SanDisk was one of three companies to develop and market the SD (secure digital?) in 1999. 14 years later (2013), SanDisk has gone from a 1GB CF card to a 128GB SD – quite the progress. This 128GB SD capacity ranks high as RAW file sizes, as well as 1920 x 1080/30/25/24p HD Video Capture, writes in larger and larger as image sensors keep improving noise levels to ultra-high levels.
The EOS 5D MKIII & EOS 6D can shoot at ISO102,400. The Nikon D800E captures RAW file sizes that approach 50MB+ each. With these trends moving forward, ultra-high capacity SD cards are becoming popular, with the SanDisk Extreme 128GB currently holding the highest-tier of sizes/performance. On Amazon it runs $136, and it advertises 45MB a second, in and out.
Does it hit the marketed throughput? No. What’s the actual formatted capacity? 128.83GB. More details below.
The SanDisk Extreme product line is second fastest in the lineup, with the Extreme Pro clocking in nearly twice that or perhaps more at 90-95MB of advertised I/O. That’s nearly twice the speed! However, the Extreme Pro does not have a 128GB capacity, so this is the only option for hitting that capacity range at the moment. For 95% of all use cases involving shooting images from camera to card, the Extreme is above spec, including 30-minute HD1080p footage. Shooters who might have this card are:
All speed tests were on run on a 2013 MacBook Air internal SD card slot (450/450mb SDD 6gb/s), which is an interface on the main logic board so it doesn’t adversely affect the tests results. Below is a disk whack speedtest ran on Blackmagic Disk Speed Test.
35.5MB write, and 37.8MB read speeds are a bit below the advertised 45MB/sec, but still good for nearly all types of shooters. The average SD card speed is roughly half this, where normal falls somewhere between 16-20MB/sec. A finder block copy transfer of 500MB had approximately +3 MB on read/write.
The actual camera formatted capacity of the SanDisk Extreme 128GB SDXC card is 127.85GB. Awesome!
For still shooters, the SanDisk Extreme 128GB SD card is now the last card you’ll probably need for the next 3-5 years. If you shoot 30MB RAW files, you can shoot 4,369 RAW images until this card becomes full. If your RAW images are 50MB each, you’ll max this one at 2,621 images. 80% of cameras fall under 30MB per RAW file. For video shooters, multiple 30-minute clips can be shot in sequence with just a short break in-between.
Wether you’re going to be shooting stills or video, get the SanDisk Extreme 128GB over the Transcend 128GB SD TS128GS. It’s only $30 more . For any capacities lower than 128GB, I recommend the Transcend as the price point as it’s much less expensive and the speed/reliability is excellent.
If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment!