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Know Your Memory Cards: Part 2

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015 by | Filed Under: Digital Photography

In Part 1 of this article, I started talking about the different kinds of memory cards available for your camera. Today, we’ll look at more varieties and how they work.

Eye-fi card

This is a unique SD card with built-in Wi-Fi. These cards help you to clear off the memory as you shoot, by allowing you to directly transfer the data to your desktop, tablet or phone. The wireless feature also lets you geotag your photographs and upload to your social network sites in real time. One concern about the eye-fi cards is that it kills the battery life of your camera. If you are out of power for a long time, this is not a convenient option.


Compact Flash cards (CF)

These offer higher speed class and storage capacity, and occupy the primary slot in professional cameras. The currently available SD cards are at par with CF cards when it comes to speed and capacity. However, CF cards are a far more durable and reliable option for any professional photographer.

CF card

Speed and storage capacity

Reading/writing speed and storage capacity are two key factors that determines the reliability and cost of the memory cards. The faster the speed and more the capacity, the expensive the memory card, and vice versa. A CF card costs 50 per cent more than the SD card for the same storage and speed class. However, a CF card is considered to be more durable and the most reliable memory card by photographers.

It is not a good idea to keep two cards with two different speeds. The card with the lowest speed becomes the deciding criteria for the photo burst. So if you use a CF card at 90MB/s in your primary slot and SD card at 45MB/s in the other slot, you will not get the advantage of 90MB/s. To get best results, you must use both cards of the same speed.

For an amateur photographer, the most important feature to consider is the storage capacity. Anywhere between 1GB and 8GB storage capacity would be enough. If you are a professional, you need to consider the speed and reliability of the card along with its storage capacity, as you don’t want to take any chances of risking your photos. The reliability factor is determined by its Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF). For example: SanDisk claims a MTBF of 1,000,000 hours for its memory cards – that’s about 115 years before the average card is expected to fail.

Last word                                                                               

Before you buy a memory card, please get to know the type of memory card that works for your camera. You need to ensure that your camera uses all the speed your card has to offer. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of speed and money.

~ Zahid Haroon Javali / Pics: Pixabay

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