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News & Insight

SanDisk Debuts The Ludicrous & ‘World’s Highest Capacity’ SD Card

By Kishore Sawh on September 11th 2014

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It’s safe to say that if you have a camera, you likely use SD cards as your storage medium. Yes yes, CF and all that, but for most people, SD cards are the type. SanDisk Corp, one of, if not the leader in SD storage solutions has just released the highest capacity SD card ever. At 512 GB, it’ll be larger than many people’s laptop drives, and has effectively now brought storage capacity up about 1000x within the decade, while maintaining the same footprint.

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The SanDisk Extreme PRO SDXC UHS-1 is not only the highest capacity card on the market, it’s also the highest priced. In a time when you can pick up gigabytes worth of SD cards at your local Walgreens (replace with appropriate local pharmacy) for cheap, clearly this card that comes in at an eye-watering $800 isn’t meant for everyone. It’s aimed at pros, and primarily 4K video shooters.

Write speed is 90 MB/s and has UHS Speed Class 3 (U3), recording speed for high res shutter-free 4k video. Apparently, it’ll do transfer speeds of 95 MB/s to keep your workflow fast too. It’s already getting some praise from some influential people, such as Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design, who said*,

The new 512GB SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-I card offers incredible speed and capacity…Our Pocket Cinema Camera customers shoot in every type of circumstance and location, and get amazing wide dynamic range RAW images capturing the brightest highlights and darkest shadows at the same time. The additional capacity of the SanDisk Extreme PRO UHS-I card will extend the creative freedom for our customers shooting in RAW and open up the ability to use wide dynamic range RAW files with even more productions.

Indeed.

Thoughts

I have no need for this. I like shooting small cards, and many of them, so if one corrupts, it won’t be a total loss. Perhaps, if I start shooting high quality video for commercial purposes, maybe, I’d use this, but then there are other solutions too that won’t even restrict you to this size, etc. Sure, they may be more cumbersome, but the benefits are there.

[REWIND: There Are Financial Benefits To Beauty – Shoot & Edit Accordingly]

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It’s also worth noting that while the 4K files are huge, many cameras that shoot 4K and record to SD cards record highly compressed files, which aren’t as high in size, and thus require less space to begin with. And keep in mind, you can pick up a 128GB card for $200, and a loss of that amount of data, while tragic, isn’t quite as awful as losing 4 times that.

So who’s picking one of these up today?

Sources: PetaPixel,, Sandisk, *MarketWatch

About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Rafael Steffen

    I prefer small cards to so that I can manage them in an easier fashion.

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  2. Graham Curran

    $800, LOL.

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  3. Barry Cunningham

    Not so ridiculous for MF and 4K video.

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  4. Kurk Rouse

    I can really see how this card would be a great advantage for people who shoot video, but as much as I trust sandisk i think I’ll stick to cards no greater than 64GB…just a personal preference.

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  5. Cristiano Nantes

    95MB/s is still not as fast comparing to CF card’s 160MB/s, which probably suits better for 4K shooting…

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  6. Andrew Van Arb

    Makes no sense to me, I literally empty my card after every shoot and back it up right away. There is not need for a card this size unless you are shooting video. I guess this would be ok for a photojournalist in a foreign country that simply did not have the means to constantly change/empty cards.

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  7. Jeff Morrison

    would be nice to have one

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  8. Rafael Steffen

    This card will come in great use once the 50MP sensors start to come out.

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  9. Peter McWade

    A 128k card will do just fine. Larger for computer backup. Heck, I have a nice 480Gig SSD drive I use when I use my HyperDeck Shuttle 2 for my longer prores 422 shoots or my 10bit uncompressed. Not so good for on the road but in the office I can and do shoot with my HyperDeck. Works great with my Sony A7R. It would be great to get a device like that but tiny enough to carry in my pocket yet record off HDMI in 10Bit uncompressed or Apple ProRes 422 rather than the clunky Hyperdeck Shuttle. It needs a good extra battery or a cord to the wall to allow power while recording. Camera does not get hot. Maybe I should do another video with my HyperDeck to show the results.

    512G SD is perfect for that.

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  10. Chris Bordeleau

    beyond 4k video I could see this being valuable for time-lapsers as well… doing a long session with 1 second intervals I filled my 64 gb card several times when I was not paying close enough attention… with this card I could do a full 24 hours at 5 second intervals… of course night shots will need to be ramped for longer shutter lengths but you get my point…

    that interval may seem fast but if I have extra frames I can change the frame rate and speed up or slow down different parts of the resulting video…

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  11. Ralph Hightower

    I’m waiting for the 2TB SD card. Just kidding, I agree with others of using smaller capacity cards to minimize the risk of loss should an SD card fail.

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  12. Jim Johnson

    It’s not priced right for purchase yet, but as the costs come down…

    I think the possibilities are endless. I can’t imagine using this in camera, but imagine a multi-terabyte raid style back up system smaller than a deck of cards.

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  13. Mads Helmer Petersen

    I think there are a lot of potential in this SD card, e.g. I would like to use it as an extra hard disk in my mac book air.

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    • John Cavan

      Yeah, I was thinking the same for my MacBook pro. Handy bonus drive that doesn’t stick out as much.

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  14. Stan Rogers

    It’s still cheaper than my first 1GB (CF) card. And it holds more than my oldest still-working external HD. (What am I saying? It holds more than all of the hard disks attached to the first five web servers I worked on *combined*, and cost about a tenth of what they did.) Suddenly, I feel very, very old…

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    • Jim Johnson

      Boy, I remember those days. I remember when I worked as a web designer trying to keep web page content below 150kb!

      Yeah, old…. feeling very old.

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    • Matthew Saville

      I think I spent $400 for my first 4 GB Microdrive. OUCH.

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    • Mark Iuzzolino

      Remember Zip drives, 5 inch floppies? Times a changing.

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    • Stan Rogers

      Mark, I remember 8-inchers, which really were floppy (I can hardly count how many I accidentally folded trying to get them in the drive). You could cram nearly 240KB onto one of ’em, and they were WAY faster than TTY paper tape or Hollerith cards. I’m pretty sure that the price tag on the packages for these new cards holds more. (And thanks; I’m not feeling any younger.)

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  15. Vince Arredondo

    This will bring the current prices down of the other capacities…

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  16. Eric Sharpe

    I wonder if the battery in the camera would last long enough to fill up the storage?

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  17. Nick Viton

    A long time ago I spent $80 on a 128Mb CF card and at that time I thought it was a great deal.

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  18. Daniel Jester

    There’s something about using high capacity cards that makes me uncomfortable. I mostly shoot tethered, but when I do use cards, I prefer to use lower capacity. That way not all my images are on one card and if a card fails I don’t lose everything.

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    • Matthew Saville

      Daniel, I think you’re seeing the world in terms of yesteryear, when the only use for a card like this would wind up being to hold a bazillion images. Simply put, anybody paying the incredible price for this memory card is probably going to use it in a situation where they fill it up in a matter of minutes or just an hour or two, shooting things like 4K video / RAW video, or whatnot.

      Us mere mortals, going out on a day trip to shoot ~24 megapixel RAW images, will be just fine with our 4-16 GB memory cards LOL…

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  19. Matthew Saville

    The uses for such a memory card really only fall into two categories: high-volume RAW video capture, where GB’s are consumed on a per-second basis, unfortunately!) …or for bizarre workflow backup ideas such as leaving a memory card like this in your wedding camera for an entire year or so. (Assuming, of course, that you have dual card slots and swap out your OTHER memory card at regular, safe intervals…)

    If these cards were cheaper, and write-only, I’d totally buy them for wedding workflow permanent backup! Until then, I’ll leave this to the 4K RAW video shooters LOL…

    =Matt=

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