General Question

tranquilsea's avatar

What is the difference between a ScanDisk SD card and one of a higher price besides the price?

Asked by tranquilsea (17739points) June 10th, 2010

Ok, I’ve just recently made the transition over to digital from film. One of the problems I have with so many cameras is just how slowly they take pictures. I’ve spoken to many so-called techs about it with not much elucidation. Then yesterday a salesperson at Direct Buy tried to convince me to buy a more expensive SD card telling me that the more expensive ones are faster. This is something I hadn’t heard before and so I bow before your massive brains: what is the difference between a ScanDisk SD card and one of a higher price besides the price?

If I want a fast card so I don’t have to wait 30 seconds between pictures, what type of card should I buy?

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8 Answers

Rarebear's avatar

I have regular cheap Costco SD cards in my DSLR and they work just fine. I sort of saw the extra expensive SD cards kind of like buying premium gasoline for your car.

It may make a difference with video.

gemiwing's avatar

I’ve noticed a slight difference between them. It also depends on the write speed of the camera- some just aren’t fast. It also depends on if you are saving TIFF or RAW. A DSLR will have faster save times than a point and click, as well. If you’re needing to get several shots in quick succession I would try the burst mode. (sorry if you already know all of this!)

Here is a good resource for learning more. (Rob Galbraith DPI)

The speediest memory cards generally use single level cell (SLC) memory (SanDisk calls this binary-type memory). This type of flash memory also offers the highest number of erase/write cycles. The alternative is multi level cell (MLC) memory, which is slower and less expensive per MB than SLC, which in turn translates into lower-priced CompactFlash and SD/SDHC cards, but also a lower erase/write cycle specification.

jerv's avatar

FYI, more erase/write cycles means that it lives longer.
Fewer erase/write cycles means that it’ll die sooner.

Therefore, the more expensive SLC cards last longer.

Of course, there are other factors, not the least of which is quality. Face it, some brands _are- better than others and SD cards are no different. That said, you really can’t go wrong with Sandisk for memory cards or USB Flash drives.

@Rarebear Considering that I’ve had quite a few cars that ran poorly (if at all) on 87 octane but ran just fine on Premium, that’s a bad analogy to make around me ;)

arpinum's avatar

For SDHC cars there is a “Class” rating. The number refers to the transfer rate, i.e a Class 6 card will transfer at 6Mb/sec. Now the card might not be your bottle neck.Higher speed cards are usually only needed on dslrs since their processors run much faster. On a point and shoot camera the processor is more likely to be the bottle neck.
Using the flash will cause the speed to drop a lot. 30 seconds sounds like far more than any camera i’ve hear of.

Care to share which camera you bought?

@Rarebear Higher octane gas is necessary on higher compression vehicles to prevent premature detonation.

jaytkay's avatar

If you are using an SLR, turn off the LCD screen and look through the viewfinder.

On my camera that gives me click-click-click shooting just like days of yore.

tranquilsea's avatar

I have a Coolpix S570. The first time I’ve ever had a point and shoot. My film camera is a Pentax PZ20 SLR and I’ve been hesitant to make the SLR crossover.

The Coolpix was a birthday gift from my hubby. I know he spoke to a salesperson about the speed of the various cameras and this was the one that they recommended. The speed isn’t bad on it but it is nothing compared to my Pentax.

I’m hoping to find an SLR that will take my $500 lens but that isn’t on the horizon in the near future.

arpinum's avatar

pentax k-x should take your lens mount. $400 body only, $500 with kit lens. I think you have the kaf2 mount.
your S570 has 50MB of internal memory. If the camera is slow, the SD card is not at fault.
No comparison between point and shoot and dslr.

tranquilsea's avatar

I actually have a Pentax MZ 6. The original camera was a PZ10 we had it for 13 years before my husband dropped it on a promenade 2 days before we were to take part in an official May 8th ceremony in Belgium. He cracked the body. We bought used PZ20 and 6 months later he put it in a bucket on the beach…and then forgot about it. The tide knocked the bucket over and destroyed the camera. Then we got the MZ 6 and he wasn’t allowed to touch it lol.

Thanks for the information on the k-x. I’m not a fan of Canon and Pentax has been slow to get into the digital field.

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