The Nikon D7000 is the first DSLR to take advantage of the new UHS-I SD card specification. Unfortunately though, it doesn’t appear to take full advantage of that speed potential. The Nikon D7000’s buffer seems to cap at 10 frames during continuous high speed shooting no matter which SD card is inserted.
I got my hands on the latest SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC cards, which are due out in March, to see just how well they worked in this first-generation UHS-I camera.
While the difference between the SanDisk Extreme and Extreme Pro SD cards is marginal in the D7000, there is still an obvious difference. After capturing the full complement of 10 frames at the D7000’s max frame rate of 6fps, the D7000 delivered the following results with each of the cards.
- SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I: Buffer clears in approx. 7 seconds. If additional images are captured after buffer fills, capture rate is approx. 1.9fps.
- SanDisk Extreme (non-UHS-I): Buffer clears in approx. 11 seconds. If additional images are captured after buffer fills, capture rate is approx. 1.7fps.
In short, even though the Nikon D7000 is compatible with the SD Association’s UHS-I specifications, it does not appear to take full advantage of what SanDisk is delivering in the Extreme Pro UHS-I SD card. However, both the SanDisk Extreme and Extreme Pro are significantly faster than the SanDisk Ultra II SD cards, which take around 15 seconds to clear the full buffer of 10 images and cannot continue to capture images at a consistent rate after the buffer fills (perhaps, 1 frame every 1-2 seconds).
If you need to keep shooting frame after frame with the D7000, I would recommend either the SanDisk Extreme or Extreme Pro SD cards for the D7000. I would not recommend going with a slower card due to the extended time that it takes for the D7000’s buffer to clear and inconsistent frame capture after the buffer fills up.
If you want to know more about SD card types and speed ratings, check out my reference article, Demystifying SD Cards.
I’ll have more on the D7000 soon. Stay tuned.
Mark Chodzko says
Just used the Nikon D7000 for a large corporate shoot at the Disneyland Hotel for three days. I shot portraits as well as candids of speakers and awards banquet for 300 people. I was blown away by this cameras performance under extremely difficult stage and low light situations. I shot the same event last year using a Nikon D300s and the D7000 images are superior.
Mine works a lot better than a class 6 card in my D7000. Buffer doesnt even go below 14 frames when shooting 6fps in fine jpg. Buffer never ever filled up.
With my class 6 card, the camera buffer just fills up and 6fps becomes 1fps.
Maybe you got a bad batch of card?
I believe he was shooting RAW. That makes a lot of difference.
Maybe try other brands of cards like Transcend or LexarPro. They’re class 10 cards really are cheap(LexarPro class 10-8Gig 28$). And by the way all SD class 10 seems to be theorically slower than what I used for my D300(Sandisk Extreme III)
Eric Reagan says
Class ratings, such as Class 10, has to do with the minimum write speed and is more relevant for video requirements. The Extreme Pro UHS-I cards have a high enough data rate, to accommodate faster write speeds than the D7000 is capable of delivering. Nonetheless, it is a great camera.
I believe you are correct that the D300s will deliver faster burst rates in RAW for longer bursts (if you choose 12-bit), but not 14-bit where it slows the fps rate.
Hi Eric, I recently bought a D7000 and I was looking for a memory card and I came down to the sandisk extreme and pro version. This is how I came across your informative article. Currently on Amazon, the pro version is 10$ cheaper than the extreme but people are still opting for the extreme III over the pro version. I guess one reason is that the extreme version is very reliable like most sandisk cards and has a perfect satisfactory rating due to which customers are reluctant to try the extreme pro (Since they perform quite identically as well). Hence, would you still suggest the pro over the extreme for a user with a D7000?
Eric Reagan says
The Extreme Pro is faster than the Extreme verision, albeit slightly. So if the price is close between the two, I would opt for the Extreme Pro version.
Great review! Just wanted to let everyone know that I just picked up a 16 GB Extreme Pro from Adorama for $69 and an 8 GB for $36… much less than found on Amazon and supporting a great photo store! Also cheaper than the lowest 16/8 combo I could find on Amazon of the Extreme Class 10’s. :)
Helen Oster says
Thanks for the recommendation for Adorama, Pete! Very much appreciated.
BTW I’m only ever an email away if you need advice or after-sales support with any order from Adorama Camera: HelenO@adorama.com
Helen Oster ?
Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador
If Nikon had put a bigger buffer in the camera in the first place, you wouldn’t need a fast SD card.