Which memory card for your DSLR?

The Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB Class 10 280GB oer seciond SDXC card

Need for speed? That 280MB/sec rating may not be the number you are looking for.

When you think about your camera and your memory card needs, do you think bigger and faster is better? Wait a minute..not so fast. Some cameras cannot handle newer SDXC formats, some cameras cannot take advantage of the 128MB/sec read rates or faster, and sometimes smaller and slower win the day.

My example..I have and still use a Nikon D90. It works, takes great photos and works with all of my lenses so why not right?

Well the first thing to note is that I shoot in RAW format, meaning NEF files for the Nikon (Canon uses a CR2 format, Panasonic uses a generic RAW format) are going to be a different size as you get more megapixels. So my D90 takes RAW photos in about 10-11 megabytes per image. While my D7100 uses a 28 megabyte raw image. Your camera has a common raw file size average and you should know it.

Now…for my D90, I never use anything bigger than a 16GB SDHC card. Sure it will support a 32GB card but I get into a grey area I try to avoid.

If I have 28 GB worth of images on the card and it fails, I am going to be mad. However if I only have 7-10GB of photos on card, I will still be angry at the loss but it won’t be nearly as bad as with 32GB. See?

Now a word about speed. Most cards will put their fastest speeds on the card and that is usually the speed a device can READ from it. What you want are cards that sync up with your camera speed. If you shoot at 7 frames per second and have a 90MB/sec write speed on your card, you might be able to eek out a few more shots before your camera’s buffer for the number of images it can hold, runs out.

So..ignore that 250 MB/sec listing on the card and look up the write speed for that card. Odds are it is going to be less than the read speed for that card.

That’s a quick lesson. If you have questions, please let me know. Next time, the quickie lesson will be over picking lenses to take on a trip.

Has the new camera bug got you?

Nikon has released two really nice high end camera for advanced hobbyists and professional users in recent weeks. These cameras start at price points that may leave some of us looking for part time jobs to earn the money necessary to buy one of these new video stressed camera systems, $2,999, $3,299, and $5,999 respectively.

These cameras have technology in them that are giant leaps away from what Nikon originally started out with. Remember the business mantra “play to your strengths?” Well Nikon is looking for a new strength in the video market as the D800, D800E and D4 are all capable of shooting 1080p HD video.

It’s clear that Sony is making a strong play for the micro 4/3’s market with its NEX-7 ILC offering. This camera has been voted by the editors of Popular Photography as its camera of the year for 2011. It’s not a DSLR but it’s pretty darn close. And it’s performance, as shown here on the Popular Photography site is really strong. It will only get stronger as the lens offerings for this camera improve.

So it’s clear that video is the next step for Nikon, but at 30 frames per second capture, it’s not going to blow the doors off of anything at this point. For the uninitiated, 30fps is the same speed that most local news video is shot at. High speed videograpy is shot as a much higher frame rate, maybe 1000fps or higher and it really makes a big difference in ultra-slow motion video ( as seen here ).

If Nikon decides to push videography harder, it will need to increase its frame rate. While 30fps is great for television, it doesn’t lend itself to creative videography. And that’s who is going to want a Nikon with video…those interested in breaking barriers and crossing over into the next medium type.

Should Nikon decides to go back to its photographic roots, it will die as Kodak is doing ever so slowly.

But with a 36.4 megapixel image, and 1080p HD video, the D800/D800E are good answers to photographers looking to cross that boundary. As someone who knows a thing or two about videography, but is by no means an expert, I would suggest to you that you look at a slow motion video shot at 1000fps to see what is possible.

Go start saving your pennies for the next big Nikon camera coming out around this time next year. Who knows..it may hit the 100 Megapixel mark. Then every photograph can be made into a billboard.

New Nikon D4 detailed look

I’ve been tied up for the past nine months and no I did not have a child but there are two new high end offerings from Nikon that I have put on my “if I win the Lottery” list.

Rather than talk about them here I am going to let the whatdigitalcamera.com review/overview speak for me. One of the key things about the D4 over the D3 models is the use of a new memory card type…the XQD. This is the replacement for aging compact flash format for digital recording.

But enough of what I think…here’s the overview from WhatDigitalCamera.com

Also…I am going to be changing the look of this site. If you have any ideas, please pass them along. Thanks!

There goes my hero–LensHero

So you have your new Christmas gift camera and it probably only came with a stock lens. Now you are probably wondering things like what kind of lens fits my camera? What size of lens should I use to shoot a child’s soccer game or a loved one’s recital?

Selecting lenses for a Nikon D40, D3000, D5000 or other DX cameras is more complicated than buying a lens for a $5000 Nikon D3x or other cameras. The difference is that in the DX models, Nikon has built the auto-focus motor within the body of the lens instead of putting it in the body of the camera.

Take a look at these two photos (courtesy of DPReview.com) and you can see the drive for the D80’s auto-focusing mechanism at the 7 o’clock position of the camera lens connector. That drive stem is missing from the D40 and it is missing from all of the DX version systems.

A word of caution…because I focus mostly on Nikon systems, I do not know what the equivilent is for the Canon system. So you should check with them about what their lower priced systems use for focusing.

So LensHero has come to the rescue by asking you for information about your camera, what you intend to shoot and then gives you suggestions on the lenses you should consider.


Check out the site–it covers almost all DSLR cameras. It’s a nice tool for beginners as well as experts. There are other sites that are also helpful but none are as simple as this one.