Fuji X100: Write speeds on SD cards

by Klaus on July 14, 2011

in Photography

I love my new Fuji X100 and my I’m quite sure my Nikon D7000 is jealous (though it probably wouldn’t admit it…). If you haven’t already, you should read my Fuji Finepix X100 first impressions.

But this article is not about praising the X100, it’s about how fast/slow the X100 writes to SD cards.

Currently, the newest firmware for Fuji X100 is version 1.10. Before that, I believe there was a huge difference in start-up time and writing your photos to the SD card, depending on how fast your SD card was. With version 1.10, there’s still a difference – especially if you’re using anything slower than a class 10, 30mb/s card.

Note that a class 10 card does not guarantee that it’s a 30mb/s card, so be sure to check your SD cards’ specifications.

If you have anything slower than a 30mb/s card, upgrading to either a 30mb/s Sandisk 8GB class 10 or 45mb/s Sandisk 8GB (UHS class 1) will be a good idea as the camera will be able to save data faster and be ready to shoot again, faster.

However, if you already have a 30mb/s card, there’s no need to upgrade to a 45mb/s card. With the current firmware 1.10, there is no difference in write speed on a 30mb/s and 45mb/s card when used in Fuji X100. I thought there was going to be a little bit, but my own tests shows exactly the same, no matter which of the two speeds I’m using.

Here’s some data…

Shooting RAW files, 5 fps burst (8 frames), will take 19-20 seconds to save to the card. I start the timer once the last frame has been shot (listening to the shutter) and stop the timer once the camera is ready to fire again (and the SD card activity LED turns off).

The same, but with RAW + JPEG NORMAL takes around 25 seconds.

Saving a single RAW frame takes around 3 seconds, but, the camera is ready to fire again instantly. You do not need to wait for the photo to be saved, before you can shoot again.

Shooting 10 JPEG FINE frames in 5 fps burst takes 13 seconds to save, from when the last frame has been shot and till the camera is ready again.

Finally, starting the camera takes less than 3 seconds (from cold) and less than 1 second (with “quick start mode” enabled), until it’s ready to shoot.

All in all, I’m fully satisfied considering what kind of a camera this is. It’s by no means a DSLR. It lacks some of the features that a fast DSLR might have, but it’s also lacking some of the downsides of a DSLR, such as being big and much more attention grabbing.

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