Best Memory Card for Shooting Runway Models - SDHC / SDXC or Sony Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX NEX 5N?

Discussion in 'Accessories' started by Diamond, Nov 8, 2013.

  1. Diamond

    Diamond TalkEmount Rookie

    Nov 7, 2013
    Basically I want to know what is the best memory card for around £20 or less for burst rate shooting on a Sony NEX 5N.

    Next week I've been asked to attend a fashion show and take photos of models behind the scenes and also on the runway.
    I'll be using my Sony NEX 5N and a mix of Sony E-Mount Lens and my old 75mm to 300mm Canon Lens (Sigma) in manual focus

    I attended a similar fashion show a few weeks back and used my standard kit lenses for the behind the scenes stuff.

    They already had hired a professional photographer for the day who had a tripod and set position, so myself and all the other photographers had to just stand and jostle for position.
    But when it came to the runway I needed to switch to my Canon lens at the full 300mm and shoot hand held, manual focus mode.

    As you can imagine this isn't easy to get the perfect shot but the one huge advantage I had was the NEX 5N's burst mode beat every single Canon and Nikon camera in the room.

    Because the models are always on the move you only have a split second to get that perfect shot and I particularly like going in for the close up portrait shot, but being fashion you also need to get the full length shots that show off the dresses.

    I was shooting using a regular 16GB class 10 Samsung Micro SDXC Card inside of a SDHC adaptor and that worked fine.
    But in burst mode RAW + JPEG it was too slow to empty the buffer and return me back to shooting.

    What I'm looking for is an 8GB or 16GB Card that clears the camera's buffer as soon as possible in burst mode. So I can return to shooting the next model or the same model but at the beginning and end of the runway.
    At the previous show after a few shots in RAW + JPEG, I switched to standard Quality JPEG Mode to maximise the number of shots I could capture and the results were pretty good.

    I'm fine with using my existing cards for the behind the scenes stuff which is slow moving but need a very fast card for the actual runway part.
    Any suggestions in this price range?

    I've seen I can get an 8GB 50 mb/s Sony Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX for under £14 and it appears to be a genuine Sony card because the seller has sold over 1,400 units with no complaints.

    I've also seen a 16GB 30 mb/s card for £19.99 - I don't know if there is any real world burst mode differences in using a 50mb/s vs 30 mb/s Sony Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo HX in the Sony NEX 5N?

    or I can get a whole host of 16GB SDHC Cards for the same amount. Speed is more important to me then capacity. I've read the Sony Memory Sticks are 8bit vs only 4bit for SDHC cards, so that in theory should help the write speed.

    My hope is that if I can find a fast enough memory card I can switch from JPEG only mode to RAW + JPEG or at least just RAW and still capture the models on the runway.

    Any suggestions?[/B]
  2. davect01

    davect01 Super Moderator

    Aug 20, 2011
    Fountain Hills, AZ
    Real Name:
    Welcome. Sounds like you have an exciting adventure ahead of you.

    Also sounds like you have a pretty good idea of what you need, speed.
  3. Diamond

    Diamond TalkEmount Rookie

    Nov 7, 2013
    Thanks for the welcome

    I just found this YouTube video which I found interesting. It appears to show a Sony A77 firing in 12 frames per seconds mode using Sony 8GB 50mb/s Memory Stick vs Toshiba: SDHC UHS-I SD-E016GUX R:95MB/s W:80MB/s

    The Sony Memory Stick appears to flush the entire buffer in 22 seconds whilst the Toshiba appears to do the same in just 9 seconds.

    But it looks like the Sony A77 is UHS-I compatible - not sure if my NEX 5N is UHS-I compatible or not.
  4. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    The best cards in my experience are the Sony 96 MB/s UHS-I SD-cards and the Sandisk Extreme, both the 45 MB/s and the 90 MB/s versions. The Sony's are much cheaper, but the Sandisk are weather proof to a certain degree. And yes, every NEX is compatible with UHS-I cards, but I don't know their respective write speeds.
  5. Diamond

    Diamond TalkEmount Rookie

    Nov 7, 2013
    Actually I begun having 2nd thoughts on buying a Sony Memory Stick - mainly because of the price.
    When I started doing the maths it wasn't working out. They might be faster then most SDHC Cards, but they're also way more expensive then SDHC Cards and so you pay about 3 times more for the same capacity.

    I think I'd rather take a risk with a SDHC Card because even if it's not as fast as I would have hoped for I've got about 10 other devices I could use them in from a Raspberry Pi, to several compact cameras.

    I really don't know why the speed ratings for SDHC Cards max out at Class 10, it would have been so much more helpful if they went up to like class 20.

    There seem to be a lot of cards out there that are way faster at writing then 10mb/s.

    I tested several of my own cards in my NEX 5N by putting the camera into burst mode and turning off all added extras like lens compensation, etc and just holding down the shutter and seeing how much data I could write to each card in 30 seconds from my camera. On average most cards wrote about 400mb of photos to the cards in 30 seconds. It didn't matter if it was JPEGs only or RAW only or RAW + JPEGs - the limiting factor seemed to be the writing speed of the memory card.

    So these results say to me that most of my class 10 cards write at around 13mb/s

    I'm therefore looking for a card that can sustain around 20mb/s - is there any online resources with the writing speeds of SDHC Cards from real world tests?
  6. Diamond

    Diamond TalkEmount Rookie

    Nov 7, 2013
    The thing that worries me about the Sandisk cards is there seems to be so many of them about and it's hard to know the specs of each card, even their own website isn't too clear cut and I've seen many reviews on Amazon where people where getting totally different speeds with their cards.
  7. Poki

    Poki TalkEmount Hall of Famer

    Aug 30, 2011
    The speed is always printed on the card, and if Sandisk names them 'Extreme', those speeds usually are correct.
  8. Diamond

    Diamond TalkEmount Rookie

    Nov 7, 2013
    So a bit of an update - I've since bought some Sony Memory Sticks 50mb/s versions and they are a lot faster at writing to the card then any of the SDHC Cards I'd tested (on Sony NEX 5N) - whole camera seems to operate a little more smoothly and I believe the battery seems to last longer. I've also since bought a USB 3 PC Card for my desktop computer and a USB 3 card reader and seen some big decreases in the time it take to copy the files to my PC.