The EOS R5 – The Best Canon Camera To Date – Period (Podcast 714)

The EOS R5 – The Best Canon Camera To Date – Period (Podcast 714)


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It’s Here! On August 6, a week after the initial release, I picked up my new Canon EOS R5! As usual, I have watched with a smile as most of the online photography community has bashed this camera and looked for reasons not to buy it. The video overheating issues we’re hearing about is the most common and seems to have somehow been extrapolated out to give people what they feel to be a valid reason to spout negativity about a camera that hardly any of them have even held.

Well, it gives me great pleasure to tell you that this is without a shadow of a doubt, simply the best camera that Canon has ever made, in all respects, including video. If you need an 8K video camera, buy an 8K video camera, but if you need a stills camera that does everything it was designed for, including up to 20 frames per second stills photography at 45 megapixels, you can’t go wrong with the EOS R5. The 8K video features are awesome, as is the ability to shoot full-frame 4K video at up to 120 frames per second! But these are, in my opinion, bonus features, and should be treated as such.

If Canon intended the R5 to be a video camera, they would have added fans and vents to keep the sensor and memory card cool, but guess what? Adding vents on a stills camera compromises the weatherproofing, and personally I prefer to own a camera that I can use in bad weather rather than a camera that allows me to shoot unlimited length 8K video. I’m excited about the 8K video and high frame-rate 4K video, but as I said, this is a bonus and I’ll use it as it allows.

Main Points

I’m not going to list all of the features of the Canon EOS R5, mostly because you can get a full rundown of this amazing camera on Canon’s websites worldwide, but I do want to quickly mention the main points and the reasons why I ordered this camera as soon as it was possible to do so. To me, the two most exciting features of the EOS R5 are the fast frame rate and high-resolution images. These two things never used to come together. For the first two decades of mainstream digital photography, we could have one or the other. Fast frame-rate and lower resolutions, or higher resolution and low frame rate.

The Canon EOS R5 Body
The Canon EOS R5 Body

When I saw the specs for the EOS R5 I knew that Canon must have moved to a new card format, but I admit that I did not have my antenna out to catch information on the CFexpress standard until I saw the specs for the R5. It was not much of a surprise for me to learn that ProGrade Digital, the memory card manufacturer that I have been using exclusively for the last few years, was on the bleeding edge of this new technology. In the spirit of full disclosure I would like to mention that although I bought my first 512GB ProGrade Digital CFexpress card and their Thunderbolt 3 card reader, they were kind enough to send me the other cards that I have tested and reported on in the previous post and will also be using for the tests that I report on in this review as well.

Back to my point though, it is completely awesome that the Canon EOS R5 has delivered both high frame rate shooting with high-resolution 45 megapixel images. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but as my test results have showed, it absolutely is, and I’m completely excited about this.

The other thing that I knew would happen, is the improved refresh rate and clarity of the electronic viewfinder. I really enjoyed shooting with the EOS R bodies over the past two years, but it was without doubt a stepping stone camera, and using it to shoot wildlife worked, but it required patience to work with the viewfinder for fast paced shooting, and on occasion would cost me a shot or two as the camera simply wouldn’t be able to keep up with the pace of shooting and my often very quickly moving subjects.

I can’t share footage of this, but I have had my wife dart around our apartment and disappear behind sofa and doors, and I am completely confident that the improvements that Canon has made to both the viewfinder and the autofocus system are worlds ahead of what we have in the EOS R, and I knew that would be the case.

I have also been highly impressed with the ability of the new autofocus system to track with the eye of not only humans but with animals now. I found that the EOS R worked well with monkeys because they are similar to us, but the EOS R5 now supports tracking of a number of animals, including dogs, cats, and birds, so I’m looking forward to getting out in the field more with the R5 and really putting these new features to the test.

Last, but not least, I was somewhat excited by the addition of In-Body Image Stabilization, and have been blown away to find that this works incredibly well with my RF 50mm f/1.2 L lens, despite it not having IS built into the lens itself, and I’ll touch on this more in my review as well.

Note that when I moved to mirrorless with Canon I made a decision to no longer buy the battery grips for my cameras. I sometimes miss not having the vertical grip, and I have found that with the R5 the batteries do run out relatively quickly, probably due to the in-body image stabilization and perhaps also the extra power needed to run the CFexpress cards. I’ve not checked on this, but the CFexpress cards are generating heat, and that has to come from somewhere, so I assume they are using more power. I’ll correct myself later if I’m wrong on this. I decided keep my cameras lower profile from now on though, and initially wondered if this might prevent the camera from reaching the maximum frame rate, but that was not the case, as I’ll share with you shortly.

Articulated LCD - Yes!
Articulated LCD – Yes!

Thinking about it, one other thing to note is that I was at one point concerned that the EOS R5 might not have an articulated LCD, as this somewhat compromises the weatherproofing, and Canon have historically only used an articulated LCD on lower-end cameras, so I was happy to read a while back that the R5 does indeed have an articulated LCD. I have become accustomed to pulling out and using this for low angle shooting, and also for video when I have to see what I’m shooting from the front of the camera, so I didn’t want to lose the functionality in the R5. OK, so with those observations out of the way, let’s jump deeper into this, as I share some of my findings, having actually used the camera.

Problem with Adobe DNG Workaround at High ISOs

The first thing I noticed and wanted to talk about is the workaround that most people are using to process EOS R5 raw files. Most photo editing software, such as Capture One Pro, my personal choice, does not yet natively support R5 raw files, and I initially used the Adobe DNG Converter software to convert my images to DNG files and they can then be imported into Capture One Pro. However, when I compared the results of my ISO performance test, pitching the R5 against the EOS R, it became obvious that as the ISO increases, the DNG converted files are not being processed correctly in Capture One Pro.

High ISO Color Degradation of Converted DNG files in Capture One Pro
High ISO Color Degradation of Converted DNG files in Capture One Pro

Here is a screenshot of Capture One with a converted DNG file starting at ISO 100 and working up to ISO 102400, which is the second to last image. The final image in the bottom right corner though is the same ISO 102400 image processed in Canon’s Digital Photo Professional, and Adobe Bridge and Photoshop display the image with the correct colors too. So, if you use Capture One Pro and high ISOs, be aware that you may not be getting accurate color until Phase One releases an update with official support for the Canon EOS R5.

Image Quality / Resolution

So, as I work on this review, there are a number of things that are really important to me. The first two being image quality and ISO performance, and then I’m going to test the frame rate, as this camera is opening up some very interesting doors for wildlife and sports photographers. I will also test the raw image buffer, and see if it’s possible to fill it, and if it is, how long it takes to free up and enable us to continue to shoot. Let’s start with a look at image quality.

Because Capture One Pro does not yet support the EOS R5 images and there is a problem with using converted DNG files with Capture One Pro, I’m faced with a bit of a dilemma. I tried outputting TIFF files from Canon’s Digital Photo Professional, but the image quality is not as good as Capture One Pro, which is, of course, why I use Capture One Pro, but I need to show you an apples to apples comparison. What I’ve decided to do for this test, is to share a high-resolution screenshot of four images displayed simultaneously. The top left image is the EOS R5 raw file converted to DNG, and for this test that’s not a problem because the image has no color to get messed up.

EOS R and EOS R5 Resolution Comparison (RF 50mm Lens @ ƒ8, ISO 100, 4 second exposure)
EOS R and EOS R5 Resolution Comparison (RF 50mm Lens @ ƒ8, ISO 100, 4 second exposure)

The top right image is the raw image from the EOS R as a direct comparison for the top left image. The bottom two images are TIFF files processed in Digital Photo Professional with no processing except the standard raw sharpening, which is the same processing as Capture One Pro. What I then need you to do is to click on the image to open it in the Lightbox, and then click on the cloud icon with the down arrow in the top right of the Lightbox, and that should enable you to download the image to your computer for closer inspection.

What you’ll find is that apart from the EOS R5 image being obviously higher resolution, as in, it is larger than the EOS R image because both are zoomed in to 100%, but apart from that, the image quality as such is pretty much the same. This is to be expected because the EOS R with RF lenses is also incredibly good image quality. I’d also like you to look at the bottom two DPP processed images, and you’ll be able to confirm that they are slightly softer. They aren’t as sharp, and that is why I could not do an apples to apples comparison using these TIFF files. I think you’ll agree though that as far as the resolution is concerned, there is nothing to be concerned about. Both images were shot with the RF 50mm ƒ/1.2L lens at ƒ8, ISO 100.

ISO Performance

My dilemma continues now as I try to show you the ISO Performance Test results. What I’ve decided to do is to share pairs of images from each camera, the EOS R5, and the EOS R. The first image of each pair is a 100% crop from a TIFF file with both sharpening and noise reduction applied in Canon’s Digital Photo Professional software. The second image has only Sharpening applied so that you can get a better idea of the actual amount of grain in the image, as well as seeing how well this can be cleaned up with DPP. Capture One Pro also cleans up the images nicely even with its default settings, but I’d rather not share the images from the DNG converted raw files because of the color issues at high ISOs that I mentioned earlier.

I’m also going to group all of the images by ISO, so as you click through these in the Lightbox, you’ll see four ISO 100 images first, starting with a pair from the EOS R5, with one image having had DPP Processing, and a second with just sharpening, and then the same processing options for another pair of images from the EOS R for comparison. I selected the area of the image that I focussed on to zoom in to 100% on because it shows both detail and the noise levels in the shadow and darker areas of the image. Note too that I am exposing to the right for these shots, with almost two stops of exposure compensation to ensure that the whites are white. This is how I shoot everything, and it does result in less grain, and therefore better ISO Performance, which is the hole point of this test.

I think you’ll probably agree that there is no real visible noise in any of the images up until ISO 6400 with the noise reduction turned off, but in the images that had DPP noise reduction turned on, it doesn’t really start to be visible until ISO 12800, and even that is very usable from both cameras. ISO 25600 without noise reduction starts to look pretty nasty, but again, very respectable when noise reduction is applied. At ISO 51200 both cameras start to show a lot of grain, although could arguably be used at a push, and then from the massive 102400 that is the highest ISO that both cameras will shoot at, it seems that the Canon noise reduction is actually a little too heavy-handed on the R5 images, as we start to lose detail in the flowers, and the EOS R actually looks slightly better. For the final set I’ve also added a Capture One Pro processed version as I think Capture One is slightly kinder on the detail, but keep in mind that the colors are messed up without official support yet for the EOS R5.

The verdict from my ISO Tests is that the ISO performance of the Canon EOS R5 is, pretty much across the board, very similar, even close to identical to the EOS R, but when we consider that the EOS R5 is 45 megapixels compared to the 30 megapixels of the EOS R, keeping the ISO Performance on par with the EOS R is an incredible feat in itself. Based on my tests I always commit to memory a soft and hard ceiling for how high I will take my ISO in the field, and for the EOS R5, as with the EOS R, I’m going to consider going as high as ISO 12800 a no-brainer, and will use ISO 25600 when necessary, and probably also 51200 at a push. I will probably turn off the expandable High ISO of 102400, as I doubt I’ll ever use it, but with a usable 51200, who cares!?

Frame Rate and Raw Buffer Observations

I have also tested the Frame Rate and Raw Buffer so let’s take a look at the results of these tests now. I haven’t had an opportunity to shoot any wildlife yet, so these results are from tests in my studio, but I think you’ll still find this useful. The first observation is that using ProGrade Digital’s Cobalt cards, with the Electronic 1st Curtain shutter, it is not possible to fill the raw buffer. To simulate some fast-paced shooting settings in conditions that I often work in, I increased my ISO to 800 and I used a shutter speed of 1/250 of a second. That could have been faster, but I didn’t have much light and wanted to actually record images rather than black frames so that the camera had some processing to do. When I started to shoot, the raw buffer was displaying as 56, and I mashed down on the shutter button and kept it pressed down for around 200 frames, and with no sign of it slowing down, I released my finger, and the raw buffer still said 56, so the camera was emptying its buffer to the card as quickly as I could shoot them, and that is very impressive.

9 FPS at ISO 800 Electronic 1st Curtain

I counted the number of images that I was able to shoot each second, and for the first burst, shot with Electronic 1st-curtain shutter, I was seeing a constant switching back and forth between 8 and 9 frames, for a fraction over 20 seconds and ended up with a total of 181 images, so my frame rate at ISO 800 was slightly under 9 frames per second, and that is very nice. Just under what Canon claims but with the ISO increased that’s to be expected.

Constant 20 fps with Electronic Shutter!

I then switched to the Electronic shutter and found that even at ISO 800, I was able to get 20 frames per second for the first five seconds. The camera didn’t skip a beat, giving me more than 100 frames at 20 fps, and then I did hit the full buffer from around frame 113, giving me just 13 frames for sixth consecutive second in a burst. That then dropped to 7 frames for my seventh second, then just one frame during my eighth second, and then back up to six frames for my ninth second.

Basically, the 20 fps is available for bursts of up to 5 to 6 seconds, or just over 100 frames, and that is amazing! What’s more, with the CFexpress card, if you give the camera just a second or two, it writes the frames in the buffer to the card, and you are ready to shoot again. I haven’t tested this with wildlife yet, and I do not yet know if there will be any problems caused by the rolling shutter, but I imagine with some fast-moving subjects there will be some tracing of movement during the exposure, so we may have to drop to the Electronic 1st-Curtain shutter anyway. I will still give this a try when possible, and report back on my findings.

Honestly though, if I can get around 8 to 9 frames per second with Electronic 1st-Curtain, that is plenty for me to nail my wildlife shots. I’ve been nailing shots based on good timing and technique with as little as 2 to 3 frames per second for the last five years or so, so anything above that is a bonus for me anyway.

Mechanical Shutter Frame Rate

Finally, I tested the Mechanical Shutter Frame Rate, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that it is pretty much identical to the Electronic 1st-Curtain frame rate, giving me 9 frames per second for 4 out of 5 seconds, and dropping to 8 once every five seconds, so we’re talking an average frame rate of 8.8 frames per second. Again, for a mechanical shutter, that is incredible, especially when we consider that the images are 45 megapixels!

ProGrade Digital Gold CFexpress Cards

All of the previous frame rate and buffer tests were performed with the ProGrade Digital 325GB Cobalt CFexpress card, so I ran the same tests with their 512GB and 1TB Gold cards as well, as these are less expensive, but come with slower write speeds, as I mentioned in my recent review. I’m really pleased to report though, that with the Mechanical Shutter, the frame rate was the same as the Cobalt cards, coming in at 9 frames per second for four out of five seconds, and drops to 8 frames for one second out of five, so we’re still looking at an average frame rate of 8.8 frames per second.

ProGrade Digital CFExpress Type B Memory Cards and Workflow Readers
ProGrade Digital CFExpress Type B Memory Cards and Workflow Readers

The buffer did not fill while using the Mechanical shutter, and after shooting a burst of around 80 images, I took my finger off the shutter button and the buffer showed that it was around five frames down from 66, which is my buffer at ISO 100, as I had a little more light for these tests. My shutter speed was still at 1/250 of a second as with my earlier tests. With the Electronic 1st-Curtain shutter, I actually got more seconds at 9 frames per second, and once again, the buffer was just a few frames down after a burst, and replenished almost instantly.

With the Electronic shutter, I continued to get straight 20 frames per second for the full 66 frames of my buffer, but when the buffer filled, the camera pretty much locked up and it took around 12 seconds for the camera to write the full buffer of images to the Gold card, compared to just a few seconds with the Cobalt card. When you consider that this was following a burst of 66 images at 20 frames per second though, in practical terms I really don’t think this is a big deal.

It basically means that both the ProGrade Digital Cobalt and Gold cards work incredibly well with the Canon EOS R5. I will use the Cobalt cards for critical frame rate fast-paced wildlife work, but the Gold cards are a chunk of change less than the Cobalt cards, and with these results, I’d say that they are a very good alternative, giving excellent results if you are watching your pennies.

ProGrade Digital Cobalt SDXC Test

Note too that I also tested shooting stills with the ProGrade Digital Cobalt SDXC card, and got 83 frames in a single burst, and once the buffer filled, it took just six seconds to write the images to the card and the camera was ready to shoot again with an empty buffer. That means it took half the time to empty the buffer than the CFexpress Gold card, so if you don’t need to shoot 8K video or high frame-rate 4K video, and you want to save even more pennies, then a Cobalt SDXC card is a viable alternative, even compared to a Gold CFexpress card!

This is also good to know if you already have a fast SDXC card, and makes using the SDXC slot a valid option for switching cards, and even as the first choice to store your images to, say for example, if you want to store just your videos on the CFexpress card, and automatically write your stills to the SDXC Card. Under the Record func+card/folder select option on SET UP1 screen in the R5’s menu, you can tell the camera to record stills and video to separate cards, or have either stills or video automatically switch cards when one is full. You can also save raw format video on the CFexpress card MP4 compressed video to the SDXC card. I’ve had video cut-out due to a full card on the EOS R because it only had one slot, so I will be leaving a Cobalt SDXC card in the second slot and allowing at least video to spill over to the second card when necessary, assuming it doesn’t overheat first, of course, and we’ll get to that in a moment.

Lightening Fast Workflow

I was so impressed with the speed at which I can transfer my images and video to my computer that I created a short video in which I monitor the time required to copy a 107.5GB 8K video file and just short of 200 50MB image files from the ProGrade Digital 325GB Cobalt CFexpress card using the their Thunderbolt 3 card reader. The video is to provide proof rather than for entertainment, so to be a blatant spoiler, the video file takes just 1:07 seconds and just under 200 image files take a hair under 10 seconds to copy across, which is about 20 images per second!

Overheating When Recording Video

Although stills are my main gig, I do shoot video sometimes, and as I mentioned earlier, I am excited about the 8K video and high frame rate 4K video, so I’ve done limited tests of recording video, to see roughly how bad the overheating issues that everyone is complaining about really are. In my studio with the air-conditioning on, and the temperature still sitting at around 32° C (90° F) and using the fastest ProGrade Digital 325GB Cobalt CFexpress card, I recorded about a minute of 8K-D 29.97 ALL-I video, stopped it, and then recorded another 11 minutes, at which point the overheat icon displayed on the LCD of the EOS R5. I was holding the camera with both hands, so not letting much air circulate around it, but that’s all I got.

After letting the camera cool down for an hour or so, I switched to 8K-D 29.97 IPB video, and this time also used the 1TB Gold CFexpress card from ProGrade Digital and was able to shoot for just over 17 minutes before the overheat icon started to flash on my screen. I could probably leave it running a while longer, but the manual says to turn the camera off when that icon is displayed, so I have been doing just that and allowing the camera to cool down for an hour or so.

As a third test, I switched to the 512GB Gold card from ProGrade and started to shoot some 119 frames per second 4K video, which is also very demanding on the camera and memory card, and I was able to record without any problems speed-wise, but I had only given the camera about 10 minutes to cool down this time, so it started to overheat again after just four minutes. Once again, my studio was warm, and I didn’t give the camera long to cool down, so this is about what I expected.

I’m going to stop my video tests there because I’ve found that I can shoot clips that are probably plenty long enough for my usual video work, as it’s usually not a big part of my work, and I have also confirmed that I can write to the ProGrade Digital Gold cards pretty much in the same way as I can write to their Cobalt cards. I do still intend to pick up a 650GB Cobalt card, probably in September when I get the 100-500mm RF lens, and sell my EOS R and my 100-400mm EF lens, as they along with what’s left on my camera store point card, will cover the cost of a second EOS R5. And, of course, because I do always travel and work with two identical bodies if one overheats for video and I really need to continue shooting, I can always switch bodies while the other cools down.

Overheating Does NOT Prevent Shooting Stills

One thing to note, and this is a very important aspect for me, is that you can always shoot stills. If the camera is in an overheat state from shooting video, and you switch to stills, you can continue to shoot without any problems. The overheating applies to video shooting only and does not hinder the shooting of still photographs.

The Cocoon Building in Shinjuku
The Cocoon Building in Shinjuku

Example Photos

Before we start to wrap this up, I’d like to share a handful of example photos that I shot on the day that I got the camera and the following day, to start to get used to shooting with the Canon EOS R5. Again, these are converted to DNG and processed in Capture One Pro, but the ISO was down at 100, so the colors shouldn’t be out of whack.

I would usually make the blues a little more vibrant, as I was shooting towards the sun a little, but I’ve left this as it was shot so that you can see what we get in these conditions straight out of the camera. I was impressed with how well the EOS R5 handled the contrast, with the starburst on the tower and the shadow side details looks great, as does the detail in the dark green summer leaves.

I was disappointed that Canon decided to leave GPS out of the R5. I know that they’ve built in the ability to link the camera to a phone and use the GPS data from the phone, but I honestly cannot imagine that this is much better on the camera’s battery than simply running an internal GPS unit. I’m honestly tired of attaching the GP-E2 to the top of my camera all the time, and every camera that Canon has released for the last eight years or so that I have not bought, has had GPS built-in, and I find that really annoying. Luckily, that is the only thing that I find annoying about this camera. Everything else is nothing short of amazing!

Here (below) is another test shot, this time looking down the stairs of the Cocoon Building. I like to shoot this as a test because it gives me a good idea of how well the camera handles contrast and shadows. I increased my ISO to 160 for this to get a shutter speed of 1/100 of a second. I was using my new RF 15-35mm f/2.8 L lens with IS, which, coupled with the new in-body IS of the R5 gives me a total of 7 stops of image stabilization, but I didn’t want the person walking up the stairs to blur more than this.

Incidentally, Canon has announced that the RF 24-105mm f/4 lens gets 8 stops of stabilization, and even my RF 50mm f/1.2 lens gets 7 stops of stabilization despite it not actually having its own internal image stabilization. That’s all from the in body image stabilization.

The Bowels of the Cocoon
The Bowels of the Cocoon

Kind of as a test of the old 100mm Macro L lens that I have, along with the Control Ring Adapter, I shot a few frames of the flowers that I bought to use in my tests as well. I absolutely love the soft tones that we get with the EOS R5, and at f/4 at these close shooting distances, the bokeh is beautiful.

White Chrysanthemum
White Chrysanthemum

Capture One Pro R5 (and R6) Support

UPDATE: Note that on August 25, 2022, Phase One released an update for Capture One Pro that includes support for the EOS R5 and R6 cameras. The Shinjuku images above look OK without something to compare them to, but having reprocessed them in Capture One Pro as opposed to converting to DNG, the images came to life! I released another short post to share four of the images from the first day again with before/after sliders etc. You can see that post here: https://mbp.ac/716

Sharing My Settings

I’ve been asked a lot about my settings for the EOS R5, so kind of as a second podcast embedded in this one, I have created a video to walk you through every settings screen on my Canon EOS R5 and included specifically my settings for wildlife and fast-paced shooting, so I hope you find this helpful. Note that I do not go into the video settings screens. Video is not my core competence, so I’ll leave that for other reviewers. I don’t go into full detail on every option either, but I do talk about all of the areas that I feel are important, and why I make the selections that I do. The video also has chapters, so you can check out each set of settings screens individually if you prefer.

Note that I have since figured out what the difference between Auto 1 (only screen) and Auto 2 (auto switching) is on the Set up 3 screen, Screen/Viewfinder display option. I couldn’t figure out what was different initially, but since found that Auto 1 switches between the viewfinder and the LCD based purely on whether or not the LCD is folded out into an open position. Basically, if the LCD screen is visible, it will be used, and the Electronic Viewfinder will only become active after you fold the LCD screen away completely. In Auto 2 mode the LCD screen can be visible when you put your eye to the Viewfinder and the viewfinder will activate regardless, so that’s my mode of choice from now on.

Conclusion – 10 Stars out of 5!

OK, so there will be other things that I want to talk about, but I want to get this review out into the world, especially as the camera was a week late, and frankly not having support for the Canon EOS R5 in Capture One Pro caused me more headaches than I’d anticipated, so we’ll blast this out now and I’ll follow up with other findings as time and our not-so-friendly neighborhood virus allows.

I would like to say though in closing that I have literally not been as excited about any camera in Canon’s history as I am with the Canon EOS R5. I’ve been a Canon user since 1991, and I’ve owned some of their best cameras, such as the 1Ds Mark III and 1D X, but the R5 beats them all, in almost every respect. Of course, the 1 Series Canon cameras have much better weather-sealing and they are built like bricks, but that aside, the specifications and image quality of the R5 beats them all.

I don’t usually do star ratings etc. but if I was to rate this camera on a five-star rating system, I’d honestly want to give it ten stars! It really is a stellar camera. Even just using it every day in my studio over the last week has been an absolute pleasure. I’m sure that my wife is sick of hearing me say that Canon has really made something special this time.

As I mentioned earlier, I was enabled by the kind folks at ProGrade Digital by sending me some of their amazing memory cards and a second card reader to test and include in this and my previous review, although that does not affect how I report my findings to you in any way. Canon gives me zip. No gear, and no preferential treatment. I buy all of my camera gear from a camera store in Tokyo, with my own hard-earned Yen, and I still can’t say enough about this camera, so hopefully all-in-all, you’ll trust me when I say that all of the opinions I have shared in this review are simply me telling it how I feel it is.

A Word on the Naysayers

I would like to just add that although I am aware that there is a lot of negative feedback going around about the EOS R5, I want you to be careful as you read or watch some of that stuff. I have always created my reviews straight from the heart, and tell you exactly what I think about my gear, but that is not always true of people reviewing gear. Although I will skim the headlines, I don’t read other reviews, because I want to report my own findings without being influenced by others.

One trend that I am noticing more and more though, is that some reviewers will use negative reviews as a way to draw an audience. Why does this work? Because human nature is essentially flawed and people generally like to hear bad news, but also, many people that are sitting on the fence over new technology want to hear something bad about a product so that they can decide not to buy it.

Personally, I like to make up my own mind. I’m a lone-wolf in that respect, but some people need a push, and the negative reviews provide that push. I’ve also noticed that people with negative opinions can be very vocal. You’ll see more people complaining about the overheating of the R5 than singing its praises for the amazing things that it brings us because people like to defend their decisions not to buy it. I’m not a psychiatrist, but I’d bet there is a term for someone that deep down really wants the R5 but they protect their credit cards and probably their egos too, by gathering and spreading negativity. My advice to you is for you to make up your own mind, but be aware, that the naysayers say it louder and generally based on flawed motives.

Support Our Efforts

If you want to help to support the work I do in bringing you these reviews, please consider buying using our affiliate links, a selection of which I’ve placed below.

B&H Affiliate Links

Canon EOS R5 Body – https://mbp.ac/EOSR5

Canon EOS RF 24-105mm f/4L Lens – https://mbp.ac/rf24-105

Canon RF 50mm f1.2L USM Lens – https://mbp.ac/RF50mm
Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM Lens – https://mbp.ac/15-35

Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM Lens – https://mbp.ac/100-500

Canon LP-E6NH Battery – https://mbp.ac/lp-e6nh

ProGrade Product Links

650GB CFexpress Type B Memory Card (Cobalt): https://amzn.to/30zbobA and on B&H https://mbp.ac/cfe650c
325GB CFexpress Type B Memory Card (Cobalt): https://amzn.to/39B4nuQ and on B&H https://mbp.ac/cfe325c
512GB CFexpress Type B Memory Card (Gold): https://amzn.to/2CXBPjh and on B&H https://mbp.ac/cfe512g
1TB CFexpress Type B Memory Card (Gold): https://amzn.to/2CX1vfW and on B&H https://mbp.ac/cfe1tbg
Thunderbolt 3 CFexpress Type B card reader: On Amazon https://amzn.to/39ISXVV and on B&H https://mbp.ac/pgdt3r
USB 3.2 Gen 2.0 Dual Slot CFexpress and SDXC UHS-II Reader: On B&H https://mbp.ac/pgdcfedsr


Show Notes

Visit the ProGrade Digital Website here: https://progradedigital.com

Music by Martin Bailey


Audio

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ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type B Memory Card Review (Podcast 713)

ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type B Memory Card Review (Podcast 713)


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Preparing for what will be a slightly delayed arrival of my Canon EOS R5, I picked up a new ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type B card and dropped my friends at ProGrade Digital a line to ask about this new type of card, and they were kind enough to send me a few more cards to test, so today I’m going to share my findings along with a little more information as to why this new format is so exciting! I also picked up one of their Thunderbolt 3 Single-Slot Card Readers, and a USB 3.2 Gen 2.0 Dual-Slot Card Reader, which I have also compared and will report on shortly.

Let’s first touch on the difference between Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.2 Gen 2.0, as this feeds into at least part of the reason for getting both card readers. Thunderbolt 3 can transfer data at speeds up to 40 Gbps, and can also run displays as well as other peripheral devices. This is what I have in my iMac Pro and my 13 inch MacBook Pro, which was the first model to include four USB-C ports, which is shared by the Thunderbolt 3 standard.

There has been a lot of confusion over what was initially called USB 3.1 Gen 1 and Gen 2. These have now been renamed, but the confusing elements have, unfortunately, not really been removed. USB 3.1 Gen 1 is now USB 3.2 Gen 1 with a transfer speed of up to 5 Gbps, and USB 3.1 Gen 2 is now USB 3.2 Gen 2 with a transfer speed of up to 10 Gbps. There is also now a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 which was originally just USB 3.2, and that has transfer speeds of up to 20 Gbps. They are all about to be succeeded by USB 4, and hopefully, the standard will start to settle down with regards to silly confusing naming, but I’m not overly confident that this will happen given the recent track record.

What we have to test though will show you the practical differences between the 40 Gbps Thunderbolt 3 card reader and the 10 Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2 reader. On paper, the Thunderbolt 3 reader is 4 times faster, but in practical terms, Thunderbolt 3 far exceeds the speed of the cards, but they are faster than USB 3.2 Gen 2, so although there is a difference, they are both lightning-fast, and both will leave the old standards such as USB 2.0 standing. With the faster cards, both of these readers are even significantly faster than the original USB 3.0 which is now generally referred to as USB 3.1 Gen 1.

ProGrade Digital Workflow Readers
ProGrade Digital Workflow Readers

Occasionally people turn up on my workshops and tell me that their image transfer process takes a number of hours, or sometimes the entire evening on heavy wildlife trips. If you are spending this much time transferring images I definitely recommend getting an up to date card reader, and can’t recommend the ProGrade readers highly enough.

My decision to get both readers was based mostly on travel logistics. At my desk, I’m more than happy to use the larger Thunderbolt 3 Single Slot CFexpress card reader, which by the way, with the addition of software drivers also doubles as an XQD card reader, but I don’t have any XQD cards to test so we won’t go into that. This card reader though is around 9.8 x 9.8 cm, which gives it an area of 96 cm2. That is almost double the area of the 7 x 7 cm CFexpress and SD UHS-II dual card reader at 49 cm2.

When packing a little extra is not an issue I may pack the Thunderbolt 3 reader as well, to enable me to import two cards simultaneously, but I think for overseas travel I will probably just leave the larger reader on my desk at home and take just the smaller reader. Anyway, let’s look at some figures so that you can see just how well these cards and the respective readers perform.

Card Comparison

I ran a series of tests using Black Magic Design’s Disk Speed Test application and noted the speeds captured after a couple of cycles had run on both the Write and Read speeds. If you’ve ever used this software you’ll know that there can be a lot of variance between tests, even with the same card in the same card reader, so these aren’t absolute fastest speeds, and they also don’t simulate writing photographs or video to the card. What these figures do is give you an idea of how fast these cards are compared to each other, using the two card readers.

ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type B Memory Cards
ProGrade Digital CFexpress Type B Memory Cards

As you can see, the more expensive Cobalt card has much faster write speeds than even ProGrade Digitals own Gold cards, hence the price point. It’s pretty amazing that they have achieved write speeds of around 1300 MB/s and read speeds of coming up to 1450 MB/s. During the tests, there were spikes much higher than these figures as well. The Cobalt card that I tested was a 325GB card, and they also have a 650GB card which I will pick up as soon as the slightly faster-updated version hits the Japan Amazon store.

ProGrade Digital CFexpress Memory Cards Comparison
ProGrade Digital CFexpress Memory Cards Comparison

The Gold cards also have very similar read speeds, but just under half the write speeds, at between 500 and 580 MB/s. I also included my fastest SDXC card to put these speeds into context. The cards that I’ve been using for the last few years with my EOS R are also a ProGrade Digital. The main two cards that stayed in both of my cameras was a 128 and a 256 GB Cobalt SDXC v90 card. These are slightly slower than the newest version available, as ProGrade seems to constantly tweak their products to squeeze out as much performance as possible, so seeing a jump in speed on the same card is not uncommon.

Here is a photo of both the CFexpress Type B card and my slightly outdated SDXC card, so that you can see the difference in size. Note that the Type B designation of this particular CFexpress card refers to its size, not the quality or speed. Type B cards are 38.5 x 29.8 x 3.8 mm. There is a smaller Type A card which is 20 x 28 x 2.8 mm and a larger Type C card which measures 54 x 74 x 4.8 mm. The Canon EOR R5 only takes the Type B CFexpress card, and the second slot is for SDXC cards, so be careful when you are buying your new CFexpress card for the R5. There are already some Type A cards in the wild, although Type C are a little more difficult to come by at this point.

CFexpress Type B and SDXC Memory Card Comparison
CFexpress Type B and SDXC Memory Card Comparison

In case you want to see the exact numbers that I jotted down for each card, here is a table of my results. As you’d expect, the Thunderbolt 3 card reader is quite a lot faster than the USB 3.2 Gen 2 reader, which keeps all of the cards under its maximum logical transfer speed of 10 Gbps. Keep in mind that the USB standard speeds are quoted in Gbps which is Gigabits per second, but the Disk Speed Test results are spat out in Megabytes per second. If we convert Thunderbolt 3’s 40 Gigabits per second to Gigabyte per second, we’re looking at around 5 Gigabytes per second. Likewise, the 10 Gigabits per second for USB 3.2 Gen 2 becomes 1.25 Gigabytes per second or 1250 Megabytes per second, so it would be physically impossible for the USB 3.2 Gen 2 card reader to transfer data at the speeds we saw with the Thunderbolt 3 reader.

Reader →Thunderbolt 3 ReaderUSB 3.1 Gen 2 Reader
Card ↓WriteReadWriteRead
CFexpress 325GB Cobalt1294.61442.6915.9840.2
CFexpress 512GB Gold576.51392.8531.8789.3
CFexpress 1TB Gold491.31398.7498.2800.9
SDXC v90 128GB145263

And for good measure, I’ll also share the Black Magic Design Disk Speed Test results for the CFexpress cards merged together into a single image.

ProGrade Digital CFExpress Type B Disk Speed Tests
ProGrade Digital CFExpress Type B Disk Speed Tests

What Does This Mean?

So, to think through what this means in terms of using the EOS R5 with these new CFexpress cards, I checked Canon’s data transfer speeds to see if I could identify any possible areas of concern, so let’s touch on a few of the key points here.

The most demanding format to write in looks to be 8K DCI video in Raw mode which requires a transfer rate of approximately 2600 Mbps, or 325 MB/s, and that is below the minimum write speed that I saw with both the Cobalt and Gold CFexpress cards from ProGrade Digital. Canon also has an area stating that for 8K Raw video you’ll need a CFexpress card with write speeds over 400 MB/s and for ALL-I you’ll need over 200 MB/s. What this tells us is that both the Cobalt and Gold cards from ProGrade Digital should be up to the task of shooting 8K Raw video, but as I haven’t actually tried this yet, I won’t be able to say for sure until I get my R5.

As far as I can see this also poses no issues at all for the high frame rate shooting possible with the R5, but the faster the write speed of the card, the more quickly we should be able to clear our buffer and be ready to continue shooting. Canon are claiming that the Raw buffer size is 66 images on a UHS-I SD card and 88 images on UHS-II SD cards, and they don’t say anything about the buffer size when using CFexpress cards, so my guess is that it’s probably going to be such a high number that filling the buffer will be a very rare occurrence, and probably not something that I want to do using my own camera in my tests, but I will try to do as much as possible and report back as soon as I get my EOS R5.

Unfortunately, I heard from the store that I ordered my R5 from and they are not able to get me mine today, which is the day of release. There is also a statement on the Canon website here in Japan apologizing for not being able to fulfill all orders on the day of release. It would seem that the EOS R5 is already exceeding Canon’s expectations, and I’m disappointed not to be able to get my review underway on the day of release as well. Hopefully, it won’t be many days into August before I get mine, and I’ll report on my findings as soon as I am able to.

As I say, I’ll also update you on how the ProGrade Digital cards fair in the R5, but I am honestly expecting them to work pretty much flawlessly. The only thing that I have on my radar to look out for is the possibility of the camera overheating when shooting 8K video, and this is being put down to the CFexpress cards themselves overheating. I read that when these cards overheat they thermal throttle down to 200 MB/s, which would mean that if you are in a situation where the camera or card does overheat, you would need to switch from 8K Raw video to ALL-I. Personally, I generally shoot in ALL-I anyway, so this is not something that I am really concerned about at this point.

Although I’m looking forward to shooting some 8K video, it’s the still photography specs like the frame-rate and resolution of the R5 that have me salivating over this camera, and the high video specs are really just a bonus. I do see me shooting more video with the R5 than ever before though, simply because the quality will probably be out of this world, but I’ll update you on this in due course as well.

Before we finish I would like to add that I am really excited about these quantum leaps we’re seeing in the technology that are enabling manufacturers to do so much more. I honestly did not expect Canon to come out with a camera the size of the R5 with such high frame-rates at such high resolution, but I also was not aware of the CFexpress standard until I placed my order for the R5 and looked into the type of memory cards it used. I knew as soon as I saw the specs that it could not be SDXC, so was highly interested in this new form factor, and so far have been blown away by all that I’ve seen. Most of this, of course, has been driven by ProGrade Digital, so a hearty thank you goes back to them for the work they do in helping to push the industry and ultimately our creative potential forward.

Support the Podcast and Blog

OK, so we’ll start to wrap this up for now. If you are preparing for the arrival of your Canon EOS R5 and you still need to place an order for a CFexpress memory card, please do consider the ProGrade Digital range. I believe these are the best cards on the market now and can recommend them without any concerns at all. If you want to support my efforts too, please use my affiliate links if you buy from Amazon.com or B&H Photo.

As I mentioned, I did buy one of my new CFexpress cards and the Thunderbolt card reader myself, but the good folks at ProGrade Digital sent me the rest of this gear to test, and although I thank them for that, this does not in any way alter how I report my findings to you. As always with my reviews, I will also let you know if I find any shortcomings with products that I test, regardless of how I obtain the product.

Affiliate Links

Please use these links to support the Podcast and blog! If I don’t have the size that you want to buy listed, click through with these links anyway as I generally still get credit for the purchase that way.

ProGrade Digital 650GB CFexpress Type B Memory Card (Cobalt): https://amzn.to/30zbobA and on B&H https://mbp.ac/cfe650c
ProGrade Digital 325GB CFexpress Type B Memory Card (Cobalt): https://amzn.to/39B4nuQ and on B&H https://mbp.ac/cfe325c
ProGrade Digital 512GB CFexpress Type B Memory Card (Gold): https://amzn.to/2CXBPjh and on B&H https://mbp.ac/cfe512g
ProGrade Digital 1TB CFexpress Type B Memory Card (Gold): https://amzn.to/2CX1vfW and on B&H https://mbp.ac/cfe1tbg
ProGrade Digital Thunderbolt 3 CFexpress Type B card reader: On Amazon https://amzn.to/39ISXVV and on B&H https://mbp.ac/pgdt3r
ProGrade Digital USB 3.2 Gen 2.0 Dual Slot CFexpress and SDXC UHS-II Reader: On B&H https://mbp.ac/pgdcfedsr

And, of course, if you are about to order a Canon EOS R5, please use these links: Canon EOS R5 Body – https://mbp.ac/EOSR5
Canon RF 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1L IS USM Lens – https://mbp.ac/100-500
Canon RF 15-35mm f/2.8L IS USM Lens – https://mbp.ac/15-35


Show Notes

Visit the ProGrade Digital Website here: https://progradedigital.com

Music by Martin Bailey


Audio

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ProGrade Digital Memory and Workflow Reader Review (Podcast 659)

ProGrade Digital Memory and Workflow Reader Review (Podcast 659)

Today we’re going to take a look at an amazing new brand of memory cards and card readers from ProGrade Digital. I’ve been very impressed with them, and I’m sure you will be too!

ProGrade Digital contacted me many months ago now, to see if I would like to try their new line of high-quality memory cards, and as I wrote my reply, I realized that they did not make Compact Flash cards. At the time, Compact Flash was my preferred memory card type, but as we’ll see, this was based on old information and a lack of understanding of current technology on my part. Either way though, at the time I thought that there were no products available that I use, so we put the conversation on the back-burner for a while.

Then, I decided it was time to get my first mirrorless camera, and bought the EOS R, and with that using the SDXC format memory cards, it was the perfect chance to evaluate ProGrade Digital’s cards, so I jumped on the phone to them and had a few types of cards sent over to Japan for me to test. In the spirit of full disclosure you should know that I kept the two cards and workflow reader that I was sent, but I’d also like you to know that I have since bought a third card from Amazon.co.jp and I’m actually using that as my main card now, so I’ve voted with my dollars, or yen, as the case may be.

ProGrade Digital SDXC Cards

So, let’s take a look at these cards, and how they stood up to my tests. Testing memory cards must be broken into a number of areas, as no one aspect can truly help us to evaluate a card. The main areas that I am concerned with are read and write speeds, the card’s ability to store my images fast enough to not slow down my camera, and reliability. The first two are relatively easy to test, and we’ll get to these results in a moment, but first let me talk about reliability and how I tested this.

Reliability

In my opinion, the only way to test the reliability of a memory card is to use it, day in, day out, in the field. This is the reason that you haven’t seen a review of these cards until now, despite me taking delivery of them in December 2018. I needed to use the cards in the field, to ensure that they weren’t going to break on me. In my 19 years of shooting digital, I’ve actually had very few issues with cards. I attribute this partly to the fact that I always use the Erase All Images function in my camera before formatting the card, again, in the camera. I also never delete images from the card in the camera and then continue shooting. I sometimes delete the last photo or two that I shot, but I never go back through the card looking for images that I can delete. In my opinion, this is just asking for trouble.

I actually did have problems with images getting corrupted when I first started shooting digital in 2000, and someone at Canon told me that deleting images randomly from the card and then continuing to shoot with it can cause problems, so I’ve just not done it since. It’s hard to say of course if it’s because of these things that I have had so few issues, but I can’t imagine it’s hurt in any way either.

I did have a Sandisk card develop a fault a couple of years ago, and it turns out that the card had literally become defective and needed to be replaced, but that was the only time that this happened to me in 19 years, so I have a pretty good track record. I should mention though, that I have mainly used Sandisk and Lexar cards, with a couple of Transcend cards thrown in for good measure.

EOS R SD Low Level Format
EOS R SD Low Level Format

Compared to 19 years of shooting, I do have a relatively short frame of reference to draw from for this review, but I used a 256GB ProGrade Digital UHS-II, U3, CLASS 10, V90 card for all three of my Japan winter tours, shooting a total of 16,000 images, and so far I have not had any problems with them.

One new thing that I have been doing on the advice of the ProGrade Digital team, is to perform a Low-Level Format, by turning on the checkbox on the Format screen on my camera whenever I format the cards.

So, at this point in time, I have no concerns about the reliability of these cards. They’ve securely saved 16,000 of my images over the last few months, and I see no reason why they won’t continue to do so moving forward.

Read/Write Speed Tests

I have to admit, when it comes to speed testing these memory cards, I initially completely missed the verbiage on the ProGrade Digital website that adds important information about the cards. The speed written on the face of the cards is apparently only the Read speed. The Write speed is different. Sometimes different to the point that you really wish the manufacturers of these cards would print on the card along with the much higher Read speed.

For example, the V90 SDXC cards that I have are rated at 250 MB/s read speed, and 200 MB/s write speed. That’s not a huge difference, and my tests actually showed that the write speed was much higher at 238 MB/s so the difference is minimal.

The V60 SDXC cards though have a much larger difference, with their read speeds up to 200 MB/s, but their write speeds are only supposed to be up to 80 MB/s. Again, in my tests, the write speed was higher at 98 MB/s and the read speed was spot on at 200.2 MB/s.

Anyway, I grabbed all of my latest model cards and did some comparisons pitching my new ProGrade Digital cards against my latest Sandisk Compact Flash cards and a new Transcend SDXC card that I use in my Zoom H6 digital recorder. I have also seen people shooting digital cameras with the small MicroSD cards in the adapter, and although this works, it’s generally going to slow down the camera, so I included a Sandisk Ultra MicroSDXC card and a Transcend MicroSDHC card for comparison.

Memory Card Seq Read/Write Speed Comparison
Memory Card Seq Read/Write Speed Comparison

I was pleasantly surprised by these results. For many years I’ve considered SD cards to be much slower than Compact Flash cards, and for a while I believe that was true, but as you can see from these results, the read speeds of the ProGrade Digital cards are much faster than my latest Sandisk Compact Flash cards, although I believe that as of April 2019, at 160MB/s, the Extreme Pro cards that I tested are Sandisk’s fastest Compact Flash cards.

And for good measure, here is a merged screenshot of the test results for each card, so that you can check out the other data if that’s of interest to you. Personally I don’t really understand the other numbers. The sequential read/write speeds are all that I’m interested in.

Amorphous Disk Mark Test Results
Amorphous Disk Mark Test Results

Thinking about it, if I’d known that these V90 SDXC cards were so much faster than my Compact Flash cards, I actually should have started using them in the SD slot of my 5Ds Rs when ProGrade Digital first contacted me. I was never really concerned about the speed of my Sandisk cards, but that’s because I thought I was using the fastest cards available. If I’d been using these faster ProGrade Digital SDXC cards the painfully slow frame rate of my 5Ds R might have improved a little. It’s hard to say now, as I’ve actually already sold them both.

Ability to Keep Up!

The other important aspect with regards to the speed of a memory card is its ability to keep up with the camera. I have traveled with people that complain that their cameras are not even close to the frames per second that they are supposed to be capable of, and there are sometimes reasons for this other than the speed of the card. For example, depending on your camera’s settings, the frame rate can drop if, like me, you tell the camera not to release the shutter unless it’s pretty sure that the image is in focus.

Often times though, when I check the cards of people that are unhappy with the speed of their camera, and its ability to empty a full buffer, they are using cheap and often very slow memory cards.

Of course, price is always a factor, and this is why ProGrade Digital offers their V90 and V60 versions of their SDXC cards. The 256GB V90 card has a price tag of $380, compared to just $140 for the same sized card in the V60 form factor. If the lower price is attractive, you just need to ask yourself if the performance gains are necessary for your shooting workflow, and the ability of the card to save your images and empty your buffer is a big part of this.

So, I did a relatively crude but useful test, by simply setting my camera in manual focus, with a fast shutter of 1/500 of a second, so that didn’t slow anything down, and just mashed down on the shutter until the buffer was full while taking a few readings I noticed for example that if I did bursts of around 10 to 15 frames the buffer took around four times longer to empty on the V60 card compared to the V90 card, but when I tried completely filling the buffer the difference was much less.

It took 10 seconds to empty a full buffer of 31 images on the V90 card, and around 12.5seconds on the V60 card, so if you think about how many times you are likely to fill your buffer completely, and how often waiting an extra 2.5 second for that buffer to completely empty is going to mess up your workflow, I don’t imagine the difference is going to be much of a problem.

I also transfered the test images to my computer and looked at the EXIF data to count how many frames per second I was getting. With the V90 cards I was getting a continuous 8 frames per second, which is the maximum frame rate for my EOS R, so that’s great! The V60 card gave me 8 frames per second sometimes and 7 frames per second other times, so we can average this out to 7.5frames per second, and that is still very respectable for a card that is 37% the cost of its big brother. Again, when thinking which one is for you, just ask yourself if that 0.5 second difference is really going to kill you in the field.

Same Price Worldwide!

But, being a complete hypocrite, I have never been able to get over my Mum’s advice of “If you’re gonna ‘ave one, ‘ave a big one”, so when it came to buying myself another ProGrade Digital SDXC card, I of course went for the 256GB V90 card, but you know what? There is another incredibly cool reason that I did that.

As a company, ProGrade Digital have decided to break the mold, and offer their cards at pretty much the same price in all countries that you can buy them from, and because they have no prices to protect from country to country, you can also simply buy them direct from the ProGrade Digital online store, and have them shipped to you. Of course, if you live in the US this doesn’t affect you in any other way than you can be happy that ProGrade are a cool company. If you live outside of the US though, this really is a breath of fresh air.

Historically the other memory card companies have and still do charge way more for their cards outside of the US. For example, my Sandisk 256GB Extreme Pro compact flash card is currently for sale for $340 at amazon.com and B&H. That same card on Amazon here in Japan costs $452! It’s actually been a while since I checked, and that difference seems less than before, so I think the big guys are taking a leaf out of ProGrade book, or maybe ProGrade has them running scared. Either way, this is a huge step in the right direction, and I hope that many other companies start to follow suit.

From what I hear from the ProGrade team, in addition to Amazon in the US, you can now buy their products from Amazon in Mexico, Canada, 27 countries in Europe, Japan, Australia, and they are currently in the process of launching in India and the UAE.

ProGrade Digital SDXC Cards and Workflow Reader
ProGrade Digital SDXC Cards and Workflow Reader

Workflow Readers

Before we wrap up this episode though, I have to tell you about what ProGrade Digital are calling their Workflow Readers. These are memory card readers that are absolutely amazing! I have used many card readers over the years, and some have been good, some not so good, but the ProGrade card reader blows them all out of the water.

The main reason I love this card reader is because it’s fast! Of course, I used it for all of the tests that we’ve done, but when I got to the hotel each evening during my recent winter tours, it literally only took a few minutes to transfer hundreds of images to my external SSD. Keeping in mind though, that I am using USB 3.1 Gen 2 connectivity on both my 13″ MacBook Pro and my iMac Pro, and that is much faster than USB 3.0, and my drive being a super fast Samsung X5 Solid State Drive makes a difference too, but transfer speeds are always only as fast as the weakest component, so having everything at the latest and greatest really helps me to appreciate the speed that this all provides.

The other thing that I love about the ProGrade Digital Workflow Reader that I have is that it has both a Compact Flash and SD card slot, and get this; you can transfer images from both slots at a time and the transfer speed doesn’t drop when you do that. I ran a test with two different speed test applications open, one running a test on my Sandisk CF card, and the other running a test one of my ProGrade Digital cards, and when I stopped one, the other didn’t change its speed at all. They just kept steaming along without batting an eyelid, and that is impressive.

CF and SD Cards Together in the ProGrade Workflow Reader
CF and SD Cards Together in the ProGrade Workflow Reader

These workflow readers come in a number of configurations, so although I got the Compact Flash and SD card version, you can also get readers with dual MicroSD card slots, a CFast and SD slot, dual SD slots, and a single slot CFX card reader. Now that I’ve sold both of my Canon 5Ds R bodies and bought a second EOS R, I no longer own a camera that uses Compact Flash cards, so I’ll be getting a dual SD card reader the next time I place an order with Amazon Japan, and that will enable me to download images from two cards at the same time. When using software like Capture One Pro that can actually handle simultaneous imports, especially when it doesn’t slow the transfer down at all, this can be a huge time saver.

Check Out ProGrade Digital Products

Check out these card or Workflow Readers on your local Amazon store or on the ProGrade Digital website. They’re compact, incredibly fast, and even come with a little metal strip that you can attach to something and then clip the reader to it with the built-in magnet if you like. A great product to support an amazing line of memory cards from this wonderful new forward-thinking company.

That reminds me, I didn’t even mention that ProGrade are creating CFExpress, Micro SDXC and CFast cards in addition to the SDXC cards that I am now using. And when you consider that regular compact flash cards are now on their way out, I can understand their business decision to concentrate on these new technologies.

So, we’ll wrap it up there for this episode. Do check out ProGrade Digital’s products when you are in the market for a new memory card or reader. They’ve completely impressed me with their speed and quality, so I recommend their products with a massive thumbs-up.


Show Notes

Please buy with our affiliate links from B&H Photo or Amazon if you have found this review useful. Affiliate payments help to keep this podcast viable, without costing you anything.

B&H Photo: https://mbp.ac/pgd256v90

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2XUetjw

And of course, if you prefer, you can buy direct from the ProGrade Digital website here: https://progradedigital.com

Music by Martin Bailey


Audio

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Download this Podcast as an MP3 with Chapters.

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