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!


Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by NANCY, Mar 25, 2005.

  1. NANCY


    Mar 14, 2005
    I went to buy a flash card for my D70 and the salesperson suggested I get the Hitachi 4GB Microdrive card. I ended up buying it but am not sure which type of card is better, the microdrive, or the compactflash card? Also, do you think it is a mistake to have so many pictures on one card? I intend to downloac them to DVD's as quickly as possible after I have taken them.

    If my questions are too basic for this site, I so apologize. It is just hard to resist taking advantage of all the expertise that is floating around here. Thanks.
  2. I use SanDisk Ultra II CF, and couldn't be happier!! I have a 512MB and a 1GB. Lexar makes a pretty good CF too. :)  :)  :)  Hope this helps Nancy!!
  3. NANCY


    Mar 14, 2005
    Do you use CF's because you get better images than with a microdrive card?

    Do you find you don't need more than 1 GB at a time before you download your pictures?
  4. I have never used a microdrive card. Can you use those in a D70? I am not sure. With my 1GB and 512MB CF Cards I can get about 400 shots shooting FINE JPEG. If you are going to shoot in RAW, then a 4GB is what you will need. :)  :) 
  5. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    No such thing as too basic - I'm just a 101 kind of guy!

    I use a one GB CF card, which holds 102 RAW files, and a few 256 MB cards, which hold 25 pix each. For casual shooting, I will just leave the 1GB in the camera and shoot until it's full.

    For work shooting, I will try to fill each of my smaller cards first, then go to the GB card. My (possibly whack) idea is, that if one of the smaller cards fails, then I have lost less of what i'm getting paid for.

    That said, I have only experienced the loss of one CF card in seven years (dang!) of digital shooting. It was a 128MB card from a generic manufacturer.

    I've never used a microdrive. I'd worry about dropping and damaging the drive mechanism, because I am kind of clumbsy and I drop things.
  6. Gale


    Jan 26, 2005
    Viera Fl
    I am with you Chis,

    I use CF cards. Think micro-drives a bit more fragile. EEEKKK losing 4 gigs would hurt.

  7. GeeJay


    Jan 26, 2005
    I know nothing about Microdrive cards.. I use Lexar a 2 GB 80X CFs and a 1GB one just like it. I like these and so far so good.

    Today I filled a both of them with RAW and BASIC JPEG...can't remember how many pictures that is....

    I like the 2GB when I'm shooting the birds but the 1GB would be fine for everything else for me.

    I really don't like the idea of having all my pictures on one card..that would make me nervous about losing it or deleting it by accident.

    Now I immediately download my CF cards onto the DVD in my DVD Burnaway. Then I know I have the pictues safe and secure on the DVD.

    Nothing too basic to ask on this forum. Everyone here wants to help. I am the 'queen of basic/simple questions' on this forum..that's the only way to learn.

  8. NeilCam


    Feb 21, 2005
    Ottawa, Ontario
    I think the emphasis is on the word "bit". As in they're NOT a lot more fragile.

    Nancy, if you got a good deal on the 4GB microdrive then relax and enjoy it. Don't be put off by all those people who might have read somewhere of someone whose auntie once spoke to a bloke whose wife's third cousin twice removed has a soul sister she's never meet who is a cleaner at a rival company who once thought she heard that microdrive's are worse than CF cards.

    Such stuff really is the worst thing about the net. The place where bs becomes truth in moments. Don't believe me? Then read what Ron wrote has happened to sales of his ebook just because of similar crap.

    Oh and the other question you asked was is there any variation in the image quality between the microdrive and a CF card. To the best of my knowledge there would be no difference between images stored on card versus those stored on the other. It is after all just a storage medium.

    Personally, I long for a 4GB card. My 1GB, 2x512mb, 3x256mb are a pain because I can fill them so fast when out shooting.

  9. NANCY


    Mar 14, 2005
    Thank you all so much for all the help, and thank you Neil for the chuckles!

    The other thing the salesman told me was that the microdrive made it possible to take more pictures faster. Is that true?

    I am about convinced to take it back for two reasons: one, I am afraid of even the'bit' fragile part; and two, because I love any excuse to go to Best Buy.
  10. NeilCam


    Feb 21, 2005
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Nancy, I think I've heard of one microdrive failing. I've also heard of lots of CF cards failing. Now that means absolutely nothing at all - especially given there are almost infinitely more CF cards out there than microdrives.

    Seriously the best idea is to at least use google to see if you can establish some truth to all this rubbish. Relying on single instances of what people here say, including (or even especially) myself is not good research.

    As for taking images faster, that is I think best described as good salesmanship. The limiting factor is your camera's ability to write to the card - I think. Again if it worries you, do more research.

    While I've received some great and helpful advice from people on the net, I couldn't begin to count the advice that caused me more problems than it solved. What White Balance setting to use on the D100 was one that springs to mind - talk about screwing my pictures up for so long all because I was to dumb to think and experiment for myself.

  11. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    But a microdrive can fail if you drop it because it is a mechanical device. A CF card will fail only if you have a really good, one-of-a-kind photo on it.
  12. NANCY


    Mar 14, 2005
    Thanks for the encouragement. I seem to be paralyzed with fear whenever I take my camera out. I have had it for a week and have taken seven pictures. Tomorrow, I am forcing myself to take at least 50 pictures. I can't believe I am being intimidated by an inanimate object - my D70.
  13. I have 2 x 1GB Kingston CF cards and I'm half thinking about getting a third.
    I normally shot raw+Jpeg and get 150 to 170 shots to the gig. I also carry a Vosonic 40Gb portable drive, so I can copy my cards down onto hard disk while in the field.

    The reason for the third card is so I can have one in the camera, one waiting to be used and one copying (alternatively, my long years in IT have made me paranoid enough to think that even if one card dies, I'll still have a spare :)  ).

    Microdrives are slightly more fragile than normal CF cards due to the fact that they are tiny disk drives with moving parts. If you dropped one from your camera onto concrete, I'm not sure what the survival rate would be. On the other hand, compact flash cards are just memory chips wrapped in plastic - which tend to be more resistent to being dropped, kicked etc.

    For those who haven't heard of Kingston, they're one of the biggest computer memory manufacturers and are generally considered the next best thing (and sometimes even better) than the machine manufacturers memory. Their CF cards are usually a good bit cheaper than comparable "Photographic manufacturers" cards and carry a lifetime warranty.
  14. bpetterson

    bpetterson Guest

    Microdrives are ok.
    But don't drop them
    They are a bit slower than the fast CF cards.
    For your use in the D2X or below it should be fine.
    In Florida in the hot summer it may tend to overheat the camera.
    Yes I live in Florida.
    And yes I do have microdrives. I paid $495 for a 240 mb one when they first came out.

    Cf cards I use Sandisk Extreme II.
    Even put one through the washing machine and after drying out it is still in use.

  15. Nancy,

    If you're really worried, just take the microdrive back and buy some CF cards instead -- get them online for better prices. I'd recommend having 2 cards that combine to provide more than you need. Accidents do happen whether it's dropping the cards or accidental reformat (and needing to leave it unused for later recovery) or whatever.

    I'd say this though. If you stick w/ just the one microdrive, then there are pros to this aspect. If you always use the camera's USB port to transfer files, instead of a card reader, then you probably will never take the microdrive out. Then it should be quite safe. Also, doing that will mean zero wear-and-tear on the card connectors in the camera and will also avoid any possible damage caused by incorrect alignment of pins on the rare off-chance. Might also help minimize collection of dirt on the connectors and such. But these are of course going into some level of minutiae though.

    And having said all that, I'm not sure I'd want to trust microdrives myself.

    Yes, microdrives are more fragile than CF cards. They are basically just tiny harddrives w/ mechanical parts. However, they are most susceptible to damage while operating, eg. actively storing files while shooting, reading files for image review, etc. Dropping while outside the camera might not be too bad although of course not recommended.

    I've been considering buying an iPod recently, and apparently, the iPod Mini along w/ various competitors also use microdrives. Based on what I've read about those music players, it's probably not a good idea to shake the camera too much while the microdrive is operating either, but I don't imagine that should be a problem. :D  Also, be careful about using it at altitudes >=10K ft above sea level, if that's something you might do, due to the reduced air pressure effect on the drive mechanism -- inside an airplane is ok.

    Lastly, microdrives are substantially slower than pro quality CF cards. That's a certainty unlike some of the other things. Sandisk Ultra II's and Extreme's are the fastest for the D70 and are anywhere from 2-3x as fast depending on whether you're shooting RAW or JPEG. Check here to see some speed comparisons:


    Having said that. The speed diff may or may not really matter to you. It really only matters if you shoot in continuous bursts very often. I don't do that usually, so my older non-pro CF cards do just as well as my Sandisk Ultra II's most times, and I usually only notice the diff during file transfer on my PC. The pro quality cards do seem to offer lifetime warranty and are probably designed/built to last much longer the microdrives though.

    And oh yeah, I've heard a few stories of people washing their CF cards w/out damage too, not just Birger there. Wouldn't recommend that. :D  And I'm not sure I'd want to trust the card after going through that either. :D  But you can be pretty sure a microdrive won't survive that though.

    One more thing. Some people are using portable HDDs on trips and such to offload their photos. Seems to me that shooting directly to microdrives would be safer than offloading to portable HDDs, if the higher cost is not objectionable and one intends to carry the storage device everywhere. And I'm not sure using a portable DVD burner would be any safer either. For myself, I'm sorta looking for a portable solution to offload photos too, but haven't decided on anything so far because nothing seems all that great and/or reliable and it's not an immediate need. Last time I went on a long enough vacation to need such a thing, I just brought an old laptop w/ me (and left it hidden away in the rental car most of time).

  16. A microdrive allows you to fit more pics. Then again you can fit about 150 raw + jpeg on a 1GB flash card in the D70 which is more than enough for the majority of my shooting. It's really up to you if you think you need that much space.
  17. Memory Cards.

    Good morning Nancy.

    To be honest I think you met a good salesman!!

    I think that you will find that most people use Compact Flash cards.

    I have Ultra 11's and Extreme 111's from 512mb to "2gig + a vosonic 40gb storage device. I shoot in RAW and find that perfectly sufficent at the moment.
    With the larger files of the D2X people may need larger cards but not for a D70 unless you are off for 8 weeks on an exotic vacation.

    BW. Bob F England.
  18. NANCY


    Mar 14, 2005
    Thank you all so very much. Since I am so new to photography, I wasn't sure which type card to use. I am now busy patting myself on my back for having the smarts to check things out here. I have decided to return the microdrive and get FC's.
  19. drives, cards, and losing pictures

    I've always worried about microdrives, but find myself about to buy one. They're not expensive at all compared to CF cards; a lot of what I shoot has very little need for clickety-click speed; very, very little of what I shoot has the risk of imact that would cause a head crash. Hitachi says that when the drive is writing, about 2/3 to 3/4 G could cause problems. When the card is shut off, it'll take 200G (I've crashed in a car at a measured fraction of that force, and the CF card is likely to do a lot better than I did...) My biggest concern is that Hitachi's specs say that the card is not tested above 90% humidity, and once or twice a year I go someplace shooting that runs consistently at 98 degrees and 98% humidity.

    I know that CF cards are tough, I've washed cards on two different occasions, and by being very careful about drying them had no damage, and downloaded the pictures later. However, they are not indestructable - I know a lot of guys who've had them fail while shooting for reasons they still haven't figured out, and I'm awaiting the day I experience that.

    I ask the "reliability" question whenever I take a workshop or have the chance to chat with working pros who make more money shooting in one day than I will shooting a year. They are as divided as we are. I will note that most of the ones who fear microdrives have told stories about CF cards failing on them, which is why they fear microdrives. I'm sure there's some logic in there. Somewhere.

    I can state definitively that a CF card will NOT survive two minutes in the mouth of an Australian Shepherd dog. Thankfully it was a card I'd downloaded already, and one of the lower capacity cards. I can also state that the dog will not survive destroying another card, so it all works out...

    This all gives me a headache. It's one of the few equipment issues that does.
  20. Remember that the Micro-Drives are "little-teeny-tiny-honest-to-gosh" hard drives tucked into the case. The usual cause of failure with the earlier IBM microdrives, IBM has since sold the whole drive business to Hitachi, had to with the problem, believe it or not it IS the truth, of squeezing the drive between your fingers. As it turned out, the place that most folks grabbed was vulnerable, note the work "was", this has been fixed. That having been said there are 2 drawbacks to the Microdrive.

    1. Speed - The Galbraith DB has been pointed out, it clearly shows the differnce
    2. Fragility - it is a mechanical device, also one reason it is slowere, and as such more prone to damage.

    I used a pair of IBM 1gb's for a couple of years with no problem at all.

    I now use a combination of CF cards, mostly RiData and Sandisk. My RiData are 52x rated and I have not problem with them slowing me down with my D2H, and nothing is faster writing than these puppies.

    I use 1gb and smaller CF because:
    1. I have them
    2. They are less expensive
    3. If I do something stupid like break one, all is not lost.

    Anytime that someone tells you that the Microdrive is "faster" or will let you "take more pictures", simply run away :wink: . The issue of Faster has been discussed, the "more pictures" is simply a matter of storage size. 1GB gets you twice as many as 512 mb, regardless of MicroDrive, CF, SD, etc.
  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.