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Thread: Best SD card for Monochrom to avoid banding

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    Best SD card for Monochrom to avoid banding

    When I expose a wide brightness range scene (textured whites and deep shadows in midday sun) as far to the right as possible before the brightest tones clip (based on the RAW histogram), I see no banding. When I progressively underexpose the same scene, at some point I begin to see banding in low to middle tones sufficient to make the exposure unusable.

    With a SONY HDSC I 94MB/s card, that point is two stops down. With a SanDisk SDHC I 95MB/s card, that point is three stops down. This is a result that surprises me and I can't explain it, but I can easily reproduce it. Based on this observation I won’t be using SONY cards, but I wonder if other cards might do even better. Leica says little on the subject: “Storage media: SD cards up to 2 GB, SDHC cards up to 32 GB.”

    Does anyone know, based on actual experience, which cards are best in this respect?

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    Re: Best SD card for Monochrom to avoid banding

    It's not easy to find electrical data sheets for SD cards, so some of this is conjecture: but I'm thinking ; the faster the card the more current they draw when writing and possibly also other actions, such as wake up from suspend.
    Older slower cards are likely to put less sharp current spikes on the battery supply / DC-DC / regulator circuits.

    There have undoubtably, over the years, been technology breaks where die shrinks reduces notional current consumption; but if accompanied by faster clocking and/or parallel writing to multiple banks of flash, the current peaks may still increase.

    Even though the M9/MM etc. have lowish data transfer rates to the card; internally the cards buffer this, then quickly writes page blocks of data governed by own internal clock speed.

    I find the sweet spot, for minimal banding vs. card speed, to be with the Panasonic Gold 8GB 25MB/s SDHC cards. The 16GB cards I find not so good.

    The bad news is that the prime manufacturers are tending to discontinue the smaller <16GB cards in favor of larger capacity faster cards.

    IMHO it's time to stock up on known good cards that work best with Leica's old hardware.
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    Re: Best SD card for Monochrom to avoid banding

    I haven't tried other cards in my MM but FWIW I use a 32gb Fuji SDHC card and after using all ISO ranges and underexposing a few from time to time I haven't seen any banding at all, even from the deepest darkest corners of interiors.

    I can't really remember getting much, if any, banding with my M9 either (although I didn't use it at the high ISO's I use with my MM) and against all wisdom used SanDisk Extreme cards without any of the SanDisk related problems being reported by a lot of other people. Again FWIW I strictly re-format any card after uploading the days pictures and don't delete any on the card, just so I'm not giving it any small excuse to play up.

    Steve
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    Re: Best SD card for Monochrom to avoid banding

    I'm using 8gb Sandisk ultra cards and no banding at all unless I pull files 3-4 stops and go snooping in areas where there was basically pitch darkness.

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    Re: Best SD card for Monochrom to avoid banding

    I've been using SanDisk Extremes, no issues.

    This issue only shows up in "C" (Continuous) shooting typically.
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    Re: Best SD card for Monochrom to avoid banding

    Hi Brad I've been using SanDisk Extremes, no issues..
    Best SD card for Monochrom to avoid banding Just Sandra.. World of Games
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    Re: Best SD card for Monochrom to avoid banding

    Quote Originally Posted by FrozenInTime View Post
    It's not easy to find electrical data sheets for SD cards, so some of this is conjecture: but I'm thinking ; the faster the card the more current they draw when writing and possibly also other actions, such as wake up from suspend.
    Older slower cards are likely to put less sharp current spikes on the battery supply / DC-DC / regulator circuits.

    There have undoubtably, over the years, been technology breaks where die shrinks reduces notional current consumption; but if accompanied by faster clocking and/or parallel writing to multiple banks of flash, the current peaks may still increase.

    Even though the M9/MM etc. have lowish data transfer rates to the card; internally the cards buffer this, then quickly writes page blocks of data governed by own internal clock speed.

    I find the sweet spot, for minimal banding vs. card speed, to be with the Panasonic Gold 8GB 25MB/s SDHC cards. The 16GB cards I find not so good.

    The bad news is that the prime manufacturers are tending to discontinue the smaller <16GB cards in favor of larger capacity faster cards.

    IMHO it's time to stock up on known good cards that work best with Leica's old hardware.
    It appears we're already in a limited supply situation for that card. B&H, my primary supplier, shows the Panasonic cards 8GB Gold 90/25 SDHC as discontinued. Adorama has at least a few (~$20).

    Do I correctly infer from your response that slower and smaller cards are less likely to show this type of banding? Are the Panasonics especially good in this respect compared to other cards with similar specs? Based on actual testing, can you suggest other promising cards?

    Thanks.

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    Re: Best SD card for Monochrom to avoid banding

    Another data point. I spoke with Mark Brady at Leica, USA. He said that smaller and slower cards have fewer issues with the M9/MM. In particular, 8G is better than 16G or 32G and write speed should be 30MB/s or less.

    But when I tested an 8G SanDisk Extreme HDHC 20MB/s, I found that it was worse than the SONY 94MB/s card, with visible banding at 1 1/2 stops underexposure. So the story is apparently complicated.

    To recap, for the three cards I've tested so far:

    16G SanDisk SDHC I 95MB/s: banding at 3 stops underexposure
    16G SONY HDSC I 94MB/s: banding at 2 stops underexposure
    8G SanDisk HDSC 20MB/s: banding at 1 1/2 underexposure

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    Re: Best SD card for Monochrom to avoid banding

    I've had no issues with my Leica M-E with either the 8gb or 16gb Lexar Professional SDHC 133x Class 10 Flash Memory Cards.

    Lexar 8gb

    Lexar 16gb
    Duane Pandorf
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    Re: Best SD card for Monochrom to avoid banding

    Another Lexar card user here. No problems.

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    Re: Best SD card for Monochrom to avoid banding

    Quote Originally Posted by Brad Dow View Post
    Another data point. I spoke with Mark Brady at Leica, USA. He said that smaller and slower cards have fewer issues with the M9/MM. In particular, 8G is better than 16G or 32G and write speed should be 30MB/s or less.

    But when I tested an 8G SanDisk Extreme HDHC 20MB/s, I found that it was worse than the SONY 94MB/s card, with visible banding at 1 1/2 stops underexposure. So the story is apparently complicated.

    To recap, for the three cards I've tested so far:

    16G SanDisk SDHC I 95MB/s: banding at 3 stops underexposure
    16G SONY HDSC I 94MB/s: banding at 2 stops underexposure
    8G SanDisk HDSC 20MB/s: banding at 1 1/2 underexposure
    I test another card today:
    Lexar SDHC I 16GB 400x: banding at 1 1/2 underexposure

    Disappointing, since others have reported 'no problems' with Lexar cards, which Mark Brady of Leica USA recommend.

    Please note that I'm looking at a specific behavior: low-tone banding with progressive underexposure of sunlight subjects with wide brightness range. I'm not assessing generalized behavior, for example false 'out of space' errors, or low light banding.

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    Re: Best SD card for Monochrom to avoid banding

    I get best results with Panasonic Gold 16 Gb. Not cheap, but they do a data integrity check which helps prevent banding.
    JAAP
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    Re: Best SD card for Monochrom to avoid banding


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    Re: Best SD card for Monochrom to avoid banding

    Quote Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
    I get best results with Panasonic Gold 16 Gb. Not cheap, but they do a data integrity check which helps prevent banding.
    Banding is an analog thing; Data integrity digital : the two things are not related.

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