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SanDisk Extreme Pro CompactFlash Cards - Shoot up to 64 GB at 90 MB/sec.

Today's high-def camcorders and higher-res digital cameras require not only greater storage, especially for shooting in less-compressed RAW formats, but also faster performance, especially for burst-mode shooting of sequential images in fractions of a second.

So even consumers can see the need for memory cards like the recently-announced SanDisk Extreme Secure Digital (SD) Cards, with up to 32 GB of storage and running at up to 30 MB/sec. read/write data rates (see previous post).

But professionals shooting with DSLRs need even more, with 20-plus megapixel cameras capturing in RAW plus JPEG formats, and continuous burst modes shooting five or more images per second. Plus, pros need even more rugged and durable equipment to work in difficult environments and under extreme conditions.

Which explains the contained popularity of the CompactFlash (CF) Memory Card format (see Wikipedia). Yes, CF seems old-fashioned and clunky because it's so much bigger then the SD format (a whole inch and a half wide!), but that extra size allows for a tougher metallic case (not just plastic), and more headroom in the circuitry, offering not only higher capacity and faster performance, but also increased reliability.

For example, SanDisk has just refreshed its line of CompactFlash cards, featuring the SanDisk Extreme Pro CF Cards -- doubling the performance up to 90 MB/sec., and with capacities up to 64 GB.

The new Extreme and Extreme Pro cards replace the Extreme III and IV lines:
- SanDisk Extreme CF - 60 MB/s read/write (400x) - 8, 16, 32 GB
- SanDisk Extreme Pro CF - 90 MB/s read/ write (600x) - 16, 32, 64 GB

These cards are not just memory, they include processor and firmware, with the new SanDisk Power Core Controller, an advanced memory controller that enhances performance with a dual-lane architecture, and increases reliability with a 42-bit ECC engine to maintain data integrity and extended card endurance through optimized wear leveling.

And the CF format allows for impressive durability, with shock protection to withstand accidental drops of up to nine feet, a RTV Silicone coating for protection against moisture and humidity, and operation over extended temperatures from -13 F (-25 C) to 185 F (85 C).

So the SD card format is great for consumer cameras and camcorders, but the legacy CF format is still going strong to meet the demands of extreme shooting with DSLRs.

See my full article: Flash Memory: Technology Summary for more on memory card formats and features

See my Portable Storage Gallery for more on storage formats and devices.

Find the SanDisk Extreme III SDHC cards on Amazon.com

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