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Author Topic: How much does a dual-card slot matter?  (Read 7915 times)

Marsu42

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How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« on: June 30, 2012, 04:48:34 AM »
Grasping to straws if there is any reason for me to get a 5d3 instead of a 5d2 I'd like to get you opinions about the importance of the dual-card slot. Only the 5d3 has it, Nikon puts it even in consumer models like the d7000 which was very appreciated in reviews. The question is: What's it good for?

  • Speed: on the 5d3, that can't be the reason because the sd slot is crippled and much slower than udma7 cf. Does it make a difference if writing hires jpeg to sd and raw to cf in comparison to writing both to cf like on the 5d2?

  • Reliability: brides are said to be somewhat grumpy when your no-name budget cf card breaks without jpeg backup on a second card, if you are a high profile shooter this could even ruin your business. The question is: how large is the likehood of cf/sd cards breaking without being recoverable, and are there differences between brands?

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How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« on: June 30, 2012, 04:48:34 AM »

Chewy734

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Re: How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2012, 10:13:27 AM »
In regards to speed, people have already shown that using a CF and SD card at the same time on the 5D3 slows down the writes to the entire system.  In terms of reliability, there is always a chance a CF card can go bad in the middle of a shoot.  Have I ever had it happen?  No.  But, that doesn't mean it can't happen.  I believe a second slot is a welcome addition to the 5D series.  Whether having that capability is important or not, is kind of a personal decision.  I recommend having that safety net for paid shoots, but it might be overkill if all you're doing is taking photos of your dog playing in the yard.

And, I'm glad the 1D X has dual CF slots instead of a mix like the 5D3. :)
« Last Edit: June 30, 2012, 10:15:14 AM by Chewy734 »

TrumpetPower!

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Re: How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2012, 11:42:14 AM »
The speed problem is only a problem if you're writing to the SD card and you fill up the buffer. Once you fill up the buffer, it's a problem, and it doesn't seem to make much of a real-world difference what format you're writing to the SD card...it's going to be painful, no matter what.

That writ, the 5DIII has a deep and fast buffer. With a fast CF card, you can get dozens of (RAW) six-frames-per-second shots before you're slowed to about one frame per second, and it clears out very quickly once it's full. Not that long ago, it would have been the gold standard for sports shooters. With the SD card, you'll still get at least a dozen full-speed shots off before the buffer fills, but you'll be waiting longer for it to clear out.

I've never done a wedding, but I'd be surprised if the speed when recording to SD is a problem for most wedding photographers. And the SD card offers some interesting possibilities for wedding photographers, such as recording JPEGs to it, rating images as you shoot (while you're chimping), and then putting those (rated) JPEGs on display during the reception.

There are lots of reasons why Canon put dual card slots in the replacement for the industry's camera of choice for weddings. There are certainly limitations when using that second slot, and you need to be aware of those limitations, but those limitations are generally quite secondary to the advantages it offers.

Besides, if nothing else, you can use the "switch cards when full" option. Use the CF card as your main card the same way you would use a single-card system. But, if you get careless and fill up the CF card, you can keep shooting, just with a shallower buffer. Better a system with a shallow buffer than a full card.

Cheers,

b&

Marsu42

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Re: How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2012, 12:14:37 PM »
And the SD card offers some interesting possibilities for wedding photographers, such as recording JPEGs to it, rating images as you shoot (while you're chimping), and then putting those (rated) JPEGs on display during the reception.

Does rating has anything to do with the sd card slot on the 5d3? Is the rating only applied to jpeg, not to raw (when writing that to the cf slot)? Anyway, I'd be very hesitant to show non-edited but rated pictures to anyone, at least with my kind of shooting experience :-o

If anyone can say anything about cf failure ratings, the possibility of recovering a broken cf card and differences between cf brands I'd be still very interested...

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2012, 12:26:52 PM »
Grasping to straws if there is any reason for me to get a 5d3 instead of a 5d2 I'd like to get you opinions about the importance of the dual-card slot. Only the 5d3 has it, Nikon puts it even in consumer models like the d7000 which was very appreciated in reviews. The question is: What's it good for?

 
  • Speed: on the 5d3, that can't be the reason because the sd slot is crippled and much slower than udma7 cf. Does it make a difference if writing hires jpeg to sd and raw to cf in comparison to writing both to cf like on the 5d2?
  • Reliability: brides are said to be somewhat grumpy when your no-name budget cf card breaks without jpeg backup on a second card, if you are a high profile shooter this could even ruin your business. The question is: how large is the likehood of cf/sd cards breaking without being recoverable, and are there differences between brands?

The value will vary from zero to very high, depending on the user and the potential for loss. High end photographers who spent 100K hiring models, trucks full of lighting, assistants, etc stand to lose a lot of money.  They are very careful about backups, and use multiple backups in different locations.
 
A wedding photographer who does not do something simple like making a backup might be subject to a lawsuit, because its a forseeable event to have a card failure.  Even if you put not liable for equipment failure in your contract, you can be sued for negligence, because it might be construed that way.
 
So, if you don't have dual slots, have a second photographer so that not everything is lost.  Legal liabilities different from country to country, and even location to location. 
 
Another possible solution is to spread your images over multiple cards by changing cards frequently.  This means if a card fails or something happens to it, all is not lost.  It also increases the odds by a large amount that something will happen to one of your cards.

TrumpetPower!

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Re: How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2012, 12:56:53 PM »
And the SD card offers some interesting possibilities for wedding photographers, such as recording JPEGs to it, rating images as you shoot (while you're chimping), and then putting those (rated) JPEGs on display during the reception.

Does rating has anything to do with the sd card slot on the 5d3? Is the rating only applied to jpeg, not to raw (when writing that to the cf slot)? Anyway, I'd be very hesitant to show non-edited but rated pictures to anyone, at least with my kind of shooting experience :-o

If anyone can say anything about cf failure ratings, the possibility of recovering a broken cf card and differences between cf brands I'd be still very interested...

The 5DIII has a "rate" button on the left side. Press it once while you're looking at an image, and the picture gets one star in Lightroom / Aperture / Bridge / etc. Press it twice and you get two stars, etc. Obviously, if you were going to use this function at a wedding reception, you'd only press the button for those pictures you wanted to show.

Assuming you have a "look" that's your trademark, you can create a picture style that mimics that look; record RAW to CF and JPEG with the picture style to SD, and those JPEGs may (or may not) be "good enough" to show on a big-screen TV without any further post-processing. Note that the picture style has its own tone curve...if you typically over- or under-expose to reduce shadow noise or preserve highlights, the picture style can apply a similar tone curve as what you do in post.

Google can give you lots of hard information about the reliability of different cards, but Sandisk is pretty much the gold standard with Lexar getting the honorable mention. Card failures in general are rare (unless you do something stupid like step on a card or put it through the laundry). Sandisk has free software you can download to attempt to recover files from a failed card, and it's reportedly saved a lot of bacon -- though, of course, it's not magic and has its limits.

Cheers,

b&

Marsu42

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Re: How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2012, 03:19:59 PM »
The 5DIII has a "rate" button on the left side. P

The 60d has the rating function, too, but it's hidden in some menu and not as accessible. On the 60d, you can also play a slideshow with shots above some rating. Is this feature available on the 5d2, too?

Note that the picture style has its own tone curve...if you typically over- or under-expose to reduce shadow noise or preserve highlights, the picture style can apply a similar tone curve as what you do in post.

This certainly is in interesting idea to keep in mind for sometime later along my career (if there will be a sometime later :-p), because surely if people want to have a quick look at some shots it's better to show them some top rated pictures than to say "nah, I've got to process them first" or show them some random tilted, out of focus shots.

Google can give you lots of hard information about the reliability of different cards

Of course, but how to tell reliable information from viral marketing, sponsored studies or just the normal internet crap? Better ask around here...


Another possible solution is to spread your images over multiple cards by changing cards frequently.  This means if a card fails or something happens to it, all is not lost.  It also increases the odds by a large amount that something will happen to one of your cards.

The question is: Do actual (wedding) photogs with single-card camera bodies use multiple smaller cards to prevent total loss even at the slightly higher chance of partial loss, or is the chance of any loss so small anyway that no one bothers to do it?

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Re: How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2012, 03:19:59 PM »

StanFoxworthy

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Re: How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2012, 03:30:21 PM »
I guess for me, having dual cards makes sense where possible, since this is how I make my living . I usually shoot with the 1Ds MkIII and will normally have the SD card set to take overflow so I don't have to switch cards at an inopportune time (like today; shooting for a new commercial client with a model I have never worked with before)
The other reason I'll run both cards is to have the CF recording RAW and the SD recording JPEG's to add in presentations straight away. There have only been a few times when I'll set both to record RAW, when it's a "once in a lifetime" event. For general shooting and having fun, I wouldn't think it would matter in the least bit. Brand name cards usually don't fail that often. I have always liked shooting with high speed 4 gig CF cards and have recently been forced to move up to 8 gig. I guess it's a bit easier to take if only a $50 card with 153 images goes down vs a $235 card with the whole shoot (not that this has ever happened).

Now if you're talking better AF and 100% viewfinder, that's worth the price of admission for me. I haven't picked up the 5D MkIII yet, as I had hoped the 1DX would have become available by now. Thankfully the 1Ds MkIII & 5D MkII still can crank out a few usable images ;-)

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Re: How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2012, 03:49:53 PM »
Isn't it sort of logical as to why it would make sense for you or not? It's more useful to "professional" shooters in a sense, or rather some professionals will rely on it more heavily. But it's still useful to anyone, depending on the type of shooting you are doing, and a few other factors.

I can have instant back up. I can have extra room without ever thinking about switching memory cards.

For me, that's it. Some people will save JPEG to one and RAW to the other. But I don't. I mostly have it set to either do instant back up of RAW files, or just as an overflow. Both have been extremely nice to have at weddings and at long photo-shoots in the studio or on location.

Marsu42

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Re: How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2012, 04:09:16 PM »
Now if you're talking better AF and 100% viewfinder

Can you give me a quick hint why a 100% viewfinder is so important? Because for out-of camera shot presentations? Personally, I often crop my pictures in post anyway and a less than 100% vf gives some margin for framing errors.

Isn't it sort of logical as to why it would make sense for you or not?

Of course a usefulness of dual card slots is obvious. However it's not a straight-forward decision for me buying a 5d2 or a 5d3 at double the price I can hardly afford - I wouldn't ask about these things otherwise. If I want to try to get into pro shooting, my earnings will be low at the start for certain, so I have to invest the money I've saved soundly.

There is certainly no single feature on the $3500 (wtf!?!?) 5d3 that would make it "worth it" to me, as far as I read it above also not the dual card slot. The question I have to think about is if all improvements added make it "worth it" or if it's more "worth it" to get a second 600rt and lighting gear.

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2012, 04:18:16 PM »

Marsu42

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Re: How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2012, 04:23:16 PM »
Here are a few articles.

That's a great help - thanks! You certainly researched that before :-)

SandyP

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Re: How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2012, 04:30:14 PM »
Now if you're talking better AF and 100% viewfinder

Can you give me a quick hint why a 100% viewfinder is so important? Because for out-of camera shot presentations? Personally, I often crop my pictures in post anyway and a less than 100% vf gives some margin for framing errors.

Isn't it sort of logical as to why it would make sense for you or not?

Of course a usefulness of dual card slots is obvious. However it's not a straight-forward decision for me buying a 5d2 or a 5d3 at double the price I can hardly afford - I wouldn't ask about these things otherwise. If I want to try to get into pro shooting, my earnings will be low at the start for certain, so I have to invest the money I've saved soundly.

There is certainly no single feature on the $3500 (wtf!?!?) 5d3 that would make it "worth it" to me, as far as I read it above also not the dual card slot. The question I have to think about is if all improvements added make it "worth it" or if it's more "worth it" to get a second 600rt and lighting gear.

Money is relative. Running a professional photography business is not easy, and it can take years to actually make a living from it. What is "worth it" to anyone really?

I had the 5D Mark II for three years, and I just recently go the 5D Mark III, and to me, it's worth the money, absolutely. $3500 isn't that much money when you're talking about cameras like this. Sure, it's expensive, but it is worth it for many people.

-Dual Card slots
-AF system that is like 100 times better.
-Faster shooting/frames per second
-better movie features
-better high ISO abilities with less noise
-way less color shifting at higher ISOs, this is also very nice. the 5D2 gets pretty gross color shifting at higher ISO
-slightly better image quality at lower ISOs as well with slightly more dynamic range
-more customization for buttons (this is a big deal if you're a full time shooter, definitely a big impact)
-more in camera features
-better AWB
-the customization for things like the AF points and positions, again, big deal
-feels better in the hands, better ergonomics
-silent shutter mode = amazing for many situations. it's VERY quiet.
-better in camera lens corrections
-again, more customization to specific AF traits
-better jpeg processing (I don't shoot JPEG though, so this doesn't mean anything to me)
-much nicer viewfinder, brighter and can show you more information. Feels more "clear", which is nice, especially coming from shooting lots of medium format with film. Those viewfinders are gorgeous compared to most digital ones.
-the 100% viewfinder is nice, actually knowing the exact edges of your frame is excellent. I'd rather get the shot JUST right in camera than need to crop.
-faster response time to pressing shutter button
-better weather sealing
-tracking is much better, not only because of the crazy good AF system, but SERVO is definitely improved
more in camera features, again, like the rate button and further button customization.


I have the SET button changed to switch ISO with the top wheel. So now I can switch ISO, shutter speed and aperture in less than mere seconds without taking the camera away from my face, in intense situations this is extremely powerful. I have the (better placed than the 5D2 for sure!) DOF button set to switch from ONE SHOT to AI SERVO, again, without doing any movements or taking the camera away I can easily switch, which is amazing for action and things like weddings or concerts.

I back button focus, which feels slightly better now too because of the camera body being nicer in the hands. switching between AF points is nicer now too. And I can toggle through the AF zones perfectly now. As well, I have it set so that when the camera is horizontal there is a different AF point selected than when the camera is vertical. This is also amazing for many situations. Very handy feature for lots of shooting situations, indeed.

The list of customizable things goes on and on and on! I spent nearly 2 hours tweaking and changing my 5D3 when I got it. And it's made for a powerful shooting experience.



Did I do tons of jobs with my 5D2? Yes. Did it always help me produce amazing photos? Yes. But that still doesn't change the fact that the 5D3 is vastly superior in many ways when you're looking at it from a different view point. It depends on what you're going to do with it. If you're shooting landscapes all day, then it's not going to matter. But for lots of people (weddings, concerts, documentary, portraits, sports, journalism) the choice is a little less clear because it really depends on you. I'll keep my 5D2 as a back up, but after shooting a few jobs and weddings with the 5D3, I can easily say that YES, it is worth it for me.

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Re: How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2012, 04:30:14 PM »

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2012, 04:55:33 PM »
Here are a few articles.

That's a great help - thanks! You certainly researched that before :-)

Whatever backup system you use, its a selling point to a bride who is or should be worried about getting those photos.  I'd even include it in a brochure if you have one, telling them how you reduce the likelyhood of losing those "priceless" images.
 
A dual slot camera body might justify a higher selling price for your services, just as having a backup photographer is going to cost more.
 
Its certainly something to make known, with all the Craigslist amateurs selling low cost services and having no clue about security of the images.

SandyP

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Re: How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2012, 05:01:28 PM »
Here are a few articles.

That's a great help - thanks! You certainly researched that before :-)

Whatever backup system you use, its a selling point to a bride who is or should be worried about getting those photos.  I'd even include it in a brochure if you have one, telling them how you reduce the likelyhood of losing those "priceless" images.
 
A dual slot camera body might justify a higher selling price for your services, just as having a backup photographer is going to cost more.
 
Its certainly something to make known, with all the Craigslist amateurs selling low cost services and having no clue about security of the images.

Exactly. This is also why most professional wedding photographers (who actually know what they're doing) will shoot with two bodies, and also have a 2nd shooter there as well. As well as (of course) backing everything up, religiously. It only makes sense.

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Re: How much does a dual-card slot matter?
« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2012, 05:01:28 PM »