Friday, June 28, 2013

SanDisk Extreme® III Compact Flash CF Card - Fast, Reliable Compact Flash Card

I need a variety of memory cards to use with the variety of cameras I am using and testing. Although most cameras now use SD or SDHC cards, I have (and occasionally test) some that need CF (compact flash) cards. CF cards are bulkier than others, but are fast, reliable and somewhat cheaper. I have used the Kingston Elite Pro 4 GB CompactFlash card with cameras that accept CF (e.g. Canon Digital Rebel XTi and Canon Digital Rebel XT), but have been recently using 4 GB SanDisks Extreme III CF cards.

What is SanDisk Extreme III 4 GB CompactFlash Card? 

The SanDisk Extreme III 4 GB CompactFlash card is a high-speed CompactFlash flash memory card that can be used in digital cameras and other electronic devices. One atypical use is to transfer MP3 music to hard drive-based music player in the 2007-2010 Infiniti G35/G37 cars equipped with a navigation system.

This Extreme III flash card belongs to the premium line of SanDisk flash media (with faster speed than the standard cards and better endurance). SanDisk claims higher write speeds. The speed claimed is 133x.


Unlike SD/SDHC cards like the SanDisk's own SanDisk ULTRA 15MB/s SDHC Class 4 SD Card (8 GB), the CF media cards are not the most compact media, but they are cheap, robust and are used in some digital SLR cameras, especially in professional models. Although most newer digital cameras use SD cards, CF is still widely used in more professionally-oriented cameras. Digital SLRs like Canon Digital Rebel XT and Digital Rebel XTi use them.

I have used this card with multiple digital cameras and have never had a problem. There seemed to be no bottleneck in writing to this card imposed by the card itself (at least comparing to other cards). 

The read speed for transferring data to my computer using Zio memory card reader is fast and, depending on file sizes, reached 6 Megabytes per second (might be limited by my reader or computer). This is about 40x, which is pretty good. The write speed approached 4 MB per second. I think the bottleneck here is not the card, but my reader. There were no issues writing to the card using different cameras' burst modes.


At 4 GB, the card lets me store (depending on format and resolution) about 1500-1800 JPEG photos or about 280-300 TIFF or RAW photos. There are 8, 16 and 32-GB cards now as well, with higher capacity and faster transfer rates.


The card appears to be of excellent build quality and features robust construction. Since the card has no moving parts, I expect high reliability and durability, especially taking into account the fact that I am careful with them when using or storing.

As of 6/2013, I have used this card for over 4 years and it still works perfectly.

Pros:Fast, reliable, durable and inexpensive

Cons:Could be cheaper still

Bottom Line 

If you are shopping for a CF card, the SunDisk Extreme III 4GB CompactFlash Card is an inexpensive, capacious, and fast CF card. It even looks good. I highly recommend it.

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