Ramblings of an Amateur Photographer

SD cards (UHS I vs UHS II)

I recently purchased a new Lexar Professional 64 GB SD card for my Fuji X-T1 camera. Why? Because it is a UHS II card. I know I am starting out talking greek. For a long time camera used Compact Flash cards to store images on because they were very reliable and fast. SD cards we used, but until recently they weren't as reliable and not nearly as fast. In the last few years there have been advancements in the technology to make reading and writing to these cards faster. Some manufacturers have chosen other types of cards in order to try and get reliability and speed, but it's kind of like VHS vs BetaMax. Somebody is going to win and SD cards are very common place. Recently there has been a jump forward in SD card technology. Basically version 1 (UHS-I) and version 2 (UHS-II). At the time of this blog post, only 3 camera manufactures take advantage of UHS-II (Fuji, Panasonic and Samsung). So why is it better? In one word, faster. The Samsung pro card I have been using was pretty fast. I speed tested both cards using Blackmagic Speed test on my Mac. Nothing "official" mind you, but enough for me to make up my mind. 

I purchased a Kingston dual port USB 3.0 that reads UHS-II cards. I used it (seen above) against the built in SD port on the side of my Mac Book Pro. Here's how things turned out.

Read / Write Speed Test

Someone did a quick test and put it on Youtube, comparing a UHS-I card in an X-T1 to a UHS-II card in the same camera. I performed the same basic test. I used both cards in my camera. I set my camera on manual focus, ISO 3200, F/2.8, 1/500 sec, high speed continuous mode, RAW & spot metering. I held the shutter button down for 5 seconds before releasing it and waited for the light to go out on the back of the camera. The Samsung card started to slow down & buffer around 3.5 seconds in and stopped writing to the SD card at 22 seconds. The Lexar card stopped buffering around 3.3 seconds in and stopped writing to the card in around 18 seconds. Not a huge difference.

What about the price, you might ask?  As of today (Aug 6, 2015), Amazon has the Samsung Pro card for sale at $39.99 and the Lexar card for $44.95. There is a faster Lexar card that is double the price. I think for the price difference, I'll start investing in the UHS-II cards, but I'm not going to run right out and swap my cards over right away. I am glad I bought the new card reader, however, I may buy another one to stick in the bag for that price. It reads both SD and micro SD cards.  


by John