01 September 2018

Thoughts on Memory Cards and Card Readers

Canon EOS 700D with SanDisk Extreme PLUS 32GB 80MB/s SD Memory Card - Image Copyright Vernon Chalmers Cape Town
Canon  EOS 700D with SanDisk Extreme PLUS 32GB 80MB/s SD Card
I receive a fair amount of questions on the purchase of memory cards and memory card readers.

Although I discuss this topic in my camera / photography training, herewith a few thoughts on what cards and card readers I use (with recommendations).

For most of my photography like the birds in flight (fast action), landscape, macro and a few motorcycles and people captures I mainly use the following Compact Flash (CF) and Secure digital (SD) cards:
  • SanDisk Extreme 64GB 120MB/s CF Card
  • Lexar Professional 32GB 800x / 120MB/s CF Card
  • SanDisk Extreme PRO 32GB 95MB/s SD memory Card
  • SanDisk Extreme PLUS 32GB 80MB/s SD memory Card

The two CF cards are used for fast action, although I've used both the SD cards for birds in flight (depending on camera). I've also used my SanDisk 45MB/s SD Cards for landscape photography without any issues.

There are faster and higher capacity cards on the market, but for what I do, with my cameras, I have no problems ito speed or reliability of card (or brand).

My recommendations these days are a 600x (95MBs) CF or SD card for most genres and 800x (120MB/s) or faster for faster action (i.e. birds in flight photography).

32GB / 64GB RAW Capacity Example (Birds in Flight Photography)
Shooting in RAW with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II (+- 26MB per image) in Continuous Mode the total amount of images per card (CR2 is the RAW file created by the Canon EOS 7D Mark II digital camera and saved on the memory card):
  • +- 2500 CR2 RAW Images with SanDisk Extreme 64GB 120MB/s CF Card
  • +- 1300 CR2 RAW Images with Lexar Professional 32GB 800x / 120MB/s CF Card
Shooting in the JPEG file format with the Canon EOS 7D Mark II (+- 6MB per image) will be more than double to total amount of images per card.

Read: How Many Photos Can a 32GB / 64GB / 128GB / 256GB Memory Card Hold?>>

Using a 32GB or 64GB (or larger capacity) will depend on shooting style and camera memory card options.

Canon EOS 6D Landscape Photography with SanDisk Extreme PLUS 32GB 80MB/s SD Memory Card Copyright Vernon Chalmers Cape Town
Canon EOS 6D With SanDisk Extreme PLUS 32GB 80MB/s SD Card 
I've used above mentioned cards for up to 5 years in various cameras with zero memory (image) loss and or other technical issues.

Your camera retailer / sales consultant should also provide
 more information / options pertaining to your specific camera and genres.

USB Memory Card Readers

I use the following USB 3.0 Card Readers with all my cards / and images from all my Canon EOS bodies:
  • Lexar Professional Dual-Slot USB 3 Card Reader
  • Transcend TS-RDF8K USB 3.0 Multi Card Reader

I prefer downloading images via the Card Reader and not the camera's USB cable. Its faster and more convenient in both my personal and training workflows.

For anybody is interested in getting a Card Reader. Both mentioned Readers are available from Takealot (for a price comparison):
 Lexar Professional Dual-Slot USB 3.0 Card Reader Takealot
Transcend TS-RDF8K USB 3.0 Multi Card Reader Takealot

Short article on the inexpensive Trancend Multi Card Reader

My verdict on the Trancend Reader: "its fast, inexpensive and reliable - I've downloaded thousands of images from all my cards with zero issues"

Contact me for any additional information on Memory Cards and / or Card Readers.


Birds in Flight Photography with Lexar Professional 32GB 800x / 120MB/s CF Card - Copyright Vernon Chalmers Photography Cape Town
Birds in Flight Photography with Lexar Professional 32GB 800x / 120MB/s CF Card