Vanguard CF card case (1 of 4)

Over the 2 year or so i’ve stuck with Transcend 400x 32GB cards for both filmmaking and photography. Even when shooting in burst mode, the cards are fast enough that I don’t run into buffering issues. However, with the introduction of RAW video on the 5d mark III and cameras like the Canon 1D C shooting 4k video, it seems these cards are no long fast enough to handle the data rates.

For these high data rate applications (around 80MB/s) 1000x CF cards seem to be the best way to go.  Having a few 128Gb cards would be an ideal situation as far as capacity is concerned. This would give you about 15 min worth of shooting time per card, which is almost useable on a regular shoot. The downside is of course the price, some of these 128GB cards can set you back over $600.

The more affordable option is to go with a 64GB CF card. This still gives you around 7 min worth of recording time in RAW mode, saves you some money, and from the reports I’ve seen, actually gives you faster write speeds than the 128GB models.

Lexar 1000x 64GB card

The most well known and most expensive brand on the market is Lexar.  At $299 a peace the Lexar x1000 cards are a pretty big hit to the wallet. Even though these cards usually come highly recommended, they are also the cards I see the most complaints about in forums.  Everything from failing after only a few uses to ultra slow write speeds. I’m not sure why complaints are so high on Lexar cards but I suspect people who shell out that much cash get pretty vocal when a card like this fails. For the price they at least come with a lifetime warranty and the replacement process is pretty painless.

Delkin Devices 64GB card

A less recognized brand, Delkin CF cards are about $60 cheaper than the Lexar cards. While other manufactures with the 1000x logo boast 120MB/s write speeds Delkin only lists 80MB/s. Is that because they are being honest about the cards actual speeds, or like some other brands is it a number that can only be achieved under ideal conditions? Remember the write speeds we’re shooting for are 80MB/s or above.


Dropping down in price another $50, the Transcend 64GB 1000x cards can be had for around $200. Still not what I would call cheap, but they are $100 less than the Lexar offering. I’m a little bias when it comes to Transcend, the 8 400x 32GB cards I’ve been using for the last 2 years have worked without a problem in my 7d as well as my 5d mark III’s. You see the impressive burst rate I get out of the 7d in this video. Like the rest of the cards above, Transcend offers a lifetime warranty and like the rest of the cards the claimed 120MB/s write speed is under ideal conditions.

Komputerbay CF card

By far the lowest price 1000x cards on the market come from KomputerBay. At $106 a peace these cards are relatively cheap in comparison to it’s peers. Listed write speeds are 100MB/s and the test I’ve seen put them pretty close to that mark at around 90MB/s in ATTO benchmarks. Until recently I’d never actually heard of the brand and honestly the name KomputerBay doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. Unlike the rest of the cards, the Komputerbay 64GB card is missing the VPG standards logo which seems a little shift. However, everything I’ve read about them seems to be positive, is the brand name on the other cards the reason for the higher price or is the Komputerbay card made from substandard materials?

I’m actually going to take a risk on the Komputerbay 64GB and 128GB cards, the price is just too good to pass up. Supposedly they even offer a lifetime warranty, all though I’m not sure how much that means when it’s offered by a brand I’ve never heard of. Hopefully the cards live up to the positive feedback I’ve been seeing. I’ll post some speed tests and more info once I’ve had a chance to get my hands on them.

One other thing to note. If you want to take advantage of the very healthy read speeds these cards have to offer, you might want to upgrade to a USB 3.0 card reader. Generally USB 2.0 card readers will cap you at about 35MB/s, not quite sure why that is when the standard calls for max speeds of around 60MB/s (480Mb/s). Regardless the speed a USB 3.0 card reader provides when transferring files can save you a lot of time.

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