The last 4GB CF card on test is from Lexar, namely the 133X (read and write) Professional CompactFlash card with Write Acceleration technology. â€œWAâ€ technology is the result of collaboration between Lexar and partner camera manufacturers to significantly improve image file write speeds. Basically, itâ€™s all about making sure the firmware on the card is fully compatible with the firmware in the camera in order to reduce the overhead associated with writing large amounts of data. Cameras that are WA compatible can see write speeds rise by 20 per cent.
Digital camera companies currently supporting WA technology include Kodak Professional, Nikon, Sanyo, Sigma, Pentax and Olympus. For a full list of camera models check out Lexarâ€™s website.
Whether or not WA has had an influence, a quick glance over the graphs will tell you that when ranked by write speed, the Lexar is the fastest card across all of our tests. It even tops the chart with an average 6.6MB/s for the Canon EOS-1D Mark II write test, despite Canonâ€™s obvious absence from the WA list. Thatâ€™s a 61% increase in speed compared to the 100X Kingston Ultimate.
However once again the data structure/card readers appear to limit the speeds, but some differences are evident when writing the different data types to the card. When transferring 1.01GB of mixed files in multiple folders to the cards, the similarly priced Kingston Ultimate card reached 1.7MB/s via the SanDisk reader but the Lexar nudged ahead with 2.2MB/s. In terms of time, thatâ€™s an average wait of 10mins for the Ultimate, and 7mins 50secs for the Lexar. As with all the other cards, writing a single folder containing 1.01GB of images to the card was much quicker than the mixed files, hitting 6.9MB/s. The highest rate on test but we couldnâ€™t get close to the 20MB/s that 133X equates to.
As for the more common practice of transferring images from the card to the PC, the Lexar managed an average read speed of 7.6MB/sec, which also breaks the 50X barrier. Not quite as quick as the Ultimate, but not too far off.
The Lexar is the only CF card to include free software, which can be found on the card. This consists of a copy of Image Rescue 2.0.5 to help recover lost or deleted JPEG, TIFF and RAW images even after formatting the card. This software can also permanently delete your photos from the card, as well as scan for file system errors and repair them. A 30-day trial of Photo Mechanic 4.3.8 is also included.
Ranked as the best card for overall average read and write speeds, the 4GB Lexar Professional CompactFlash 133X card with Write Acceleration is our preferred choice. It performed well in a camera that does not support WA, has decent data read speeds and manages to eek out the best write rates from our readers. The Image Rescue software adds extra value and a lifetime limited warranty is stated.