Home > My Equipment Review > Lexar Professional UDMA 600x Compact Flash with Nikon D300

Lexar Professional UDMA 600x Compact Flash with Nikon D300

Main Lession: Make sure your camera can actually write as fast as this card will allow!!!

I purchased the Lexar Professional UDMA 600x (90MB/s) Compact Flash for my Nikon D300 in hopes of having an additional high capacity memory card that would clear the buffer faster than my Lexar Professional UDMA 300x (45MB/s).  Don’t get me wrong, I have been happy with the Lexar Professional 300x overall, though I find that the buffer gets full after 15 consectitive shots on continuous shooting at 8 frames per second. 

I did some online research and even called Nikon before my purchase to find out about the Nikon D300’s write speed.  I found some evidence that the Nikon D300’s write speed was limited to around 30MB/s, which suggests that it doesn’t even capitalize on the full potential of the 300x (45MB/s) card.  Despite this evidence, I decided to try the 600x card out anyway.  Well guess what?  My experience confirmed what I had previously found, that the Nikon D300 does NOT have a write speed fast enough to really take advantage of the Lexar Professional UDMA 600x (90MB/s) technology.  In other words, the buffer filled in the exact same number of continuous shots (15) as with the Lexar Professional UDMA 300x (45MB/s).  In addition, I did NOT notice a difference in the amount of time to clear the buffer before an additional photo could be taken when comparing the two UDMA cards.  Fortunately, I was able to send the card back for a full refund and get a less expensive 300x UDMA card.  Interestingly enough I have also seen reviews for the write speed of the Nikon D3 and D3x which are also between 30MB/s – 35MB/s.  I have not seen any evidence that there are camera bodies available that can take advantage of the latest storage card speeds of 45MB/s or 90MB/s.

I suppose the main place you would actually notice a difference would be during file transfer from your card to your computuer, assuming your memory card reader reads atl least 90MB/s.  I have no problems with the transfer speed of the 300x at 45MB/s for my purposes.

Below are a couple of links to sites that address the Nikon D300’s write speed:

http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/camera_multi_page.asp?cid=6007-9254

http://www.bythom.com/nikond300review.htm

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Categories: My Equipment Review
  1. Eric
    July 21, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Hi, KSQ, I’m a D3s user and I happened to do a rough test between Sandisk 45M/s and 60M/s 8G cards. I shot 32 pics (RAW + basic) in burst mode, which is the most internal cache in D3s. From the shutter release the to all the images written to card (red light off), it cost 45M/s card about 45sec and 60M/s card 30sec. I think it make sense. This isn’t a scientific test by no means. Just for your reference.

    • July 21, 2011 at 4:06 pm

      That’s interesting. So perhaps the D3s has the ability for a faster write speed, or do you think it is able to clear its buffer faster to take advantage of a faster card? I would be interested to know your ideas on this. Honestly, haven’t had experience with the D3 series but waiting to see what will come out next for my first FX DSLR. Thanks for the comment.

      KSQ

      • Eric
        July 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm

        I think it’s the advantage of such pro body. Whether it “has the ability for a faster write speed” or “be able to clear its buffer faster to take advantage of a faster card”, I personally don’t care, neither do you, I think. To know your gear and use it at its best is our goal. I think you’ve done a great job on this. I learned a lot from your blog.

        Actually, I did that test only to varify a 16G 60M/s fake card, which cost more than 90 sec to clear the buffer. Based on the test, I won’t regret to invest a Pro card for this FX Pro body. But Sandisk Pro card (90M/s) is very expensive to me, and I don’t need that high performance right now.

        I think you would have a D3s soon to match your perfect expectation. 🙂

  2. July 21, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Yea I hear you, as long as it gets the job done is all that really matters. I have always been a bit of a techy though and curious about how/why things work.

    Plus, I am interested in how at times we as consumers buy into marketing hype for product features that we really don’t need or can’t even take advantage of. This is especially true with computers today. My wife is one of the suckers for example. She wants a new computer for her office mainly to do word processing, internet, and other activities that require minimal processing power. But sure enough, as soon as we started looking she was saying wanting “8GB of RAM instead of 4GB”, a “quad core processor”, “1GB video card”, etc. Not to say that these aren’t good to have when you run applications that need them, but she wanted them without really understanding why she would actually need each. That’s why I blogged about the memory card speed thing. Initially I figured that faster must be better and that my camera would benefit from a 90MB/s card versus 30MB/s. After testing both cards and doing a bit of online research, I realized that my camera’s write speed was actually the rate limiting factor. The faster card did not seem to help clear the buffer either in my situation. So moral of the story for me with the D300 was that I don’t really need the very expensive 90MB/s card. Of course now that USB3 are more common and they have a USB3 compatible card readers, perhaps the faster file transfer time to the computer would be worth it…or on second thought, I am more than willing to wait 3 to 4 extra seconds for my photos to transfer versus spending significantly more for a 90MB/s card.

    Glad you shared your experiences with the D3s. I’ll take these into consideration and do some more reading on the subject when I get closer to buying an FX body and what memory card to best suit it. thanks again.

    Thanks

    KSQ

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