Just before I flew to Iceland, SanDisk Europe sent me their 128 GB SanDisk Extreme Pro SD and microSD cards to test out in the harsh conditions we’d surely encounter. It was like the project I completed with them back in May, when I tested out the Extreme 510 Portable SSD hard drive in the Faroe Islands.
As luck would have it, nearly all our workshop participants were using these same memory cards. I was able to make my own observations and collect worst-case-scenario intel throughout the week.
About the SanDisk Extreme Pro SD and Micro SD cards
SanDisk has two different versions of the Extreme Pro SD memory cards. The standard UHS-1 card, which comes in 32, 64, 128, 256, and 512 GB formats, delivers an impressive 95 MB/s transfer speed. The UHS-II card, which comes 32, 64, and 128 GB formats, records an insane 300 MB/s transfer speed. Both are designed for professions using high MP cameras and they’re built for the rigors of daily shooting.
While any SD card is relatively secure, these SanDisk Extreme Pro SD cards are built for harsh environments like we found in Iceland. SanDisk claims they’re shockproof, temperature-proof, waterproof, and x-ray proof.
We didn’t have time to test all these features; however, we did put them through quite the ordeal.
How the SanDisk Extreme Pro SD and Micro SD cards performed in Iceland
As I alluded to at the start of this blog post, we put these memory cards through several worst-case-scenario moments while touring Iceland. Our workshop kicked off in Reykjavik, before traveling north west to the Snaefellsness Peninsula. After two days photographing its rugged coastline and the dramatic Kirkjufellsfoss area, we returned south to Thingvellir and the iconic South Coast.
We photographed all the classic locations: Kirkjufellsfoss, Skogafoss, Seljelandsfoss, Vik’s black sand beaches, and Jokulsarlon (glacier lagoon), along with plenty of other photo-worthy locations.
Throughout the trip, we had some stunning weather. Sunshine and clear skies stuck around just long enough that we all considered ourselves lucky; however, this is Iceland. Heavy winds kicked up, tossing salt water, black sand, and a certain car door through the air. Rain accompanied the wind, too, soaking our camera gear and chilling our bodies and we battled to continue shooting. I’d call these regular shooting conditions for the North Atlantic and it’s not unlike what we encountered in the Faroe Islands while field testing the Extreme 510 SSD hard drives.
We decided to take things a step further.
Worst Case Scenario while using a SanDisk Extreme Pro SD and microSD card
Incident 1: The Kirkjufellsfoss Nightmare
It was just the second day of our workshop and the end of our first day in the field. We saved the best location for sunset. Kirkjufellsfoss is easily one of the most recognizable landscapes in Iceland and we arrived thirty minutes before a stunning sunset.
Unfortunately, a workshop participant ran into some bad luck while composing a shot. Long story short, the camera and lens ended up beneath the waterfall rather than secured on his tripod.
After a couple days, we learned that the camera and lens didn’t survive the swim; however, he’d been shooting on a SanDisk Extreme Pro microSD card in the SD adapter and his images from the entire visit were safe.
Incident 2 – The Rogue Wave Riptide
On the final sunset shoot, we were on the black sand beach that is just minutes away from Vik. We felt brave, too, so we set up too close to the breaking waves.
A rogue wave came in and absolutely soaked us all as we scrambled safely away with out tripods and cameras. Unfortunately, a tripod fell over during our scramble and a Sony a7rii and 70-200 mm lens plunged into the ocean.
Somehow – miraculously – the camera and lens both survived the ocean swim. After two days on rice, the camera seemed to be working just fine. The images, all stored on a SanDisk Extreme Pro SD card were safe, too.
Conclusion About the SanDisk Extreme Pro SD and microSD cards
I currently shoot a Sony a7rii, which has a single SD port. When I am shooting in the field, I don’t have a backup. It’s critical to use a memory card that I can rely on. I have a handful of the 128 Gb 95 MB/s, which I use for capturing timelapses, and 32Gb 300 MB/s cards, which I use for daily shooting and capturing 4K video.
Since I first started using digital cameras, I’ve used SanDisk products and the new generation Extreme Pro SD and microSD cards provide the peace of mind I require. I’ve yet to find a solution that combines speed, reliability and toughness that can withstand all conditions.