Memory Cards for cameras: no need to panic!


Nowadays, memory cards come in all sorts of shapes, styles and sizes and they serve numerous purposes. Whereas ten years ago, there were only two main brands selling memory cards with very limited capacities, now, the market is saturated with different brands who all have a different product to sell. It, then, can be hard

Nowadays, memory cards come in all sorts of shapes, styles and sizes and they serve numerous purposes.

Whereas ten years ago, there were only two main brands selling memory cards with very limited capacities, now, the market is saturated with different brands who all have a different product to sell.

It, then, can be hard to choose the right memory card for your device, your device being a camera or a smartphone.

But today, we are only going to consider memory cards for cameras: this already covers a lot of grounds!

First of all, what is a memory card?

This is a small chip used to store and exchange “digital data”; when we talk about “digital data”, we mean, MP3 files, photos, videos, word files, contact list…

It is very common to find a “memory card slot” on any sold device these days; be it digital cameras, mobile phones, tablets, MP3 players…

So, it means that there are many different types of memory cards on the market and defining which one you need for your camera will be a first step in the right direction.

On the market today, you can find at least eight different types of memory cards usable in a camera: secure digital (SD); MicroSD; Compact flash; Memory sticks; xD Picture Card; Micro Drive; Multi Media Card and Smart Media ones!

But fear not, some of those memory cards are becoming rarer and rarer on the market today as they are considered as the “grandparents” of memory cards: xD Picture cards, MicroDrive and Smart Media ones are the oldest on the market and so we can leave them aside for now.

Before heading to the shop, do check which types of memory cards your camera will support: not all memory cards are compatible with every camera.

But, reassure yourself about one thing: whatever the memory card you will end up buying, the quality of the images will be the same whether you buy a cheap memory card or a top of the range one.

Then, you have to also look at some more characteristics before buying a memory card, amongst the most important features, speed and capacity.

Because, even though the quality of shot images remain unaffected by the type of card you buy, the shooting speed is important, particularly if you shoot sports images, for example; the capacity of a memory card relates to how many shots you can store on a card before having to change it for a new one.

The speed of the memory card is defined by how fast data can be retrieved from the card: this is measured when transferring data from the card to a computer, another device or a printer, for example and it is called the “read speed”.

Another part of the speed is about “write speed”: the “write speed” is defined by how fast images can be saved onto a card.

So, the writing speed takes all its importance when shooting pictures: to take again the analogy about cheap cards and high-quality ones, if you shoot sport pictures with a cheap card, the writing speed will be slower than on a high-quality memory card which means that you won’t be able to shoot a lot of pictures with a cheap memory card compared to a high quality one.

On top of the speed, you also have to look at the capacity of the memory card: the capacity is defined by the number of shots you can write on the card.

Nowadays, new memory cards with better capacities seem to pop up every few months on the market, rendering smaller capacities obsolete.

At the moment, the capacities of memory cards range from 2 GB to 32 GB, with the most commonly used varying between 8 GB and 16 GB.

So, in order to help you refine your choice, we gathered a few of the best memory cards available on the market for all needs and budgets.

For those on a budget but who still want a good memory card, the “Kingston SDHC 8 GB, Class4”, sold at £4.99 is a good bargain.

Best used with compact cameras, this is a card who will help you shoot away your amazing holidays and even keep some space for some videos.

If you want more storage capacity, the “Samsung Pro MB-MG32D 32 Gb” is a good choice with a good ratio quality/price.

Sold for £25, this Samsung memory card is really good for rapid transfer data and is best used in digital cameras; according to Samsung, this memory card “save images up to two times faster than a conventional MicroSD memory card”.

For those who like to shoot videos, the “Lexar 32GB Premium Series Class 10” is one of the best choices you can make, especially because it costs £15.

SDHC card with a great speed writing and ample storage capacity, this memory card will quickly become indispensable.

As for the professionals out there, memory card will be a significant part of your budget, and one of the best on the market is the “Sandisk Extreme Professional Compact Flash Card 64GB”, costing £274.95.

Sandisk being of the best brand of memory card on the market at the moment, you can rely on their quality built for speed writing and storage capacity; this memory card is best used for DSL-R users and HD video users.

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