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SanDisk rolls out speedy UHS-II, U3 Extreme Pro SD

Fast cards, ready for some of the hot spring cameras.

Hot on the heels of two high-profile announcements for bandwidth-hogging cameras, SanDisk unveils an Extreme Pro SD card ready for both of them. With a rated burst write speed of 250MB/sec, it's equipped for continuous shooting at maximum speed with the Fujifilm X-T1, and its U3 classification of 30MB/sec sustained transfer makes it suitable for 8-bit 4K video recording with the new Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH4. If you're looking for a speedy download solution to match, SanDisk is also offering a USB 3, UHS-II drive, the appropriately named SanDisk Extreme PRO SD UHS-II Card Reader/Writer.

For the uninitiated, UHS-II cards differ from UHS I cards by the addition of a second set of contacts to provide the extra bandwidth. Sarah Tew/CNET

I have to say, this is where the SD Card Association's byzantine ways may drive you bonkers. For instance, one version of the Toshiba Exceria Pro is UHS-II-interface compliant and write-rated for 240MB/sec, but it's only U1 speed class, which is what used to be called Class 10 before the association introduced UHS classifications -- that is, 10MB/sec. So that card is good for burst shooting (where supported) but not for 4K. Kingston, on the other hand, recently announced a UHS-I card which maxes out at a rated 80MB/sec write, which is only the fast side of middle speeds for continuous shooting, but it's U3 rated, so it's OK for 4K video. If anyone asks me for a simple recommendation on a "fast" SD card I think my head will explode. Each card is an icon-fest of absurd proportions.

It's kind of nice that SanDisk's cards are rated highly for both uses. The cards will ship in April in sizes ranging from 16GB ($119.99) to 64GB ($299.99); those prices are a bit expensive compared with current SD cards, but not bad for initial rollouts of new-speed versions. The drive will also ship in April, for $49.99.