Supercharged SanDisk Extreme Compact Flash!

The new lightning-fast SanDisk Extreme & Extreme Pro compact flash memory cards are beginning to arrive on the shelves at Wex Photographic, plus the well-known Ultra II and Extreme III CF ranges have received a speed boost!

The SanDisk compact flash rangeThe SanDisk compact flash range

The new Extreme & Extreme Pro UDMA memory cards reach dizzying new heights in the read & write speed game; 60 & 90 MB/s respectively, which will certainly be handy for continuous shooting above 8fps and simultaneous RAW + JPEG capture.

  Ultra II
Extreme III
Extreme IV
Extreme Pro
Speed 15MB/s 30MB/s 45MB/s 60MB/s 90MB/s
Capacities (GB) 4, 8 4, 8, 16 4, 8, 16 8, 16, 32 16, 32, 64

The Extreme Pro range includes a ground-breaking 64GB memory card, which is so ground-breaking that it isn’t compatible with the Nikon D300, D700, D2Xs, D3 & D3X (32GB maximum). Ahem. SanDisk have tested & confirmed the following cameras support their 64GB memory card: The Canon 50D, 5D, 5D Mk II, 1Ds Mk III, Nikon D300S, Sony Alpha 900 and Olympus E-30.

What is UDMA?

UDMA stands for Ultra Direct Memory Access. It’s a relatively new communication protocol for solid state storage, allowing data transfer rates to be twice as fast per ‘cycle’. UDMA is the new buzz-word in high performance memory cards.

UDMA enabled memory cards are backwards compatible with older cameras, switching back to Programmed Input Output (PIO) mode, but the read & write speeds are reduced significantly. Here’s a quick comparison of the maximum theoretical speeds of each mode:

PIO Mode Max Speed UDMA Mode Max Speed
6 25MB/s 6 133MB/s
5 20MB/s 5 100MB/s
4 16.7MB/s 4 66.7MB/s
3 11.1MB/s 3 44.4MB/s
2 8.3MB/s 2 33.3MB/s
1 5.2MB/s 1 25MB/s

To take advantage of the transfer speeds UDMA offers you’ll need a compatible camera and UDMA-enabled memory card reader. The SanDisk Extreme Firewire reader is one of the fastest UDMA memory card readers on the market today, supporting UDMA up to mode 4 (66.7MB/s). Hopefully SanDisk will refresh the range eek even more performance out of the Extreme Pro memory cards...

So, what does UDMA translate into for photographers? Extended continuous shooting (camera dependant), increased battery life and faster downloads to your PC or Mac. Sounds good to me!

SanDisk Compact Flash Memory Cards

The SanDisk Ultra II, Extreme III, Extreme IV, Extreme and Extreme Pro compact flash memory cards are available at Wex Photographic.