I own a D5000 and I wonder what memory card to buy for it. I will keep the kit 4GB and downgrade it to "backup" card probably (I will keep it always on me).

Considering a RAW image (I shoot RAW exclusively) is around 10MB and this card cannot shoot faster than 4 frames/second (it's bottlenecked by the internal buffer memory, RIGHT?! Not the memory card?) then it's safe to assume a 40MB/sec card should suffice.

But I'm not sure. Am I correct?

So what speed should suffice for a memory card put in my D5000?

  • possible duplicate of How can I know what speed card to get for my camera? – mattdm Sep 19 '11 at 21:12
  • 'I shoot RAW exclusively': Idon't mean to sound snarky but you could always switch to jpg rather than raw if you need to take a long series of photos at a high rate. RAW isn't always the best solution. – user7226 Dec 28 '11 at 15:09

Burst mode with RAW format will always be bottle-necked by standard SD-cards. I use a class 10 16GB card in my D5000 and I really don't see a noticeable different in the burst speed once the buffer is full compared to the old class 4 card I had. That's why pro cameras still use compact-flash and have larger buffers, it's much faster.

Edit to clarify SD card classes:

The class number is the minimum write speed in megabytes/second when the data on the card is fragmented. So a class 10 card will always be faster in the worst case than a class 4. The class number has nothing to do with the maximum write speed or the latency of the card however. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Digital#Speed_Class_Rating

  • so I understand it doesn't matter if it's class 4 or 10? – Andrei Rînea Sep 19 '11 at 19:05
  • I've seen an even faster card at sandisk.com/microsites/ExtremeProSDHC/index.html which states 'Performance/speed: Up to 45MB/sec write/read speed (300X)' – Andrei Rînea Sep 19 '11 at 19:08
  • @Andrei: you usually won't get near the theoretical maximum write speed in practice. And the D5000 just wasn't designed to shoot burst mode for long periods of time. I usually get 8-9 frames in burst mode before the buffer fills and then I'm limited to the sd card's write speed. In practice the 'faster' cards haven't been noticeably faster. I honestly wouldn't pay more for a faster card, Instead I'd pay for larger capacity. – gerbob Sep 19 '11 at 20:20

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