June 16, 2024


Simple Impartial Art

Photography Tips: Discover Memory Cards

Most digital cameras function in much the same way as a traditional camera. Old cameras uses film to record images, in digital world instead of the film; images are captured and preserved in the camera’s memory. Memory cards are an essential device for any digital camera and without one you can’t capture a single image. In most case you have to purchase your digital SLR memory device separately. So the question becomes “what memory choices are available?”

1) Types

Common digital SLR storage formats:

Compact Flash and SD Memory

• Compact Flash (CF) – Compact Flash is the original memory card that is slightly larger than an SD.
CF cards tend to be cheaper than any of the other forms of solid state memory CF cards and micro drives. This type contain their own disk controller, so that makes the camera electronics simpler. CF cards are the standard in professional cameras because they are fast and affordable.
• Secure Digital (SD) – SD’s are very small – about 24mm x 32mm and 2mm thick memory cards. They are known as “secure” because they offer additional features. They come with a built in write protect switch to prevent accidental erasure. Secure Digital memory card also offers certain encryption capabilities. Many compact cameras and other portable devices like MP3 player also use SD cards as a source of memory.

Other available formats.

• Multimedia – Same size as SD but with less features and no encryption capability. There are some that can be used in some SD cameras but they aren’t 100% compatible with SD cards in all applications.
• Smart Media – Thinner than CF cards, but lacking an on-card memory controller. Ironically, the technically dumbest card is called “smart”.
• Memory Stick – Introduced by Sony and used only by Sony. It is reliable, fast and not that much more expensive than competing standards.
• XD – Developed and used by Fuji, Olympus and Toshiba – even smaller than SD. 20mm x 25mm by 1.7mm thick.

2) Storage Capacity

A Megabyte is a measurement of capacity on a PC hard drive or other storage device. The capacity of digital SLR memory cards is measured in Megabytes (MB). Common memory card capacities are 256MB and 512MB. Higher storage – 1 Gigabyte, is around 1024MB. For example 4GB card is equivalent to 4096 MB of storage space. Today you can find memory cards that offer up to 16GB storage space.

How much storage you need?

For everyday photography average memory cards (256MB and 512MB) is good enough.
For short trips 1GB is usually more than enough storage capacity.
If you are planning a longer trip away from electronic devices plan to take 2GB or more.

3) Speed

After deciding Storage Capacities you have to choose the card speed.

Digital cameras have a memory buffer for the temporary storage of images. Buffer allows to keep on shooting while the images are saved to the memory card. When the memory buffer is full, the shutter will be disabled until image data has been saved to the memory card to make space for another image.

Memory card speed depends on 2 factors:

1) When the camera saves a photo to the card.
2) When you transfer photos from card to computer.
Faster memory cards works better with any digital camera.

You can buy Compact Flash in different speeds (2x, 4x, 10x, 25x) and their price increases with their speed. For snap shoots, any standard speed will be fast enough.

Keep in mind that faster cards with more storage capacity usually cost more. For example you can purchase regular speed 1gb SD for around $50.00 or a high speed 1gb Ultra-SD for around $60.00.

A card reader is a device that plugs into the USB port of your computer. This device offers an alternate and convenient way to transfer photos from camera to computer. It comes as Single card readers or Multi-card readers.