Westminster fountain at sunset

by Jorge Córdoba

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I'm unsure if I should buy a CF-SD adapter for my camera (replacing one that just died) or a CF-PCI adapter for my laptop and a new CF card. Can anyone share any experiences or recommendations that might push me one way or the other?

When I got my 30D a year ago, instead of buying a large CF card I bought a CF-SD adapter (allowing me to use SD cards in my 30D) so I could use one of my many SD cards with my camera. Today (thankfully it was immediately after a photo trip rather than immediately before it) the adapter stopped working: the SD card I normally use, as well as another one, leave the card-access light on and ignore shutter presses for quite a while (in the 30-60 seconds range) and sometimes give an error on shutter press or Format Card (I think I've seen both 'CF Err' and 'Err 99', but I didn't write down the actual errors), while my backup 512MB CF card works just fine and my laptop has no problems reading the SD cards. I can only conclude that my CF-SD adapter has died.

I had bought the CF-SD adapter because I have many SD cards, and they're generally cheaper than CF cards (at least, I believed that to be true one year ago), and because I have an SD reader in my laptop (so SD cards are much more convenient to read). Now that the adapter has died (and I got almost a full year's use out of it, for under $20, so I'm certainly happy with it), I'm wondering again if I should get another CF-SD adapter or a large, fast CF card and a CF-PCI adapter that I can put in my laptop's PCI Express slot.

The CF-SD adapter is a little cheaper and I have plenty of SD cards around and would need to buy at least one CF card, so the CF-SD adapter wins on price; but when I did my original testing in-camera I found that the CF-SD adapter was considerably slower than the CF card (if only an issue in burst mode when taking 10+ pictures), so the CF-PCI adapter wins on speed. And I have experience with the CF-SD adapter but not with the CF-PCI adapter, so there's the "known quantity" factor there. And obviously this decision will have some impact on the "Should I buy a 7D or 60D?" question that I will have to answer at some point in the future. In case it matters, I run Linux, but the reviews I've read of CF-PCI adapters seem to indicate that won't matter.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

I found myself in the same boat about a year ago, and I considered picking up an SD-to-CF adapter to use SD cards in my camera. All the research I did, however, showed really spotty results for these adapters, so I bagged that idea and bought a couple CF cards and a USB card reader for the CF cards.

The ultimate driver for me was reliability. At the end of the day, the last thing I need is drama from my memory card while I'm trying to shoot a picture.

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Your entire existing infrastructure is geared towards SD cards, so why change?

CF cards are generally more robust, which may or may not be a factor for you.

Personally I find a 1 year life for that adapter extremely short, for me it would be enough reason to not get another one (but maybe there are other makes and models out there that are higher quality).

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Your advice was pretty compelling, but in the end I couldn't resist the lure of trying something new. –  drewbenn Mar 13 '11 at 4:21

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