PhotoFast 533X Plus 16 GByte CF Card

As part of an upgrade from a Canon 50D to a 7D, I decided it made sense to get a faster memory card for high speed shooting. The PhotoFast 533X Plus Compact Flash cards have gotten some positive writeups and with UDMA 6 support, they claim to have 90 MB/second read and write speed. But how well would they perform in real world testing - turns out pretty darn fast!

I set my Canon7D to 1/1000s, ISO 200, F/2.8 (decent exposure for a test target) and did a 5 second burst, using both RAW and RAW+JPEG. Note that the Canon specification for maximum burst at 8fps for those settings is 15 and 6 respectively (126 for JPEG only) ... so in all cases, the camera slowed down, and resumed shooting sporadically as the buffer was cleared to the card. I pretty much always shoot RAW, so this is not only a better test case, but more realistic. I then timed how long from first pushing the shutter it took to write all the files to the CF memory card - i.e. when the red light went out.

Frames shot in 5 second burst and total time to write to Compact Flash Card
  Firmware 1.2.5     Firmware 2.0.0
Compact Flash       RAW       RAW+JPEG   RAW       RAW+JPEG
Lexar 600X 16GB 28f/12s 20f/11s   32f/13s 22f/16s
PhotoFast 533X Plus 16GB 28f/12s 20f/11s   32f/13s 22f/15s
Transcend 400X 64GB 28f/20s 20f/18s
Transcend 300X UDMA 25f/17s 18f/17s
Transcend 133X non-UDMA 24f/44s 16f/40s

Conclusion: The PhotoFast 533X Plus 16 GByte Card is pretty fast, and while it won't give you a lot more frames in a 5 second burst, the recovery time is noticeably quicker - nice to see the "frames left" number in the lower right ratchet up quickly. Both can really make a difference when you are shooting action stuff - plus $146 (Oct/2009) is about half of the other brands.

In May/2016, I picked up a used 7DM2, which shoots at 10fps. Here's a comparison of different CF cards - my data below.
7DM2 with Firmware 1.05               RAW      
Lexar 1066x 32GB 41f/10.5s
Lexar 600X 16GB 30f/16s
PhotoFast 533X Plus 16GB 29f/16s

PhotoFast 533X Plus 16 GByte CF Card

PhotoFast 533X Plus, Transcend UDMA, and Transcend non-UDMA Compact Flash Cards

In April/2010, I tested the Transcend 400x 64 GByte card - wanted for African Safari Pictures

Even when shooting lots of hi-def video of House Finches nesting on my front door, still plenty of capacity!

I welcome any comments on all of this. More camera stuff.