As with all my other speed tests I’ve done, for this set of tests I’ve used the H2testw 1.4 flash drive testing program. A few of you have asked why I choose to use this program and the main reason is that it writes a series of 1gb files to the card until the card is full. The results are the average of the overall right speed during the test. Other test programs will probably give you higher numbers and burst rate information, but to me it seems like this program better represents the way a DSLR uses a given card.

So lets start with the Transcend 16GB 133x CF card.  Speeds aren’t amazing, 10.7MByte/s is enough to keep up with the Canon 7d and 5d mark II, but tends to drop out on the 5d mark III’s 11.25 MByte (90Mbit) ALL-I format. It’s a low price card but just not fast enough for the 5d mark III’s needs.

I’ve had this Filemate Card for so long that the company was actually bought by Wintec and the cards have since been re-branded as “Wintec Filemate”. There aren’t any actual speed ratings listed on the card, but it does preform slightly better then the Transcend 16GB 133x CF card. Still not quit up to the challenge of the 5d mark III’s video needs at 11.7MByte/s a second.

The PRETEC 64GB SDXC card has been used with my 5d mark III almost constantly and it preforms great. Constant data rates of 18.2 MByte/s is more then enough to keep up with the video demands of the ALL-I video format. The Pretec card still represents the best overall value out of all of these cards.

Last but not least is the Transcend 32GB 400x CF card. The 18.7MByte/s data rate isn’t a show stopper, but it is slightly better then the 18.2MByte/s of the Pretec SDXC card. More then enough speed to keep up with the 5d mark III, half the storage space and about $12 less then the Pretec cards.

The main reason to choose a CF card over the SDXC card is the CF’s rugged build. I’ve actually broken off parts of SD cards after repeated use. Mainly it’s the little plastic separators between the contacts on the front of the card, but a few times I’ve actually had the plastic case split open. It hasn’t happened very often, and lucky for me the problem showed up when I was putting the card back into the camera after clearing off all the data, but it is still a possibility.  Sure you can still destroy a CF card if you’re not careful, but the thicker plastic case and bits of metal make the format a step up in the rugged build department.

Best value is still the Pretec card, handle it carefully and you shouldn’t be disappointed. If you want a card that’s a little more rugged, about the same performance with half the space for about the same price, the Transcend 32GB 400x CF card will do the job.


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