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With the variety of different types of cards offered today, it can sometimes be confusing and overwhelming to pick the right card for your camera. You might just think a 64GB card is a 64GB card, but there are a lot of other variables to consider. Certain camera capabilities are determined by the type of memory card you have, so it is important to make sure you select the right one. Here is a breakdown of what to look for with an SD card. The majority of these terms will also apply to MicroSD cards. We'll use the Sandisk SDXC 64GB Extreme Pro UHS-I U3 as an example.
1. Maximum Read Speed - This is the maximum speed the card can access data from the card, usually in MB/sec. This will have an impact on how quickly you can download from the card, as long as your card reader also supports the same speeds or faster.
2. Capacity - the card's capacity. Currently the largest SD card available for purchase is 512GB, but the format can technically support capacities up to 2TB. With larger capacity cards (mostly cards over 64GB), it's important to make sure your camera will support a larger capacity.
3. Type - This is the type of SD card. Original SD cards have a maximum capacity of 2GB since they only used FAT16 formatting. SDHC cards use FAT32, and come in capacities between 4GB up to 32GB. SDXC cards utilize exFAT, and can range between 64GB up to 2TB.
4. UHS Rating - Newer cards now have a UHS (Ultra High Speed) rating. UHS-I cards can support a read speed up to 104 MB/sec, while newer UHS-II cards can support read speeds up to 312 MB/sec. The card reader or camera has to be compatible with UHS-I/II ratings to take full advantage of these speeds. If a host device doesn't support the UHS-I or II standard, it will default to the maximum write speed it can handle.
5. Speed-Class Rating - The original speed class rating, numbered in 2, 4, 6, & 8. The class rating is indicative of the minimum write speed in MB/s. For example, a class 10 card's minimum write speed is 10 MB/s. Newer products now use the UHS-Speed rating.
6. UHS Speed-Class Rating - The UHS minimum sustained write-speed. Currently there are only two speeds - U1 has a maximum write speed of 10 MB/s and U3 has a write speed of 30 MB/s. Some newer cards will also display a "Video Speed" rating in addition to the UHS rating. For example, a V30 rating is equivalent to a write speed of 30 MB/s. If a card does not support UHS Speed-Class, it will default to the old Speed-Class rating.
That sums up the key things to look for when choosing an SD card. When you're ready to get a card for your next project, you can rent an SD Card from us here.
Neutral-density filters (also referred to as ND Filters), are an extremely useful tool for photographers and videographers. Surprisingly, many photo/video users have heard of them, but may not fully understand exactly what they're for. In this post, we're going to discuss exactly what an ND filter is and some practical uses for them.
What is a Neutral-Density Filter?
An ND filter is a filter that is grey and neutral in color and reduces the amount of light coming into the lens. The amount of light reduced varies depending on the intensity of the filter used, which is usually measured in full f-stop increments. Different manufacturers have different notations for ND filters, which can sometimes cause confusion when trying to compare. The two most popular notations are the "ND.number" and "NDnumber" - here is a breakdown of how the two compare.
As you can see - for every f-stop, the ND.number rating increases by a factor of 0.3, while the NDnumber rating doubles.
Types of ND Filters
There are a few different types of ND filters. The first and most common are full ND filters. These would cover the entire frame and reduce the light evenly throughout. These can come in screw in types like the 77mm ND Filter 0.6 or square filters for use in matte boxes like the Redrock Micro Filter Set. Some professional video/cinema cameras like the Sony FS7 & Canon C100 Mark II also have their own internal ND Filters that cover the sensor.
Next would be a graduated or split ND - where half of the filter has the ND effect, and the bottom half is clear. This is extremely useful for bright landscapes where you can't evenly expose the entire scene without losing highlight details. Like the full ND filters, these also come in screw-in or square type.
Last is a variable ND filter. These filters allow you to adjust the degree of the ND effect and eliminate the need for carrying multiple ND filters or stacking lower intensities. For example, our SLR Magic Variable ND Filter can provide ND adjustments from 2 to 6 stops.
Uses for ND Filters
One of the most common uses for ND filters is being able to shoot at wider apertures in bright situations. Sometimes even at the lowest ISO and highest shutter speed (between 1/4000 - 1/8000 sec depending on your camera), it's not possible to shoot at wide apertures without dramatically over-exposing the shot. This is especially useful for video users, who are limited by their shutter speed/frame rate combination.
The same also applies for trying to shoot with a flash outside and achieving the flash sync speed (between 1/160 - 1/250 sec). The above picture was shot with a D750, which has a flash sync speed of 1/200 sec. Without an ND filter in this scenario, the maximum aperture you could shoot with would be f/4. Adding a 3-stop ND, we are able to get down to f/1.4 and still be able to incorporate a flash into the shot.
Another common use would be lowering your shutter speed in bright conditions. This is particularly useful for removing the visibility moving subjects in a scene (like a crowded street) or adding a little bit of motion blur to a scene. A perfect example is with water.
In the above sample, the shot on the left does not have an ND filter. This results in a high shutter speed, which freezes the fountain and even the ripples in the pond. The shot on the right however, we added the SLR Magic Variable ND Filter at the maximum setting. You can see now that the water from the fountain looks like it's flowing and the ripples in the pond are much smoother. You can use strong ND filters in landscape situations to create very interesting effects.
That wraps up our intro to neutral density filters. If you're ready to start exploring the power of ND filters, you can find them available for rent on our Filters Section.