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Nikon D500 memory cards - XQD question

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#1 kirstyA00


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Posted 24 February 2018 - 04:58 AM



I've recently upgraded to a Nikon D500 so now have an XQD card as well as SD.  My previous camera had 2 SD card slots and I would often use the 2nd card as back-up, sometimes overflow.  With the XQD, how should I use the SD card?  Is it still sensible to use as back-up or would I lose some of the speed writing benefit of the XQD?


Thanks in advance :)

#2 MarkD



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Posted 24 February 2018 - 09:35 AM

Hi Kirsty,

Welcome to Wetpixel. Like you, I have usually used the second slot for backup. With the D500, in this configuration write speed is limited by the slower card i.e. the SD slot. For most underwater shooting, the large buffer and the limitation of strobe recycle time on high speed shooting bursts means that the SD card write time isn't a real limitation. However, there could be occasions when shooting longer bursts of fast action, using natural light or possibly low strobe power mean that you would like to clear the buffer as quickly as possible. Usually these situations would be predictable and it's easy to switch second slot function on the fly. If needed you could then back up to the SD card  in retrospect. I don't think there's a right answer to how to configure the slots on a D500 - it depends on your shooting preferences. Life just got a bit more complicated compared with the D7200.

Of course the advantage of an XQD card isn't just write speed. Read speed is also potentially higher so uploading images should be faster as long as you don't have a bottleneck somewhere else in your system.


#3 Larry C

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 10:12 AM

With my D300 and with my D500, I have always used the second card for overflow.  In twelve years shooting underwater, I've never needed a backup card and I typically shoot over a hundred shots per dive on at least 100 dives per year.  I've found the overflow much more useful for topside shooting, where I might shoot 1000 high speed shots at a motorcycle race or while whale watching and them cull out 900 of them.  Video also makes for full cards, although with a 64 gig XQD, I've yet to come close.

D500 NA-D500, D300 MDX-D300, 2X YS-D1, Tokina 10-17, Nikon 60AF D, Nikon 105mm AF-D, Nikon 35mm f2.0, L & M Sola 800/1200

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#4 TimG


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Posted 24 February 2018 - 11:33 AM

Hi Kirsty


I think how you use the second card is very much personal preference. I use mine for backup. I'm using 64GB cards and get around 1200 shots on the card so haven't needed overflow so far. 


But I think you are right, if you use the SD for backup it does slow down the XQD card slightly if its not a fast SD card. I've just used my D500 on its first dive trip quite recently and used a Lexar 2933x XQD card and a Sandisk Extreme 30MB/s SD card. There was a delay when the SD card was in the drive - which didn't happen if I removed it. I couldn't say the delay was signifiant but it was noticeable.


On return I switched to a Lexar 2000x 300MBs SD card and that is much faster and there is now no noticeable lag.

(PADI IDC Staff Instructor and former Dive Manager, KBR Lembeh Straits)
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#5 Alex_Mustard


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Posted 27 February 2018 - 12:55 AM

I've always used the second slot as overflow. The main use, however, is when I forget to put the first card back in after downloading. So I have a rule to never take out the second card, so it is always ready for mistakes!

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Nikon D5 (Subal housing). Nikon D7200 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).

#6 JamesR


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Posted 04 March 2018 - 08:17 PM

Usually overflow as well, but sometimes an Eyefi card to let me grab images to my phone for a quick share. Won’t need it with the new body bc it has Wifi, so back to overflow only.


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#7 adamhanlon


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Posted 05 March 2018 - 12:45 PM

I'm with Alex on this.


I write to XQD and use the SD card for backup.


I also never remove the SD, so I know that I always have at least one card on the go!



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#8 Alex_Mustard


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Posted 06 March 2018 - 02:51 AM

One thing to watch with XQD is compatibility between cards and readers. The card reader that came with my D5 is for G Series cards and won't read my older cards from D4 which are H series. Something to be aware of if buying secondhand cards. There is no issue with using these cards in any of the cameras. 




I don't know what the M stands for on the lefthand card below (but it does work with the G series card reader)






Alexander Mustard - www.amustard.com - www.magic-filters.com
Nikon D5 (Subal housing). Nikon D7200 (Subal housing). Olympus EPL-5 (Nauticam housing).