The camera market is quickly adopting the CFExpress memory card format, but there’s still a huge market for SD cards. The migration from one format to another takes time, and SD isn’t going out without a fight.
The latest UHS-II cards offer speeds of up to 312MB/s, this may be less than half the speed of CFExpress cards, but it’s still more than enough for the majority of today’s cameras.
Cameras such as the Canon EOS R5 offer both SD and CFExpress cards slots; surely recognition that many photographers will already have stacks of SD cards, and the additional cost of CFExpress could deter adopters of the new R series camera if that was the only format on offer.
UHS-II cards will suffice in capacity and speed for most people’s needs, and the format is also far cheaper.
Testing out Manfrotto’s latest Pro Rugged 64GB SDXC V90II UHS-II and that speed proves effective, keeping up with the demands of the Sony Alpha 7R II and 7 III when shooting stills and 4K Video.
Fast read/write times
Tough reinforced design
Expensive for SD
What is the Manfrotto’s Pro Rugged 64GB SDXC V90II UHS-II?
SD cards for the moment are still the most popular choice of camera storage. The format is widely available, and there’s a price point to suit every pocket.
Manfrotto’s Pro Rugged 64GB SDXC V90II UHS-II pushes the SD card format’s performance to the upper limit with transfer speeds topping 280MB/s.
This card has been designed for use with the latest cameras, and while many of those cameras offer the latest CFExpress slots, this SD is more than capable of keeping up.
The Manfrotto Pro Rugged 64GB SDXC V90II UHS-II also address one of the major issues with SD cards, and that’s their durability.
Over the years, I’ve had to throw away countless SD cards as the exterior deteriorates over time. But here, Manfrotto has designed the card to be as tough and robust as possible, able to withstand exterior forces as well as being 100% waterproof for up to three days.
These are all impressive features and ones that I’ll test out as the weather closes in and temperatures dip below freezing once again.
Video Speed Class Rating: V90
Read Speed: 280MB/s
Write Speed: 250MB/s
Ultra High Speed: II
Waterproofing: Up to 72 Hours
Minimum Working Temperature: -25º
Maximum Working Temperature: 85º
Weight: 0.02 kg
I’ve seen some impressive results from the latest SD cards. UHS-II has breathed a new lease of life into this ageing format, and although UHS-II has been around for a number of years the specifications are still more than enough to keep up with the demands of the latest cameras.
The card is available in two capacities, either the 64GB, that I’m looking at, or the 128GB. Both cards are rated as V90 – 200X – UHS-II.
Manfrotto states that the card has a maximum read speed of 280MB/s and 250MB/s write, just below the formats maximum.
These cards have also been designed to be tough, and an unusual specification for this type of card is that they can withstand up to 20kg of force.
Sticking with the tough theme the card has also been tested in a wide range of temperatures from -25º to 85º.
Dimension wise the card measures in at 29.6 x 38.50 x 3.80mm.
Build and Handling
One of the big features of the card is being tough. While memory card manufacturers often highlight resilience to temperature, moisture, dust, being dropped and magnetic rays, it’s rarely a big feature.
However, checking over the card, and there are a few noticeable differences. Firstly flip over and look at the contacts and the usual plastic dividers between the connectors have been removed. These appear on the majority of UHS-II cards that I have.
Secondly, taking a look at the side and the usual write lock has been omitted. This is a completely sealed unit making the card waterproof.
Otherwise, the actual build quality doesn’t feel any different from other UHS-II memory card.
In this test, I used the Sony A73 for the most part. The small Manfrotto Pro Rugged UHS-II SD card kept up with the camera to shoot video and stills.
The write speed worked well for continuous shooting, and there was no noticable lag as the cache waited for the card to catch up.
Likewise shooting 4K 30fps video with all settings set as high as they would go, the card kept up for the 29 minutes of video recording without issue.
All real-world tests out of the way and it was time to check out the read-write speeds using the Blackmagic Disk Speed Tool. The results of this were excellent coming in at:
Read = 245MB/s
Write = 218MB/s
So far so good, but then this cards sells itself as being tough. So the next test was to freeze the card overnight in a standard domestic freezer with a bag of frozen peas popped on top for good measure.
After a night in the freezer and a quick -19 blast from the quick freeze, it was time to check out the performance again. Not sure if it needed defrosting before the test, so I decided to test it frozen and then defrosted for good measure.
Read = 252MB/s
Write = 218MB/s
Read = 253MB/s
Write = 205MB/s
After the test the weather looked as if it would snow heavily for 48 so carefully marking a position on the garden table with a cane I left the card out to survive the elements of nature for the night.
In the morning the weather forecast proved to be completely wrong, the marker had fallen over and the card was still clearly visible on the table with the lightest smattering of snow.
Temperature-wise I think it dropped to -3, well within the limits of the small card which worked fine when tested.
Applying 20kg of force to a memory card is pretty difficult in a home environment – so rather than checking the force I opted to throw it from a 3rd-floor window and check out to see if it survived.
It did and running the test, and the results were almost identical.
Finally, the test that wipes out most SD cards and that’s the water test. Manfrotto state 72-hour protection from being submerged, so only one way to test and that’s to drop it into a bowl of water for 24 hours. I feel this is long enough before I forget that it’s there.
Again, do I let it dry out fully or wipe it down and test it?
Wiped dry and test
Read = 253MB/s
Write = 219MB/s
Left for a day to dry out
Read = 253MB/s
Write = 221MB/s
Testing memory cards usually doesn’t take long, but if you’re going to promote your memory card as ultra-tough, then we must give it a go.
Before I go into the test results after freezing, dropping and drowning in water, let’s look at the bog-standard memory cards results.
For both the read and write results, the small card performed exceptionally well. No issues with the transfer speeds and the at 253MB/s read and 219MB/s write that puts it at the top of the board when it comes to SD UHS-II speed.
From being a standard ultra-fast SD card solution for video and stills, there is little to fault especially when you look at the price of the Manfrotto card against that of the SanDisk Extreme Pro.
After freezing, dropping and leaving in water the card proved that it was able to stand up to most extremes, the only area that I was unable to test is how it survives over a long period.
Ultimately at this price, the Manfrotto Pro Rugged UHS-II SD Card is a great option. It can be found online from reputable retailers for far less than it’s suggested retail price, which makes it an absolute bargain.
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