Buying a New Camera Memory Card Without Going Crazy
June 28, 2017
Shopping for a new digital camera memory card can be a confusing and frustrating experience, given all the acronyms and ever changing specifications. Browsing through the literature for each type of memory card can be overwhelming. Fortunately, it is possible to make sense of the world of memory cards for cameras, mainly by focusing on the three most important features, which include format, card type and storage capacity. Once you become more familiar with these terms and how they impact performance, price and use, you're certain to find the memory card that's best for you.
Does Format Matter?
Digital images must be recorded in a programming language called a format. Different formats generally aren't compatible, so it's important to record the one that works best for you. Camera memory cards come in three formats: compact flash, SD and Whatever-Nikon-Uses. Leaving Nikon's proprietary format aside, your choice is between compact flash and SD. If you're a professional digital photographer, you probably have lots of good reasons for using the old compact flash format. If you aren't a professional, you're probably looking for an SD memory card.
SD Cards Have Lots Of Fun Varieties
Camera memory cards vary in format, but there's probably only one right choice for you, SD-format memory cards vary in type. Plain SD cards are the oldest variety of memory cards that record in this format, and they work in every SD-type camera on the market. They tend to have low capacity, but they do the job. SDHC cards have higher capacity than the basic SD. While they do have more capacity, they may not work as well in older SD cameras. Finally, SDXC cards, or "extra capacity" cards have even more capacity; however, they generally only work with SDXC-compatible cameras. Compatibility specifications are clearly outlined in the manual that comes with your camera, so be sure to read the information provided before you purchase an SD memory card.
One Size Doesn't Fit All
Memory card capacity also determines how many pictures the camera can hold. The exact number varies depending on your camera's resolution settings. In general, lower-resolution pictures take up less space on the memory card, so you can take more of them. Older SD cards hover around 2 GB of storage, which should be enough to handle the shots you take on vacation. When you're ready, you can upload the images to your laptop to free up space. However, you don't have to pay for more than you need. Try to anticipate future needs so you can best accommodate your photos now.
Camera memory cards come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they've gradually converged on something like an industry standard. The capacity of SD memory cards has increased throughout the time the format has been available, from the merely adequate to some cards that are three orders of magnitude larger. The type of camera you use and how you use it are what determine the type of digital camera memory card that's right for you.
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