For media professionals, or even that proud parent, often they will find that it will take a few shots before the image becomes ‘picture perfect’. Hence, why it is important to keep track of the number of images that are left to be taken on your current storage device (E.g., SD Card). No one wants to miss out on that perfect opportunity. We once heard a horror story where a wedding photographer ran out of room on their storage device during a wedding and did not notice. After a full night of celebrating, the photographer had to deliver the bad news to the recently married couple. The photographer felt so bad that they paid for a ‘repeat’ evening, and recreated the event one more time for the devastated couple. You can bet that they didn’t forget to bring spare SD cards the second time around, that is a mistake that will never happen again.
Thanks to Lexar, they have created a product line geared towards those who require higher storage capacities. No longer will you have to worry about running out of space on your SD card, you can simply take photos all day and night without concern, at least for the most part. Today we are taking a closer look at the Lexar Professional 600x SDXC UHS-1 Card (256 GB), let’s get started!
WHAT IS SDXC? – SD CARD PERFORMANCE
First, let’s break down the hieroglyphics that follow the Lexar brand (I.e., SDXC UHS-1). There are a few acronyms and short forms that some may not know, some of you may, so let’s run through it quickly to keep everyone on the same page.
What does SDXC mean? When considering the size necessary for your photography or videography, your storage device will be your ultimate determinant. Obviously a flash card with a lower capacity will hold less videos and photos, which is pretty straight forward. If you have an SD (Secure Digital) card, you are probably going to want to upgrade that shortly, as that is an older technology that accompanied the first digital photography and videography devices. With it you will find not only lower capacities, but slower transfer speeds. To go the next step up to a more prevalent storage option, especially for photography enthusiasts and weekend photo shoots, is SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity). SDHC cards can allow for capacities of up to 32GB, and transfer speeds of up to 42 MB/s. If you are looking to shoot video in a higher resolution, then you will find yourself looking one step further with SDXC (Secure Digital Xtended Capacity). SDXC can allow for capacities greater than 32GB, and have a maximum write speed of up to 95 MB/s.
If you are interested more in videography, than the next acronym is your key point to look for, especially if you are worried about transfer speeds. If you have a flash card handy, take a look at it, you may notice that there is a number that has a circle around it. This is your class rating, which denotes the guaranteed minimum write speed. To give you an example if you have a ’4? within your circle, your flash card is guaranteed to write at a minimum of 4 MB/s. When you start to get up to higher minimum write speeds, you will notice that the number will not increase past ’10?, instead the denotation changes to UHS-1, or a U with a ’1? or a ’3? within it. ‘Ultra High Speed 1? would guarantee minimum write speeds of 10 MB/s and UHS-1 Speed Class 3 would denote minimum speeds of 30 MB/s. If your DSLR or video camera is not capable of UHS-1, than the flash card will revert back to Class 10 performance.
The Lexar Professional 600x SDXC card is available in 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB capacities. This is phenomenal, as higher SD card capacities are often found at 64GB. Looking at the 128 and 256GB cards, these would be fantastic options for media professionals who take a ton of photos at various events, especially high dynamic range (HDR) images. HDR images are composed of a few pictures, typically three, as they are combined to display and enhance all aspects of the image. This is very demanding on the camera’s storage.
The Lexar SD card is listed to reach read speeds of up to 90 MB/s, and write speeds can reach up to 45 MB/s. To reach these higher transfer speeds, you would need to use a USB 3.0 card reader to get the full potential.
With our test bench we utilized the Kingston MobileLite G3 USB 3.0 Card Reader. This is a simple plug-and-play device that you will connect into your USB 3.0 port on your system, and insert your flash card to transfer content. Additionally, the MobileLite G3 is backwards compatible to USB 2.0. This means that if your USB port on your computer is not blue in colour, then you can still use the drive. You will just receive that annoying notification from Windows letting you know that the drive can perform faster in a USB 3.0 port. If your computer is not equipped with the latest USB technology, then we encourage you to have a look at our report of the HighPoint 4-Port HBA. This PCIe expansion card easily allows you to add four additional USB ports to your system, as well as the addition of USB 3.0 technology.
I have actually been considering a high-capacity card such as this to use a semi-permanent storage drive in the card reader slot of my MacBook Pro. The computer came with a 512GB solid state drive, and this would effectively increase that by 50%, while allowing it to be removed with exceptional convenience.
The one downside to using a card this large as a professional photographer is that it inevitably leads you to put all of your eggs in one proverbial basket. If you shoot a large event or project all on one card, and it fails, then you’re in big trouble. Splitting up events/projects onto smaller capacity cards can sometime be a huge advantage if a card becomes corrupted or fails. That way, you are only losing a small portion of the coverage, and not the entire thing.
You can use a small sd card for that purpose like the Transcend JetDrive or a Nifty MiniDrive (you have to put in a microSD card of your own. Be sure to check the right model either 13-15 inch and year, some models have a deeper sd card reader than others. Mine stays flush to the macbook and is very hard to get out, and will never fall out.