Lesson 8: Memory cards

Memory cardsChoosing a memory card is actually an easy task. All you have to do is to follow a few easy steps:

1. Memory card type: To find out what type of memory card does your camera support, all you have to do is to look into camera specifications. Nowadays there are a lot of memory card types (SD, CF, MMC, etc) and manufacturers have their own reason of choosing one type or another. From the user point of view this in not actually very important.

2. Memory card capacity: Here, bigger is better. The last thing you want to happen to you is to find yourself in front of a very interesting subject and not being able to shoot because you have remained out of space on your memory card. It is also wise to consider buying two or more memory cards so you can change them if you need. There is a wide range of capacities going up to 32 GB. All you have to do is thing on your needs and choose what is best for you. The number of pictures that you can “squeeze” on your card depends on the number of megapixels that your camera have and the quality of picture that you have set on your camera (it is always recommended to shoot at the best quality the camera is capable of, even if lower quality means more pictures on the same memory card capacity). To give you an example, with a 12 megapixels camera, at the best picture quality, I can shoot approximately 650 pictures on a 4 GB memory card.

3. Memory card speed: In my opinion this is the most important aspect. There are a lot of cameras, especially DSLRs, which offer a function called “burst mode”. In this mode, several images can be captured with one press on the shutter. These images are taken as fast as the camera can, but if the memory card speed is slow the rate the pictures are taken will be slow down. Another time when you will greatly appreciate the speed of memory card is when you download your pictures from the camera to PC. If you have a high capacity memory card this time can be pretty long on slow cards.

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