Answer: Lets first look at what both the cards actually are.
CompactFlash (CF Cards) was first produced in 1994 by the SanDisk company and quickly became the go-to portable mass data storage device. CompactFlash cards are physically a little bit larger than other formats and are still one of the most reliable mass data storage units in the market.
CompactFlash are now the preferred memory card for professional videographers using digital video cameras.
Secure Digital memory cards (SD Cards) are used in just about every type of portable device available, from digital still cameras, video cameras/camcorders, tablets, to cell phones and smartphones. Since being designed and distributed by the SD Card Association in 1999, the number and styles and manufacturers of SD cards have exploded.
Secure Digital memory cards are significantly smaller than CompactFlash cards, and are equipped with a nine-pin interface as compared to the 50-pin interface of the CompactFlash. The result of having fewer interface pins means that the SD cards are limited to a four-bit data bus, whereas CompactFlash cards have a 16-bit data transfer bus.
While this sounds like it would make CompactFlash cards the better choice because the Secure Digital cards’ transfer speed slower, in reality, and here is the answer to the question, the difference really is negligible due to advances in digital camera technology.
But the question runs deeper…
Your camera really decides which memory card you have to buy… So the question that I think is more relevant is writing speed of the cards.
For me, because I shoot in RAW, and a lot of times shooting in burst mode, I look for cards that write the fastest so that the processor in my camera does not buffer and write the images while the action is happening in front of my lens.
The reality is that the faster the speed of the card, the more money coming out of your bank account. But regardless of the money, this is my job, and within reason, money isn't my first deciding factor. For me, here is my memory card of choice… For a SD card it is the 32 GB SanDisk Extreme PRO Plus and for Compact Flash card it is the 32GB Lexar Professional 3400x CFast 2.0 card
If you have any further comments, please add them to the comments section below. The more feedback and ideas the better.
Thanks for reading,