Answer this: Why in the world are Compact Flash cards still in use with new cameras?

8 years 8 months ago #234602 by Wyrick Photography
Why are camera manufactures still manufacturing cameras with CF, why have they not converted to SD cards? I was just looking over specs of some of the new cameras and it had me scratching my head. CF seems like old technology.

Canon 5d Mark II • Canon 24-105mm F/4.0 • Canon 135mm F/2.0 • Canon 50mm F/1.8 • Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 • Canon 580ex ii
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8 years 8 months ago #234608 by KCook
Oldie but goodie. I still prefer the easy handling of CF cards.

butterfingers

Canon 50D, Olympus PL2
kellycook.zenfolio.com/

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8 years 8 months ago #234611 by geoffellis

Wyrick Photography wrote: Why are camera manufactures still manufacturing cameras with CF, why have they not converted to SD cards? I was just looking over specs of some of the new cameras and it had me scratching my head. CF seems like old technology.


CF is older... about 5 years older than SD... but its updated just as frequently. CF typically has/had higher storage capacities, faster read/write capabilities, backwards compatibility, and were less expensive.

Nowadays the standard CF cards have about the same storage capacities available as SD... so not an issue. not sure about current pricing... however the read and write capabilities with CF are still faster. so in pro cameras where speed is important, ie for burst shooting... CF is better. There is also backwards compatibility. If you put a current SDXC into an SD card slot... it wont read. so you cant buy the bigger cards for your slightly older devices. I have a D80 that supports SDHC... but i cant buy a new 64GB SDXC and use it. I need to upgrade cameras if i want that capability. CF however, even the latest cards can be used in a 10-15 year old laptop with full capacity.

back then though you could also use CF cards directly in your laptops through PCMCIA... and could act like a hard drive. so for a long time, when USB was not nearly as fast... this was a fast and efficient method of getting your files. USB is now faster than PCMCIA... so you are probably using a USB card reader.

But the key issue, is CF cards have faster read/write speeds... and that is important in certain photography, and especially video. The other factor, is that Pro users have been using CF for years. forcing all their loyal long term customers to switch to SD and having them spend thousands on new cards would be a marketing disaster if you ask me.

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8 years 8 months ago #234617 by Wyrick Photography

geoffellis wrote:

Wyrick Photography wrote: Why are camera manufactures still manufacturing cameras with CF, why have they not converted to SD cards? I was just looking over specs of some of the new cameras and it had me scratching my head. CF seems like old technology.


CF is older... about 5 years older than SD... but its updated just as frequently. CF typically has/had higher storage capacities, faster read/write capabilities, backwards compatibility, and were less expensive.

Nowadays the standard CF cards have about the same storage capacities available as SD... so not an issue. not sure about current pricing... however the read and write capabilities with CF are still faster. so in pro cameras where speed is important, ie for burst shooting... CF is better. There is also backwards compatibility. If you put a current SDXC into an SD card slot... it wont read. so you cant buy the bigger cards for your slightly older devices. I have a D80 that supports SDHC... but i cant buy a new 64GB SDXC and use it. I need to upgrade cameras if i want that capability. CF however, even the latest cards can be used in a 10-15 year old laptop with full capacity.

back then though you could also use CF cards directly in your laptops through PCMCIA... and could act like a hard drive. so for a long time, when USB was not nearly as fast... this was a fast and efficient method of getting your files. USB is now faster than PCMCIA... so you are probably using a USB card reader.

But the key issue, is CF cards have faster read/write speeds... and that is important in certain photography, and especially video. The other factor, is that Pro users have been using CF for years. forcing all their loyal long term customers to switch to SD and having them spend thousands on new cards would be a marketing disaster if you ask me.


That was a detailed answer. Thank you Geoff, I guess I was thinking about the cards from a size stand point and you have to admit... the CF are bulky compared to SD cards. But your answer does shine some light on areas that I over looked.

So it looks like you have a solid idea of what is going on, how much longer of a life span do you think CF cards have with modern DSLR cameras?

Thanks again :cheers:

Canon 5d Mark II • Canon 24-105mm F/4.0 • Canon 135mm F/2.0 • Canon 50mm F/1.8 • Tamron 28-75mm F/2.8 • Canon 580ex ii
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8 years 8 months ago #234618 by robbie

KCook wrote: Oldie but goodie. I still prefer the easy handling of CF cards.

butterfingers

:agree:
Got a D7000 and the only part I don`t like is those darn little SD cards,a pain in the neck to handle!!


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8 years 8 months ago #234625 by Joves

Wyrick Photography wrote:
That was a detailed answer. Thank you Geoff, I guess I was thinking about the cards from a size stand point and you have to admit... the CF are bulky compared to SD cards. But your answer does shine some light on areas that I over looked.

So it looks like you have a solid idea of what is going on, how much longer of a life span do you think CF cards have with modern DSLR cameras?

Thanks again :cheers:


For quite a long time I have no doubt. For one the CF writes to a 16bit bus and the SD writes to a 4bit bus. As far as write speed both are plenty fast the SDs write at 133x or 20 mbs, but the CFs are at 300x or 45mbs. Both are faster than the cameras can write from their buffers, but in reality the faster cards clear the camera buffer faster allowing for more frames per second. Where you see the difference is in uploading to the computer, here the CF does it much faster via a card reader, using the camera is slow and tedious. So until they come up with a better system than the current CF it is here to stay.


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8 years 8 months ago #234629 by geoffellis

Wyrick Photography wrote: So it looks like you have a solid idea of what is going on, how much longer of a life span do you think CF cards have with modern DSLR cameras?

Well, pro cameras are already starting to come with Dual Card support for SD and CF. This to me is a sign that they are phasing out the CF in the long run. Its not going to be today, or tomorrow... but i would say 3, maybe 5 years from now youd be hard pressed to find a camera (or any other device) that takes CF. That said i believe this will be a completely consumer driven trend, as opposed to a technological one. Im not all that familiar with Canon products but i believe, they, and Nikon, have about completely converted to SD in their lower end products, point and shoots, prosumer, and mid-range SLR's... which means all these future professionals are going to have a stockload of SD cards. Again having to spend hundreds or even thousands on high capacity CF cards is a burden. Not to mention they will unlikely just discard their old cameras... so they will then have 2 cameras needing 2 different cards

So it will become a balancing act for them to figure out when SD is going to become the preferred card... which with the release of these dual card cameras is just the beginning. It will also encourage "professionals" with CF cards to begin conversion to SD. Im sure many will realize the benefit of SD simply because they are so commonly used. computers come with sd card readers, not PCMCIA slots now... so they are great for transferring files, you dont need a potentially bulky card reader when you are shooting or travelling, many printers can take them straight without needing a computer, you can buy many TV's/displays with built in SD card support, video game systems are using them now, most smartphones take some form of SD cards, not to mention print labs seem to have no problem taking them instead of CD's (although i dont know if i would trust them with my really expensive ones), however ive never taken a CF card, so im not sure if they typically would or not. Point is, the current generation of CF card holders will begin, if they dont already, to have the SD cards needed.

We also get into the capabilities of SD... while CF cards could be manufactured with the same abilities, i believe, they havent been. for example... Eye-Fi currently has a wifi enabled sd card available. You can transmit your files over wifi for viewing instantly. Ive also heard of talk, although i know of no saleable products, of SD cards with GPS. So you could potentially Geotag your images as they are created without additional gear (although cameras are already starting to build this in). Or a built in voice recorder, so perhaps you could take voice notes of each photo as you take them. the potential use for SD cards are endless.

i believe at some point in the near future, SD cards will reach a point where they meet the read/write speeds needed by professionals, and the sd market penetration will be so great that there really wont be any reason to keep supporting CF in Pro SLR's. CF may, and could, stay ahead of SD technologically, but there becomes a point where speed is irrelevant. If both can meet the requirements of the photographer (ie bursting 40 shots), or recording hours of uninterrupted true hd video, then SD will win regardless of whichever one is technically superior, and i believe SD is already almost there.

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8 years 8 months ago #234632 by geoffellis

Joves wrote: For quite a long time I have no doubt. For one the CF writes to a 16bit bus and the SD writes to a 4bit bus. As far as write speed both are plenty fast the SDs write at 133x or 20 mbs, but the CFs are at 300x or 45mbs. Both are faster than the cameras can write from their buffers, but in reality the faster cards clear the camera buffer faster allowing for more frames per second. Where you see the difference is in uploading to the computer, here the CF does it much faster via a card reader.


You are mostly correct... although CF has the capability to reach 160MBps on a native bus/device. the current SDXC cards are capable of speeds up to 100MBps. The previous SDHC was something like 25MBps.

So CF is faster right? Not really. USB 2.0 is only capable of transmitting at a MAX of 60MBps (480mbps). So if you are using a fast CF card over USB 2.0, vs an SDXC card, you are getting identical speeds. However if you have a built in SD card reader with a native bus (commonly built into most laptops ive seen), then you are getting the max speed... if its an SDXC reader and card, then you are getting 100MBps

However, laptops in the last year are starting to support USB 3.0... so theoretically you could buy a new laptop and upgrade your card reader to a USB 3.0 device... and you would get theoretically get full transmission speeds for your CF card. BUT... USB isnt perfect. USB is shared. So any other USB devices you have plugged in... will utilize some of that bandwidth. webcams, keyboards, printers, wifi adapters, external hard drives, are some examples... Think of it like a house. If you turn on all your taps/showers/flush toilets youll see a drop in water from each,likely. USB is like one big water tank for everyone. having a dedicated sd bus is like having a separate water tank for an individual outlet. youll get consistent flow regardless of what other people/devices are doing. If you are transferring from a CF card reader to external usb hard drive for example... you wont get nearly the speeds either are rated for. Transferring from an SD card to external usb hard drive you will...

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8 years 8 months ago #234689 by Henry Peach

robbie wrote: [...the only part I don`t like is those darn little SD cards,a pain in the neck to handle!!


:agree:

Wyrick Photography wrote: ...how much longer of a life span do you think CF cards have with modern DSLR cameras?


I don't know how they compare to SD cards, but so far all of the CF cards I've ever purchased still work. I can't say that about the DSLRs I was using them in.

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8 years 8 months ago #234784 by Sandy Smith Photos

Henry Peach wrote:

robbie wrote: [...the only part I don`t like is those darn little SD cards,a pain in the neck to handle!!


:agree:

Wyrick Photography wrote: ...how much longer of a life span do you think CF cards have with modern DSLR cameras?


I don't know how they compare to SD cards, but so far all of the CF cards I've ever purchased still work. I can't say that about the DSLRs I was using them in.


Something less me you aren't alone :whistle:


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8 years 8 months ago #234926 by Kitzmiller
Isn't the transfer rate with SD cards faster than CF cards?


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8 years 8 months ago - 8 years 8 months ago #234954 by geoffellis

Kitzmiller wrote: Isn't the transfer rate with SD cards faster than CF cards?

Ive already answered this a couple posts back... but ill quote it again for you so you dont have to uh... read more than you have to. But the answer is yes, they are faster, no they are not, and some times they are the same. It depends. technically speaking CF is built with faster transfer rates. the technology thats used to read/write them however may not be.

geoffellis wrote: You are mostly correct... although CF has the capability to reach 160MBps on a native bus/device. the current SDXC cards are capable of speeds up to 100MBps. The previous SDHC was something like 25MBps.

So CF is faster right? Not really. USB 2.0 is only capable of transmitting at a MAX of 60MBps (480mbps). So if you are using a fast CF card over USB 2.0, vs an SDXC card, you are getting identical speeds. However if you have a built in SD card reader with a native bus (commonly built into most laptops ive seen), then you are getting the max speed... if its an SDXC reader and card, then you are getting 100MBps

However, laptops in the last year are starting to support USB 3.0... so theoretically you could buy a new laptop and upgrade your card reader to a USB 3.0 device... and you would get theoretically get full transmission speeds for your CF card. BUT... USB isnt perfect. USB is shared. So any other USB devices you have plugged in... will utilize some of that bandwidth. webcams, keyboards, printers, wifi adapters, external hard drives, are some examples... Think of it like a house. If you turn on all your taps/showers/flush toilets youll see a drop in water from each,likely. USB is like one big water tank for everyone. having a dedicated sd bus is like having a separate water tank for an individual outlet. youll get consistent flow regardless of what other people/devices are doing. If you are transferring from a CF card reader to external usb hard drive for example... you wont get nearly the speeds either are rated for. Transferring from an SD card to external usb hard drive you will...

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8 years 8 months ago #234955 by Nikonjan
I have a D300 and they use CF cards which I have spent a lot of money on. I had thought of getting the D7000 as a lighter 2nd camera but I don't like that it has the smaller card, just more money to spend.

www.betterphoto.com?nikonjan

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