Sandisk Extreme and Extreme Pro Memory Cards

This week it's a review of the Sandisk Extreme and Extreme Pro series of Compact Flash and SD memory cards!

Today we're looking at an accessory that nobody can function without: memory cards.  If you've ever had one fail on you at a critical time, you can attest to just how much we all rely on them.  For many of us (thankfully) this has never been an issue, but those of us who have will gladly tell you to cover your butt and invest wisely.  So how do SanDisk's professional lines hold up?


Single Sentence Summary

I will not use anything else: I have seen the light, and that light is SanDisk.

Why I Bought It

Why does anyone buy a memory card?  I needed to record images onto a card that offered high capacity and fast transfer rates.  Though they were admittedly a bit more expensive than I preferred, the customer service reps at my local camera store recommended SanDisk, and I didn't know anything about the matter, so I trusted their advice.  I was well rewarded.

What I Like

Let's start off with the single reason I praise these cards above all else: I still own every one I've ever bought, and none of them has ever failed or corrupted on me.  That's huge.  I bought my first SanDisk card, a 32 GB Compact Flash card, in 2009, and I've shot thousands upon thousands of photos on it, probably hundreds of thousands to be honest, and it's NEVER ONCE FAILED. A number of my present cards have even been hit and considerably dented and they still function just the way they did the day I bought them, it's kinda ridiculous.  I think the fact that I've never once needed to reach out to their customer service is a good thing.

On the flip side, I know what you're thinking: He bought SanDisk, and he's never bought another brand, how could he possibly know they're better than others?  Well, I serve as a military photographer in the Canadian Armed Forces, where I'm called upon routinely to travel to some of the most adverse areas in the world with whatever brand memory cards they give me.  To that end I've worked with Lexar cards - which failed me in -60 degree conditions up near Hudson's Bay.  You know who didn't?  SanDisk.  I've used Kingston cards - which failed me in the Gobi desert, and again, SanDisk came through.  I don't even want to touch Acumem cards - which have failed me in every possible situation, including one time a brand new one freshly out of the package.  In each situation it was my common sense that pushed me to bring my own personal cards as backups that covered my butt.  The only exception being the Gobi desert as it was a Micro SD card, and I didn't own any of those at the time, so I spent every free hour for the next three days trying to track down a SanDisk Micro SD in the black market sections of Ulaanbaatar;  Expensive?  Yes.  Worth it?  Absolutely, and I doubt I'll have reason to replace any of them any time soon. 

The transfer rates!  Man, I remember with that first card being blown away with 30MB/s, but now my latest ones are pushing 160MB/s!  And the price came down a TON.  They're consistently fast, even when I'm putting through 12 FPS racking up the buffer in my D4s to the max, and I've never had issues with the picture.  With my work I'm routinely using failing cards like Acumems, and the EyeFi Mobi that fail to keep the pace as a simple SD card, even when they're not transmitting.  SanDisk though?  Never an issue, every image has been written without a problem.

What I Don't

I want to say cost, but given the longevity of these cards I really can't.  Yes, they're expensive.  But back when I bought my first one it was almost $400, which shows how much they've come down in price in the past 8 years. 

Other than that, what can there possibly be?  Realistically there are only a few things to measure when it comes to cards, consistency, longevity, transfer rates, and price point.  They really don't have many other features, and these cards nail all of them except price, but that seems to level out when you account for their reliability.

Bottom Line

I'm not naive, I know that ultimately it's just a matter of time until one of these cards fails.  All memory cards are a guessing game.  But I don't think I'll regret the decision, as I've definitely put them through their paces and I got my money's worth (and then some).  Ultimately all memory cards are a guessing game, and I'm not certainly not guaranteeing that your experience will be the same as mine.  These cards seem to be built the way old cars used to be made, they'd last forever. 



I'm not gonna lie, I get that it sounds like a SanDisk puff piece.  I'm not sponsored by anyone.  I take no kick-backs, I have no paid advertisements, and I offer no links that give me any form of profit.  I've just honestly had an amazing run with SanDisk, and I'm a big fan.