SanDisk Pro-Cinema CF Express: Investment Worthy? We Review.

I don’t hold back words for gear that has fancy specs but is not built to be a workhorse for high-volume photographers shooting under various conditions. With all the impressive technology attached to the SanDisk Pro-Cinema CF Express card, I set out to see if it was not only as fast and high-powered as it touts but also if it was built with the durability that I expect when I’m investing in gear.

I took this card for a test run over a few weeks and brought it everywhere my shoots were scheduled. It came on my commercial haircare shoot (in which I shot inside a shower with water splashing everywhere), in the studio working with off camera light and bursts for “splash” shots, and more.

I also plan on bringing it in a few weeks for my 3-day sports shoot in the scorching desert of Abu-Dhabi to see how it withstands sun and heat. I like fancy specs, but I also like when gear can withstand humidity, water, heat, cold, and everything else that is part of my life as a commercial photographer.

As you can gather by the card’s title, this card had videographers on their mind when it was designed. With flawless 8k video capture and minimum sustained 1,400 MB/s write speeds, it’s designed to be a workhorse on long professional filming sets. Setting all the impressive specs aside that appeal to videographers, let me tell you what I liked about it as a photographer.

Blazing Fast Burst and Write Speeds

On sports shoots, a card’s burst and write speeds make or break your ability to “get the shot.” Just as runners lunge forward at the finish line to gain that extra half-second which makes or breaks their race, a card’s writing speed can make or break your hero shot. The difference between getting 3 or 12 full-resolution raw shots as an athlete crosses the finish line is invaluable. This card delivers burst speeds of up to 1,500 MB/s and write speeds of 1,700 MB/s. (Mic drop.)

If you need a card you can rely on to keep up with the animals running through your wildlife photography, the birds lifting off the water’s surface, or a boxer delivering the title-winning uppercut, this card’s speed is one you can rely on to get the job done.

Accelerated Offload Speeds

If you’re in the business of caring about burst rates, you’re also acutely aware of offload speeds. I don’t like the concept of “spray and pray” photography, but many types of photography lead to hundreds, and sometimes thousands of shots a day, especially when movement is involved. After a long day of work, the last thing photographers want to do is impatiently walk by their computer to see slow download progress during late-night offloading. This card was designed with “super-accelerated offload speeds.”


Gear being able to take the hard conditions that photographers sometimes find themselves in is a non-negotiable for me. There are some highly advertised pieces of gear I’ve purchased over the years that can’t take being splashed, dropped, withstanding extreme temperatures, etc. The truth is these conditions are normative for some photographers. Our gear should be designed to work in the conditions we work in. Many of our readers spend long days on landscape shoots, weathering rain, frost, heat, and humidity. When you photograph regularly, you inevitably drop gear, leave it in the sun, get stuck in a rainstorm, and many other scenarios that require durability. Our gear must be able to withstand the conditions we face as photographers. I’m pleased to report that this card was designed with those conditions in mind. The rugged design can withstand up to 1-meter drops and up to 50 Newtons (11.2 pounds).

In order to see if it met my standards of durability, I came up with a risky experiment. I was strongly apprehensive about running it. In fact, I was so apprehensive that I made an Instagram poll and most people voted not to run the test at the risk of frying a $300 card. But for you, my beloved readers, I conducted the test anyway. After all, if I’m going to recommend that you purchase this card, I want to know that it will survive the life of a working photographer. Against my photographer instinct, I brought the card into my studio and set it up for a splash session.

I wanted to test if it could survive getting a little wet. By “a little wet”, I didn’t quite get the shot I was looking for off the bat, so I ended up dousing the card approximately 10 times, instead of my planned one or two times. I conducted the test live from my studio, wiped it off, and apprehensively brought it off to my computer. To my shock, all the files survived the dousing. Since water damage sometimes reveals itself over time, I have continued to check the card in the days since, and I’m happy to report it’s working as it was when I first took it out of the box. I do not recommend duplicating this test at home. But I’m happy to report that the card was designed, as advertised, with durability in mind.

Who Is This Card for?

The Pro-Cinema SanDisk Pro, as its title reveals, is designed with videographers in mind. Videography requires more memory and speed than photography does. The question then becomes, is this card necessary for photographers or is it overkill? It depends on your values. Should people only buy a Toyota because they drive on roads that wouldn’t utilize the full capability of a Maserati? Of course not. For myself, I don’t mind spending a little bit more on a piece that I can rely on. I would prefer to spend $300, never miss a shot, and know my gear is durable than to spend $200 and get by with a lower quality. The fact that it is backed by a lifetime limited warranty is an added incentive to invest in a card that will always deliver. This card is also perfect for the hybrid photographer-videographer. Another usage that would be perfect for this card is as a backup card on sports shoots. Volume sport who shoot events with hundreds or thousands of people like a marathon photographer for example, are often required to shoot “small JPEG”. Some of them shoot RAW on a backup card in case they capture an image they want to use for their portfolio. The size of the 640 GB ($699) or the 320 GB ($319) are ideal for this purpose.

Closing Thoughts

As I mentioned in my introduction, I get really irked by delicate gear. I recently wrote an article that landed me on 3 conference calls with one of the biggest camera brands in the industry. The truth is though, I need gear that I can count on. Period. From my experience over the last few weeks, this card not only has all the most advanced technology, but it seems truly to be built with durability in mind.

Pull over Toyotas, this is one Maserati I’m buying.


News7g: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button