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Tip of the Month

Hoodman CF Cards and HoodLoupe

April 2010

South GeorgiaEle seal

On our last Antarctica trip a friend, as he was loading a new CF card during a busy shoot, asked, 'Are you using these?'

It was a new CF card I hadn't seen before, made by Hoodman, the same company that makes the HoodLoupe, screen cleaners, and other products. Obviously, I wasn't using one, but when I got home I ordered some from Hoodman and I'm now using 16gb cards that write at what's listed at 675X, or 100MB/sec. My previous 16GB card had a transfer rate of 30MB/sec, so everything is considerably faster.

It's hard to give a qualitative statement about writing speed when shooting, unless one takes the time to shoot several motor drive bursts for the same number of frames until the camera buffers, and then clears, and even then one has to wonder what's happening with the camera's processor in regards to any change in speed.

I didn't do that type of test, ALL I did was used the cards on my recent Costa Rica trip where I blasted away on a lot of subjects and I never buffered out. Again, that might be due to my shooting bursts, where I did not reach a buffer, but I can say that I usually buffer out at some point of my shooting, and I didn't when using the cards.

The download time is fast, too, and with the RAW UDMA firewire reader downloads are listed as 15 seconds per GB. Perhaps the most tangible aspect of the cards is that the cards incorporate SSD (solid state drive) flash, which will be the wave of the future for computers and hard drives. If you've had a traditional hard drive fail because it wasn't used often enough, or was dropped, or whatever, solid state drives should eliminate that problem. I can't wait -- we've lost hard drives for both reasons.

In our pre-trip information for one of our trips we mentioned our CF card size, and a friend later noted that not too many years ago I advocated using cards no larger than 4 GB. My reasoning, then, was that I didn't want an entire day's shoot, or a couple of days' shoot, on just one card. But, that was in the days of an 11GB camera was a huge file. Today, with file sizes being twice that, or more, in some pro cameras, and non-pro cameras offering 10 or greater GB, a 4 GB card fills up too quickly for my use.

With the 16GB Hoodman RAW cards with SSD flash, I'm confident that I can indeed use a card to capture plenty of images without fear of loss. But with my cameras, I'm generally shooting at least 1 16GB card a card on a trip, and sometimes two plus! Then, the issue isn't the capture, it is the tedious effort of sifting through and editing all of those darn images! But that's not the card's fault!

I also tried out the HoodLoupe for the first time. I've seen these for several years but wasn't particularly tempted to get one, but now that I've tried one I love it. In bright light, where the HoodLoupe really 'shines', its easy to see my LCD display, for checking focus and composition, but the clarity of the lens really makes the image pop out as well. The Loupe doesn't magnify the image; it is a true 1:1 magnification ratio, but until I checked the website for myself (I'd already thrown the packaging away) I would have guessed that the Loupe offered some magnification -- it just looked bigger. The images are not, but they are clear, and that clarity, when viewing a monitor, really does make a difference.


Previous Tips, July 2009 onward


Using High ISO and Live View for Focusing in Dim Light
Art Print Scams for Hungry Photographers

Hungry Vultures ruin vehicles in the Everglades

Use a Short Lens for Depth of Field

Get Professional Help!

Mini-Molar Bag
Access America Trip Insurance
Bogen Base for Macro Work

Archived Tips of the Month
prior to July 2009
Most of my original Tips of the Month for the last several
years are available through this link. The 'look' is from my
original web site, although if I ever have enough time I might redo these pages to match the new web site But that's not a high priority.