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Is A Memory Stick The Same As A Flash Drive?

Monday, December 26th, 2016 by | Filed Under: File & Disk Management

A reader had a question about the type of storage available for his camera.  “I have a SonyHandycamm Digital Video Camera Recorder that records on a 30-minute cassette tape or “Memory Stick”. Recordings can be transferred from tape to “Memory Stick”. I want to transfer two 30 min. tapes to two separate “Memory Sticks” or Flash Drives. Are they the same? The 8MB “MS” comes standard with the Handycam. At 320 x 240 image size it will record only 1 min. 20 sec. Do you sell “MS’s”, can I use a FD? Do you have a 128MB, 256MB and 512MB Flash Drives (or MS’s)and what is there cost? Your comments and recommendations are appreciated.”


Good question. The variety of storage media out there and the terms used to describe it can be confusing. You will sometimes hear the term “memory stick” used to describe a USB flash drive. But the term “memory stick” also refers to a type of SD card. While it is a form of flash storage, it’s generally not what people mean when they say flash drive. The memory stick is a proprietary format used on Sony devices.  There’s also a Memory Stick Pro line which is a high-speed version used for high definition cameras.

A memory stick is has a rectangular shape. There are three types of memory stick, so you’d need to check to make sure which version your device requires.


In 2010, Sony announced that their future cameras would all include support for SD and SDHC cards and they also released their own line of SDCards.  You can still find memory sticks online and in some camera stores, B & H Photos offers a 4GB Memory Stick PRO for under $20.  There’s also a 32 GB model for around $80.  You really wouldn’t find 128MB, 256MB,  or 512MB Flash Drives these days. That’s an incredibly small amount of storage for today’s HD video and photos. The smallest memory card you’d likely find these days would be 4GB and they run up to 256 GB. A 4GB flash card would offer 4,096 MBs of storage.

Before ordering, check to make sure this type of memory stick works with your camera. Some cameras have a limit as to the size of memory card they’ll work with. If you don’t have that information in your documentation, you can go to Sony’s website to look it up.

Since I’m not sure what particular model of camera you have, I can’t tell you if there’s another way to output the videos. But you may be able to hook up cables or a media converter and play the video out from the tape to a PC. Or if you don’t want to go to the trouble, there may be a video professional who can get the task done for you quickly and fairly inexpensively.

~ Cynthia

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