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Thanks for the memories

SD, SDHC, MMC, compact flash, microSD… these days we use memory cards to store information on everything from our laptop to gaming device to camera and mobile phone. Knowing how much you want to store and what you will use your card for is vital when it comes to discovering the right card to suit your purpose.

In the early days, memory cards were the mainstay of the photographic format but today they are the preferred storage option for loads of multimedia devices. SD (Secure Digital) are probably the most prevalent type of card although Sony cameras oftentimes use the proprietary Memory Stick format rather than the ubiquitous SD and Fuji and Olympus originally favoured the XD card.

Still the principle remains the same across all these formats; these small cards enable you to store hundreds (if not 1000s on the larger sized cards) of images or songs or videos in an extremely portable and effective way. Unlike CDs and DVDs which can be easily scratched and damaged, resulting in data loss, a memory card has no moving parts so is extremely shock proof – the biggest danger is misplacing the card itself due to its small size.
The large capacity and rugged design of SD cards make them extremely popular with consumers – especially when you consider most have built in write protection and copyright protection so not only your data but intellectual rights will be safe and sound. MiniSD cards use the same technology as SD cards but are often used in devices such as mobile phones and MP3 players rather than cameras. Slot your MiniSD into an SD card adapter and you’ll be able to view your files on your computer or compatible printer via the regular card reader.

So how fast a card and what type of card do you need?
The more high end your device, the faster and bigger card you require. As an example, a 4GB card will take around 600 images with a 12megapixel camera. The higher the resolution the more memory required to store an image. Plus don’t forget about speed. Speed ratings such as 10MB per second or 20MB per second, refer to how fast info can be read or written to the card. The faster the speed setting, the sooner you can snap off another pic and the less likely you need to worry about camera lag. If you’re shooting a lot of video make sure to opt for the fastest speed you can get.

Then there are conditions… How do you use your camera? Are you an adrenaline junkie forever out on the slopes or surfing big seas? Then opt for ultra or extreme cards – these cards are usually tested to withstand extremes in temperatures from blistering desert heat to freezing Arctic cold – you don’t want that perfect shot to be missed because your card failed.

Lastly generic cards may seem like a cheap alternative, but the name brands offer guarantees on quality and reliability – so why trust your valuable memories to a possibly inferior product…

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