Which Memory Card Should I Buy? - Digital Photography School

Which Memory Card Should I Buy?

“I’ve just bought a Canon EOS 400D and have been using an old 256MB Compact Flash memory card with it but it’s not big enough for me – what size and type should I buy?” – Samantha.

It’s amazing how affordable memory has become in the last few years. I remember just a couple of years back paying $1 per megabyte (and more) when I got my DSLR. These days by comparison memory is cheap!

There are a couple of factors that I generally consider when buying a memory card for my camera – Size and Speed. Let me briefly tackle each.

Size

The temptation with prices as they currently are is to simply rush out and buy the card with the most memory. These days this can mean you could well come back with an 8 gig card. However unless you’re going to be taking some long trips without the ability to download your shots while away this might be overkill. Here are a few considerations when it comes to capacity of memory cards:


  • Type of Photography – what is the type of photography that you’ll be using your camera for? Are you going to be doing sports photography where you’ll be shooting in burst mode and will take hundreds of photos in quick succession? Or will you use it for Macro work and take a handful of shots slowly each session?
  • How Long Between Downloading to Your Computer? - obviously if you’re not going to be able to download images regularly then there’s a case to be made for a larger capacity card. For example on my recent month long trip to the US I only transferred images once a week but was shooting a lot each day – so having a larger card was quite handy.
  • Image Format - do you shoot in JPEG or RAW (or both)? RAW takes up more room on your card than JPEG – for example with your camera you’ll fit over 400 shots on a 2GB card if using JPEG but just under 200 if shooting in RAW. Shoot in both JPEG and RAW and you’ll be lucky to fit on 100.
  • One Card or Multiple Cards? – while the quality of cards made by most main manufacturers is generally great, one thing to keep in mind is that occasionally cards do malfunction. This happened to me 12 months ago on a weekend away where I only took one large card with me. The result was that I lost the full weekend’s worth of shots. It struck me at that time that if I’d spread my shots over two smaller cards that I wouldn’t have lost everything. 8GB is pretty impressive – but two or three 2GB cards might be a safer bet.
  • Camera/File Size – Your 400D has a fairly sizable megapixel output (10.2 Megapixels). Shooting at full resolution, this will fill up a card faster than a 5 or 6 megapixel point and shoot camera (and slower than a 12 megapixel camera). So the camera you’re using and the resolution that you’d going to be shooting at are well worth considering.

My personal choice for card size at present is 2GB for my DSLR and 1GB for my point and shoot (which I use less). However for longer trips I do take an 8GB card.

Speed

Not all 2 gigabyte memory cards are equal and another factor that you might wish to consider is the speed at which they are able to be written to and read from. For example, SanDisk (the manufacturer that I generally use) produce a range of cards including their Extreme range. Their Extreme III card will write at 20 megabytes per second and their Extreme IV cards will write at 40 megabytes a second.

This means that technically the IV card will read and write twice as fast – however on a camera like your 400D you’ll not really notice any difference when taking shots as it doesn’t take shots fast enough to make any difference. It’s only really Pros shooting lots of images very quickly in burst mode on higher level cameras that will need the extra speed.

The other factor with speed is download speed when you’re putting images onto your computer. Faster cards can technically do this faster – however unless you’re using a FireWire cable for the transfer instead of USB it’s not really going to be a factor between the Extreme III and Extreme IV cards.

I personally use SanDisk Extreme III and SanDisk Extreme IV cards – but have never really noticed any difference between them.

Brand

There’s probably a bit of personal preference and price point comparison that comes into play here. My personal preference has been for SanDisk over the years but I have also used “Lexar Media Professional Cards also and have rarely had problems (except for that fateful weekend – when the card was replaced as it was still under guarantee).

I personally would avoid using no name brands that go around and tend to stick to the main players.

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Darren Rowse is the editor and founder of Digital Photography School and SnapnDeals. He lives in Melbourne Australia and is also the editor of the ProBlogger Blog Tips. Follow him on Instagram, on Twitter at @digitalPS or on Google+.

  • http://freddielaker2pix.co.uk Ian Southward

    I used a 16gb card recently on a trip to Amsterdam airport (the name should point you to what I photograph instead of the other attactions of Amsterdam), anyhoo, I was also in Sydney and in Auckland earlier in the year and using 2x16gb cards I found there was a latency to write (sandisk 16gb) on both, and that the quality was not as good as I had hoped. even shooting raw, could this latency cause this degradation? it doesnt sound feasible but it did happen in amsterdam but I had no problems in Auckland…. the air must be cleaner!
    any ideas?

  • http://peegpix.shutterfly.com/ Earl Wilkerson

    I’ve used SanDisk for a few years now in a variety of digital cameras and camcorders, even USB flash drives. However, due to the sudden and unexpected death of a few cards shortly after purchase I’ve fully converted to PNY, given their impressive quality in the PC memory market.

  • http://www.1st-digitalcamera.com/ Olan Pays

    I also used 16GB cards since I capture lots of videos with my Nikon Coolpix camera. I prefer to use more than one card to avoid missing that precious moments if I had trouble with a card.

  • http://www.cameracardstore.com Digital Camera Memory Cards

    The site http://www.cameracardstore.com has a suitability guide for each card that they sell. I was quite impressed at how they advised customers not to buy cards which their camera’s didn’t have the technology to take advantage of.

    Also, they have a great function where you enter the make and model of your camera and it gives you a number of recommendations, depending on whether or not you are looking for a big, fast or budget card. You can even upload a picture taken with your camera and it will return a list of recommended cards – pretty cool stuff.

  • james braselton

    hi there soo what cannon 400 wont beat my tiny $200 3d camcorder soo what sd card should i get for a 3d camcorder

  • BRIAN BLACKMAN

    which sandisk extreme111 sd card should i buy for my nikon D40

  • http://www.primelec.com Gary Darton

    For me it comes down to cost. If paying for the better card is going to break the bank then I would steer towards the lower gigabyte end. I wouldn’t get anything lower than a 2 gig.

  • Jake

    Guys, you might want to wait with the purchase of new memory – CompactFlash announces XQD memory card format – http://www.photoandvideography.com/xqd-the-latest-in-memory-card-technology-268/

  • Juan de Battista

    I would suggest that dates are attached to all articles (on all topics) because it is obvious that some articles would have been written some time ago. For example there is an increasing shift from CF cards to SD cards (the new Canon EOS 60D is an example). The newer cameras have relatively higher writing speeds, so card writing speeds become even more important, especially when HD movies are captured – so ‘class’ of cards are now becoming an issue with the mid to high end cameras (HD movies require cards with Class 6 or higher).

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Some older comments

  • Ryan Sinistore

    August 27, 2013 12:29 am

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  • Juan de Battista

    December 23, 2011 09:51 pm

    I would suggest that dates are attached to all articles (on all topics) because it is obvious that some articles would have been written some time ago. For example there is an increasing shift from CF cards to SD cards (the new Canon EOS 60D is an example). The newer cameras have relatively higher writing speeds, so card writing speeds become even more important, especially when HD movies are captured - so 'class' of cards are now becoming an issue with the mid to high end cameras (HD movies require cards with Class 6 or higher).

  • Jake

    December 10, 2011 04:53 am

    Guys, you might want to wait with the purchase of new memory - CompactFlash announces XQD memory card format - http://www.photoandvideography.com/xqd-the-latest-in-memory-card-technology-268/

  • Gary Darton

    February 23, 2011 04:15 am

    For me it comes down to cost. If paying for the better card is going to break the bank then I would steer towards the lower gigabyte end. I wouldn't get anything lower than a 2 gig.

  • BRIAN BLACKMAN

    January 4, 2011 06:28 pm

    which sandisk extreme111 sd card should i buy for my nikon D40

  • james braselton

    December 22, 2010 01:08 pm

    hi there soo what cannon 400 wont beat my tiny $200 3d camcorder soo what sd card should i get for a 3d camcorder

  • Digital Camera Memory Cards

    January 25, 2010 06:58 pm

    The site http://www.cameracardstore.com has a suitability guide for each card that they sell. I was quite impressed at how they advised customers not to buy cards which their camera's didn't have the technology to take advantage of.

    Also, they have a great function where you enter the make and model of your camera and it gives you a number of recommendations, depending on whether or not you are looking for a big, fast or budget card. You can even upload a picture taken with your camera and it will return a list of recommended cards - pretty cool stuff.

  • Olan Pays

    September 24, 2009 02:03 pm

    I also used 16GB cards since I capture lots of videos with my Nikon Coolpix camera. I prefer to use more than one card to avoid missing that precious moments if I had trouble with a card.

  • Earl Wilkerson

    August 26, 2009 07:35 am

    I've used SanDisk for a few years now in a variety of digital cameras and camcorders, even USB flash drives. However, due to the sudden and unexpected death of a few cards shortly after purchase I've fully converted to PNY, given their impressive quality in the PC memory market.

  • Ian Southward

    August 25, 2009 09:36 pm

    I used a 16gb card recently on a trip to Amsterdam airport (the name should point you to what I photograph instead of the other attactions of Amsterdam), anyhoo, I was also in Sydney and in Auckland earlier in the year and using 2x16gb cards I found there was a latency to write (sandisk 16gb) on both, and that the quality was not as good as I had hoped. even shooting raw, could this latency cause this degradation? it doesnt sound feasible but it did happen in amsterdam but I had no problems in Auckland.... the air must be cleaner!
    any ideas?

  • Mike

    November 1, 2007 12:38 am

    Why won't my mother's camera read pictures on my card....when both cameras use the same size/format memory card?

  • Richard

    July 27, 2007 07:56 pm

    Found the whole discussion of memory cards interesting I have very recently changed from buying CF cards from unknowns to sole Sandisks currently 2 x 2Gb, the main reason is that my 350D has pretty well giving up trying to read them without resetting the card and the battery and this and that etc etc etc, Rather annoying. Now for my query based on the above. Has anyone else had this problem ? is it possibly a camera fault ? I have had no luck with Canon themselves. Any help would be good .

  • Denis

    July 9, 2007 10:45 am

    Thanks for the info, Raf. I've been looking all over the Web for that, including reading all of the 400D's specs on Canon's site. They don't give that info there.
    What I find interesting though, is the the Canon rep told you this camera's maximum card size is 8 GB, and on Sandisk's site, it says 16 GB... hmmm... If I get a chance to try both myself, I'll post the result.

  • Zippo

    July 3, 2007 03:50 pm

    FYI, some cameras like fujifilm finepix s700 accept only up to 2Gb.

  • Ron

    June 10, 2007 03:28 am

    Raf,

    You really got a lot better answer than I did from Canon. My person just said they didn't collect that kind of information. I sent them the WEB site noted in this group - but never got an answer back

  • Raf

    June 7, 2007 01:42 am

    I've just got an answer from Canon Helpdesk...here you go!

    Dear Customer,
    Thank you for your recent enquiry regarding your Canon product.

    In response to your query, please be advised that we recommend using memory cards with a speed of 9-10 Mb/s. Using a higher speed memory card will not make a big difference.

    Also, please note that with the EOS 400D you can use a memory card up to 8Gb.

    Yours sincerely,

    Canon Support Centre

  • Raf

    June 6, 2007 06:29 pm

    The max write speed for the Canon EOS 400D?
    That's what I want to know too!
    I can only assume the write speed has increased since the 350D but if you look at rob galbraith's performance test it should have almost doubled in order to justify the need of an extreme III. Is this possible?

  • Craig Thomas

    June 1, 2007 07:00 pm

    Thanks for everyone's help and indeed Rob's site is a gem, but unfortunately it doesn't yet cover 'my' (intended) camera the EOS 400D - the closest is the older and only 8MP Canon EOS 350D which I assume will have different timings.

    There must be a max write speed for the Canon EOS 400D because as Rob's site shows that even the SanDisk Extreme III 1GB (using a EOS 350D) which should be capable of 20MB/sec only achieves a 6.263MB/sec write speed. Ideally I'd like to know the Canon EOS 400D's max write speed so I can buy the next card up and be safe in the knowledge that the CF card I buy will never hold up my camera.

  • Dave New

    May 31, 2007 11:06 am

    Sorry for the bad name, above. That's what I get for typing in the near dark without a keyboard lamp. 8-)

  • Dave Mew

    May 31, 2007 11:05 am

    Ron and Craig,

    Check out the Rob Galbraith site which has already been posted a couple of times:

    http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=6007

    You can pick your camera from the drop-down and see the various cards tested and their read/write speed. All the results that are in the blue block are considered close enough to be not very noticeable in terms of speed. At that point, you can choose a favorite brand/size and go with that.

    Another tip about PC card readers -- if you have a PCMCIA or Express slot, get a CardBus32 adapter (for PCMCIA) or an Express bus adapter. The transfer rate will beat either Firewire or USB2.0 all hollow. And besides, it's a lot smaller to carry with your laptop, and doesn't require a cable. Beware of the older, cheaper 16-bit card adapters -- they run quite slowly, and aren't worth the $10 you can usually find them for. Delkin makes a 32-bit one that I bought last year for about $40. They also now have Express bus ones, but my laptop is just a bit too old to have an Express slot.

  • Ron

    May 24, 2007 08:01 am

    I'm with the guy above who was asking about the relative speed of the memory cards and how much is too much? I have a Canon Rebel Xti (400) and it seems that the write indicator is on for a long time when I shoot. I prefer to shoot RAW + JPG. that way I have a usable pic immediately if I need and I can manipulate the RAW at my leisure. I have a regular Sandisk (slow) - don't have the camera at my side to tell the model. So if I spend extra for a Sandisk Ultra 3 - what can I expect for speed improve on camera buffer being empty and ready for next shot? Anyone done any comparisons?

    Ron

  • James Skemp

    May 21, 2007 02:25 am

    I don't know that it's technically recommended, but the four memory cards I've purchased (256 MB x 2, 2 GB x 2) have all been Promaster brand (per the recommendation of my local computer store). I had one of my first 256 MB cards fail on me, but I'm pretty sure that was my fault, and Promaster replaced it, no questions asked (lifetime warranty).

    I've recently upgraded from a Canon 300D to a 350D, and see no reason to go above 2 GB for my cards - any future cards will be at 2 GB.

    It's more to lug around, but since I carry my bag around anyways, and since you have the potential to lose more photos if you lose a single card, the higher your sizes ...

  • Craig Thomas

    May 11, 2007 08:27 pm

    I'm thinking of getting the Canon EOS 400D too and was considering which CF card to get, does anyone know how fast the camera is actually capable of writing or reading these images (in MB/s)? All I can see when looking at the cards are quoted speeds like write 9MB/s, read 10MB/s or read/write at 20MB/s. Ideally I just want a step above the maximum speed of the camera, anything quicker is just wasting money.

  • Hitesh Sawlani (hitkaiser)

    May 8, 2007 12:00 am

    @ Alex:

    "Who needs 4.0 megapixels anyway when most of my photos are going on the web or staying on my PC… Cheers! -Alex"

    Gasp! Thats not very future proof... say 60inch monitors come into fashion in 10 years time, and 2 megapixel images are displayed on websites !!!

    Also, what if you want to ever make a print, a poster or whatever, 640x480 isn't going to get you far! 4megapixel will let you print an A4 size without compromising on quality!

  • Alex Shepherd

    May 7, 2007 09:11 pm

    I'm finding this all very interesting. What I'm trying to find is a speed comparison between different CF cards on the market. SanDisk Extreme sounds appealing, but A-Data 120X is cheaper... which is faster?
    I thought it was probably time to buy a bigger CF card for my Canon IXUS 400. I've taken over 10,000 photos now since buying the IXUS four years ago. I bought the 128MB SanDisk card with it for US$130 (bargain!) I tend to leave the camera set to 640x480, so that I get almost a thousand photos on my 128MB card :) Who needs 4.0 megapixels anyway when most of my photos are going on the web or staying on my PC... Cheers! -Alex

  • Philip from Australia

    May 7, 2007 09:08 pm

    One comment on he size of card...

    It was once suggested to me (back when CD burners were the go) not to get a card bigger than 512MB. This allowed you to dump all the files on that card onto a CD without having to pick ones to leave, or other messing about.

    Now with the days of DVD burners, I would say don't get bigger than 4GB. That way you can dump a card onto a blank (single sided) DVD. And that media is pretty cheap now.

    You could probably do it at a cyber cafe for a cmall cost if you don't have a computer of your own.

    Just a thought.

    Philip

  • Simeâ„¢

    May 3, 2007 06:37 am

    By way of comparison, I have 4 x 4gb cards. Three of them are Transcend 120x and the one that stays in my 30D is a Kingston Ultimate 133x... not had any problem with either brand and not noticed a huge difference in speed / quality.. They all work just fine...(beats the life out of lugging the laptop around) I also have a little Sandisk Ultra II 2gb card for my ixus65...BUT I keep it as a spare (There is a 2gb Intergral in the ixy presently) as a good mate of mine was mid holiday in Egypt and called me in a panic as his sandisk had just gone belly up with a number of un-retakeable (is that a word!?) pictures on it.. i've been a little wary ever since (I personally have never had any problems)

  • Neil

    May 2, 2007 12:49 am

    Good point about having multiple cards. The only malfunction I ever had was on my most expensive card. Fortunately I was able to recover the pictures on it, but if it had been my only card I wouldn't have been able to complete the project.

  • Gavin Treadgold

    April 29, 2007 11:19 am

    Just a few points of my own to add to this post...

    1. High capacity cards such as SDHC can be very useful for consumer (non-DSLR) cameras that have video capability. The more storage, the more video you can record on your holidays. Especially important as numerous cameras are offering 30fps @ 1024x768.

    2. Format the cards regularly after removing all images. Don't format them using the computer, rather format them in the camera they are going to be used in. I now format the cards by habit when returning a blank card to the camera. I have seen problems with corrupt images on cards when the card was formatted using a PC, or when the card wasn't formatted for a long time and small errors were allowed to accumulate until they became a problem.

    3. Check the read and write speeds of cards. Sometimes there can be a significant amount of difference between the speeds. Whilst write is important when taking photos, I have noticed the difference with fast read speeds when copying GB's of images off a card.

  • Bryan

    April 28, 2007 09:18 pm

    My personal like is Kingston Technology.

    But I do feel that the Compact Flash Micro Drives from Seagate Technology were overlook in the article, the Micro drive is a small hard drive that is used in the ipod, they only come in a compact flash form factor. the only draw back is the extra juice they but on your battery but I alway keep extra batteries for my cannon EOS 400D charged and ready to go. They are very fast read and write speeds plus they are cheaper per Giga Byte then most memory slower Compact Flash Cards.

    The issue for me for most media is the speed to mega pixel, the high the mega pixel the fast I want the card since I hate to wait for the picture to write to the card before I can take another picture.

  • Dave

    April 28, 2007 07:08 am

    I've been shooting RAW exclusively for over 3 years now. I initially started with 4GB microdrives since 4GB CF was >$1k at that time. I never had any issues with my two microdrives, but I treated them with kid gloves and would never recommend them to anyone. Last year I bought a Transcend 120x 8GB card for 1/2 the price of the equivalent Sandisk model and have shot over 25k photos on it with no issues in multiple DSLRs. I've wanted to get another fast 8GB card and found a good deal at B&H Photo for the Sandisk Extreme III model at $109. It's less expensive than the _SLOW_ Ultra II model and competitive with the Transcend model. It's a great card if you use a USB2 reader and almost half the price of the Extreme IV model. Link to B&H FWIW...
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/controller/home?O=Search&A=details&Q=&sku=430913&is=REG&addedTroughType=search

  • Mel

    April 28, 2007 05:50 am

    I may be a novice at SLR but have allways used Sandisk, before with other cameras and now with SLR. And have had no mishaps yet,and I do use my cards a lot, 2500 photos on my last trip.

  • Andrew Rodger

    April 27, 2007 10:54 pm

    Joe:
    "There’s a new standard for SD cards called SDHC (SD High Capacity). Cards over 2 GB are SDHC and are not compatible with older cameras. I haven’t seen any devices that support SDHC yet, but be warned. The SDHC cards are already being sold and some people out there are buying them only to find out the hard way they can’t use them."

    As a PR representative for Lexar, I just wanted to make a quick reply to your post. You are correct in that SDHC cards are not backwards compatible with older model cameras. However, there are a number of new cameras and readers that are SDHC compatible. If you check out the specifications on any new camera that uses the SD form factor (on the manufacturers' websites), you will notice that the camera is usually SDHC compatible. Also, Lexar has a multi-card reader that accepts SDHC. And finally, when you buy a Lexar Professional SDHC card, it comes packaged with a USB2.0 SDHC reader.

    If you aren't sure if the card you are thinking about buying is SDHC, look for the SDHC logo. It looks like the original SD logo with "HC" underneath.

  • Michael

    April 27, 2007 08:42 pm

    My preferred brand is also Sandisk. I have some offbrand cards as well,but I really notice the difference in speed. even there is a noticable difference in speed between the sandisk regulars and the extreme.my cameras store much faster with the faster cards.also sansisk provides a rescue-software with their extreme cards (a $49.00 value)which has saved occationally my mistakes.I am using mostly 2Gb cards as they have the right size for me.have not lost any pictures yet by faulty brand cards which I cant say from offbrands...

  • Nathan Goss

    April 27, 2007 06:01 pm

    One area that speed makes a big difference is reviewing photos on the camera.

    When scrolling through photos on my Canon 30D with a Sandisk Ultra II the photos load pretty much instantly. If I use the plain Ultra version, scrolling through the photos can be tedious, as there is a BIG increase in the time taken to load images.

    Just a consideration for you all to think about.

    Nathan

  • AndrewC

    April 27, 2007 05:06 pm

    Great to see this discussion, I'll put my two bobs worth in as well. When I first bought my dslr, I was anxious to go straight out of the shop to try it out, so I just bought the first card the dealer happened to have on the shelf, it was a 1 gig sandisk extreme 111, its still working and now is backed up with a couple of 2 gig cards for when we travel, ( not sure that I trust asian power supplies enough to plug a laptop in ) it makes good sense to me to carry the extra cards, something to do with all your eggs in one basket and besides the cards take up a whole lot less room than a laptop. As was noted in the article above, prices have fallen dramatically, to the point where a 2 gig card retails for less than 75 % of the price of a 1 gig card of about 2 years ago, isn't technology great? A friend from the UK had 2 lexar cf cards fail while on holiday with us in Bali, he has now swapped to sandisk. The point and shoot sony I use for wandering around in the pocket with uses ms pro cards and once again they are sandisk, between those and the sd cards in the dslr they have recorded over 6,000 images without a hiccup. As to the point about fakes on ebay, it is rife with them, check some of the warning posts on ebay itself and then if you do buy one and are suspicious, ring the sandisk international line and listen to the rather bored sounding tech bloke there explain to you that "yes you have bought a fake because this this and this are all wrong". That is my personal experience from trying to get some satisfaction when the over enthusiastic young lady of the house bought a "sandisk" card that held just over 512 mb instead of the stated 2 gig and wouldn't transfer properly in 2 card readers.

  • Jacques Petit

    April 27, 2007 04:43 pm

    An other factor to count with is related to the management of the card. The greater the card, the greater the FAT (File Allocation Table), and then a tiny loss of performance to manage it.
    As far as I read, it appears that 2GB is the best balance between performance, security, autonomy, blabla.
    So I would recommend taking several 2GB, extreme III or IV if Sandisk, or equivalent by Lexar, or any well known brand.
    Also notice that for the moment, you get a free licence of a recovery program, allowing you to recover your "lost" weekend.
    It append to me (not with a Sandiks but a MicroDrive and an other CF card) and it saved my life.
    My wife would never had accepted a "no picture" of my son's birthday ! ! !

    Have a good day

  • Darren

    April 27, 2007 03:04 pm

    good recommendation Dennis

  • Dennis Fisher

    April 27, 2007 03:02 pm

    Rob Galbraith's website has the most exhaustive performance database of CF & SD cards anywhere along with everything technically you could possibly want to know about the cards. This database lists the test results (50 different makes and model cards for my D-200) for Canon and Nikon professional and pro-sumer cameras.

    Dennis

    http://robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=6007

  • Hitesh Sawlani

    April 26, 2007 07:19 pm

    I have been using no brand cards for many years... Never ever had a problem.

    Recently I buy them from www.mymemory.com (For UK), they cover various brands but their own brand stuff is really good value for money!

    8months ago I bought a 2GB 133x CF for £20 ! 6months later I bought the same card but 4GB for the same price!!

    I use these cards A LOT, and never had a problem.

  • janantha

    April 26, 2007 09:34 am

    Well for me, I recommend two forms of storage media. I currently have a 1GB memory card. That is perfectly alright for JPEGs but a bit too little for NEF's. One good way to save space is to choose when to use NEF! NEF might not be required all the time depending on the photographs your taking. So use NEF when needed and always try to use compression like Jpegs. I also have an external USB hdd which have a larger capacity. So when the 1GB is full i basically dump them to the external disk and format the 1Gig and snap away.

  • jtwitmer

    April 26, 2007 06:44 am

    I highly recommend rotating your flash cards. I have 5 1gb sandisk cards I use in my XT, and I make sure that, each time I transfer pictures to my laptop, I put a new card in the camera, and put the one I just took out at the bottom of my stack. This way, the usage is distributed across all the flash cards.

    At work, we use CF cards as hard drives for our embedded computers, and they can run up against flash write limits surprisingly fast, leading to data corruption and other problems.

  • Frederic

    April 26, 2007 12:06 am

    Hello,

    Me too, I only trust Sandisk. I use the old Sandisk Extreme II CF. I have 1 2go, 2 1go and 1 512mo and they are never failed but everytime I put it back to the camera, I format it. I tried the III and IV version and I didn't see any different with the writing or the reading. Also, I think it will be dangerous to use CF more than 2go because if one of your cards fail, you lost 4go of pictures...

    Frederic

    PS: Sorry for my english, it's not my first language.

  • mdwsta4

    April 25, 2007 11:31 pm

    i also don't trust no-name cards, but that's just personal preference. i agree larger cards aren't necessarily always better. at times it might be nice to have a 4gb card, i'm more than happy swapping out my 2 2gb cards and if it comes down to it my 1gb card. i can shoot nearly 240 RAW images with each 2gb card which typically suits me well for a long weekend.
    fwiw, i shoot with a 2gb sandisk IV, a 1gb sandisk IV, and a 2gb Kingston 50x cards.

  • Gurudatt

    April 25, 2007 07:31 pm

    For a beginner like me, the article on buying cards for a digital camera, was very interesting and useful. It is written in simple language and has been able to cover different aspects to pay attention to. Thanks.

  • ShaolinTiger

    April 25, 2007 01:17 pm

    I wouldn't use anything but Sandisk.

    If you dont need the speed get Ultra II series, if you do get Extreme III or IV. Don't bother with anything else.

  • Luis Cruz

    April 25, 2007 10:40 am

    I avoid boing no-brand cards. A friend of mine lost two weekends' worth of pictures - once when the card malfunctioned, and another time when he insisted on using the same cards anyway. He had to learn the hard way.

    I can skimp on many things (2nd hand lenses, cheaper umbrellas, some 3rd party flashes) but I definitely would buy only a memory card that I'm sure won't fail on me.

  • Nick

    April 25, 2007 09:24 am

    I usually buy the cards listed here, based on tested performance for the 20D - http://www.robgalbraith.com/bins/multi_page.asp?cid=6007-7303

    I've been happy with the Ritek/Ridata 2GB CF cards thus far.

  • Joe

    April 25, 2007 09:10 am

    Mark:
    "One thing to note- if you’re buying on eBay watch out for fake memory cards, which do not offer the correct read/write speeds and often the size advertised.

    It is said that 99% of memory cards on eBay are fake =("

    I disagree with that. You're right in that you have to be careful and that you get what you pay for. Obviously consumers should verify the brand before they buy and they should follow basic consumer safety tips like checking the seller's history. An unscrupulous seller might exaggerate the speed. I've never had a problem before, but then I don't get my cards off eBay.

    I've been reselling cards on eBay for a long time, however, and all my customers have been pleased. It's amazing how much you can markup a card for and people still buy it. I'm not even getting them for wholesale, just buying them when www.dealnews.com lists unusual deals, then reselling.

    BTW, I have no affiliation w/ dealnews.com, I've just saved countless dollars thanks to their hard work. Those guys are great.

  • Harley Pebley

    April 25, 2007 09:05 am

    however unless you’re using a FireWire cable for the transfer instead of USB it’s not really going to be a factor

    I understand FireWire and USB2 (which most modern devices support) are pretty equivalent when it comes to speed. Faster memory when using USB2 does make a difference.

  • Michael

    April 25, 2007 08:54 am

    I bought mine from NewEgg... I think pretty much any of these would be pretty okay, but I like to try to make sure to only get faster cards - 120X-150X.

    http://www.newegg.com/Store/SubCategory.aspx?SubCategory=68&name=Flash-Memory

    My latest card I purchased was the Ritek (RiData) 2GB 150X Compact Flash less than $30 (including shipping). I've used it for several months pushing a few thousand images and never had a problem.

    ~Michael in IA
    Canon Rebel XT

  • Darren

    April 25, 2007 08:35 am

    liezie, Micahel, Michael, Matthew - oops, fixed.

    You guys are good!

  • PRH

    April 25, 2007 08:27 am

    Actually I agree with choosing the manufacturer carefully. I purchased a really cheap 2GB SD card from a manufacturer I'd never heard of before and used for my Canon 300D (via an adapter). At the time I though 'great, I can finally shoot RAW'. Three months later the card was unreadable. Luckily the manufacturer honoured their warrantee agreement and I got a replacement card but I'm wary of filling the card up for fear I may loose alot of shots...kinda defeats the purpose.

  • Joe

    April 25, 2007 07:28 am

    I have more SD cards than I actually need because they're so cheap. I don't know about getting a high capacity "8 megabyte" card, heh, but I did just pickup a 2 GB SD card from somewhere for $5 w/o rebate. The ones I usually buy are Ultra Brand and they come in either regular or the higher speeds like 60x or 133x.

    I highly recommend checking out www.dealnews.com on a daily basis if you're going to be getting a card. Unlike Yahoo and Google, they have users manually submitting the best deals online.

    Oh, and don't forget something VERY important once you start going over 2 GB. There's a new standard for SD cards called SDHC (SD High Capacity). Cards over 2 GB are SDHC and are not compatible with older cameras. I haven't seen any devices that support SDHC yet, but be warned. The SDHC cards are already being sold and some people out there are buying them only to find out the hard way they can't use them.

  • Mark

    April 25, 2007 07:10 am

    One thing to note- if you're buying on eBay watch out for fake memory cards, which do not offer the correct read/write speeds and often the size advertised.

    It is said that 99% of memory cards on eBay are fake =(

  • Matthew Miller

    April 25, 2007 06:46 am

    "The temptation with prices as they currently are is to simply rush out and buy the card with the most memory. These days this can mean you could well come back with an 8 megabyte card. [...]"

    Oh good! I can put two photos on that. :)

  • Micahel Shaw

    April 25, 2007 06:39 am

    Did you mean "you could well come back with an 8 gigabyte card"?

  • Michael

    April 25, 2007 05:35 am

    These days this can mean you could well come back with an 8 megabyte card.

    I think you meant 8 gigabyte card in the size section. I don't think you can even buy 8 MB cards anymore.

  • liezie

    April 25, 2007 04:35 am

    FYI: There's a typo in the post. first paragraph after Size. It should say gigabyte instead of megabyte.

    Isn't there a difference in speed according to the memory card type too? I was rather hoping for some list or technical discussing of the different types.

  • Puplet

    April 25, 2007 04:28 am

    What's wrong with unbranded cards? Apart from costing a third of what the Sandisk equivalent costs?

    Pup (former Sandisk Extreme III user, but now buried under a mound of 4gb 133x CF cards that cost £17.99 a piece)

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