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choosing a cf card and reader


Kim Haugen
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What CF cards and card readers would you recommend?   

I don't do sports or video, but am about to start raw (just signed up for Damien's raw class), so I am concerned about file size and transfer speed.  I have a Canon 5D Mark III, Windows 7 and a Dell PC (w usb 3.0), but just rcd my daughter's Windows laptop so now need a card reader too, for travel. Lexar makes one for SD/CF cards that looks ok if it will take my older cards?    (Couldn't find this topic using the search bar, but surely that's my fault, as i am used to the FB format!  Feel free to redirect me... Thanks!) 

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The biggest thing with the 5D Mark III is to avoid using the SD slot. The reason is that when you use the SD slot, the camera slows down both the CF and SD slots to 30mb /sec. Even though you might have super-fast cards in both slots. While this might not bother some, if you spend the extra money on fast cards, I feel that you would want your camera to take advantage of the faster cards. If you use the SD slot in a 5DMK3, in reality you are wasting money on fast cards, because the camera will slow to a crawl when writing. If you use the CF slot only, the camera writes to the CF card a lot faster.

As far as what brand, I personally use Sandisk Cards and a Sandisk Reader. I bought a couple of these packs: 


http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1003354-REG

and one of these: 

 
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1077128-REG

I'm going to get another 32GB set in the near future. 

As far as a reader, give this one a shot: 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/810152-REG

 

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Lexar is also a decent brand, but I personally prefer Sandisk. A few friends of mine have had a few bad Lexar cards lately, so I'm pretty conservative in recommending them.

That said, perception is reality. 

Oh, a USB 3.0 Card Reader will read older cards just fine. 

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Thanks so much for the quick response with recommendations!  The only card that has ever corrupted on me (in almost 10 years) is the 16gb one shown, but I think I will just ignore the heebie jeebies I got when I saw the photo and write that particular one off as an aberration... and try again.   

Is it best to use the same brand for card/reader?  (Asking, bc the Lexar Pro Dual Slot reader (<$20) got better reviews than the Sandisk...)  Thanks -- again!

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The Lexar reader is fine. 

As far as corruption, believe it or not, it's mostly caused by deleting photos in camera. *GASP* Also bent pins in the reader / camera can cause all sorts of issues  I never put much thought into this but it makes sense. Please, give this article a read to see what I'm talking about: 

http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/the-data-recovery-interview.html

It's a bit long, but there are some good take-always. As for me, I've never had a Sandisk Card go bad since I switched to digital from film back in 2007. Like I said, perception is reality. In all fairness, if you are the type of shooter that takes lots of photos on the same card over and over, CF / SD media does wear out. So you might have just gotten bit. Or it could have been the card  

I personally cycle / retire my cards every 18 months or so. I write the month and year on the card to keep them straight. Now, after 18 months, they don't necessarily get thrown away, just demoted to secondary usage. New cards are primary. 

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Great article, and good advice about retiring cards to a secondary status. I do (did!) tend to use the battery until it quit, use the card until completely full, and have been known to *GASP* delete images in-camera.  I ALWAYS emptied the card in Windows Explorer, NEVER formatted in-camera (until after my one corrupted card experience), and never EVER retired a card unless I got a bigger one -- amazing that I had no previous failures! From the article, though, it sounds like my one failed card could actually have been a counterfeit SanDisk; the problem occurred on the very first use (about 2-1/2 years ago).  I learned a lot, and I thank you muchly.  Your generosity is appreciated!  

(And thanks, too, for the new attributable quote:  Perception is reality.)

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