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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

Lexar, Sandisk... Does it matter?

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!

Lexar, Sandisk... Does it matter?

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!


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(aka #gtvone) is the customer support manager for dPS, 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 and Instagram.

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