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  Kingston 512 MB CompactFlash Card 8/10. Date Posted 19/10/2002. by Saeed Amen.

Up until a few years ago the only way you could store 512MB or 1GB using a MicroDrive. Now we have ordinary CompactFlash cards boasting these sorts of capacities. Not only are CompactFlash cards thinner, but they have no moving parts. As a result they should be more reliable and use less power. However, I am not sure whether these CompactFlash cards could match a MicroDrive for speed - that would require a side by side test. I tested this 512MB card in a Nikon Coolpix 5000. At 200 pounds the card is not cheap, but seems better value than other CompactFlash cards around. What you do get is the ability to store 200 photos (in fine mode) on my camera or 30 (in uncompressed TIFF mode). The ability to take as many pictures as you like is great. Recording a 1.5MB fine picture takes about 2-3 seconds depending on the complexity of the picture.

However, it is not really practical to store 20MB uncompressed photos, unless your camera has a huge buffer or you do not need to take photos in rapid succession. Although there is the space, it still takes 15-25 seconds on my camera to write the photo. But it's nice to know you still have the option of storing uncompressed pictures. If you are using this card in MP3 players, the data transfer time won't be as important, since you won't be writing on the card all the time. Just as a test I put the CompactFlash card in my laptop and managed to copy 74.5MB of data in 2 minutes 45 seconds.

Whether you need this 512MB CompactFlash card will depend on what you use it for. This card is expensive but you get what you pay for. If you can't quite stretch to this 512MB card, the Kingston 256MB CompactFlash card seems a lot better value costing 122 dollars (c. 80 pounds). Also being CompactFlash format, it works in many devices so you should get a lot of worthwhile use out of it. One thing to note, if you do buy this CompactFlash card, make sure your camera or MP3 player has a decent battery! The whole point of having a card like this is so you can take pictures (or listen to music for several days) without having access to a charger or computer.