Kingston's latest SD has an incredible 512GB storage capacity, but just how much can you squeeze onto it, and how fast is it? Richard Sibley finds out

Product Overview

Pros:

  • Huge amount of storage space

Cons:

  • Can struggle to save some higher bit-rate video footage

Product:

Kingston 512GB Ultimate SDXC Memory Card Review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£200.00

When the Kingston 512GB Ultimate SDXC UI memory card arrived on my desk, the first thing I wanted to know was exactly how much video I could fit on the card. Of course, there was only one way to find out, so I promptly put the card into a Sony Alpha 7R, set the camera to record 1080p video at 25fps and the remaining footage number on screen declared that I could now shoot for 49 hours and 11min. This was certainly enough time to get the first 5 series of my 8-part sitcom off the ground.

Kingston 512GB Ultimate SD cardObviously, I didn’t test the actual record time (I suspect it would actually be a little more), because I don’t have a mains power supply and I think the sensor and processor would overheat long before two and a bit days had passed.

I tested the Kingston 512GB card formatted with exFAT and using Blackmagic Disk Speed Test on a Macbook Pro (Mid 2015 – 2.8GHZ Intel Core i7, 16Gb RAM). The card achieved speeds ranging from 9.9-20.5MB/s (80-164Mbps), which is quite a bit less than the maximum 45MB/s that the card is quoted as being capable of.

As for still images, well, we put one in a Canon EOS 5D III and the counter said we could take 9999 raw images, so even for the latest generation of high-resolution cameras the Kingston 512MB card will be fine.

I recorded numerous bits of short video (1080 25fps) with the Sony A7R and had no problems with dropped frames. This was to be expected with the card being UHS-1 U1.

However, to see what it could really do I put it in a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema. Once again I was recording at 1920 x 1080 25fps

Raw: Dropped frame warning around 1min 47secs

ProRes HQ: Dropped frame warning around 1min 58 secs

Pro Res 442: Dropped frame warning around 8 – 10 secs

Pro Res LT: Dropped frame warning around 2mins 45secs

Pro Res Proxy: Over 25mins with no dropped frames

Verdict:

If you want a card to take absolutely thousands of images, or if you are planning to mix stills and video, then the Kingston 512GB Ultimate is a great option.

If you are planning to just shoot video, then it should comfortably cope with 1080p at 25fps with no dropped frames, with most cameras that use 8-bit compression. However, if you want to shoot with a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema camera, or perhaps shoot some 4K footage in another camera, the Kingston 512GB may quickly fill the camera’s buffer and start causing dropped frames.