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LOST6200

Compact Flash Price/Capacity

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I would like to convert to digital photography, but the media costs alone are outrageous. For example, a 512MB CF card costs $300 and holds about 45 images. Assuming that one would need at least the equivalent of 10 rolls of 35 mm film for a half-day of shooting, eight of those cards would be required. Are there any near-term expectations for reduced cost and increased capacity of CF cards?

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The 1GB IBM Microdrive is $239 at Newegg. Almost all mid to high-end digital cameras that take compactflash are also compatible with the Microdrives. Also, depending on your needs, you may be able to use the highest quality lossy setting on the camera, instead of uncompressed, which would make the file sizes significantly smaller.

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How rugged and reliable are the IBM microdrives?  Can they withstand a typical 5-foot drop onto a hard surface?

not multiple times

microdrives die, don't expect more than a year out of them if you're a heavy user. that's been the experience of a SEMI regular photographer at work (kids at sports/ballet, etc).

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microdrives die, don't expect more than a year out of them if you're a heavy user.
That is a big surprise, considering that microdrives are manufactured for IBM.;) Maybe if Seagate made a SCSI microdrive one could be more confident.

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The 1GB IBM Microdrive is $239 at Newegg. Also, depending on your needs, you may be able to use the highest quality lossy setting on the camera, instead of uncompressed, which would make the file sizes significantly smaller.
Unfortunately the only options with this body are the old 8-bit JPEG or RAW formats. At least the ~11.4 MB losslessly compressed RAW files are better than TIFF. AFAIK, only Kodak supports the new highly efficient ERI compressed format. Maybe they will license it to other manufacturers in the future.

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Actually a quick search on pricewatch says you can get a generic 512MB card for 142$ from mwave.com (which several people on this boards recommends). And of course the point with using digital CF cards is that they can be reused every day, so you in theory only need to pay this amount once...

Cobos

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Another suggestion I've heard is to carry some other (larger capacity)

device that you can copy the CF files to; then erase the CF media to

use again...

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When you said microdrives die within a year, what are you implying? Buy design of constant (heavy read/write) use, or by rough handling?

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How rugged and reliable are the IBM microdrives?  Can they withstand a typical 5-foot drop onto a hard surface?

I haven't personally used the Microdrives enough to comment on their reliability. It's supposed to be rated to 1500Gs while off, but I wouldn't be tossing them around. On the other hand, I've never had a CF card go bad on me, even after putting them through some abuse. Perhaps the best solution for you might be a cheap, used laptop. It's not the smallest solution, but you'll get much larger storage capacity, and it'll be cheaper than buying a whole bunch of CF cards.

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Excuse me but what exactly are you talking about - 45 images on a 512MB card??? Any decent digital camera will be able to store a low compression JPEG image with quality similar to the uncompressed version, most likely in a couple of megabytes, even for fairly high resolution cameras. My DSC-P50 stores 2 megapixel images in ~900K at lowest compression (except for uncompressed) allowing storage of 66 images on my 64MB memory stick. Typically when I think I'll need more space I go back through the images and delete the stuff I don't think came out well.

Given the price of cameras able to take high enough quality photos that you want uncompressed versions, i.e. Canon EOS D60 and similar, is high enough that an old laptop with a few GB hard disc would be well within your budget for a secondary storage device.

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Excuse me but what exactly are you talking about - 45 images on a 512MB card.

The following are the specs for file size, take from here.

1) Large/Fine: approx. 4.1 MB (4064 x 2704 pixels)

2) Large/Normal: approx. 1.7 MB (4064 x 2704 pixels)

3) Small/Fine: approx. 1.4 MB (2032 x 1352 pixels)

4) RAW: approx. 11.4 MB (4064 x 2704 pixels)

I don't see any point in shooting at other than the RAW mode; that defeats the purpose of buying a quality digital body. And yes, I did check out the D60 about 6 months ago. However, I was rather disappointed by the cheap feel, sluggish response, and limited autofocus abilities, not to mention the impossibility of shooting wide and the borderline total resolution.

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