As digital photographers know, Flash memory is just something you can never have too much of.  There’s simply no such thing.  Prices have dropped precipitously over the past few years, and as a result, the team here at IONS have amassed quite the collection of CompactFlash cards, with cards ranging from a lowly 16 MB to our workhorse 32 GB cards. Most, save for the 32-GB cards, sit in the office, unused when we travel or shoot.  Our workflow was originally centered around bringing our laptops on every trip, just to offload images or video.  These days, however, we’ve begun using iPods or Apple’s photo adapter to do what our Laptops used to.  Still, this is less than ideal, since that tends to kill the battery on our iPods and Cameras.  To hell with excess baggage, we say!  It’s all changed with the Seagate 8-GB CompactFlash Photo Hard Drive.

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The Review:

As of this writing, Seagate currently holds the crown for high-capacity CompactFlash cards.

And at just over $200 USD, the 8-GB model cost half of what a standard 4-GB CF might go for.  We’ve spent many a project looking at the number “394” on our screen every time we had to format a 1GB CF card, so its was really cool to pop in the Seagate 8-GB CF Photo Hard Drive and see the number “3,098” pop up instead.  Take some time to let that sink in: that’s three thousand 5-megapixel images on a single memory card.  The image counter on our older 8.2 megapixel Canon EOS 20D maxes out at ‘999’, but if you do the math, we’re looking at 2,300 shots before I begin to run out of space.

Seeing as the Seagate 8-GB CF is a hard drive, not flash memory, the drive is in fact slower when saving and transferring images around.  Compared to our workhorse SanDisk 1-GB flash cards, there was a noticeable lag in saving time after the images were shot, and copying the images to our PowerMac G5 (yes, we have one) using a standard USB 2.0 card reader took a few seconds longer – neither of theses are deal-breakers.  Since it’s really up to the CF slot in your camera to power the little spinning hard drive (flash drive, by comparison, has no moving parts), your battery will drain a little bit faster: to be honest, no one noticed a difference during testing.

The Verdict:

Seriously.  Over 3000 5-megapixel images on one card, for $200.  I’m in love.  Make sure your camera has a CF Type II slot and will support FAT32 partitions.  Check out Seagate’s camera compatibility chart here

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