I reviewed the Transcend Extreme Plus 600x 16GB CF cards back last August. Since then, I’ve also picked a pair of SanDisk Extreme Pro 600x 16GB CF cards as well. I’ve been using both cards in tandem and have put both through their paces at dozens of shows and thousands of images shot and transferred over the last half-year.
For all intents and purposes, these cards are identical in terms of specifications. Priced at $64 for the Transcend and $99 for the SanDisk, the question remains: Is there any practical difference between these cards? Here’s the answer.
When I originally bought the Transcend 600x CF cards, they were on sale for $69, slightly less than their then price of $75 at B&H and Amazon.com. At $69, they were nearly half the price of SanDisk’s flagship Extreme Pro 600x cards. For me, it was a no-brainer. I bought two pairs of the Transcend 600x cards, which handily replaced a handful of 4GB SanDisk cards I had been using for years.
A several months later, B&H in New York was having a stupidly great sale on SanDisk CF cards. Specifically, the 16GB version of the SanDisk Extreme Pro 600x CF cards were on sale for $59.95, half of their normal price. At this price, even after having bought a pair of the 16GB Transcend cards, I bought two of the SanDisk CF cards. Days later, the price went back up over $100 per card.
Let’s keep this short and sweet. There are plenty of geeky benchmark reviews comparing flash storage. This is real, professional photographer’s thoughts on these two fast, big capacity cards.
I personally chose the 16GB size because it’s a massive capacity that offers plenty of shooting overhead. While it’s overkill for cameras like the Nikon D3, with its “modest” 12mp resolution and two CF slots, 16GB is great for single-slot cameras like the Nikon D700 or D7000.
The one thing that bugged me about the Transcend Extreme Plus was that they feel a little hollow and light – more so than my other go-to CF cards at the time. If you shake the Transcend cards, there’s a very subtle rattle of the flash chip board against the casing.
The SanDisk Extreme Plus CF cards, on the other hand, feel heavier and there is no rattle. They feel rock solid, actually.
For all intents and purposes, the speed of these cards is the same. They’re both specified at 600x and are UDMA-enabled to take advantage of fast read/write speeds, both in-camera and transferring to your computer.
The cards perform identically for all real world shooting, and transfer very quickly using a SanDisk FireWire 800 UDMA card reader. No complaints at all. I will say that both cards can occasionally exhibit delays during image review with my D3 and D700. It’s not a regular occurrence, but it does happen every once in a while. I originally thought that it was just the Transcend cards (which I bought first), but the SanDisk Extreme Pro displays the exact same behavior.
I’ve shot both the SanDisk and Transcend cards in my Nikon D3 and Nikon D700 side by side for the last four months. Despite the slightly flimsier feeling of the Transcend, they have had the exact same reliable performance as the SanDisk Extreme Pro cards. I’ve accidentally dropped both cards from 3-4 feet, as happens from time to time, and they’ve both performed identically.
I’ve had absolutely zero corrupt images or any other issues with these two brands of 600x cards.
Despite a nicer feeling of build quality with the SanDisk cards, I say go for the cheaper Transcend Extreme Plus 600x CF cards. In my personal experience, they’re just as fast and reliable as the SanDisk Extreme Pro. I’ve used both side by side for professional assignments and they perform with no practical differences.
If you are extremely clumsy and often drop your CF cards on concrete or hardwood floors, or like to practice your fastball with your flash storage, that might be a reason enough to go for the SanDisk Extreme Pro. For everyone else, happy shooting with the Transcend Extreme Plus 600x CF cards.
There you go. I have two pairs each of the SanDisk Extreme Pro and Transcend Extreme Plus 600x 16Gb CF cards. They perform identically for professional shooting. My advice? Save some cash and go with the Transcend, as they’re almost 1/3 less than the SanDisk cards.
I am a self-admitted snob when it comes to photography gear and generally prefer to just but the best and to buy it once. That said, having used these two 600x CF cards and received identical performance, I don’t see any reason not to go with the cheaper Transcend Extreme Plus CF cards.
Where To Buy Transcend:
Where To Buy SanDisk:
If this article or any other content on www.ishootshows.com was helpful to you, please consider supporting this site and grabbing your next photo gear purchase through one of my affiliate links:
Simply clicking through any product links on this site helps me bring you free content like the photography tips and gear reviews regularly posted on www.ishootshows.com, and naturally it doesn’t cost you a cent more. If you do grab some gear, drop me a line! I’d love to hear about what you picked up.
If you want to donate directly to help support and host www.ishootshows.com (and if there’s any leftover, keep me stocked in tea), you can contribute money to www.ishootshows.com via PayPal.
Questions or comments? Leave a comment below, and let me know what you thought of this post.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 28th, 2012 at 12:00 am and is filed under Photography Gear and tagged with cf cards, sandisk, transcend, vs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of shooting the Airborne Toxic Event at the Marathon Music Wor…
At the end of 2011, I caught up with super bassist Liam Wilson of the band the Dillinger Escape Plan…
The Sony RX1 strikes a bold statement: a full-frame camera with a fast, fixed prime lens that promis…
Photographing single concerts on a tour are hard enough. Add in to the mix unpredictable weather, mu…
I have some exciting news. I’m very pleased to announce that the band Slayer are licensing an …