1. Welcome to NikonCafe.com—a friendly Nikon camera & photography discussion forum!

    If you are thinking of buying a camera or need help with your photos, you will find our forum members full of advice! Click here to join for free!

CF Microdrives - opinions?

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by petert053, Dec 9, 2005.

  1. petert053


    Nov 19, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I have been keeping my eye open for deals on higher capacity CF cards because I'm moving from the D70 to the D200 and will need the extra space... I came across a 4GB Hitachi Microdrive from Ritz for $150, which seems like a good deal.

    But, I'm concerned about the technology. I have a friend that shoots with one and I find it takes time to spin up plates and that delays his write time. Not that I think I'll be doing a lot of write-speed-critical shooting, but at the same time, I don't want to see delays that would limit the rare continuous shooting situations I do either.

    Also, I'm concerned about dropping the card and having it survive the fall. I've dropped regular CF cards and never thought much about, nor have I experienced any problems. But dropping something with (fagile?) moving parts gives me pause...

    So, what's your experiences? ...is this a good deal? Am I right that it would delay your write-times in comparison to a regular flash memory chip version? ...or am I being paranoid needlessly...

  2. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  3. Chev71

    Chev71 Guest

    I would avoid a microdrive as well. I had a Hitachi 1 Gig microdrive and it went down with my World Series pix on it. Thankfully, I was able to get them back but I haven't used one since. Ive also heard horror stories from people who dropped one in the grass and lost all their images. I would avoid it, seriously..I left my 2 gig Kingston CF card in a pocket and ran it through the washing machine and it survived and I still am able to use with no problems..Trust me, get a CF card, stay away from microdrives, all the pros I know stay away from them.
  4. petert053


    Nov 19, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Lilly, Paul...

    You both are confirming my thoughts. I guess I was just trying to "test the waters" and see if my concerns were valid... looks like they are... they just aren't reliable technology...

    Thanks for your input!

  5. OK, reality check please. The original Microdrives had some rather interesting issues with the cases, for example if you squeezed in the right place, which just happend to be conveniently close to where most people hold them, you could actually affect the heads, bad design, fixed well especially with the larger capacities. I had 2, of the originals no less, that hit the ground, got mashed in my pockets, went through the wash, and still worked great when I sold them. I have heard as many "incompatible" stories about Lexar as I have heard about Microdrives. People swear by Lexar's, I won't own them, especially with the problems I have had with Lexar CF readers.

    Now, having said that, why won't I own a MD ever again? One simple, short, word....speed. They are SLOW, compared to CF, really slow.

    Also, to be fair, as Paul pointed out MD's are mechanical, so they do have a higher potential for failure. Just that my experience, and that of a number of friends, did not indicate that the incidence of problems was any greater with those than with CF.

    YMMV of course, and I still think you are right not to buy one. Now, at that price having one as an "emergency backup" is not such a horrid idea.
  6. Go with CF cards only.. Microdrives have moving parts and if you drop them they usually are toast....
  7. I have used 2 microdrives in the past and there was no failure, even in Nepal (IBM did not recommend using it in high altitude).

    But I won't recommend it. It's too slow, and has higher chance of failure potentially.
  8. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Whilst I would definitely recommend a solid state CF card as being more reliable, the microdrive does offer good bang for the buck. I have used mine extensively on my D2x without problems. Under most circumstances (I don't shoot sports) it is fast enough.
  9. gadgetguy11


    Nov 16, 2005
    Top 10 reasons to avoid the microdrives:

    1-Reliability is much less than (chip) CF card
    2-Heat in your camera could prove detrimental to its life
    3-Battery consumption is much higher; means less photos per battery
    4-Access Speed too slow
    5-Wear and tear (shorter life span than CF chip
    7-Drop G Force too low
    8-Compatibility is a possible issue
    9-Water resistance much lower than CF (chip)
    10-Ambient temperature limitations - storing in a parked car could prove detrimental

    Instead, buy 1 or 2 high speed (ie., Extreme III) cards and an Epson P-4000 or equivalent to download and free up card in the field
  10. petert053


    Nov 19, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Yeah, this was something I was wondering about too (as an aside, it's also something I wonder about with the VR lenses too, but that's another post :wink: ). I had a feeling (though never investigated it enough to know one way or another) if the constant spin-up would drain your battery life. It makes sense that it does... I just think about the battery in my laptop and when I doing a ton of disk access... can you say "dead in an hour"?
  11. I would bet battery wear is real low on the list of things to be concerned about here and with VR. They do affect it but so does using the camera:eek: 
    I would highly reccomend the sandisk extreme III in 2 or 4 GB for your application.
  12. patrickh


    May 4, 2005
    Thousand Oaks
    I have had three and each has blown up. I will never use a microdrive again. The original reason was to get capacity, but regular flash cards now compete on that front as well. My advice is - stay clear of them.
  13. Two Years ago I bought a Creative Muvo² with the 4GB (Hitachi) Microdrive in it.

    This was all because of the Drive (The drive alone was over 400€ and the Muvo was just 220€ then!). Since then the Muvo worked as a MP3-Player with a old Sandisk 512CF.

    I have used it since in my D70 for almost 2 Years, without a Problem! Yes it's slower then Ultra-Cards but Power consumption is no Problem with the EN-EL3 anyway.

    I now use a 2GB UltraII, and haven't used the Microdrive since.

    In my opinion 150$ is to much for it now. better buy a 1GB or 2GB CF-card (almost 400 NEf's with the D70)and if you need more time away from your PC, buy a 20GB mobile hard disk.

    After reading all your posts I might put it back in the Muvo. :wink: :wink: :wink:
  14. Ken-L

    Ken-L Guest

    I also believe the microdrives are too risky.... There is a prediction that "hard drives" may become obsolete in the future and flash memory (or some other solid state device) will replace them...
  15. Don't waste your money. They're slow and power hogs. Old technology!

  16. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Just to throw some ugliness on this discussion, I have had 2, no 3 if you count one I never used, CF card failures. I shoot a lot. One day I went to download my 1 gig Transend CF card and about 25% of the photos on it would not transfer. I reformatted it and it worked ok, but those pix are gone.

    Before that, I had a 128MB (can't remember the manufacturer) card just go belly up. Couldn't reformat it or nothing. Gone gone gone.

    Thirdly, I bought a discount 1 gig card, but it wouldn't work at all - in fact, when I put it into the reader(s) it got hot - real hot! I took the fried electronics back to Fry's Electronics and traded it for a Sandisk Ultra II 512MB at the same price.

    Just goes to show. Now I have all Sandisk cards, having given away the troublesome Transend 40X 1 gig card that cost like $350 way back in 2003 when I bought it. By the way, I use a Lexar Firewire reader attached to my desktop, and carry a SIIG USB 2.0 reader in my camera bag, just in case.
  17. I have a microdrive and do not care for it. I use it as a last resort if my other cf cards are full. Personally I like the Sandisk Extreme.
  18. I got a couple of IBM 1GB microdrives a few years back. I have never had any problem with them and they work fine. Since then the price of CF cards have dropped so much that it was easy to get a few 1GB cards of those (Lexar and SD Ultra II). I still have the MD's in my bag but they are basically for backup only (if I were to need huge capacity at a shoot).
  19. I have the Hitachi 4 gig microdrive and works flawlessly...
    never had a problem...never had it slow me down on a job..
    It's been on countless commercial jobs...
    I think its great especially for the price...
    Waiting on the new ones that are considered to be the
    same speed as the Ultra cards at half the price...
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.