SanDisk Extreme IV 4GB Compact Flash Card

When I reviewed SanDisk’s 2 GB Extreme III card, a couple of years ago, I reached the conclusion that (with a 12bit 10MP DSLR) it was blazingly fast, if a little small storage wise. Technology moves on and although Extreme III media copes admirably well with most things you can throw at it, with today’s DSLRs and Medium format backs offering ever higher Mega Pixel counts, bit depths and shooting rates, if you really want to take things to the max, SanDisk’s Extreme IV cards may be your best option.

With a read/write speed of 45MB/s, current Extreme IV cards are over twice as fast as current Extreme III cards (although the slightly older Extreme IV card supplied to me for this review was actually 40MB/s). Unsurprisingly, when I compared this card with an Extreme III card, using a variety of high end DSLRs and medium format backs, the difference in read/write was palpable. What was surprising however, was that even with low end 10/12MP 12 bit DSLRs set to record in RAW+JPEG, the E4 showed a perceptible improvement in performance over the E3.

I did have a minor problem when, in a fit of over zealous chimping (aka chumping), I accidentally deleted one too many images. Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, as it turned out, Rescue Pro Software ships with the card, for just such an occasion.

I say unfortunately because my experience with Rescue Pro was incredibly poor. It has an unhelpful interface, takes an eternity to search for data and is rather erratic in what it recovers e.g., it failed to find one of the pictures I had hoped to recover, yet succeeded in recovering odd pictures from older shoots, despite the card having been re-formatted several times since those shoots. Far worse though, it was incapable of recognising RAW files as RAW files, recovering them, instead, as TIFFs and to add insult to injury, instead of retaining the camera’s file naming conventions, it renamed everything it recovered, which turned comparing these files with what I had shot and downloaded into an incredibly labour intensive operation.

In conclusion, although the card gets five out of five, the Rescue Pro software gets a big fat zero.
The moral of the story? Buy a SanDisk Extreme IV card, but buy one big enough to accommodate your entire shoot (they come in sizes of up to 16GB), that way you will never have to delete anything and never have to resort to Rescue Pro.

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