Last week I posted a field report review of Hoodman’s RAW UDMA high-speed memory cards, and in my report I mentioned that while the cards performed flawlessly for me, and were fast as blazes, I couldn’t find a reason to justify their higher cost vs. similar size and speed Lexar and SanDisk cards (the Hoodman RAW cards run $70 to $80 more per card).
Yesterday, I heard from Lou Schmidt, VP of Marketing over at Hoodman Corporation, who sent this response to my review. I’m publishing his comments in their entirety below, but to cut to the chase, I called out in red why they’re more expensive, which told me exactly why they’re worth every extra penny. Here’s what Lou had to say:
“Thanks for the fine review of our Hoodman RAW CF cardsâ¦ Thanks too for giving us the opportunity to explain why our customers are willing to pay more for Hoodman RAW memory cards. The RAW line has been in the marketplace for 18 months world wide and we have had ZERO in-field failures. Hoodman RAW is manufactured in Silicon Valley and is the only CF card built in the USA.
Both Sandisk and Lexar memory cards are built in ASIA in huge quantities to support the mass merchant marketâ¦ Huge production will give you economies of scale which will allow you to lower your price, but there is a significant draw back to huge production runsâ¦ FAILURE RATES â¦which are tracking between 3 to 5% for mass merchant card makers. .
Professional photographers will not see mass merchant card makers supporting educational functions like Photoshop World or regional or national PPA shows because they are mass merchant card makers who can live with a 3 to 5 % failure rate. Which Pro will want to be the 3 -5% failure guy??? Hoodman has just completed exhibiting at 10 shows since January. Hoodman is pleased to give back by supporting educational programs in photography at the national, regional and dealer levels.
â¦ Mass merchant card makers have always played the price game and continue to dump their cards in the marketplace because they are no longer selling well in the Photo Dealer Channel.
Hoodman customer service is manned from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday with live, helpful peopleâ¦ our competitors service systems will send you into endless voicemail loupes and make you wait 2 to 5 days for an offshore call center to get back to you; which is not much help when a customer needs answers now.
Yes, Hoodman RAW does cost moreâ¦ Pros who can afford US built reliability and do not see memory as a commodity will continue to buy Hoodman RAW because they know us and see us doing our best to make the products that make their jobs easier.
Thanks for your time and efforts to understand the value a RAW memory card offers to the purchaser” –Lou Schmidt, Hoodman Corporation
I agree with Lou 120%! I had three Raw cards, which I purchased three years ago, along with my Canon SX200IS camera. They were the plastic versions, and I used them extensively in three of my cameras, while traveling the world. One I used exclusively for underwater photography. No complaints with performance; they were super fast and outstanding. I did have a problem with the edges of the cards delaminating though. I happen to live just a mile or two from Hoodman’s offices. I called, took the cards in, was given three new Raw Steel cards to replace my old ones–But here’s the difference between these guys and the rest of the industry; they took my old cards and backed them up onto CDs for me, NO CHARGE! Even recovered some images and many videos which I had trouble downloading onto my computer. Hoodman Raw products, Lou Schmidt, and his entire staff are top-notch, and the only company I’ll deal with. -Michael Elkins, avid photographer and Raw fan
Brad and Scott can you update this for 2013? How are the failure rates since this post?
Did a shoot yesterday at short notice and didn’t have laptop with me to offload from my Hoodman cards as an hour’s work turned into a 5 hour shoot + some video too. So I had to use a Sandisk card for last few shots. Sadly as seems typical with Sandisk, it is flakey and won’t copy to my computer. Not only that, when a Sandisk card failed last year at the key point of a documentary, Sandisk despite promoting their crappy products as professional didn’t want anything to do with it. And it wasn’t the only one, as two others died or corrupted on that shoot as well.
I was loathe to use them at all as I’d had issues with them in the past, but my main camera man only had Sandisk cards.