Sandisk announces "world's fastest" compact flash cards

When you're a digital camera enthusiast, missing a critical action shot can be embarrassing; but when you are a pro, a missed shot is costly. Sandisk has announced a new line of fast Compact Flash cards that could help eliminate missed shots. The Extreme IV cards will come in 2 to 8 GB sizes and have a top transfer rate of 40 MB/s.

A fast card is obviously useless if there is no way to speedily transfer the pictures to a computer. Sandisk is rolling out two new high-speed readers in Firewire and USB 2.0 formats. Sandisk claims the Firewire reader will transfer close to the theoretical top speed of 40 MB/s.

Modern digital cameras can take amazing pictures with great resolution and color depth, but those pictures take up lots of space. Many professional photographers take pictures in uncompressed RAW format, which makes the file sizes even bigger, sometimes more than 10 MB per picture. Most modern digital cameras have a burst mode that can take several pictures in the row at full resolution. Those pictures fill up an onboard buffer and must be dumped to a Compact Flash card before the camera can take more pictures - which makes the case for faster flash cards.

The Extreme IV line of cards are available immediately starting at $160 for the 2 GB card up to $640 for the 8 GB version. The Firewire reader is priced at $80; the USB 2.0 reader sells for $25.