Timing a Transcend 80x 4GB Compact Flash card with a Nikon D200

This post details some speed tests I did with my Nikon D200 and a Transcend brand 80x 4 GB compact flash card. It's mostly a writeup for Digital Photography Review, and likely of little interest to the regular reader (is there more than one?) of my blog.

I'm sure that Digital Photography Review will do many timing tests when the D200 is reviewed, but I suspect that a Transcend memory card will not be tested. Since Transcend cards are significantly cheaper than San Disk and Lexar (at least here in Japan, where a 4 gig San Disk Extreme III runs about US$900), I wanted to report on the Transcend. The tested card's model number is TS4GCF80 and its serial number is 129002-0143.

All tests were done with a newly-formatted card with the camera in manual-focus, manual-exposure (1/200, wide-open aperture) mode at ISO 1600. Measurements were taken from audio-recordings using Adobe Audition.


Image Format Initial frames at 5 fpsSubsequent Frames Total Frames in One Minute
Raw/NEF 22 2.2 sec/frame 48
Raw/NEF (Compressed)22 1.5 sec/frame 60
JPG (Large/Fine) 27 0.76 sec/frame102
JPG (Small/Basic) 150 0.25 sec/frame270

With the first test (uncompressed NEF), all files are sized at the same 15.6 megabytes. Assuming that the bottleneck for the “subsequent frames” speed is the card's write speed, one can surmise that the Transcend 80x 4GB card can be written at 7.23 MB/sec.

[UPDATE: In a subsequent post, I now have also tested the 120x version of this card]


NOTE: the D200 automatically aborts its high-speed continuous shooting mode (“CH” mode) after 100 frames. You'll see this mentioned in the last two sets of details below.

Writing non-compressed NEF files produced these results:

  • Initial burst of 21 frames at 0.20 seconds each
  • 22nd frame came after a 0.129 second stutter (that is, 0.329 seconds after start of 21st frame)
  • Then 26 additional frames at an evenly spaced 2.156 seconds/frame
  • Total of 48 frames in 58.4 seconds (49 frames in 60.49 seconds)

Writing compressed NEF files produced these results:

  • Initial burst of 22 frames at 0.20 seconds each
  • 23rd frame came after a 0.6 second stutter (that is, 0.8 seconds after start of 22nd frame)
  • Then 37 additional frames at an evenly-spaced 1.473 seconds/frame
  • Total of 60 frames in 59.5 seconds (51 frames in 61.0 seconds)

Writing JPGs in Fine/Large format (Quality Priority) produced these results:

  • Initial burst of 27 frames at 0.20 seconds each
  • 28th frame came after a 0.212 second stutter (that is, 0.412 seconds after start of 27th frame)
  • Then 7 frames at 0.5 seconds each
  • Then 65 frames at an occasionally erratic pace, at an average of 0.758 seconds each
  • Total of 100 frames in 58.4 sec, at which point the continuous shoot stopped
  • Would be a total of 102 frames in 59.92 seconds

Writing JPGs in Basic/Small format (Size Priority) produced these results:

  • Initial burst of 100 frames at 0.20 seconds each (then auto-abort)
  • Restarting immediately saw the 5 fps rate continue for an overall total of 150 frames
  • Subsequent frames were at 4 fps.
  • Effective rate of 270 in 60 seconds.

One comment so far...

I’m the regular reader; maybe I’ll give these posts another look if I buy my own camera, but for now the ketai is doing a good enough job for my blog’s needs.

— comment by Claytonain on January 14th, 2006 at 4:55am JST (18 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink
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