Hoodman Review – CompactFlash Cards and Other Gadgets

Hoodman CompactFlash Memory Cards

  • Available in on the Hoodman site – $49 and up
    • Check the latest prices on Hoodman for 4 GB to 32 GB and beyond???
    • Note: These cards are more expensive than comparable cards, but you get what you pay for… see the review below

Hoodman Review

Hoodman makes all kinds of stuff, but I know them most for their memory cards and their HoodLoupe.  I’ll discuss both here briefly.

Hoodman CompactFlash Memory Card Review

Okay.  These cards are awesome.  I use them now, and you know that I only review stuff that I use.  You won’t see any reviews here for Lexar or SanDisk or any of the others… they just don’t stack up.

In fact, I went through a number of years before I really started to care much about the manufacturers of the cards.  This is kind of embarrassing to admit now, but it is true.  I started paying attention as soon as my Lexar card failed during a very important photoshoot in New Zealand.  All.  Data.  Gone.

I sent out  a Tweet about this, and then, all of a sudden, all of my smart photographer-friends in-the-know told me I really need to check out Hoodman.  And now I see why!

These cards are fast – rocket-fast.  I should call Schrödinger’s card, since they seem to actually have the photo inside of them before I even look.

The cards I use are RAW @ 675X 100 MB/second.  This is supposed to be faster than all other manufacturers, and this certainly does seem to hold true!

Hoodman Failure Rate

Here is an amazing stat I saw on their website.  They have had ZERO failures worldwide in 3 years and counting.  I can only assume they are not lying… since it’s hard to lie about that sort of thing on the internet nowadays.  I know none of mine have failed yet!

This is a big deal, actually.  You don’t realize how life-crushing it can be to lose a card’s worth of data.  You never will see the exact same thing again, so it’s like that moment is lost forever.  If you are like me, and each click of the shutter is a very personal thing, then losing all of that info because of a bad card can be a real heartbreaker.

I’ve heard that some other manufacturers have awful quality control when it comes to checking their products.  Some of these Chinese companies will open up the factories “after hours” to go in and use spare/rejected parts to make new cards, which they sell on the grey market.  Some of those products get mixed into the “good” products here in the states and consumers have no idea.

HoodLoupe Review

Available in on the Hoodman site – $79

I also have a HoodLoupe that I carry around.  This is a small rubber eyepiece that creates a “mobile darkroom” so you can look at your LCD with perfect lighting.  It also magnifies a bit, which is useful even though my eyesight is pretty good.

In practice, I’ve found this device to be quite handy.  Of course, it is really only useful in the daytime or at sunset, when you are dealing with a bright sun that makes your LCD as useless as using a computer outside!  The loupe itself is kind of big, so it is not exactly a compact thing that you can hideaway.  It has a lanyard attached, so you can hang it around your neck.  It does look a little bit dorky, I gotta admit…  but, I don’t really care about that sort of thing.  I’m already carrying around a serious camera, so this only increases my dorkitude by 5%.

I often show this thing off to friends when they are nearby.  The universal reaction is “I gotta get one!” — and that is cool…  anyway, I certainly recommend this.  It’s not a “must-have”, but it is certainly a “really-cool-to-have”!

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  • http://timtyson.us Tim

    I had a 16GB Hoodman memory card fail. So it’s not zero. But, since I live just a few miles away, I drove to their facility and they replaced it after confirming it had inexplicably died. They said that failure ware typically a result of physical damage, which mine did not have. They couldn’t have been nicer. I love their products!!

  • http://amusingfool.blogspot.com/ AMusingFool

    My wife and I went on our honeymoon with three memory cards for my camera. One of those was a large (at the time), brand-new (literally; it arrived in the mail one day before we left) card, and several small no-name cards. We were at Versailles during the trip when the big card, mostly full, just died. The only good thing about it was that my laptop was at the hotel, and I was able to write a perl script to rescue most of the pictures that night. But the card lost close to half its capacity, and I had to ration my pictures the rest of that day. (Plus, I did lose some of the pictures.) Ugh!

  • joe l

    Just wondering, the hoodman loupe is pretty useless to somebody who has to was glasses/spectacles, right?

  • George

    Joe l the Hoodman has a diopter which is */- 3 and is fine for me.

  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Stuck In Customs

    Thanks — Joe – yeah I wear glasses and it still works just fine.

  • http://www.robertwicker.com Wicker

    Joe and Scott:
    Go to the Hoodman site and check out PhotoFrames, you will love them. They are glasses built for photographers.

  • http://www.robertwicker.com Wicker

    oops!! I meant Joe and Trey..

  • http://lightningpaul.shutterchance.com LightningPaul

    Many thanks for the tips regarding the CF cards. Looks good but a bit too expensive for me (I’m not a Pro).

  • http://canid.com/ Eric

    More interesting to me than a “zero failure” rate–which Tim has shown to be more marketing hyberbole than fact–would be how many cards they have in use. I suspect that Hoodman’s cards make up just a teeny-tiny percentage of all cards used. I suspect that many more Sandisk and Lexar cards have been used without failure than Hoodman has even manufactured.

    I’m not trying to bash Hoodman. I have their loupe. I have their eyecups for my cameras. Both are fantastic products. I have no doubt that their memory cards are good, too. Zero failure? That leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Nothing is perfect, regardless of what their sales and marketing departments want you to believe.


  • http://www.stuckincustoms.com Stuck In Customs

    Thanks all – yes it could be hyperbole… I agree they are a VERY small player…. their total market share is not a big concern of mine though. I’ve been using their cards now for a bit and I have had no probs.

  • Jessica

    There is no question that Hoodman makes great products. My Eye Cup really helps block out light (and prevents me from smashing my long eyelashes against the camera), it is also nice that the Eye Cup can attach to the Loupe. As for the Loupe, yes it is a bit dorky to hang around your neck, but Hoodman just released a new product- the Hood Crane. It has made it easier for me to use my Loupe since it attaches to my camera’s hot shoe and can easily be rotated out of the way. As Trey said, you already look dorky with big equipment and lots of accessories, so if an extra product or two helps… why not!

  • http://www.clarityphotos.com Eugene Stevens

    I had issues with my first Hoodman 16 gig card which finally totally failed and I returned it to them. Hoodman replaced the card and between Tim (above) and I, two of their cards have failed. I have not gone to see to their web site to see if they have amended their statement of Zero failures. Additionally, while the card is fast (downloading images to my computer around 22mb/sec), my Lexar 16 gig card clocks in at 30mb/second. Amazon has the 16 Gig cards from Lexar at $102 today. They also have the Hoodman card for $299. Having both I use both cards; however, if I were to purchase a 4th 16 Gig card it would be another Lexar.

  • http://www.ggranvik.no Geir

    If one uses the SLR for video as well, as I do, a device like the Hoodman Loupe is almost essential. Filming with the camera held out from the body to be able to look at the screen is extremely akward, particularly if you are trying to follow a moving target. Much better to use a Hoodman or similar to convert the LCD screen into a finder, although for the Hoodman you have to figure out some way to attach it to the camera (I use rubber band and velcro…), since it obviously wasn’t designed with this use in mind. But with the extra magnifier as well, it makes a fantastic finder!

  • Ryan

    I am a Sandisk Extreme guy. One thing I have recently noticed is not to believe the Class system anymore… as far as a 100mb transfer I would like to see back up info on that. My Extreme states and has backed up its statement of 30 mb/s which for me and my wee little 5000 is enough. I only get about 12 raw shots before the buffer is out.. but thats also with .jpg copies being thrown into the mix too.

    No problems with the Sandisk Extreme and if it did fail they claim they will replace and do their best with Data Recovery to get your shots back. I havn’t found that on hoodman’s site yet… I am sure they are nice but with the pricing being the same I would rather stick with the Big Guy’s guarantee over the little guy.

  • http://www.learningtosee.net.au rob van Koesveld

    I’m getting an error message when I use the links above

  • Greg

    Trey, the hoodman affiliate links are broken.

  • http://www.clarityphotos.smugmug.com Eugene Stevens

    The links to the hoodman site are working at this time. They continue to claim zero failures; however, they did replace mine that failed within two weeks of first use more than 8 months ago. While their car is fast as I indicated above, the Lexar was faster on my system and I did purchase another Lexar 16 gig card at a far cheaper price.

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  • http://www.clarityphotos.smugmug.com Eugene Stevens

    They have changed their web site and their no questions return policy is predominantly displayed. I did not see anything stating zero failures on their CF cards. I have made three hoodman purchases (loop, eye cup, and CF 16 (which they replaced) and I am satisfied with their products. Just remember that any electronic product can fail (CF card, Mass storage device etc. – even Drobo) and behave accordingly (backup frequently and to multiple devices).

  • http://interactive.mugglenet.com/temps/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=272015 Marin Matthes

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  • Jay

    After a year of working great, my 16GB CF failed as soon as we got home from a big family vacation, and I unfortunately lost all my pictures. Their customer service was great, however – they tried to recover the photos, and are replacing the card. So while I appreciate all that on their part, that’s 3…

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  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YUJTO7W7SOVMO6P6W2TJKNVEMA David

    I’m sorry, but I have to disagree with this review. The Hoodman SD cards are not better than SanDisk’s Extremes and they cost twice as much. If the performance of the Hoodman card was twice as good as the SanDisk, then one would get what they pay for.

    I have used SanDisk SD cards for years and have yet to have one fail. In addition, I also never take an untested card(s) to shoot photos or to go on vacation, nor do I ever use a card that is over two years old. 

    The other problem I have with Hoodman is that they are another third-party manufacturer of camera gear that does not make products for Pentax cameras. Not all of us shoot Nikon or Canon.

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  • http://twitter.com/davidandjoseph David Abarca

    David… The review is for CompactFlash Memory Card, not SD card. I supposed that you know what I am talking about.

  • http://www.facebook.com/boofage David Mullin

    I bit the bullet and forked over $150 for the Hoodman 16GB CF card based partly on your review above. It worked with no problems all through the G+ Photographer’s Conference, but on the day of my daughter’s 8th Grade graduation, the card failed. I had taken some pre-ceremony portraits of her and then at the school, I was taking some shots of the crowd, stage, etc. and I got the blue screen of death for cameras. It said my card had failed and I needed to reformat. I made the decision to reformat and capture the ceremony since that is once in a lifetime, but the portraits are gone forever.

    I contacted Hoodman and they had me send the card in to see if they could recover the photos. So far, no luck. They sent me a replacement card, and as soon as I put it in my camera and tried to format it, my camera said I could not format the card and to replace it. I’m sending this one back as well. $150 down the drain. (I did try a SanDisk card just to make sure it wasn’t my camera and it worked fine).

    I’m sending this second card back and not really interested in another replacement. This entire experience has been a nightmare, so I’m sorry, I cannot agree with the review above.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joel-Marie-Avianna/1622871450 Joel Marie Avianna

    Lol. Something else to add to my amazon wish list.

  • Ken Pugh

    HoodLoupe – Having bought five of these the last few years, I am disappointed your review doesn’t fully review this product. I currently have three. The other two “disappeared’ when various parts of the lanyard broke or slipped off the main housing. At $120 a pop (Grossly overpriced for a $12 manufactures cost item) I feel a bit ripped off. My other three have been modified. I tossed out the rubber thingy and lanyard and replaced them with a jackstrap and a more solid lanyard and key ring available anywhere keys are sold.

  • Nicolaas de Bruin-photography

    I have 2 hoodman CF cards FAIL out of 2!!! that is a 100 percent failure rate to me!!!! and ridiculous !!!!

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