The Complete guide to Memory Cards; Which One to Buy?

Confused

Do you get confused over what  type of memory card you need for your digital camera? do you need a CompactFlash or an SD? a 2GB or a 64gb? Perhaps this article may enlighten you a little.

Storing and transferring data

A memory card is a small storage device used for storing and transferring data such as pictures, video and music on small digital devices such as cameras, mobile (cell) phones, video camcorders and laptops. They have a high capacity memory in a very small size.

Although they come in all shapes and sizes they all serve the same purpose and the one you need will depend on the camera you’re using, and even then you may still have a wide choice available to you.

The main types of memory cards

Secure digital (SD):

The  standard SD memory card can often be found quite cheaply online. Although they’re OK for everyday use, they are a little slow by today’s standards and have been largely superseded by the SDHC  (secure digital high capacity). These newer cards have increased speeds (up to 32GB) and a better performance whilst keeping to the previous SD card’s small dimensions.

We now have the latest generation of SD cards in the form of the SDXC ( presumably the XC stands for extra capacity). There are already SDXC cards of 64GB and even 128GB on the market, soon to rise to a whopping 2TB in the not so distant future. Although the prices for these cards are still quite high, we should see prices coming down as more consumer devices become more compatible.

Mini and Micro HD cards and SDHC cards

These offer the same performance and benefits as standard SD cards but in a smaller form and are used on devices such as mobile (cell) phone and car satellite navigation systems.

Compact flash (CF)

CF cards are larger, stronger and more durable than the smaller SD cards. Although some other dslr’s use or have used the compact flash it’s the more professional dslr’s that still maintains support for them. There are only two types of CF cards: type 11 and type 11. The only physical difference being that type 11 is a little thicker than type 1. Although many cameras support both types, almost all conform to type 1 specification.

Ultra Direct Memory Access (UDMA) cards

High performance CompactFlash cards are based on the UDMA technology, the benefits being higher transfer rates to and from the card. All cameras supporting  CompactFlash storage also support the UDMA card.

There’s also another high perfomance CompactFlash card known as the CFast. This card increases storage and has a much faster transfer rate (almost three times faster than the current CF card).

 

xD card

Long used on Fujifilm and Olympus cameras but now these manufacturers are using the SD card along side this format  and now the xD card is finding itself  more and more in the minority.

Memory stick

This is Sony’s very own media format. Although this range continues, Sony have begun to adopt the SD card across a range of it’s products.

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Featured image by Robert S. Donovan

Photographic Blog