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Sandisk Memory Cards Taken to "Extremes"

Extreme flash cards capture images in oppressive heat and sub-zero cold (July 20, 2004)

From the searing heat of the Sahara Desert to the piercing cold of the North Pole, two recent American expeditions have demonstrated that SanDisk's Extreme line of digital photographic flash memory cards can withstand brutal temperatures to safeguard precious images, even when humans are pushed to the limits of physical endurance.

Designed for harsh weather and rapid-fire shooting, SanDisk Extreme cards, with their rugged construction and fast write and read speeds, have become the flash memory cards of choice for many outdoor photographers and adventurers. They have been tested to operate in climates that range from a low of -13 degrees Fahrenheit (-25 degrees Centigrade) to a high of +185 degrees Fahrenheit (+85 degrees Centigrade). But in the past two months, they have been subjected to some truly "extreme" environments.

Recently, SanDisk Extreme CompactFlash cards accompanied a group that journeyed by foot and by camel across a desolate, wind-swept section of the Sahara in Libya, becoming the first American trekkers to re-enter that country since the U.S. and Libyan governments restored relations and began lifting travel restrictions. The trip was organized by Richard Bangs, 53, internationally renowned guide, adventurer and author who oversees a travel website for Microsoft and produces video content for MSNBC. He was joined by John Canning, 36, a freelance photojournalist who served as the group's official photographer.

Bangs, Canning and two others completed the five-day trek, suffering from heat exhaustion and a variety of other ailments. At times they stumbled across baking earth that measured 136 degrees Fahrenheit, and had to contend with scorpions, snakes and sandstorms. Originally the starting group numbered 10, but six dropped out during the course of the expedition.

In late April, San Francisco Bay Area explorer Wave Vidmar, 39, returned from a 52-day quest to become the first American to ski, hike and swim to the North Pole alone and unsupported. Starting from the Russian coast, he managed nearly 400 miles before he was forced to give up some 260 miles short of his goal, a result of a late start and the early closure of a Russian Polar station that was to be his pickup point. Vidmar endured wind-blown storms, bone-chilling temperatures of -57 degrees Fahrenheit and a broken ankle that he wrapped with duct tape. Despite experiencing other equipment snafus, Vidmar said that his SanDisk Extreme CompactFlash cards never failed him.

Both expeditions showcased technology. Each night, Vidmar downloaded images from his Nikon Coolpix 3100 and 5400 digital cameras to HP iPaq 5555 and 2115 handheld computers, then transmitted them to his website over a portable Iridium Motorola 9505 satellite phone. On the Sahara mission, Canning shot most of his photography on a Nikon D1x digital SLR camera and, given the heat and constant dust, the Extreme cards were "clearly the way to go," he said. The Sahara exploits are chronicled in a five-part on-line series at and Vidmar's daily diary can be viewed at

Tanya Chuang, SanDisk's product marketing manager for SanDisk Extreme and SanDisk Ultra II cards, said, "It's one thing for a flash memory card manufacturer to quote specifications based on laboratory testing, but it's another thing to have them validated in the field, where conditions can change constantly."

SanDisk's Extreme cards, sold at photo specialty stores and on-line, come in CompactFlash, SD and Memory Stick PRO formats, and range in storage capacity from 256 megabytes to 2 gigabytes. They feature RescuePRO software to recover accidentally deleted images.

About SanDisk
SanDisk Corporation (NASDAQ:SNDK), the world's largest supplier of flash memory data storage card products, designs, manufactures and markets industry-standard, solid-state data, digital imaging and audio storage products using its patented, high density flash memory and controller technology. SanDisk is based in Sunnyvale, Calif.

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