Canon 5D Mark III Memory Write Speeds

I recently bought a Canon 5D Mark III body on the cheap for $2699 from a Canon authorized dealer during the 2013 holidays.   I also got camera goodies to go with it.  Free shipping.  It was too good to pass up.  I had a Canon 50D for about 5 years and it was having mechanical problems, so it was time to move up.

There was one issue that I read about and it was about the write speed for the SD card.  The write speed for compact flash was good, but SD card write speed was subpar.  So out of curiosity, I did some write speed measurements from my 40D, 50D, and 5D Mark III and see how they looked.  I had a handful of memory cards, not many, so this is not an extensive test.


To setup, I set to manual mode, set the shutter speed to 1/8000 sec, and set the drive mode to high speed.  I set the image format to RAW.  (I photograph RAW all the time.)  I format the flash memory for each card.  I left the camera lens cover on, so there is no lens attached to the camera.

To test, I held the shutter button down for 30 seconds.  After 30 seconds, I monitor the red light on the camera.  Once the light is off, I log the time.


Canon 40D

Compact Flash# of shuttersTime (sec)Total BytesWrite Speed (MB/sec)
Lexar Professional 64GB 1066x4938431,526,42110.8
Lexar Professional 64GB 1000x4938431,544,41810.8
Duracell Pro Photo 32GB 600x4740422,914,08910.1
Lexar Professional 8GB 300x4640413,916,2089.9
RiData Lightning Series 32GB 233x4042359,952,8888.2
RiData Lightning 16GB 233x4143368,910,2728.2
Kingston Ultimate 16GB 266x4640413,910,5939.9


Canon 50D

Compact Flash# of ShuttersTime (sec)Total BytesWrite Speed (MB/sec)
Lexar Professional 64GB 1066x105341,699,319,78147.7
Lexar Professional 64GB 1000x111341,723,978,37548.4
Duracell Pro Photo 32GB 600x5344837,474,53018.2
Lexar Professional 8GB 300x69381,090,239,24027.4
RiData Lightning Series 32GB 233x5043789,865,18717.5
RiData Lightning Series 16GB 233x5344837,224,82318.1
Kingston Ultimate 16GB 266x4745742,417,60215.7


Canon 5D Mark III

Flash MemoryType# of ShuttersTime (sec)Total BytesWrite Speed (MB/sec)
Lexar Professional 64GB 1066xCF138333,147,136,64895.3
Lexar Professional 64GB 1000xCF138333,146,455,48195.3
Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GBCF138333,146,779,17095.3
Duracell Pro Photo 32GB 600xCF48421,113,530,22325.3
Lexar Professional 8GB 300xCF64381,484,841,04637.3
RiData Lightning Series 32GB 233xCF4343997,486,32222.1
RiData Lightning Series 16GB 233xCF44441,020,629,51822.1
Kingston Ultimate 16GB 266xCF3748858,341,33717.1
Kingston 32GBSD2761615,675,3259.6
Patriot Signature 64GB MicroSD OEMMicro SD2758615,666,70110.1
PNY 64GB microSDXC Class10 UHS-1Micro SD3449774,943,85115.1
Sandisk Extreme Pro SDXC UHS-I 64GBSD4145934,784,68620.8


Flash Card Reader

I decided to measure the read/write speeds by using a Transcend USB 3.0 card reader.  I used the ATTO Disk Benchmark with the Direct I/O setting, the Neither setting, and a transfer size of 8192KB.  The following are the results:

Flash CardTypeWrite Speed (MB/sec)Read Speed (MB/sec)
Lexar Professional 64GB 1066xCF126.9145.9
Lexar Professional 64GB 1000xCF126.3148.9
Duracell Pro Photo 32GB 600xCF38.589.5
Lexar Professional 8GB 300xCF47.343.3
RiData Lightning Series 32GB 233xCF23.645.4
RiData Lightning Series 16GB 233xCF24.045.3
Kingston Ultimate 16GB 266xCF38.448.4
Kingston 32GBSD10.423.1
Patriot Signature 64GB MicroSD OEMmicro SD15.346.9
PNY 64GB microSDXC Class10 UHS-1micro SD21.687.4
Sandisk Extreme Pro SDXC UHS-I 64GBSD90.896.9