The Best Compact Flash (CF) Cards

Most photographers have one issue in common: a memory card that failed them at some point in their career.

Do you agree with us or not? Well, whether you agree with us or not—you should hear this!

A compact flash card is a better option for storage than a memory card!

Oh yeah! You heard right! Ask any photographer who has ever been disappointed by a memory card.

As little as the compact flashcards seem, it helps you to store your work of art while you do what you love—capturing unique images.

The compact flashcards are more popular today because of its ability to store footage and photos on high-end digital cameras effectively.

Are you new to photography or videography?

Take a deep breath, because, in this article, we’ll take you through a list of things you should consider before buying a compact flashcard, and give you four of our best options available in the market.

Are you ready? Let’s dive in..

Quick Summary

We took our time to check a ton of compact flashcards in the market. In the end, we settled for four that meet our requirements in six areas: reliability, write and read speeds, storage, warranty, speed, and price.

Who Should Get This?

As long as you handle the camera for a living—it doesn’t matter if you do videos or capture images; you need one thing: a mass storage device to store and retain what you shoot. Experienced photographers have learned over time the implication of going for cheap memory cards.

If you use a digital camera, the compact flash card is the best mass storage device to help you extend the capacity of your camera. The compact flashcards are ideal for videographers or photographers that use a high-end camera. If you use a low-end camera, the CF may not be a good option.

Best Compact Flash Card: What to Consider?

Here are the six things to look out for before buying the best CF card:

Speed

When you take a close look at compact flashcards, you’ll notice some inscriptions on it like 800x, 1066x, etc. You’ll also find a speed rating that looks like 50MB/s, 300MB/s, etc. the first inscription is the CD speed. So, if you see 20x, it merely means that the CF card has 20 times the read speed of 200KB/s.

In other words, the inscriptions represent two speeds. One is the write speed—while the other is the read speed.

Storage

The storage capacity of compact flash cards range from 32GB to 256GB—it all depends on what you want. But, if you use a camera that produces high-resolution image files, you have to consider getting a high storage capacity.

Cost

The transfer speed, storage, quality, and other things are responsible for the price of the compact flash card. In this case, ensure that you go for one that meets your needs before considering the price—that way, you don’t end up trading cost for quality.

Warranty

There are compact flashcards that have a few years warranty—while some have a lifetime warranty. It’s advisable to opt for the ones with a lifetime warranty to ensure that your cards get support for a long time.

Write and Read Speeds

The speed of your camera solely depends on the write speed of your CF card. So, if you buy a compact flash card that has a slower write speed, it will affect your shooting—because your camera will run out of memory.

If the read speed is slow as well, it will take a long time for the data on your card to transfer to your laptop.

Reliability

Look out for compact flashcards that will come through in any harsh conditions, like performing in bad weather. You may also want to consider native data retrieval solutions for shooting. A card with silicone coating gives additional protection.

Best Compact Flash Card: Our Picks

Here are our top picks in the compact flash card space:

1. SanDisk Extreme PRO 128GB CompactFlash


The SanDisk Extreme is one of the highest performing compact flashcards on this list in the Ultra Direct Access Mode 7 category. With this card, you can explore your skills effortlessly like taking over 3000 images shot over multiple sessions.

What does that mean?

The CF card allows you to take up to five or six RAW shots before the camera starts to buffer. If you’re a videographer, the CF card has got you covered with its VPG-65 certification. Ultimately, it enhances smooth and effortless workflow courtesy of its data writing speeds for video formats of about 65MBs per second.

If you want a CF card with a lifetime warranty, the Extreme Pro is your best bet with its read and write speeds of 160MBs and 150MBs respectively. Also, the Extreme PRO comes with a video performance guarantee—that simplifies the capture of 4k and full HD videos.

What We Like:

  • The card comes with an RTV silicone coating that protects against vibration
  • The card comes with both RAW and JPEG file formats
  • It comes with a jewel case that enhances protection
  • The card has a video performance guarantee

What We Don’t Like:

  • It’s quite expensive

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

2. SanDisk Ultra 16GB Compact Flash Memory Card


If you feel that the Extreme Pro is too expensive, then the Ultra 16GB is a more affordable storage option. The compact flash card comes in different sizes ranging from 4 to 32GB. So if you’re keen about getting a cheap card over speed, the SanDisk Ultra in the UDMA 5 mode is ideal.

If you buy the 16GB card, it will allow you to store up to 640 RAW files each. And each of those files will be about 25MB—plus you can even capture more if you shoot in JPEG format.

It’s no surprise though because the read and write speed of the card goes up to 50MBs per second—which translates to the fact that you can capture two images every second before buffering starts.

What We Like:

  • The card comes in different storage size options
  • The card comfortably supports capturing picture quality of 1080 full HD video
  • It’s affordable
  • It usually comes with a 10-year warranty

What We Don’t Like:

  • It takes a lot of time to transfer large files because of its data write speed
  • The card functions best with entry or mid-range cameras

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

3. Lexar Professional 1066 x 256GB VPG-65 CompactFlash card


If you’re a professional photographer or videographer, the Lexar CF card is perfect for you. It comes with 256GB storage that gives you enough space to store your large files.

You should rest assured that your workflow will be smooth since it has impressive read and write speeds—which is 160MB and 155MB respectively.

This compact flash is another model on this list that comes with a VPG-65 (video performance guarantee). And a feature like this translates to a smooth performance since the video write speed isn’t lower than 65 MBs.

If you lose your files at any point in time, the UDMA 7 category flashcard comes with the image rescue software that helps you to recover your files.

What We Like:

  • The compact card can meet the demand of high-quality images and videos in 3D, 4k or 1080p full HD
  • It saves you the stress of changing cards during a shoot
  • It has a video performance guarantee
  • The compact card has backward compatibility with class 10 and UHS-I devices

What We Don’t Like:

  • Sometimes the speed of the card is affected on devices that don’t support UHS-II/V60

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

4. Lexar Professional 2000x 64GB SDXC UHS-II Card


The Lexar 2000x 64GB is a high capacity card. It’s ideal for photographers or videographers that handle so much work. It may be expensive. But when you consider the value you’d get from the card, you wouldn’t mind the price.

Your camera will not buffer in a hurry thanks to its read speed of about 300MB/s. The write speed isn’t left out with its speed that reaches as high as 275MB/s.

The compact flash card has 64GB—which means that you can take more than 2000 images of RAW photographs. With a write speed of 275MB/s, you can snap up to 11 pictures in a second without buffering.

What We Like:

  • It has a high-capacity
  • The card has a high read speed
  • It allows you to take a lot of pictures before camera buffers
  • It comes with a functional storage capacity

What We Don’t Like:

  • It’s quite expensive

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

5 Fantastic Ways to Take Care of Your Compact Flash Cards

  1. Don’t fill your entire card with photos. Instead, replace the card with another to avoid corrupting your images.
  2. Format your card when you don’t need any information on it anymore.
  3. Ensure that you shoot with your card in one camera.
  4. Don’t delete images from your camera while shooting.
  5. Before you remove your card, turn off the power of your camera.

Final Words

Finally, this is where we call it a wrap. And at this point, you should have an idea of where to start in your quest to find the best compact flash card that suits you—with the comprehensive buying guide in this article.

What do you think about the cards on this list? Did we miss out on your favorite compact flashcard? Let’s hear you do your thing in the comments session.

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