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Lexar are coming up trumps with a super fast Compactflash card. The 300x write speed Professional UDMA card can write up to 45Mb per second.
As with all memory cards including Compactflash, the Lexar is virtually indestructible. So unless your photography involves hitting the card with a sledgehammer or nailing it to a tree, you should be ok.
The Lexar Professional UDMA 300x was compared against the Kingston Elite Pro 50x Compactflash card to see the differences between the write speeds. RAW, Large and Medium JPEG were the three settings chosen to write to the card using the Canon EOS400D which has a Digic II processor. The Kingston card managed to write in 3.1 sec at the RAW setting whereas the Lexar managed to write in 1.7sec. The Large shot was written in 1.1sec on the Kingston card and 0.9sec on the Lexar and the Medium JPEG wrote in 0.9sec by the Kingston and 0.7sec by the Lexar.
Not much difference at the lower compression rates with less than half a second between them, but the RAW images were great with the Lexar writing in just under half the time it took a standard 50x card.
Download to the computer took 1.1sec for the Kingston and 0.9sec for the Lexar at RAW whilst the Large images took 0.4sec for the Kingston and 0.3sec for the Lexar. Timing the Medium size image was nigh on impossible, but managed to record a time of 0.2sec for the Kingston and 0.1sec for the Lexar so only a difference of a tenth of a second which will not bring a bead of sweat to anyone's head. The card reader used was the Kingston USB2 15 in 1 which can run at 480Mbps and the computer was an IBM P4 3.0GHz Dual core machine with 1Gb RAM and the Hard drive running at the standard 7200RPM. The transfer rate with this set up is 11Mbps on the Kingston card and not a great deal faster at 17Mbps on the Lexar. Hardly the super speedy transfer rate that the box illustrates, however to get the proper results downloading to a computer, the card has to be slotted into a UDMA enabled reader.
For the professional with a large resolution camera that needs the pictures as fast as possible, this card will offer undreamt of speeds. However, the faster the processor in the camera, the faster the write-performance of the card and when it comes to downloading images to the computer, which is where the speed saving should really be felt, it requires a UDMA-compatible card reader to get the faster speeds. Otherwise, the performance increase is more like 50% over a 50x speed card.
The Lexar Professional UDMA 4Gb Compactflash card costs about £70 and is available from the Picstop website here .