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Archive 2012 · Future of DSLR memory
  
 
fusiongt
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p.1 #1 · Future of DSLR memory


I was thinking about the D800 and imagined large 36 megapixels per shot. The D800 has memory for CF and SD cards, but I see those cards getting filled up faster than ever before with 36 megapixel raw files. I know lots of people carry things like extra batteries and extra CF/SD cards, but I know personally I never switch memory cards because I never have to using 16gb or 32gb cards on 10mp and 12mp cameras.

Then this got me thinking about battery life. With my Leica X1, I would carry TWO extra batteries in my pocket (seriously, a big annoyance) and just smiled when I thought of my D3 and its monster battery that would last days, if not weeks. I wondered there has to be a better solution to memory in these DSLRs. Then I thought the largest improvements in laptop/desktop speeds we have seen the past few years has been the harddrive speeds! Solid State Drives are really amazing:

Pros of SSD vs HD:
- They have no moving parts
- Use very little power compared to HDD
- Are blazing fast

Cons of SSD vs HD:
- NAND drives perform great but will continually degrade which I think has gotten better but not solved yet
- Expensive compared to HDD for price to gigabyte size


If you compare SSD to something like CF cards, here's how they stack up:

- Gigabyte Space: SSD (64gb, 120gb, 256gb) -- CF (16gb, 32gb, 64gb)
- Write Speed: SSD (100mbps to 250mbps) -- CF (30mbps to 60mbps)


The cons I figure would be SSD is large. 2.5" hard drives are the norm right now and are too large to jam into a pro body. However, smaller versions are on their way. Intel showcased this SSD drive that was 1/8 the size of the 2.5" drives.


http://www.zdnet.com/blog/computers/intels-tiny-new-ssd-310-drive-to-appear-in-lenovo-thinkpad-laptops/4586


So I wonder if we'll start seeing small SSD drives take over CF cards in the future? It could still retain the ability to swap and replace memory cards like we do with CF and SD cards, but will instead have all the speed/size advantages of SSD drives. I can imagine a 256gb mini SSD drive with 250x mbps write speed would be pretty awesome to pop into a DSLR. You could shoot the D800 for weeks

The fact we haven't seen CF cards really improve in speed or space capacity the past 3-4 years tells me they're on their way out. Thoughts?

Edited on Feb 08, 2012 at 12:16 PM · View previous versions



Feb 08, 2012 at 12:09 PM
Dave_EP
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p.1 #2 · Future of DSLR memory


This is exactly what the new XQD card specs are designed to address. Write speeds are significantly improved because they effectively sit directly on the PCI-E bus - whereas SSD drives still need to go through a SATA bus.

In terms of capacity, anything you could do on SSD should be available on XQD as long as the chips are small enough.

Regarding price, that's a 'volume' thing and is as-ever the chicken and egg thing.



Feb 08, 2012 at 12:15 PM
fusiongt
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p.1 #3 · Future of DSLR memory


Ah I'm behind, totally missed that announcement.


Feb 08, 2012 at 12:22 PM
HerbChong
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p.1 #4 · Future of DSLR memory


it doesn't help that Leica's have pretty marginal power management.

Herb...

fusiongt wrote:
Then this got me thinking about battery life. With my Leica X1, I would carry TWO extra batteries in my pocket (seriously, a big annoyance) and just smiled when I thought of my D3 and its monster battery that would last days, if not weeks.




Feb 08, 2012 at 04:03 PM
jamesf99
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p.1 #5 · Future of DSLR memory


You do realize that that article is over a year old don't you?

IMO SSDs are not ready for prime time, regardless of what the vendors want you to believe. They have absolutely horrible size/cost ratios, and I would never rely on a 2-3 year old SSD, nor would I want to own anything that did rely on one as a sole drive. Intel and their Ultrabook (primary is SSD, larger HD is secondary) push be damned.

I also think this would create a maintenance nightmare for the camera makers. You can always buy a new CF card, but you can't change a built in SSD as they start to fail. We're many years away from solving all the SSD problems and it's not clear to me that with the current memory model structures (MLC/SLC) we ever will.

It may take a nanotube structure to do it, but that's a WAG on my part. Regardless, we're 5 years from that too..



Feb 08, 2012 at 04:17 PM
 

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Nijay
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p.1 #6 · Future of DSLR memory


NAND chips aren't going to be getting much smaller. The cutting edge stuff is around the 21nm feature size (with a ton of reliability concerns) and the stable tech node is 27nm. It's taken us 5 years+ to move from a 51nm node to 27nm. In that past, that big of a % cut happened in a year. Moore's Law is hyperbole at this point.

The way many flash manufacturers are looking to up the memory density is increasing the # bits stored per cell. The production quality stuff is 3 bits per cell but it requires extensive ECC help to work, their warrantied life is short, and read/write is long. The 2 bit and 1 bit per cell stuff is still king in those two regards but again, you lose memory density.

Will we see SSD slots for pro bodies in the future? Maybe. But I think it's going to take a long long while to scale SSD's down to size.




Feb 08, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Nijay
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p.1 #7 · Future of DSLR memory


jamesf99 wrote:
I also think this would create a maintenance nightmare for the camera makers. You can always buy a new CF card, but you can't change a built in SSD as they start to fail. We're many years away from solving all the SSD problems and it's not clear to me that with the current memory model structures (MLC/SLC) we ever will..


NAND Flash chips destined for SSD are held to much higher standards than their destined-for-CF counterparts. I don't recall if there is a warranty difference but I do know SSD flash chips are of a higher quality than CF flash chips.

I imagine if they ever decide to load a pro body with an SSD that they make it easy to swap it out.



Feb 08, 2012 at 04:27 PM
jamesf99
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p.1 #8 · Future of DSLR memory


Nijay wrote:
NAND Flash chips destined for SSD are held to much higher standards than their destined-for-CF counterparts. I don't recall if there is a warranty difference but I do know SSD flash chips are of a higher quality than CF flash chips.

I imagine if they ever decide to load a pro body with an SSD that they make it easy to swap it out.


Thanks for the info.

Perhaps I'm mistaken, but I thought he meant a built-in SSD, which is why I thought it would be a problem. In camera with nearly all sequential vs. random read/writes, it could be more effective, but if they do start reporting errors it would be one more reason to send the camera in for repair.

This could change in the future, but right now I'm leery of it and will stick with CF/XQD/SD.



Feb 08, 2012 at 09:07 PM
mikesrc
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p.1 #9 · Future of DSLR memory


You folks are worrying about things that don't matter. I took a D7K to Cabo last fall with 2 16G cards, 1 Battery and no charger. Shot 750-800 pictures. When I got home still had plenty of battery life and capacity on my cards. Just go use your d@#m cameras and don't get all hung up on nothing!!!!!


Feb 08, 2012 at 10:39 PM





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