The Nikon D7000 is the first DSLR to take advantage of the new UHS-I SD card specification. Unfortunately though, it doesn’t appear to take full advantage of that speed potential. The Nikon D7000′s buffer seems to cap at 10 frames during continuous high speed shooting no matter which SD card is inserted.
I got my hands on the latest SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I SDHC cards, which are due out in March, to see just how well they worked in this first-generation UHS-I camera.
While the difference between the SanDisk Extreme and Extreme Pro SD cards is marginal in the D7000, there is still an obvious difference. After capturing the full complement of 10 frames at the D7000′s max frame rate of 6fps, the D7000 delivered the following results with each of the cards.
- SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I: Buffer clears in approx. 7 seconds. If additional images are captured after buffer fills, capture rate is approx. 1.9fps.
- SanDisk Extreme (non-UHS-I): Buffer clears in approx. 11 seconds. If additional images are captured after buffer fills, capture rate is approx. 1.7fps.
In short, even though the Nikon D7000 is compatible with the SD Association’s UHS-I specifications, it does not appear to take full advantage of what SanDisk is delivering in the Extreme Pro UHS-I SD card. However, both the SanDisk Extreme and Extreme Pro are significantly faster than the SanDisk Ultra II SD cards, which take around 15 seconds to clear the full buffer of 10 images and cannot continue to capture images at a consistent rate after the buffer fills (perhaps, 1 frame every 1-2 seconds).
If you need to keep shooting frame after frame with the D7000, I would recommend either the SanDisk Extreme or Extreme Pro SD cards for the D7000. I would not recommend going with a slower card due to the extended time that it takes for the D7000′s buffer to clear and inconsistent frame capture after the buffer fills up.
If you want to know more about SD card types and speed ratings, check out my reference article, Demystifying SD Cards.
I’ll have more on the D7000 soon. Stay tuned.