Camera Memory Cards

Losing photos and running out of storage space are a photographer's worst nightmare. Over the years, data storage devices have become smaller and have more storage capacity. A storage device that has gained popularity amongst photographers is the memory card. Memory cards are electronic flash memory data storage devices used to store digital data. Though all memory cards serve the same purpose, they vary in terms of their specifications, therefore, choosing the right SD camera memory card can be a challenge.


There are different types of cards being used in cameras namely micro SD, secure digital extended capacity (SDXC), eye-fi cards, secure digital high capacity cards (SDHC) and CompactFlash (CF) cards. Micro SD cards have data transfer and capacity restrictions that make them more suitable for use in smartphones rather than in cameras. SDHC camera memory cards are improved versions of micro SD cards and are suitable for use in point-and-shoot cameras. SDXD cards have the highest storage capacity and are suitable for professional cameras. Eye-fi cards are unique memory cards that come with built-in Wi-Fi. CF cards have high speed and capacity that make them the primary cards used in professional cameras.


Memory cards have different writing and reading speeds. Write speed refers to how fast you can write data in a card while read speed refers to how fast you can access data stored in a card. Write speed comes into play when taking photos while read speed comes into play when accessing photos. Write and read speed may differ in the same card, for instance, in SDHC cards, the write speed is almost half the read speed. Card speed is classified into classes: class 2 to class 10. Class 2 cards have the lowest speed (2MB/s) while class 10 cards have the highest speed (10MB/s).


A card’s capacity cannot be ignored. A card with more capacity is able to store more photos than one with less space. However, some photographers prefer to use cards with lower capacity as they are easier to organise. They can use one card to store pictures of a particular event or photo shoot rather than have one card storing all the data. Another reason is that storing all data in a single card can lead to a lot of data loss if the card gets lost.


The price of a card is dependent on its speed, capacity and type. CompactFlash cards are almost double the price of SD cards.