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Exteme-ly Fast
SanDisk's Extreme IV CF Cards have Evelyn Wood Hanging on to Her Hat

By Allan Weitz

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If you shoot with a 10-plus megapixel DSLR you know the value of fast write speeds. Your brand-new so-and-so digital camera might be capable of firing off 80-billion frames-per-second, but if it's packing a three-year-old memory card you might as well be climbing the Wurtsboro hill of the New York Thruway in a '60s-vintage VW Bug. You'll ultimately get to the top, but it'll take you a while. Make sure you pack sandwiches.

Extreme IV CF Card

To help you get your money's worth out of whatever DSLR you are currently using, SanDisk has announced the latest generation of its flagship 'Extreme'-series CompactFlash cards. The new Extreme IV cards, available in 2, 4, and 8-gig capacities, are capable of reading and writing image data at 40megabytes-per-second (MB/sec), or about twice the speed of SanDisk's Extreme III cards.

How fast is 40MB/sec? Unless you are shooting with a Hasselblad H2D-39 or a Leaf Valeo medium-format back, it's far faster than you currently need. But that's not the point. Even if your camera cannot take full advantage of the speedwriting skills of the Extreme IV cards, you can sleep better at night knowing the camera you are currently using will never choke up on you when shooting flat-out. And by-the-way, a box of donuts says we will be seeing cameras that are capable of taking advantage of these faster read/write speeds before the year is up.

FireWire Card Reader
One area where everybody wins is in the imager transfer department. When used with SanDisk's new FireWire Card Reader, images can be transferred off the card at the rate of 38.6 MB/sec. as compared to current top transfer rates of about 15 to 17MB/sec. What used to take 20-plus minutes now takes under 2 minutes. By using the Extreme IV card/reader combo you'll be spending far less time making grilled cheese sandwiches while transferring image files off your cards.

To complement the new cards, SanDisk is also introducing the Extreme FireWire Reader. Aside from faster transfer times, the new ESP Technology-enhanced reader is shock-resistant, water resistant, and comes with a 3-year warranty. Also included are FireWire 400 and 800 connector cables, trial (30-day) versions of Photoshop CS2, RescuePRO Deluxe data recovery software, and a travel case.

In order to get everyone up to speed (pun intended) SanDisk is offering bundled packages consisting of the new Extreme FireWire Reader (and all the free goodies) along with a 2-gig Extreme IV CF card, 4-gig Extreme IV CF card, or 8-gig Extreme IV CF card. A 2-gig SanDisk Extreme IV CF card, sans reader bundle, is also available.

Concurrently, SanDisk is also introducing a 4-gig SD High Capacity (SDHC) card, a new Class 2-rated memory card capable of storing about 2000 high resolution images, 1000 MP3s, or up to 8 hours of MPEG4 video. The new SDHC format enables you to store far more data than standard SD memory cards along with faster read/write speeds. The new cards ship with a free MicroMate USB 2.0 reader, which takes full advantage of the SDHC speed capabilities. The new reader can also read standard SD cards, albeit without the speedier transfer rates.

Some models of the new SandiskExtreme IV cards and readers are available on the B&H website, others will be arriving soon.

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