sony brand is also a favorite amongst counterfeit card makers that are based in China. Most fakes are sold at computer stores while some have made their way to a few camera outlets, whether the camera retailer is aware of their selling fake cards is another matter.

    I prefer to buy from renowned IT stores as they sell in bulk and their memory cards are cheaper than those sold by camera stores.

    My preferred brands are Toshiba, Kingston and Transcend. Back in 2006, memory cards are rated by speed, e.g. 80x, 133x, 150x and today they're segregated into classes, e.g. Class 2, Class 4, Class 6, Class 8, etc. The problem is there's no real standardization of read/write bandwidth transfer speeds and each manufacturer has its own standards.

    Some "slow" cameras like the Canon PowerShot G10/G11 don't really benefit from Class 6 cards or faster as their internal buffers and processing algorithms are already slow to begin with. The only real advantage I see from using faster cards (for non-dSLRs) are quicker uploads to the computer via an external card reader.

  • Mike

    May 7, 2010 02:06 am

    Great article. SanDisk is what I use. They seem to work fine.

    I am a non-professional photographer. I may take 60 to 100 photos and download them to
    my computer. I then erase the photos from the card. I have done this over and over.
    My concern is that I am using the same part of the card over and over again.
    Will the quality of the photos eventually be less because of this constant use and erasing ?

    Is there anyway to use the non used portion of a card ?? I know that I can just leave the photos on the card
    and keep shooting until it is full. This slows down the downloading process.

    Thanks

    MIke

  • Rob

    May 7, 2010 01:41 am

    I have used several brands and the only card I have ever had fail was an old 4GB Hitachi Microdrive. I have had great success with my Ridata cards as of late but I ensure over a few hundred pictures that they are clean before using them for anything of significance. I do backup immediately after any shoot so maybe it is my workflow that is saving me, but a 8GB UDMA Ridata card for $40 is hard to beat. I do have a few SanDisk Extreme cards but only pick them up in "extreme" situations since they are tested for those environments.

  • koiyu

    May 6, 2010 01:13 am

    I blindly put all the brand-related beliefs aside and referenced Rob Galbraith's site prior ordering new memory card (SD) for my DSLR. :-)

  • Mark

    May 5, 2010 05:00 pm

    I think there's also the issue of whether you're using CF or SD cards. I'd be far more trusting of a large capacity CF card than a SD one. We're probably at the point where the probability of failure is much less than the probability of losing/leaving a card somewhere. However, reality is the bit that counts and it's a PITA to lose images whatever way. Portable backup devices are handy for this.

  • Quentin

    May 5, 2010 09:27 am

    Totally agree with Jim on that one. There's something else too. Anyone like me who's been in the technology sector for many many years coming right from being a technician will have noticed that just because you buy HP memory for example doesn't mean that HP made it. Another example of that is Verbatim DVD's can be made by any number of manufacturers like Ritek one batch and someone else the next. What does matter is that the better brands are careful about which OEM partner to use when supplying their media (albeit DVD's, PC memory or even memory cards). You would have all heard of 'bad batches' of something and this is generally what it amounts to, an unfortunate choice of partner by someone at sometime.

    My point is, that if you buy Sandisk, they've got a significant reputation to uphold and they're not going to change their internal memory chips to something that is likely to cause them grief and essentially cost money with the added hassle of the returns process without due consideration and testing. I fell in the ocean with a Sandisk SD card and it still goes. :)

    I can't say for sure which other companies will also give the same kind of attention to the internal parts which is my problem. Transcend I think make their own chips, but you can bet when time get's tough, anything could end up in them. I've also heard of memory being mixed (particularly with SSD's) with faster memory at the start (so all the testing shows up good) and slower memory at the end. Take my word for it, all cards are NOT the same. That is not to say however that there aren't other good cards out there, I'm just not prepared to take the risk on it for a negligable cost saving when it could be the best picture I've ever taken of my daughter that's the loss. :)

    My 2c.

  • Jim Poor

    May 5, 2010 09:03 am

    Memory cards have come so far that the "all eggs in one basket" analogy really doesn't apply in terms of card failure. Card loss on the other hand is a concern. I have some 16GB cards left, but primarily use 32GB. On a REALLY important job, I'll use two cards and set the second to backup, but that's pretty rare. The chances of losing a single 32GB card that stays in my camera because it will hold an entire shoot worth of photos are much smaller than a lower capacity card falling out of my pocket or something crazy like that.

    As soon as I can swing it, I'll be upgrading to 64GB cards as primaries for my work.

    I use primarily Sandisc, but in a pinch I bought 3 16GB Transcend cards and (knock on wood) they have been just fine with tens of thousands of images run through them every month.

  • Michael

    May 5, 2010 06:45 am

    Never assume your pictures are gone with they disappear or go corrupt. Recover them!

    I've bought two SD cards for my DSLR 4 years ago- One 1G Lexar and the other Sandisk. Never once have I had a failure with my RAW photographs with the Rebel. Typically I shoot each card to full capacity, and I'd say about 3 to 5 thousand images have been written to both cards. Not once have I had a failure.

    But I have used inexpensive point-and-shoot digital cameras which created corrupt files. Foremost has always recovered corrupted JPEGS in those cases, yet this never happens with the Cannon Rebel DSLR. Might these memory card problems be related to camera firmware or filesystems?

  • John.B

    May 4, 2010 11:36 pm

    Just my anecdotal experience, but I had a problem with a previous generation Sandisk CF card so I switched to Lexar which have been flawless in the field. I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find someone with the opposite experience. It comes down to who you trust and, like storage devices, trust can be a fragile thing.

    Also, over the past year or two Lexar has also done a better job of publishing speed and UMDA mode compatibility. (IOW, what speed and UDMA mode is a "Sandisk Extreme"?) To be fair I've noticed that Sandisk has gotten much better about this recently with their newer gen cards.

    As to the "two 4GB cards are better than one 8GB card" meme; as a raw shooter I'd say "four 16GB cards are better than two 32GB cards" (or even one 64GB card). ;^)

    Finally, prices can be volatile on memory cards. The newest generation cards will be disproportionately expensive, and your camera's buffer-to-card processing may or may not be able to keep up with the faster cards. I've saved a lot of money without giving up a lot of real-world performance by buying one generation back from the bleeding edge when rebates were offered. (N.B. Lexar sends checks, Sandisk sends debit cards.)

  • jamoskirk

    May 4, 2010 10:08 pm

    currently I`m using a Photofast G-Monster with 16 Gb and 533x on my 50d and am really happy with it[eimg url='http://shop.maxxxware.de/productpictures/533x_16gb.jpg' title='533x_16gb.jpg']

  • Quentin Jackson

    May 4, 2010 09:25 am

    Heh. I'd put it like this:

    One card increases the chances of both losing all your data or keeping all your data. Multiple cards increase the chances of losing some of your data but decrease the chances of losing all of your data. ;)

    However given the 'extremely low' failure rate of a good brand etc, I'd still go for one card. Theoretically you would pick up any errors fairly quickly when the card was new. Yes big cards scare me, but what do you do when each shot is 20MB? ;)

  • Alex Gac

    May 4, 2010 09:22 am

    WTF-- truncated again! Looks like it doesn't like my greater/less than signs. Last try...

    ------------------

    ***Looks like half my previous post is missing... which makes me look like a moron. I'm reposting the whole thing again-- hopefully with better results.

    @quentin:
    You have a good understanding of probabilities. Let me help demonstrate what you are trying to explain.

    Let us assume a constant rate of failure across 4gb and 8gb cards of 1 failure/year/1,000 cards (.001). Let us also assume that we are only interested in risks associated with the card function-- not outside factors like dropping that cards in the ocean.

    With one 8gb card, like likelihood that you will experience a failure is 1/1,000. If you have two 4gb cards, then your likelihood of experiencing a failure is effectively doubled to 2/1,000.
    Probability of experiencing a card failure: 1/1,000 [is less than] 2/1,000

    But wait! There's a twist! What happens if we take into account the value of the data on the cards? In this case, we find that the two options are essentially equal to each other.
    Expected loss of data: 1/1000 * 100% loss = 2/1000 * 50% loss

    But there's one more twist! What about the likelihood of losing ALL your data? If you take that into consideration then you're looking for the probability that BOTH of the 4gb cards would fail, versus to just one of the 8gb cards failing. Two cards both failure in the same month is equal to 1/1000^2 = 1,000,000.
    Probability of loosing all your data: 1/1000 [is greater than] 1/1,000,000

    CONCLUSION:
    To maximize your chances of retaining as much as data as possible, you should increase the number of cards you use and decrease the storage size of each for any given quantity of total storage capacity.

    In REAL short: More Cards @ lower capacity [is greater than] Fewer Cards @ greater capacity.

  • Alex Gac

    May 4, 2010 09:19 am

    ***Looks like half my previous post is missing... which makes me look like a moron. I'm reposting the whole thing again-- hopefully with better results.

    @quentin:
    You have a good understanding of probabilities. Let me help demonstrate what you are trying to explain.

    Let us assume a constant rate of failure across 4gb and 8gb cards of 1 failure/year/1,000 cards (.001). Let us also assume that we are only interested in risks associated with the card function-- not outside factors like dropping that cards in the ocean.

    With one 8gb card, like likelihood that you will experience a failure is 1/1,000. If you have two 4gb cards, then your likelihood of experiencing a failure is effectively doubled to 2/1,000.
    Probability of experiencing a card failure: 1/1,000 1/1,000,000

    CONCLUSION:
    To maximize your chances of retaining as much as data as possible, you should increase the number of cards you use and decrease the storage size of each for any given quantity of total storage capacity.

    In REAL short: More Cards @ lower capacity > Fewer Cards @ greater capacity.

  • Jeff

    May 4, 2010 06:34 am

    From an economy standpoint what matters to me is purchasing memory products that are manufactured in my country.

  • Zack Jones

    May 4, 2010 03:19 am

    For years I used SanDisk Ultra II and Extreme III 2-GB CF cards with my 40D and they worked great. After upgrading to a 7D I found I was filling the cards so quickly that I started looking for larger faster cards. In the end I bought 4 Delkin Combat Flash 4-GB cards and wouldn't you know it I had some bad images with the very first card. I've continued to use the card and so far there's been no other problems so I'm going to blame it on gremlins. 4-GB cards seem to work well with the 7D so I'll use my Delkin cards and keep the Sandisk Extreme III cards as backup.

  • Lena

    May 4, 2010 12:01 am

    Funny this topic comes up directly after the weekend I started looking for a new SD card! I have several. My favorite brand is by far SanDisk. (8gb Ultra II, 4gb Ultra II, 4gb Extreme III). I have a Kingston backup (8gb class 6). I have heard there is a SanDisk IV, but maybe it is only for CF cards? I am definitely looking to upgrade to a quicker card, and I would love to keep it SanDisk. I never even considered Lexar actually, so I will now look into that. Looking into the other cards though, not all of them are clear (at least not to me) on how fast they are. I completely stay away from Adata & Transcend. Although my dtr is using an 8gb Transcend right now that came with her D3000 for free in Oct. She shoots alot, and so far no glitches. I will be watching it.

  • Dan

    May 3, 2010 11:52 pm

    Could it be simply a matter of availability? I don't think I've seen Lexar memory cards hanging at my local Wally World or other "ibg box" electronics store. Sandisk seems to be everywhere from Staples to Sears and a whole bunch of places in between.

    dlm

  • Dave

    May 3, 2010 11:17 pm

    Availability! I've seen SanDisk in many retail outlets, but not Lexar. I've only found Lexar at camera or electronics stores. Costco carries SanDisk, although not the fastest or latest Pro cards. Availability could easily affect the number of users for each brand.

    Having said that, I use 300x Lexar. I've been buying 8gb cards, but since I went to a Canon 7D, I'll be buying some 16gbs. I shoot in RAW and JPG, so I use a lot of memory. The 7D is also fast, and I sometimes like to shoot in bursts, especially with flying birds.

    My two biggest criteria for purchasing memor cards is price and speed. I check weekly on prices and look for rebates. When I see a good price or a good rebate, I buy. It's been awhile since I've bought anything but Lexar, but if the price difference was great, I'd buy Sandisk.

  • macdane

    May 3, 2010 10:27 pm

    @Sime Using your Amazon example, the Lexar is nearly 15% more costly. That hardly qualifies as "almost the same price."

    @scott The write speed in the camera is only half the equation. While that matters to me, I'm also interested in getting photos off the card and into my PP workflow as quickly as possible after an event. Moving dozens and dozens of GB can take a little time, or a lot of time. I prefer a little. So, for me, the faster cards are very worthwhile.

  • Tory

    May 3, 2010 05:56 pm

    I only have one sandisk, but it works perfectly fine for me :) It's super fast...

  • daniel mollino

    May 3, 2010 04:00 pm

    You know what I have in my camera, Hitatichi Micro Drive, yea the mini hdd. Sucker runs hard let me tell you over 90k photos through it.

    However, when I rebuild my kit I will need more than 3 3gb micro drives so I will go sandisk, and not because its sandisk but because they are cheep for me, I can get the cards at manufacturing cost due to a contact I have.

    Now that aside, the difference in cards I have seen in advertising sicken me. BB employees telling customers they will get grainy images on cheap ones.

    The other over looked thing is some cards are more expensive because they are built for extreme enviroments and nothing else.

    There are 3 specs you need to look at
    1 speed of the card
    2 if you can find it out who makes the chips for the card
    3 cost
    and if your climbing mt washington (where microdrives worked mind you in -15 f thank you hand warmer packs lol) then the 4th of enviro specs

    But you would be surprised some cheap brands i believe trancend is one use samsung memory chips, the reason for the smaller warranty the company probably dosen't have the capital and legal said you can't.

  • Jason Collin Photography

    May 3, 2010 03:44 pm

    I have only ever used Transcend CF cards in my Nikons. Same goes for RAM in my two previous Macs. Currently I use two 8GB Transcend UDMA 300x cards in my Nikon D300. I can highly recommend them as a much cheaper alternative to Sandisk and Lexar with the note that when I started out in photography while living in Tokyo, the Akihiabara camera shop guys said most Japanese photographers, and especially the shop staff, used Transcend cards. That sold me on them.

  • Outlander

    May 3, 2010 03:07 pm

    There are countries that don't sell Lexar. I had never heard of that brand until today. If you were asking tourists from other countries, maybe you should have asked about brand availability, too?

  • Narada Thomas

    May 3, 2010 02:35 pm

    I use 4 Sandisk 2GB HDSD cards, a 8GB kingston CF card and a Sandisk 4GB MemoryStick Duo HG card for my sony and minolta bodies. To be honest I don't see any difference and even any failure. But some times changing cards make me more troubles, but I don't want to watse my photos which are thousand words worth.

  • Eeps

    May 3, 2010 01:00 pm

    @scott - nice of you to share your homework. I've been buying cards for a long time but have been sticking to the more cost effective ones. I've never been dissatisfied with the performance of my cards but I've always wondered what it would be like to use faster cards. Nice to know I spent my money wisely.

  • Julie

    May 3, 2010 12:24 pm

    I put a full SanDisk through a warm wash and a hot dryer - it was full of our past four days of family vacation to Hawaii!!!! Didn't loose one photo. That was 4 years ago - I still have that card - and use it on occasion.
    The card in my camera right now is Sandisk Ultra 16GB
    [eimg url='http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_yPnsvAA_QQ0/S9o1ASH1ZaI/AAAAAAAALXg/NzJCoMRfDJI/s1600/100429_Gb.jpg' title='100429_Gb.jpg']

  • J.

    May 3, 2010 11:50 am

    Would you die if I told you I use the card that came with my camera (canon) and I've used it for the past 6 years?
    Hello?
    You dead yet?
    LOL ...

    I should knock on wood right about now ...

  • scott

    May 3, 2010 11:24 am

    Sorry but an overstated article I think.
    Most DSLRs have a buffer speed or built in ram for processing that limits the potential of the camera.

    I specifically called Nikon USA to ask about the read/write speed I needed to ensure best efficiency of my D90.
    They said most digital cameras( at my level) are limited to about 20 m/sec.....making a 30 m/sec or faster card a waste. A pro body will write faster, but will again have a topping out speed eventually. It is not infinite.

    Marketing is trying to convince us that we need more/better/faster....constantly upgrade or be left behind.
    Like cell phone providers do.
    The camera is capable of only so much and the card can't take its potential
    beyond 100%. Get the card that matches the body and be done. Save the extra money for glass.

    If you use Porsche engine oil in your Ford Escort-it won't go as fast as a Porsche.

  • Alex Gac

    May 3, 2010 11:22 am

    @quentin:
    You have a good understanding of probabilities. Let me help demonstrate what you are trying to explain.

    Let us assume a constant rate of failure across 4gb and 8gb cards of 1 failure/year/1,000 cards (.001). Let us also assume that we are only interested in risks associated with the card function-- not outside factors like dropping that cards in the ocean.

    With one 8gb card, like likelihood that you will experience a failure is 1/1,000. If you have two 4gb cards, then your likelihood of experiencing a failure is effectively doubled to 2/1,000.
    Probability of experiencing a card failure: 1/1,000 1/1,000,000

    CONCLUSION:
    To maximize your chances of retaining as much as data as possible, you should increase the number of cards you use and decrease the storage size of each for any given quantity of total storage capacity.

    In REAL short: More Cards @ lower capacity > Fewer Cards @ greater capacity.

  • Sean

    May 3, 2010 11:05 am

    My First CF was a Lexar, fast and reliable.
    My second was a sandisk, a bit slow, but great UNLESS you delete from the camera, then the directory structure falls apart and it's useless for writing until you format it. (also had to buy a different CF reader as my other 3 wouldn't read it.)
    I use PNY now, and can't find a thing to complain about. Fast, reliable.

    As for image loss, I've had images not write to the card, but I've never had an image fail on a CF card once it was there. I wish I could say the same for SD cards, I don't trust them at ALL...

  • Jamesc359

    May 3, 2010 11:03 am

    This reminds me of the whole Seagate vs Western Digital debate. "Ack! I bought a DOA hard drive, I'll never buy from them again!" People often times make snap judgments by first time experiences, the company's "image" and what amounts to anecdotal evidence. But the thing is that ALL hard drive manufacturers produce the occasional faulty drive or more likely the drives get neglected/abused in transit. I've had drives from both Seagate and Western Digital that have all serve me well. Likewise I've had memory cards from Sony, Lexar, Kingston, and of course Sandisk, and I've never seen a failure. I've also never seen a failure in any of the generics that my family use. When it comes down to it, it's really a matter of luck of the draw if you ask me.

  • Mei Teng

    May 3, 2010 10:17 am

    I use mostly Sandisk Extreme III 4GB cards.

  • James

    May 3, 2010 10:05 am

    I had a couple Lexar cards fail early on when I went digital. Since then I have stuck with Sandisk and probably will. That said, I am sure I've had at least on Sandisk fail too. It happens.
    Honestly, your probably going to be just fine with any major brand as most of them should have pretty good quality control. It's not like film where you may get a different look based on your choice.

  • Debby

    May 3, 2010 09:56 am

    I have been using SanDisk since I started using my dSLR and until now no regrets.

  • Tyler

    May 3, 2010 09:54 am

    I am taking a risk and using two 16gb transcends with my 50d... I used sandisk almost exclusively for 5 years, but I couldn't beat the price and specs. They make a lot of memory, they must know something by now.

  • Robd

    May 3, 2010 09:47 am

    "These results would be even further skewed if taken here: Lexar is almost non-existent in Canada. Sandisk Extremes are the norm."

    Every major dealer in Canada that I've been to carries both, so I'm not sure where you are buying your memory cards. I use both Lexar and Sandisk CF cards and they both work well. I've also used Kingston, Core Micro and more and never had a card fail, maybe I'm just lucky.

  • Justtryingtohelp

    May 3, 2010 09:19 am

    Just a little off topic spelling lesson:

    "But I do care about loosing photos. " Losing*
    Loose = not tight
    Lose = Lost
    Loosing = Not a word
    Losing = A word
    I do agree with the using more, smaller cards though. Much less risk with not a lot more hassle.

    Interesting article. It's amazing that these two main brands make up nearly all the memory cards in use today and one far and away beating the other.

  • Quentin

    May 3, 2010 09:10 am

    My mum got a lexar (against my advice) and it wasn't long before she started asking me why her photo's were going funny and yeah it was the card. She now runs Sandisk. Yeah, you could use Kingston, they're quite reliable actually, but they're also overpriced and slow by comparison.

    Now as for the whole use 2 cards idea, I think it's rubbish! Well, it has it's own downsides too. If you use two cards, you're effectively doubling the chances of losing half your data since you now have 2 cards that could potentially fail. Not to mention you physically have to remove the card and you could drop it in the ocean, down a drain or get your stuff stolen. It seems to me that you have all of the same downsides as having one card plus a few more. So if you truly do have a reliable brand (and lets face it if it's going now, it'll likely go as long as your camera does) it's actually probably safer to stick to one card. Get the point? ;)

  • jake

    May 3, 2010 09:04 am

    Need a bit of clarification. The author states he uses 16 and 32 gb cards, then at the end of the article advises us to not "put all your eggs in one basket (photos on one card) I would always suggest that two 4gb cards will serve you better than one 8gb card!"

    So, should we use large cards or not?

  • OsmosisStudios

    May 3, 2010 08:33 am

    These results would be even further skewed if taken here: Lexar is almost non-existent in Canada. Sandisk Extremes are the norm.

  • Beek

    May 3, 2010 08:23 am

    I agree with not putting all your egg's in one basket theory I also use 4 Gig. cards. I also would suggest using the cards approved by the manufactuer of the body you are using. Also heard that very large cards have a greater faulure rate. Sure the Pro's have different reasoning.

  • Jonas

    May 3, 2010 08:02 am

    I work for one of Scandinavias biggest electronics retailers in the returns dept and my experience is that we have more returns with lexar than sandisk. I dont know if we sell more of one than another but to me it seems like sandisk has a lower failrate. This is from my personal experience being resposible for a departement testing 25 k products a year.

  • PhotoKid

    May 3, 2010 07:41 am

    Warranty mystery is pretty simple - at least if you live in Europe;) Here almost always lifetime warranty means "to end of life of this product". If for example SanDisk mark 1GB CF card with End of Life (stop it's production), next day your card is without warranty. In Germany - in Europe this market is considered very demanding with strong consument rights - firm cant tell customers that product is no longer under warranty because it's production stopped. I dont know how this thing (I mean "lifetime" warranty) works in US or Canada.
    I live in Poland, almost everyone here knows that it is better for money to buy things produced for German market. They simply last longer, work better, warranty service is better. I know that looks strange but it's true. Almost all my photo equipment is from German shops.

  • Ron Gibson

    May 3, 2010 07:10 am

    I've used several brands (lexar, Sandisk, Kingston, and Ridata). I've had more difficulty with Sandisk over the years than the other brands and have been slowly replacing the Sandisk (Sandisk Extreme CF's) and some Lexar's. I couldn't say that all Sandisk cards are the same as I've only used about 4. But the Extremes I bought seem to be consistently prone to failure compared to the other cards I have used. This isn't a personal opinion, as I couldn't care less which brand I was using. Card speed is not important to me becasue of the large buffer in camera (and I don't shoot sports), so really I just care about card stability.

    Because of possible card failure, I completely agree with the above statement that you should buy multiple (smaller) cards instead of one or two large cards.

    Myself, I use 4GB cards (saves over 400 Raw images) and would probably buy a discounted Kingston as my next card(s). They are inexpensive compared to the other brands and I have not had an issue with them under heavy use.

  • Frank

    May 3, 2010 07:07 am

    I don't care much about brands, as long as they work. And I don't care much about speed either, because my shooting speed limitation is determined by the in-camera buffer rather than the memory card.

    But I do care about loosing photos. So that's why I have memory cards of 2GB, and I upload my photos to the computer almost immediately after shooting.

    Why?
    Because if a memory card breaks down, I loose no more than 2GB of photos. Still a loss, but can you imagine the tragedy of loosing 16GB or 32 GB of photos?

    Okay, it's more of a hassle to switch memory cards, but to me it's worth the risk. Maybe I'll switch to 4GB cards, but unlikely to larger ones.

  • Grant Palmer

    May 3, 2010 07:02 am

    Have used Lexar CF cards for a long time now & still remember when 1GB was enormous. Very happy with the performance of these cards & have yet to have a catastrophic failure. That said, I use several 4GB cards & agree that 2 x 4GB is better than 1 x 8GB.

  • Lars

    May 3, 2010 06:58 am

    Lifetime Warranty in germany:

    > life of the original purchaser (or 10 years in Germany.. No idea why!)

    Warranty in germany goes with the item, not with the first buyer. You still have a warranty if you purchased your item second hand (within the first 2 years of the initial purchase). And due to an "abstract" and not case-based law system, the same items have the same length of warranty. (plus you have two different warranties, 2 years implied warranty by law on all items - called "gesetzliche Gewährleistung" and an optional additional time of guarantee - called "Garantie")

    > but this time you get 30 years if you’re in Germany… Hmmm (Anyone, Why?)

    Law limitation period in germany is 30 years, therefor anything over this period is not valid.

  • Fabian Gabor

    May 3, 2010 06:42 am

    My first card was a Lexar Professional 8GB 133x. One day when I took it out from it's original Lexar card reader and put it in my camera, it said that my card is not formatted. Later I observed that the plastic case was broken at the edge. No warranty for that...

    So I bought a new card, and still using Lexar. I was satisfied with the brand, the speed is very good.

  • C A McLaughlin

    May 3, 2010 06:41 am

    I have used some off-brand ones (Kingston, Viking, etc.) but have used San Disk exclusively for the last few years. I have had no problems (but then I (re)format my cards each time I empty them). Also, been well satisfied with San Disk tech support. I might g for Lexar in the future, but generally higher priced so why?

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