New kid on the block FreeTail recently sent us some of their EVOKE compact flash cards to review and we’re going to kick things off with the 256Gb capacity UDMA-7 1066x Card. Assisting us in examining this card is a member of the staff at KPG creative.
Evoke 256Gb 1066x Overview
The packaging is minimal including the card, a blister pack and an insert. The drive is marked with it’s capacity and nothing else(speed would be a welcome addition). There’s nothing of interest printed on the insert beyond the brand name. The drive does include a standard protective case and is a faint gold color as well as the EVOKE name. This style of packing indicates a focus on the product itself over all else in this instance.
Performance testing was done using a Lexar Professional Workflow CF card reader(review coming soon) In conjunction with the Thinkpad S1 Yoga used for most of our USB testing.
Starting with crystal disk mark we see the card approaching the interface limit of UDMA7. UDMA7 is capable of a maximum of 166.6 MB/s and we see reads of 153.7 at peak and writes peaking at 139.9 an excellent start.
IOmeter a tool in our SSD testing comes in handy here as well allowing us to test extended read and write sequences on the card. The 256Gb Evoke 1066 card does well here with only one small hiccup appearing for a single datapoint on reads. Writes stay comfortably above 60MB/s we see the same single interruption happening after about 70Gb worth of writes.
Real world performance
To better gauge the effects of this performance in the real world we have setup a standard test procedure we will use with CF cards going forward. The card was installed in a cannon 5D MK III camera with the latest firmware and allowed to be formatted by the camera. RAW pictures were taken for a full 30 seconds and then the buffer in the camera was allowed to empty. Video of this is recorded by another camera resulting in the video we have below.
Taking a look at the video although difficult to see we can hear the shutter on each shot. The initial rapid burst gives way after a few seconds to a rapid but consistent tempo. looking at things on a frame by frame level at the end we can calculate that the buffer takes 2.83 seconds(85 frames at 30FPS) to empty. This card should have no trouble keeping up with rapid photography and has no issues emptying the buffer on the 5D in less time than it should take to setup the next shot.
This is a relatively simple chart but there’s a lot going on, all of it good. The first 5 seconds of this chart show the buffer filling(it’s completely full at 4 seconds after 21 photos) and the transition to shots directly to the card which continues at a steady 3 shots per second. At the end of our 30 second test period the card has recorded a staggering 99 photos.
With the 1066x variant of the Evoke Freetail has a CF card that simply doesn’t quit. Recording nearly 100 photos in a 30 second test window is an impressive achievement considering the massive 20MP sensor used by Cannon in the 5D mk III. The card was officially launched on Amazon today and it appears to be priced competitively at 240.99. Other UDMA-7 cards in this size class cost more across the board leaving the 256Gb evoke a compelling option that I have no hesitation suggesting for professional shooting on CF. Is FreeTail too late to compete with established compact flash brands?? Did we completely miss something that you’re curious about with our testing? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, or Facebook. And don’t forget that you can support us on Patreon to help us continue to bring you high quality reviews as well as access to. early news and input on reviews to come.