Choosing A Memory Card For Your Camera
Taking pictures is an exciting hobby. Despite the wonderful array of emotions you’ll get when taking a good picture, there is also the fun component of equipping you trusted camera with all the necessary accessories that make for even better pictures and more convenient use.
We can’t really say that memory cards are just accessories for your camera – rather an essential part of its operation.
So how do you choose the right memory card? Do you go for the biggest capacity or stay in mid-range? What’s the difference between read and write speeds and which one matters the most?
These and other questions we will try to answer in the post below.
First, it’s good to have so many types of memory cards available. And no matter what your exact needs are, you are sure to find something suitable. All you have to do is learn what each particular type offers.
SD (Secure Digital) Cards
SD cards started out with low capacity, going up to only 2 GB. Later SD cards started handling larger capacities. However, these days they are mostly sold with their initial one – that of 2GB.
SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) Cards
First created with the purpose of offering higher capacities than SD cards, SDHC cards came with a maximum capacity of 32 GB. The actual physical size of an SDHC card is the same as that of an SD one – and when it comes to interchangeability all you have to check is if your device supports SDHC format.
SDXC (Secure Digital eXtra Capacity) Cards
Once again, it’s all about capacity and SDXC cards offer one of up to 2TB (Terabytes). These cards would fit into the same slot as your regular SD card, but once again you will need to make sure that your camera supports this format.
CF (Compact Flash) Cards
CF cards focus on offering high capacity and are mostly used in professional cameras or advanced user cameras. As of 2014, two of the biggest camera brands, Canon and Nikon announced the adoption of CF cards in their flagship devices.
Micro SD Cards
Micro SD cards are primarily meant for mobile devices and come with a capacity of up to 2GB, but with smaller dimensions, measuring 15x11x1 mm. For higher capacity, mobile users would go for a Micro SDHC. Similarly to the standard-sized SDHC, this card will allow more storage space, up to 32GB.
In addition to the above-mentioned formats, a number of other camera manufacturers launched their own versions of memory cards, for instance, xD Picture Cards (Fuji Film and Olympus). However, their limited use and decreasing popularity make them more of a legacy than a choice to consider.
What Capacity Should I Choose?
This is a personal question and mostly depends on what plans you have for your digital camera. If you plan to make lots of HD shots and especially HD video –you should consider higher capacities. 10 minutes of HD video may take up to 2 GB of storage space – so a simple SD card may be out of question.
Generally, higher capacity cards will allow you to store more imagery – that’s a very obvious assumption.
However, some users opt for purchasing several lower capacity cards (2GB-4GB) as a precaution in case the card gets damaged. By using two cards, you may lose part of your photos, but at least not your whole library.
Classes Of Memory Cards: Write Speed
Most memory cards belong to one of the four available classes, which determine their write speed.
Class 2 cards come with the write speed of 2MBps and are suitable for standard definition videos and general photography.
Class 4 cards come with the write speed of 4 MBps and support HD video recording.
Class 6 cards come with the write speed of 6 MBps and support Full HD video recording (1080p) and still photography in more high-end compact cameras.
Class 10 cards come with the write speed of 10 MBps and are suitable for professional camcorders, supporting Full HD video and high-resolution still photography.
Write speed determines how quickly the card can “recover” after having new data written onto it. In simple terms, a memory card with a higher speed will allow you to take more shots per a period of time – a feature highly valued in professional photography.
Second to write speed, comes read speed. Read speed determines how fast the data can be transferred from the card onto, for example, your laptop. It’s an important factor to consider, as you wouldn’t want to spend hours in front of your computer screen waiting for your pictures to copy.
Increasing Memory Card Speed
It is recommended that you format your memory card from time to time, which, in turn, can increase its write speed. Formatting will also fix small problems, that may have developed on the card over time. You can format a memory cards either from your camera’s menu or do it on your desktop or laptop.
Ready to make you choice? Feel free to head over to our Camera Accessories section for a good selection of memory cards.