How to Improve Your Canon SLR Performance

What does this mean? Isn’t a camera just a camera?  Is there anything that can be done to make it work better?  Well, it depends.  If it is  real crappy camera, then “no.”  But it you have a halfway decent DSLR, then “Yes.”  Whenever you take a picture, your camera image sensor gets hit by a bunch of photons, the photons get converted to electrons, which get converted to 0’s and 1’s in the camera’s RAM disk, or buffer.  Then, the camera takes the data in the buffer, converts it into an image format, and then loads it onto the camera’s memory card. Or something like that, anyway. the Digic processors may convert it to an image before dumping it in the buffer, or maybe it goes into the buffer, or some sort of L2 cache, and juggles things around…anyway….

Here’s the problem: Images can, typically, load from the sensor to the buffer faster than they can load from the buffer to the flash memory.  Now, you can’t do anything about the sensor-to-buffer speed, but you can do something about the buffer-to-memory speed:  buy  a better card.

I’ve been shooting digital for a long time, and used to swear by the SANdisk cards.  Then, one day, I picked up a Hoodman RAW CF card.  I don’t even remember where I was.  But, it was a great card.  I could shoot more photos, faster, and recover more quickly then ever before from long bursts. SO, i bought a couple of Hoodman STEEL 1000X compact flash (CF) for my Canon 1DX. ANd then I made this stupid video.

I don’t show it in this video, but in large JPG, I can pretty much shoot continuously.  I don’t recommend doing that – it is possible to overheat the camera (So I’ve read).  It’s a good idea to not do the mean things to your camera that you see me doing to mine 🙂  At any rate, higher X numbers mean BETTER performance.  Never buy CF from the brick and mortar retailers- they simply DO NOT carry the good cards – they just don’t (I went all over the place one day, looking!).  It’s not even close.  You’ll pay twice as much for half the card that you’ll get for the price of ONE Hoodman 16 GB 1000X .

I actually found cards out there, for sale on websites, for $200 that are note even half as good as the Hoodman cards.  Anyway, this is not a paid endorsement, I speak my mind.  I have a 675X RAW from hoodman that I have had for a few months, and its been great, so I thought I would post a video about Camera flash memory card performance, to help people understand where the bottlenecks are. One final note – in this video, when I first shoot about 50 images using the crappy card, the camera was shooting in JPG, not raw.  The card still sucks – but the 1DX buffer is so huge it just takes 50 shots before you notice.  Once the buffer is full, you wait. And wait.  And wait!

Take a look.  I apologize for all the annoying interruptions.  I hope you can tolerate sitting through this video….