Ian Andrews takes a look at the latest super fast memory card from Lexar
- 133X High-Speed SD Card
- 1GB and 2GB capacitiesIdeal for digital cameras with 4 megapixels and above
- 100% camera compatibility guaranteed ( 2GB see www.lexar.com/2gbsdlist for supported devices)
- Bundled with Image Rescue 2.0 & 30 day Trial of Photo Mechanic 4.3
- Faster camera recycle time so you spend less time waiting between shots
- 20 MB/sec minimum sustained read & write capability
- Works in Digital Cameras, MP3 Players, Camcorders and more!
- Your data is secure with SD Card security features
- A built-in erasure-prevention switch prevents you from accidentally deleting data
- Free High-Speed USB 2.0 reader included in 2GB box
With digital SLR cameras continuing to advance the technologies they use despite an apparent hiatus in the pixel race, like computers before them, one of the areas that is still improving is in processor speeds. Getting the digital information off the sensor, processing it and storing that information on removable media for use in other applications is one area that has probably advanced more than any other and is the biggest bottleneck in the entire digital capture process.
Many of the latest cameras, especially at the middle and higher end of the market, can now process images faster than a standard memory card can store them. To counter that particular problem, memory card manufacturers started to increase the speed at which their cards can be written to.
So much so that, along with the pixel race, a secondary race between memory manufacturers has been progressing quietly in the background.
With a ‘standard’ write speed of 150KB per second, performance has gone through 4x, 8x etc to a point where now, 40x write speeds are quite common and many professional users pack cards with 80x the original ‘standard’ speed.
Lexar, a company that has been at the forefront of this development, have now brought out cards that have a write speed of 133x, or 20MB per second. At the same time capacities have increased so that 1GB cards are far from unusual.
What is the advantage of high-speed cards to the average photographer you might ask. Well, speed equals time. The cards can be written to faster, saving time between shots. In a basic dSLR such as the Nikon D50, pressing the shutter continuously for 10 seconds with a generic, standard 1GB SD card fitted, the camera was able to take 7 frames. Changing just the card, this time for a Lexar Professional 133x card, again with a 1GB capacity, the camera was able to take 11 frames in the same 10 second period - a considerable increase.
This genuine performance gain over the standard card is why professional snappers use fast cards and the 133x is another significant step up on the 80x that have been around for a while now. Clearing the buffer faster means less opportunity for the camera to lock up during action sequences and much faster recovery times when it does.
Read speeds are also faster, meaning less time spent downloading the cards to your computer, although this process is a lot more dependent on the hardware being used. Typically, a 1GB card capable of 133x write speeds will download 2 to 3 minutes faster than a standard card when downloaded through a regular USB2 card reader although PC processor speed can vary this.
With the 1GB Lexar Professional 133x SD card used for this comparison, you get some handy extras in the package. The card comes complete with Lexar’s Image Rescue program which is capable of recovering deleted images or data from corrupted cards in many instances. It works with any make or format of card. There is also a 30 day trial of their Picture Mechanic software. Just remember to copy these goodies from the card to your PC before formatting the card.
The advantages of having the buffer clear so much quicker when using these cards for fast moving action like sports, or for things like wildlife photography where there are bursts of activity cannot be underestimated. That, along with the lifetime warranty supplied, make the use of these professional grade cards well worthwhile.
In summary, the positive points of the Lexar Professional 133x SD card are:
Marked increase in buffer clearance speeds over ‘standard’ cards
Useful reduction in transfer times when downloading
Handy software included in package and card reader with the 2gb model
The negative points are:
You tend to pay premium prices for the latest technology.
With the rapidly changing prices of memory cards, check the latest price for the Lexar Professional 133x cards here
Discuss this lens and other related lens subjects here
Test by Ian Andrews www.wildaboutkent.co.uk