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“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.
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:
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.
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.
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.