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
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.
Obviously, 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
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.