32 GB SD card is coming!

Discussion in 'UK Photography' started by aniramca, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. aniramca

    aniramca Guest

    Toshiba announced it in August 2007 last year and they indicated that
    it will be ready for January 2008. Panasonic has just introduced it
    recently for market use in the latest CES convention. It heard that it
    costs about $700 in Japan.
    Some questions to ponder:

    1. I wonder about a physical limit in storage for the current size of
    an SD card. How far do you thing that they can squeeze in the amount
    of memory in that size of card? Could it become a 50, 100, 200 GB SD
    card in the future. Why do they multiply in the order of
    1,2,4,8,16,32, etc. Why not in nice number like 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50
    GB, etc (metric)?

    2. On the back of my regular SD card, there are approx. 9 contact
    areas which connect into the terminal. Are all those 9 contacts
    currently utilized for a typical usage in a digital camera? Or perhaps
    that they only use 2-3 contacts and the others are just reserves for
    future use? I noticed similar thing for a telephone jack. There are
    those phone cables with only 2 connection wires inside (cheaper), and
    there are with more wires (which is perhaps capable for faster
    connection or other accessories in a phone - just guessing). Is there
    a technical discussion in the internet about these contacts and/or the
    details inside an SD card?

    3. They said about 32GB SD card. What about the Compact Flash card?
    What is the largest size available currently for CF? Is CF, xD and
    Sony stick will eventually be abandoned in favour of SD cards? (just
    like the wars of betamax vs VHS, and recently between blue ray and HD
    DVD). I believe that SD card was pioneered by Toshiba.

    4. For an average usage in a digital camera, how useful is a 32 GB
    card? Would you prefer to carry 4x8 GB SD card or one 32GB card? Is
    an 8GB card more than enough for a digital camera? Is the increase of
    GB in storage will be matched with higher and higher MP cameras? Will
    the future commercial digital cameras in the market ever reach, say 32
    or 64 MP cameras? I assume current RAW files are now about the size of
    25MB each. Do professional cameras produce larger size RAW files? I
    know that there are 30 MP or perhaps even more MP in current
    professional cameras ( 6x4.5 of 6x7 size cameras).

    5. Is the new 32 GB SD card compatible for all current digital
    cameras, regardless of features and prices? It was mentioned
    something about High density SDHC usage, and I wonder if my cheap $100
    camera, or my 4 years old camera (3MP) can handle it. Or is this for
    high end cost, latest model, and high MP cameras' usage only?

    Thanks for the input and discussion
    aniramca, Jan 13, 2008
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  2. aniramca

    sonsdad Guest

    Without doubt the smaller cards are safer, consider the pain if a 32gb
    card goes down after shooting a wedding
    sonsdad, Jan 13, 2008
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  3. Because the native language of the computers we have today is binary, not
    BTW: metric is something different.
    See e.g. http://pinouts.ru/Memory/sdcard_pinout.shtml
    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secure_Digital_card for a phletora of more
    Usually CF is about half a year ahead of the other formats and 32GB CF are
    indeed availaible today, although still a bit hard to find.
    The CF interface which is the same as PCMCIA just in a different form factor
    has too many technical advantages over SD, whereas SD is often more liked
    because the cards are smaller and the connectors less fragile. Those two
    will be sticking around for a long time. The other formats are too
    proprietary and IMO will die slowly just like the other extinct custom
    Please see the previous heated discussions on that topic, no need to beat a
    dead horse all over again.
    "Predictions are difficult, in particular when they are about the future."
    But if history is any indication, then yes, sensor sizes will increase,
    although today's cameras already have more resolution than 95% of all
    photographers ever need. Just consider, how many people are happy with those
    crappy pictures from cell phones.
    Please define professional.
    Aside of that, the size of a RAW file depends on the size of the sensor and
    if used somewhat on the compression algorithm.
    Of course not. The original SD as defined in 2000 is suffering from the
    infamous 2GB limit. Therefore after only 6 years the SDA had to create a new
    standard SDHC. See the previously mentioned Wikipedia article, sections "5.1
    Compatibility issues with 2 GB and larger cards" and "6.1 SD and SDHC
    compatibility issues" for details.
    In addition to that there is also the question if your camera can handle a
    file system, that supports more than 2GB or if it is limited to FAT16 only.
    Cameras before 2006 cannot possibly support SDHC because SDHC wasn't defined
    until then. As for the file system: depends how forward thinking the
    firmware designers were and if they included support for other filesystems
    beside FAT16.
    While file system support is purely a software issue and could be added by a
    firmware update if the manufacturer is inclined to to so, I am not sure
    about SDHC. I think SDHC requires new hardware circuits, but I am not

    Jürgen Exner, Jan 13, 2008
  4. aniramca

    George Kerby Guest

    Because they were invented by cartoon characters who have only three fingers
    and a thumb. Simple.
    George Kerby, Jan 13, 2008
  5. aniramca

    ASAAR Guest

    To access any of the card's memory, data is placed on the address
    lines. Whatever a card's memory limit happens to be, if one more
    address line is used, the card will be able to address twice as much
    memory, minimum. With multiplexed addresses, it could be 4x, or
    more. To be able to access memory in nice, round decimal numbers,
    the cards and CPUs in the cameras would have to be redesigned to use
    a number system other than binary, adding needless complexity.

    If only this small number of contacts was used, the data would
    have to be transferred serially, which would be far slower, and
    would only really be beneficial if the camera's memory had to be
    stored a great distance from the camera. A thin, 50 meter cable
    would be much easier to use than a bulky, multi-conductor cable, and
    probably much cheaper as well. There are many reasons why this
    would be impractical, one being that the longer the cable (all else
    being equal), the slower the maximum data rate. But if the cable
    was accidentally disconnected from the camera, it would be much to
    lose the card/cable if it fell into tall grass. :)
    ASAAR, Jan 13, 2008
  6. aniramca

    Deep Reset Guest

    ermm, the data *is* transferred serially.


    would only really be beneficial if the camera's memory had to be
    Deep Reset, Jan 13, 2008
  7. aniramca

    ASAAR Guest

    Ok, I was mistaken and multiplexing isn't used. I thought that I
    read years ago that some PDAs which used both MMC and SD cards had a
    faster data rate due to using a wider data bus, but that's probably
    not true. I doubt that the difference was that SD cards transferred
    data on multiple serial lines, but the way I'm going today, I'd
    better not assume anything else. :)

    With SD using serial data transfer, it may be a point in favor of
    CF cards, which should then have the potential to have a much
    greater data transfer rate. For me though, SD is fast enough. But
    then I use them in still cameras, not video cameras. I saw one
    demonstrated on TV today that had 60GB of internal memory, said to
    be enough for 2 hours of video at its finest resolution. They
    showed a 16GB card for it that looked like SD (I didn't hear that
    part of the presentation). The camera might have been a Canon.
    ASAAR, Jan 13, 2008
  8. aniramca

    Mike Dobony Guest

    Comparing apples to dogs. Telephone lines use the inside 2 contacts for
    line 1, the next outer pair for line 2 and the outside 2 contacts for
    line 3.

    Memory cards work on a totally different concept.
    Mike Dobony, Jan 13, 2008
  9. aniramca

    Steve Guest

    Serial data transfer has much higher potential data rates. I can get
    into the technical reasons why if you want. But if you feel like
    doing your own research, just look up why SATA is faster than PATA.

    Of course, that doesn't mean much when comparing CF to SD because the
    bus I/O transfer rate isn't the limiting speed factor for either.

    Steve, Jan 13, 2008
  10. aniramca

    jean Guest

    LOL Best one yet

    jean, Jan 13, 2008
  11. aniramca

    ray Guest

    Considering that currently 1gb and 2gb cards are available for $10/gb or
    less, I'd have expected it to be around $300.
    What's unnice about powers of two?
    If your cheap $100 camera is limited to FAT16, then it won't handle
    anything over 2gb (though the potential is there for 4gb).
    ray, Jan 14, 2008
  12. aniramca

    ASAAR Guest

    Though it might be interesting, it's not worth the effort right
    now, for reasons mentioned here not too long ago. I assume it has
    something to do with the serial stream zipping along as fast as
    possible (with possibly a clock signal), vs. parallel data having to
    settle and remain stable long enough to be sampled. Do you know
    whether SD (or SDHC) serial rates are high enough to exceed CF data
    rates? From what I've read of tests performed within the last year
    or so, Sandisk Extreme IV CF cards were the fastest, although these
    had to use compatible Sandisk readers to achieve the fastest rates.
    ASAAR, Jan 14, 2008
  13. It doesn't work that way. Circuit City, a large electronic chain store
    in the USA sells 1gb Sandisk SD for $15 and 2gb for $20. OTOH, Fry's,
    another big chain store had a 500gig hard drive on sale for $99. Two
    500 gig drives equal a terabyte drive, but those sell for around $400.


    Transcend 1GB Secure Digital Card = $14.99 I see some at Amazon.com $10

    Transcend 2GB Secure Digital Card = $19.99

    Transcend 4GB Secure Digital Card = $29.99

    Here you are paying $5 for every gig over 1 gig
    but $15 for the original 1 gig SD card. State of
    the art is never proportional to the established
    technology for instance 32gig SD or 1TB hard drive.

    Older technology gets more expensive because of less
    demand. A new 40gig hard drive costs nearly the same
    as the currently popular 160gig. Same way with older
    style memory compared to the newer faster memory.
    Stephen Harris, Jan 14, 2008
  14. aniramca

    Woody Guest

    For once we can beat the US hands down.

    1Gb Sandisk SD cards £6.99 (or a scratch under $14) in my local (UK)
    supermarket - not even a specialist.

    From a specialist (albeit in the Channel Islands where there is no tax)
    unbranded 1Gb at £3.29 or about $6.60, or Dane-Elec (which are Toshiba -
    and it is printed on the back) at £4.49 or about $9.
    Woody, Jan 14, 2008
  15. aniramca

    Steve Guest

    Pretty much right. Signal paths for the data lines, switch times for
    the digital circuits, etc., all become very critical as parallel rates
    are pushed up. Circuit board layout is complicated to keep all the
    data lines the same length for the entire path from controller to
    controller. None of that is critical for serial. The only thing
    critical for serial is standard high frequency design practices.
    For both current CF and SD real-world data transfer, the interface
    speed is not the limiting factor.

    CF+ 2.0 is 16MB/s, 3.0 is 66MB/s and CF+ 4.0 interface is 133MB/s.

    SD/MMC interface is a bit more complicated since it can operate as a 1
    bit serial, or in 4 or 8 bit modes. In 1 bit serial, max rate for SD
    is 6.25MB/s, MMC+ is 6.5MB/s. SD in 4 bit mode is 25MB/s. MMC+ in 4
    or 8 bit modes is 26MB/s or 52MB/s.

    The reason SD seems so much slower in 1 bit mode than CF is because SD
    uses a slow serial clock speed of 50MHz max, and a lot of hardware
    only supports 25MHz. SD could always bump up the clock rates if
    faster flash memory made the interface the choke point. They'll have
    to do that if they want to go much faster than the "133x" memory
    speeds that are becoming common today.

    CF is pretty close to it's practical limit at 133MB/s. But unlike
    current SD, that should be fast enough for a long time.

    Steve, Jan 15, 2008
  16. aniramca

    y_p_w Guest

    Hard drives come in non-binary sizes, and sometimes oddball ones at
    that. In fact, published capacity is in decimal megabytes, and users
    complain that their systems (which state binary megabytes) show less.
    My 40GB HD says it has a 34.9GB capacity.

    In my line of work, we've used custom non-binary memory sizes.
    However - there is an advantage to a binary memory size when it comes
    to maximizing the amount that can be squeezed in a typical rectangular
    y_p_w, Jan 15, 2008
  17. Apples and oranges. There is quite some difference between the internal
    workings of a HD and a memory chip. For a harddrive the numbers of heads,
    tracks, sectors, and disks introduce factors, that are determined by
    physical characteristics, not logical considerations.
    On a memory chip to supply 10x still requries 16x of items of whatever you
    are looking at. So why waste waste the remaining 6 items?
    Old news.

    Jürgen Exner, Jan 15, 2008
  18. aniramca

    Alfred Molon Guest

    BTW only 6MB/s write speed sustained according to dpreview, which is
    quite slow these days.
    Alfred Molon, Jan 15, 2008
  19. aniramca

    N Guest

    It's not the capacity of the card in bytes that matters, it's the number of
    photos on the card. As the photo files get larger the capacity has to
    increase. Imagine if we still had 8MB cards?
    N, Jan 15, 2008
  20. aniramca

    ASAAR Guest

    Thanks for the info!
    ASAAR, Jan 16, 2008
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