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I have the relatively new Nikon D3100. But as far as I can tell, it doesn't support the new UHS-1 transfer standard that the ($75/16GB) Sandisk Extreme Pro uses to get its 45MB/s rate.

In fact, I've seen from two sources that, when used in a non-UHS-1 device, it actually performs a little slower than a non-UHS-1 card. I.e., the ($45/16GB) Sandisk Extreme SDHC (rated 30MB/s).

This is pretty interesting, because the Extreme can be a lot cheaper.

(NB: The only data I've personally observed is that an Extreme Pro way outperforms an Extreme III (rated class 6) in the D3100. So of course, this doesn't help answer my question.)

tl;dr - Has anyone compared an Extreme vs. Extreme Pro in a non-UHS-1 camera?

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as I know, the Extreme (standard) has 30MB/s speed which is enough both for HD video and also for burst shooting. I have it in my Pentax and I am very satisfied. I have older one - I think class 6 and newer - class 10, but I do not see any difference while using the camera. –  Juhele Jul 19 '11 at 11:58
    
I see a huge difference in the Extreme Pro vs. the Extreme III in the Nikon D3100. Although they both meet Nikon's minimum spec (>= class 6), when the Pro is in use, browsing through images is several times faster. –  Dogweather Jul 20 '11 at 5:21

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

If you observed the Extreme Pro is in fact faster than the Extreme than that does answer your question (it answers the faster part, we already know the cheaper part).

If you have both cards you can always run a test, just set the camera to burst mode and hold the shutter button - this will tell you the maximum burst length for each card, or, if you don't care about that, use a stopwatch to see how much time it takes to do something you do care about.

After you run the test, assuming the Extreme Pro is faster, you can decide how much you are willing to pay for the speed increase - and if the extra cost of the more expensive card is worth it to you.

By the way: 3 related things I learned during my 15+ years as a software developer are: 1. for any reasonably complex system (like, everything) you can't guess performance by using specs - you have to test it, 2. at some point the difference between the "fast" and "faster" systems is so small it's unnoticeable - at that point you can decide the slower system is good enough and go spend your time/money elsewhere and 3. the point the system is fast enough can change radically depending on how you use the system.

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1  
I have the D7000, which does support the newer UHS-1 spec, and it's significantly faster. (About 4 times as fast on the pessimistic end) –  Billy ONeal Jul 19 '11 at 21:20
    
No, that's just the thing: I can't run a test. I have an Extreme Pro and much older Extreme III. –  Dogweather Jul 20 '11 at 5:19
    
@Nir, and by the way, it's not between fast and faster, it's between $75 vs. $45 for fast vs. faster. –  Dogweather Jul 20 '11 at 5:23
    
@Dogweather - Sorry I misunderstood you, I thought you have both cards -- and I did write "and if the cost of the more expensive card is worth it to you", I think this covers the $75 vs. $45 for fast vs. faster –  Nir Jul 20 '11 at 10:37
    
@Dogweather - and by the way, for me it's not worth the extra cost, burst mode is a lot of fun but actually not productive for action shoots (I get much better pictures by timing the picture and shooting only once), for other burst mode usages (like taking multiple pictures and choosing the one with less camera motion blur) the camera's buffer is more than I need and the "cheap" class 6 cards works just fine for video - so I really don't see the point in paying for a faster card (but unless you photograph the same things I do in the same way you may have different considerations) –  Nir Jul 20 '11 at 10:46

At high speed burst mode, which is 4,5 frames a second, card speed does make a difference for me with my D90 when I try it with RAW or RAW+Jpeg Fine. Otherwise, a 30Mbit/s card is usually enough for most scenarios. I cannot rate it for HD video as I don't really do that, but it seems to record just fine without any problems. If the difference is large enough, I'd get two of the cheaper one (provided it is 30Mbit/s or thereabouts) and save the money for lenses instead :)

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Your camera needs to support UHS-1 to get 30MB/s transfer rates to an SD card. The highest speed supported under the old standard is ~12MB/s –  Billy ONeal Jul 19 '11 at 21:20
    
@O'Neal, Would you happen to have a source for that? Seems to me that's not the case. I.e., Sandisk Extreme III is rated higher than 12MB/s, yet is not UHS-1. –  Dogweather Jul 20 '11 at 5:22
    
Please note the correction - I mistakenly wrote MB instead of Mbit per second. The error is important, but does not change the answer. –  Roland Jul 20 '11 at 6:38

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