Camera Memory Cards

When you take a picture with a digital camera, the image file has to be stored somewhere. In most cameras, that means writing it to a removable memory card. The right type of memory card depends on the type of camera you own and the kind of photography you do. A wide range of companies make memory cards for cameras, including SanDisk, Lexar, and Toshiba. 

Types of Memory Cards

There are a few different memory card formats to choose from. Check your camera carefully as not all cards will work.   

● The SD card format is the typical memory card type for modern cameras. For newer cameras this also includes higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC camera memory cards, but some older cameras may be limited to SDHC or even just SD cards. 

● CF cards were once the standard format for DSLRs, but been largely replaced by SD cards. They still appear in some cameras and their high capacities and write speeds make them popular for video. Type I and Type II CF cards both exist and they aren’t compatible, so make sure you get the right one. 

● Micro SD cards are based on SD technology but are made a lot smaller. They are usually only found in compact cameras. 

How Much Memory Do I Need?

The big number printed on almost every camera memory card is the storage capacity. How big a card you need depends on how you use your camera. 

● More megapixels means more megabytes per picture. A professional DSLR will fill a memory card much quicker than a compact, especially as raw image files are bigger than the JPEG output of most compacts. A 16GB camera memory card holds 300 to 400 raw files from a 24 megapixel camera. 

● Video takes up more space than still images. That same 16GB card will hold around four hours of Standard HD video. Larger formats like 4K will fill up memory much more quickly. 

● Sometimes it makes sense to use multiple smaller memory cards instead of one big one. It means changing cards occasionally, but it also prevents a single lost card from taking all of your holiday pictures with it. 

Additional Features

Capacity and format are the features that photographers typically care about most when choosing memory cards, but there are also some other features to watch out for. These include: 

● Write speed, or how quickly new data can be written onto the card. This is usually measured in megabytes per second, but SD cards are sometimes also defined by class. A Class 10 SD card has a write speed of 10 MB/s. Write speed is typically only an issue when taking high-speed continuous bursts from a high-resolution digital camera or shooting large-format video. 

● Wi-Fi connectivity. Many digital cameras, particularly older ones, will not connect to Wi-Fi networks. If you want to transfer your images wirelessly, a Wi-Fi enabled memory card will allow you to do that even if your camera won’t.