Camera Memory Speed
Memory Card Comparison & Performance Tests for Digital Cameras
Canon 5Ds SD / CF card door open

Canon EOS 5Ds SD & CF Card Speed Comparison

Published: August 17, 2015

The Canon EOS 5Ds DSLR is capable of capturing stunning detail thanks to its 50.6 megapixel full-frame sensor. Dual DIGIC 6 image processors deliver the performance necessary to process images at up to 5 frames per second during continuous shooting. Its 61-point AF system includes 41 cross-type sensors for precise focus. Dual memory slots include support for one CompactFlash (CF) type I with UDMA 7 and one Secure Digital (SD) card slot with UHS-I.

Write speed of the Canon 5Ds was tested using 75 different memory cards: 57 SD cards and 18 CF cards. The tables below show results in write speed for RAW images and continuous shooting for RAW+JPEG, RAW and JPEG image modes. A detailed analysis contains more information gathered from the tests. Recommended SD and CF cards for the 5Ds are provided for those seeking the fastest card for the camera as well as some suggestions for good value memory card choices for this camera.

Camera Details and Settings

The 5Ds is mounted on a tripod and a remote timer is used for 30 second shooting intervals. A manual lens is used and focused using live view at maximum magnification. The subject is a static test scene under controlled lighting.

A comparison of different test subjects was conducted with the the Canon 5Ds. Using the Lexar Professional 1066x 128GB CF card, the most detailed scene resulted in 101.4 MB/s average write speed (75.6 MB average RAW file size), while a scene with moderate amount of detailed averaged 84.0 MB/s (55.7 MB file size), and with lens cap on 77.9MB/s (45.8 MB file size). The most detailed scene is used for this card comparison test.

Write speed is the amount of data written to the card during divided by the write time. The shooting interval is 30 seconds (write time continues beyond the 30 seconds). The write time is determined by the card access light with a correction factor applied. Through testing various burst lengths the write delay was estimated around 1.25 seconds for the test scene used (the light turns on when the shutter is activated and not when the image has been processed and begins writing to the card). Write speed is in megabytes per second MB/s where 1 MB = 1,048,576 bytes.

Canon 5Ds Write Speed Comparison

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Memory CardCard
Type
Size
(GB)
Average Write Speed (MB/s)Price
Lexar Professional 1066x 32GBCF32101.6$32.66
Komputerbay 1066x 128GBCF128101.6$91.99
Lexar Professional 1066x 64GBCF64101.5$59.95
Lexar Professional 1066x 128GBCF128101.4$109.95
PixelFlash SuperSport 1000X-PRO 128GBCF128101.3$112.07
SanDisk Extreme Pro 160MB/s 64GBCF6499.9$79.10
SanDisk Extreme Pro 160MB/s 32GBCF3299.8$47.95
Toshiba Exceria Pro 1066x 32GBCF3299.6$68.14
Transcend 1000x 128GBCF12899.5$149.95
Toshiba Exceria Pro 1066x 64GBCF6499.5$63.05
Transcend 1000x 32GBCF3297.0$51.99
Toshiba Exceria 1000x 64GBCF6495.9$52.99
Toshiba Exceria 1000x 32GBCF3294.3$37.95
Kingston Ultimate 600x 32GBCF3293.4$94.83
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 32GBSD3271.8$49.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 64GBSD6471.7$41.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s microSDXC 64GBmicroSD6471.7$54.78
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 128GBSD12871.4$63.49
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 32GBSD3271.2$28.99
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 64GBSD6470.8$34.95
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s microSDHC 32GBmicroSD3270.8$30.99
Toshiba Exceria Type 1 32GBSD3270.0$137.68
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 32GBSD3269.4$21.95
Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II 32GBSD3269.2$149.99
Transcend 95/85 MB/s U3 32GBSD3268.5$29.99
Gobe Magic 104MB/s 32GBSD3268.4$59.95
Gobe Magic 104MB/s 64GBSD6468.3$145.99
Transcend R95 W85 U3 64GBSD6467.9$60.99
Sony 95MB/s U3 64GBSD6467.9$44.95
Samsung PRO 64GBSD6467.7$49.99
SanDisk Extreme 80MB/s 128GBSD12867.3$89.18
Kingston Class 10 UHS-I 64GBSD6467.0$30.95
Sony 95MB/s U3 32GBSD3266.8$29.99
Samsung PRO 32GBSD3266.7$31.72
SanDisk Extreme 80MB/s 256GBSD25665.6$152.22
Lexar Professional 800x 64GBCF6464.6$72.95
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 32GBSD3262.5$23.26
SanDisk Extreme 120MB/s 32GBCF3260.2$31.67
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 128GBSD12859.4$83.95
Lexar Professional 633x U3 64GBSD6455.4$39.98
Lexar Professional 600x 64GBSD6454.9$46.75
Transcend 95/60 MB/s U3 64GBSD6454.7$40.99
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s microSD 32GBmicroSD3254.5$34.99
Transcend 600x 64GBSD6454.0$39.97
PNY Elite Performance U1 64GBSD6453.9$39.99
Sony 94MB/s 32GBSD3253.3$26.29
Toshiba Exceria Type 2 32GBSD3252.9$173.88
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s 64GBSD6451.6$3607.60
Toshiba Exceria UHS-I Class 3 32GBSD3250.8$35.74
Toshiba Exceria UHS-I Class 3 64GBSD6450.7$32.09
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s 32GBSD3250.5$134.99
SanDisk Extreme U3 microSD 64GBmicroSD6447.8$38.99
SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s 32GBSD3247.0$29.44
SanDisk Extreme U3 microSD 32GBmicroSD3246.5$19.99
SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s 64GBSD6445.2$49.99
Lexar Professional 633x U3 32GBSD3242.4$39.95
Lexar Professional 600x 32GBSD3242.0$36.98
Kingston Ultimate 32GBSD3241.3$18.00
Lexar Professional 800x 32GBCF3240.4$30.63
SanDisk Extreme 45MB/s 32GBSD3239.0$22.95
SanDisk Extreme Pro 280MB/s UHS-II 32GBSD3238.9$140.00
Panasonic Gold Series 32GBSD3238.3$69.99
Lexar Professional 400x 32GBSD3237.8$253.99
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 64GBSD6436.5$34.99
Transcend 600x 32GBSD3234.6$20.99
PNY Elite Performance U1 32GBSD3234.2$19.99
Panasonic MicroP2 UHS-II 32GBSD3232.5$199.95
SanDisk Ultra 50MB/s 32GBCF3231.9$26.10
Samsung EVO 32GBSD3219.6$19.95
SanDisk Ultra 40MB/s 32GB Card 2SD3218.4$14.90
SanDisk Ultra 40MB/s 64GBSD6414.3$26.39
SanDisk Ultra microSD 64GBmicroSD6414.1$24.99
SanDisk Ultra microSD 32GBmicroSD3213.5$13.99
Toshiba FlashAir II 32GBSD3212.2$59.94
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 32GBSD3210.9$54.99

Canon 5Ds Continuous Shooting

The 5Ds continuous shooting results show the number of images taken in 30 seconds, not including the buffer clearing or write time. This test uses three different image modes: RAW+JPEG, RAW, and JPEG. The JPEG setting is large, high quality. The camera is set to continuous high release drive mode. The subject is a detailed test scene. Average RAW file size is 75.6 MB. Average JPEG file size is 25.9 MB.

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Memory CardCard
Type
Size
(GB)
Continuous Shooting – Images in 30 SecondsLowest
Price
RAW+JPEGRAWJPEG
Lexar Professional 1066x 32GBCF324252102$32.66
PixelFlash SuperSport 1000X-PRO 128GBCF1284152102$112.07
Komputerbay 1066x 128GBCF1284152102$91.99
Lexar Professional 1066x 128GBCF1284152102$109.95
Lexar Professional 1066x 64GBCF644152102$59.95
Toshiba Exceria Pro 1066x 64GBCF644051102$63.05
Toshiba Exceria Pro 1066x 32GBCF324051102$68.14
Transcend 1000x 32GBCF324051101$51.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 160MB/s 64GBCF644051101$79.10
SanDisk Extreme Pro 160MB/s 32GBCF324051101$47.95
Kingston Ultimate 600x 32GBCF324049101$94.83
Toshiba Exceria 1000x 32GBCF323950102$37.95
Toshiba Exceria 1000x 64GBCF643750101$52.99
Transcend 1000x 128GBCF1283651102$149.95
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 32GBSD323240102$49.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 32GBSD323240102$28.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 128GBSD1283240101$63.49
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s microSDXC 64GBmicroSD643240101$54.78
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s microSDHC 32GBmicroSD323240101$30.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 64GBSD643240101$41.99
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 64GBSD643240100$34.95
Toshiba Exceria Type 1 32GBSD32324099$137.68
Toshiba Exceria Pro UHS-II 32GBSD32324099$149.99
Kingston U3 90/80 MB/s 32GBSD32324099$21.95
Samsung PRO 32GBSD32323996$31.72
Gobe Magic 104MB/s 32GBSD32323996$59.95
Kingston Class 10 UHS-I 64GBSD64323995$30.95
Samsung PRO 64GBSD64323995$49.99
Transcend R95 W85 U3 64GBSD64323995$60.99
Gobe Magic 104MB/s 64GBSD64323995$145.99
Transcend 95/85 MB/s U3 32GBSD32323995$29.99
Sony 95MB/s U3 32GBSD32323994$29.99
Sony 95MB/s U3 64GBSD64314093$44.95
SanDisk Extreme 80MB/s 128GBSD128314093$89.18
SanDisk Extreme 80MB/s 256GBSD256303993$152.22
Lexar Professional 800x 64GBCF64303893$72.95
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 32GBSD32303890$23.26
Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 128GBSD128303686$83.95
SanDisk Extreme 120MB/s 32GBCF32293787$31.67
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s microSD 32GBmicroSD32283581$34.99
Lexar Professional 633x U3 64GBSD64283581$39.98
Lexar Professional 600x 64GBSD64283579$46.75
Transcend 95/60 MB/s U3 64GBSD64283579$40.99
Toshiba Exceria Type 2 32GBSD32283479$173.88
Sony 94MB/s 32GBSD32283479$26.29
Transcend 600x 64GBSD64283478$39.97
PNY Elite Performance U1 64GBSD64283478$39.99
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s 32GBSD32283476$134.99
SanDisk Extreme Plus 80MB/s 64GBSD64263476$3607.60
Toshiba Exceria UHS-I Class 3 64GBSD64263375$32.09
Toshiba Exceria UHS-I Class 3 32GBSD32263375$35.74
SanDisk Extreme U3 microSD 64GBmicroSD64253372$38.99
SanDisk Extreme U3 microSD 32GBmicroSD32253271$19.99
SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s 32GBSD32253269$29.44
SanDisk Extreme 60MB/s 64GBSD64253169$49.99
Lexar Professional 633x U3 32GBSD32253165$39.95
Lexar Professional 600x 32GBSD32253065$36.98
Kingston Ultimate 32GBSD32252965$18.00
SanDisk Extreme 45MB/s 32GBSD32252963$22.95
Lexar Professional 800x 32GBCF32243064$30.63
Lexar Professional 400x 32GBSD32242861$253.99
SanDisk Extreme Pro 280MB/s UHS-II 32GBSD32242861$140.00
Panasonic Gold Series 32GBSD32242861$69.99
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 64GBSD64232758$34.99
Transcend 600x 32GBSD32232756$20.99
PNY Elite Performance U1 32GBSD32232655$19.99
Panasonic MicroP2 UHS-II 32GBSD32222653$199.95
SanDisk Ultra 50MB/s 32GBCF32222653$26.10
Samsung EVO 32GBSD32192242$19.95
SanDisk Ultra 40MB/s 32GB Card 2SD32192238$14.90
SanDisk Ultra 40MB/s 64GBSD64182033$26.39
SanDisk Ultra microSD 64GBmicroSD64182033$24.99
SanDisk Ultra microSD 32GBmicroSD32182031$13.99
Toshiba FlashAir II 32GBSD32171931$59.94
Patriot EP Pro 90MB/s 32GBSD32161929$54.99

Analysis

The Canon 5Ds supports SD cards including UHS-I and CF cards up to UDMA 7. For SD cards, the camera supports the UHS-I SDR104 bus mode, which allows it to support higher SD card write speed compared with the 5D III. It does not support UHS-II, but UHS-II cards can be used in the camera and the cards revert to UHS-I mode. UHS-II cards offer no speed benefit in the camera compared with fast UHS-I cards.

The fastest card type for the 5Ds is CompactFlash. In this camera, CF cards perform faster than SD cards when shooting RAW. In RAW, the fastest CF cards averaged up to 102 MB/s, while SD cards provided up to about 72MB/s average speed during continuous shooting. When shooting JPEG images, both CF and SD cards averaged up to 76MB/s for the fastest cards, the performance was essentially equal between fast SD and CompactFlash cards. With SD cards the average write speed when shooting JPEG appears to be slightly higher than when shooting RAW. These are not a peak write speeds, but the average during extended shooting, including internal delays and processing in the camera.

When buffer capacity is provided in number of shots, its meaning is often misunderstood. It is not a static number because it changes with camera settings, cards write speed (the buffer may be clearing while the camera is still shooting) and image subject. Comparing buffer capacity using the detailed scene in these tests, all cards provided essentially the same number of RAW+JPEG at high frame rate before slowing. Using the most strict method this would be 11 shots, however the delay between shots 12, 13 and 14 only included a few extra hundredths of a second delay, so it might be considered to be 14 shots. The number of shots in RAW mode varied with different speed cards, from 15-18 shots, with faster cards providing more shots because they allow more images to be cleared from the buffer. Again, the last few shots may have had a few extra hundredths of a second separating. In JPEG mode the buffer capacity ranged from 19-31 shots. The number of shots, especially when shooting JPEG, can vary significantly with different image subjects and camera settings. A less detailed subject and/or lower quality JPEG setting can result in more shots. Indeed, shooting at 1/8,000 shutter speed with the lens cap can provide essentially unlimited JPEG shots at full frame rate when using a fast card.

Buffer capacity might also be considered in terms of total size in bytes. For RAW images in these tests, it would be estimated around 1GB using the amount of data cleared after the last shot of a buffer-full continuous shooting burst. This is not actually the internal memory of the camera, which would be larger to accommodate data as it comes off the sensor before it has been processed. This is apparent when looking at JPEG buffer capacity, which indicates a much smaller buffer, or RAW+JPEG which indicates a larger buffer. However, it may be useful to consider this capacity when comparing buffer capacity to other cameras.

In terms of memory card performance, perhaps the most interesting number to consider is the frame rate that can be sustained with the buffer full. This rate depends on card write speed, in fact itcan be calculated by dividing the average write speed by the file size. The rate in fps varies with image subject because the amount of detail affects file size. Using the detailed test scene in these tests, shooting RAW+JPG with the buffer full, the fastest cards provide up to 1fps while slow cards straggled to maintain 0.1 fps (101.5 MB of data for each shot writing at 10 MB/s), meaning up to 10 second average shot interval when the buffer is full! Shooting RAW, the rate varied from 1.3 fps for fast cards down to 0.15 fps for the slowest. In JPEG mode the rate ranged from 3 fps for fast cards down to 0.4 fps for slow cards. The shot interval with the buffer full was not constant, two shots would often be taken in fast succession followed by a delay.

One might question whether using two cards would allow more shots during continuous shooting. To test this, the Lexar Professional 1066X 128GB and Lexar 2000x UHS-II 32GB cards were used in the same test setup as in the 30 second continuous shooting test. Shooting RAW+JPEG with the RAW going to the CF card and JPEG to the SD card, the result was the same number of shots as shooting with all images writing to the CF card: 41. Switching to RAW on the SD card and JPEG on the CF, the result was 36 shots. This was more shots than the SD card alone could take, but still less than using the other configuration or the CF card alone. Writing both RAW and JPEG to both cards resulted in 32 shots, the same as when shooting both to the SD card only. Shooting RAW only and writing to both cards resuled in 40 shots, also limited to the same number as the SD card alone would provide. Shooting JPEG to both resulted in 101 shots, practically the same as shooting to only one card. Backup modes appear to have no speed penalty compared to only writing to the SD card, but writing RAW+JPEG to different cards provided no speed benefit.

Fastest CF Cards for the Canon 5Ds

Fastest CF card:
101.6 MB/s write (RAW)
Lexar Professional 1066x CF Card
Lexar Professional 1066x 32GB CF Card
Fastest CF card:
101.6 MB/s write (RAW)
Komputerbay 1066X 128GB CF Card
Komputerbay 1066x 128GB CF Card

The fastest cards for the Canon 5Ds are CompactFlash cards. CF cards allow the highest write speed during continuous shooting (RAW and RAW+JPEG). The Lexar Professional 1066x 32GB CF Card provided the highest write speed of 101.6MB/s average when shooting RAW and edged out the other cards in number of shots in 30 seconds RAW+JPEG shooting (42 vs 41 or lower). The difference between this card and the competition was slight, but repeated in multiple tests. Also performing at 101.6 average speed was the Komputerbay 1066x 128GB CF card. Komputerbay is a lesser-known brand but offers a good value in fast, large capacity fast CF cards. The fastest CF cards from most brands provide the essentially same level of performance in the 5Ds, the small differences seen here could be attributed to sample variation; the write speed appears to be limited to around 100MB/s (average) by the camera rather than the maximum write speed of the card.

Fastest SD Cards for the Canon 5Ds

Fastest UHS-II card:
71.8 MB/s write (RAW)
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II SD Card
Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II SD Card
Fastest UHS-I card:
71.7 MB/s write (RAW)
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I SD Card
SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I SD Card

The fastest SD cards for the Canon 5Ds are the Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II and SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I cards. The Lexar is a UHS-II card, but operates at UHS-I speed in the 5Ds. It does have an advantage if download speed is important. In a UHS-II card reader, this card can sustain transfer speeds above 250MB/s. However, the 5Ds the card operates at UHS-I speed, making the UHS-II card subject to the same limit as the SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-I card. (The SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-II card did not perform as well because it does not support SDR104 UHS-I bus mode.) In terms of price, the SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s UHS-I card is the better value.

In general, SD cards are a good value choice. They are less expensive for a given capacity compared with CF cards. Only the fastest and most expensive CF cards provided the write speed advantage. Many devices have built-in SD card readers, making SD cards more convenient. Some may eschew SD cards for their small size or durability concerns. However in the 5Ds, continuous shooting performance for JPEG was essentially equal between the fastest CF and SD cards. Some SD cards to consider include the Samsung PRO SD cards, Lexar Professional 633x cards and for large capacity, the SanDisk Extreme 80MB/s 128GB and 256GB cards.

Canon 5Ds with USB 3.0 cable in side port with door open

Downloading images from the Canon 5Ds

The 5Ds has a USB 3.0 port that can be used to download images to a computer. Using fast CF and SD cards in the camera, the average speed was calculated transferring 5GB of images from the camera to a SSD drive on a computer. Using the Lexar 1066x 64 GB CF card, the transfer averaged 53.4 MB/s, while the SanDisk Extreme Pro 95MB/s 64GB UHS-I card averaged 65.4 MB/s. These speeds are well above USB 2.0, but far below what is possible using a separate USB 3.0 card reader. Download speeds up to 90 MB/s are possible for UHS-I cards, and 250 MB/s for UHS-II cards. CompactFlash cards can provide up to 140MB/s copying actual RAW files using a USB 3.0 card reader. Additional card reader speed tests are available in the Card Reader Reviews.