It was my birthday and we are going off on hols abroad soon and having purchased a compact Point and Shoot (Sanyo Xacti E60) I wanted some new memory cards ! I did some research and realised that if i wanted the best then it was Sandisk, Lexar (and maybe Kingston or the newcomer Transcend) which I had to look at. I also had an older camera Konica Minolta Z10 which would benefit from a bit more speed !! I read through hours of reviews from pro photo sites and various forums and apart from a few negative comments the clear recommendation was Sandisk - and if you wanted speed/quality - the Sandisk Extreme III range in particular. Having bought the 2GB and 1GB versions what are my conclusions from using it over the last few days ? Well, to be honest I have mixed feelings towards this product.
Firstly, it is very clear the Extreme cards are held with some respect and Sandisk have packaged them up with some fine free software and a pouch to give the pro - consumer some value. That's fine of course, but I am not a pro-user I am a glorified point and shoot guy !! I noticed little difference in the older Konica Minolta Z10 camera except in burst or continuous mode - and playback mode. But nothing exciting !
The newer Sanyo Xacti E60 is noticebly faster in recording and playback and the flashing red light on the cam displays a fair bit less with the Extreme III. This means recording to the card is taking less time.
So if you are using compact digicams - I reckon more recent models will benefit from this product. However, this SD card is more likely to be useful to DSLR/high end digital users - and to be honest these are marketed by Sandisk at the professional user and enthusiast !!
Secondly, price. Is the few extra pounds for the Sandisk reasonable value compared to other makes ? At the Play.com current price of £17 for 2GB and £12 for 1GB they are worth consideration by even casual shooters. So don't dismiss this range because you feel your camera isn't good enough - the extra software and bits plus the warranty makes this a really good Play.com deal.
Conversely, some good deals for slower and cheaper cards are still available and compact digital cameras still function well with these. I have been happy with Viking in particular which are made by Toshiba.
Thirdly, while on the subject of Viking/Toshiba and the build quality of the Sandisk Extreme III. I have to say that the Viking card feels a better quality product (made in Japan) than the Extreme III (made in China) which surprised me. Whether this is a cosmetic issue - but I would say that the Extreme III feels lighter and less robust. But remember looks can deceive and this card has been tested and given an impressive warranty. Time will tell !
Finally, it doesn't matter how much you pay for a memory card or who makes it and where they make it - you have to look after these objects. It is best to format these cards in the camera first (that is the camera you intend to use it in!) All cameras are different and claimed high speeds from card manufacturers maybe difficult to acheive in your 2 year old Pentax - have realistic expectations. Also your card reader may not cope with the speed of the Extreme III.
I am seeing some improvement in performance - not huge for a digital camera - but my expectations were quite modest. I intend to road test these fully before using them on holidays abroad. The build quality of these have surprised me - and will be watched carefully.
Play.com pricing is excellent - and makes these an affordable option for cheapskates like me .........