SanDisk soirée boosts memory options for photographers
The new SanDisk EyeFi wireless SD card and SanDisk's Memory Vault
Flash memory manufacturer, SanDisk, recently held an evening press event to introduce a number of new retail products to journalists. These ranged from Sandisk's latest Sansa music players to a novel new digital vault for precious media files like photos and videos. There are also new USB drives, SDXC and MicroSD memory cards and SSD hard drive replacements. The results of the tie-up with wireless connected memory card maker, EyeFi, were also showcased.
Bigger and faster SD and MicroSD cards
Top of the list in interest, for photographers was news of SanDisk's latest high-speed and high capacity memory cards. SanDisk now has UHS (Ultra High Speed) bus enabled MicroSD and SDHC/SDXC cards topping out at 64GB in both SD and MicroSD form factors. the SD versions have a maximum read performance of 95MB/sec, and a write rate of 90MB/sec when used with a compatible UHS-1 camera or card reader. To date, few cameras support UHS-1, but one such camera is the new Sony Alpha A-77, with which SanDisk demonstrated a more than halved buffer clearing time while shooting continuously at high speed. This was also achieved with more frames shot. To accompany the SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 and Mobile Ultra UHS-1 cards is a new SanDisk ImageMate All in One USB 3.0 card reader.
EyeFi, who sell wifi-enabled memory cards aimed at photographers, have joined forces with SanDisk who will co-brand and co-market future EyeFi products. On top of that SanDisk will increase its technical contribution to product development, including the supply of flash memory modules. I was shown a 4GB SanDisk EyeFi card, it's Wireless-N standards (the fastest 802.11 wireless networking standard in general use) compatible and enables photographers to wirelessly transfer their images to a PC from the camera as soon as each picture has been taken, even if your camera doesn't have integrated wifi capability - which makes that most of them!
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The next new product aimed at photographers in general is SanDisk's Memory Vault. This is a moisture-protected alloy capsule protecting 8 or 16GB of flash memory. SanDisk's thinking is that this device will attract photographers who like the added security of a solid state storage device that has been designed specifically for long term archiving. SanDisk market research suggests that ordinary people actually value their family photos very highly. SanDisk says the Memory Vault is good for at least a hundred years thanks to the electronics being optimised for longevity instead of speed performance. An obvious question is what about inexpensive cloud storage (online) services that are springing up all over the place. The simple answer, say SanDisk, is - can you trust an online storage service to remain in business over the decades?
With its modest capacity options and relatively high price compared to typical SD cards or USB drives, Memory Vault is a gamble by SanDisk. We remember a related SanDisk initiative, Shoot n Store, which attempted to persuade photographers to buy use-once memory cards for their cameras. Shoot n Store sold for a couple of years but has since been discontinued. Does Memory Vault make a persuasive argument for you? Let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Moving on, SanDisk has a new line of 'Ultra' branded SSDs. These are flash memory solid state replacements for conventional hard drives. We have been supplied with a 120GB example for evaluation and look forward to finding out how the lower latency and higher data read/write speeds compared to a conventional mechanical hard drive can boost a PC system. This should be of particular interest for photographers who tend to stress their PCs' hard drives moving around large image files and using performance-intensive applications like Photoshop.
To round off, SanDisk has revamped its range of USB drives which now include 2GB of cloud storage with Yuwaa, and there are also new and improved Sansa MP3 players.