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Memory Cards For Digital Cameras

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A memory card is your film, and the bigger the memory card, the more pictures you can fit on it,

  • What type do you need?
  • How large and how fast is the right one?
  • Who makes the best brand for your camera?

These are all questions you have to answer before you start taking pictures with your digital camera.

The main types of digital camera memory cards include

  • SD
  • xD
  • CompactFlash

That list might sound confusing, but it is usually rather easy to tell what type of memory card you need.


SD Memory Card

 Some of the smallest and thinnest memory cards are the Secure Digital and MultiMediaCard memory and so they are usually seen in smaller digital cameras, PDA’s, cell phones, and MP3 players.

The only difference between the two memory types is that Secure Digital cards have a write-protect switch for added data security.


The first digital camera I had used xD Picture cards, they were introduced by Olympus and Fuji in 2002, and are the newest type of memory. Its tiny size of only xD Memory Card0.97” x 0.98” x 0.67” means it can fit into tiny cameras.

The xD Picture Card can also be used in any CompactFlash compatible camera with the available CompactFlash adapter.

Since it was developed and introduced by Olympus and Fuji, most current compact digital cameras from those manufacturers use the xD Picture Card media

Compact Flash

Compact Flash Memory CardOne of the most common types of digital camera memory is CompactFlash. More higher end digital cameras, and digital SLRs, are CompactFlash compatible.

There are two types of CompactFlash, just to confuse you even more. They are both physically different, thus some cameras can’t take both. There are Type I and Type II, and Type II is thicker. So check to make sure that if you buy a Type II that your camera can hold it. Type II CompactFlash is usually a higher capacity card, so if you are buying a 512MB or 1GB card, it is currently most likely that it is a Type II card.

One of the main reasons so many camera makers adopt the CompactFlash standard is that the cards have a controller chip that allows for higher transfer rates. Most cameras can’t take advantage of this, as they need to have large internal buffers. Most digital SLRs can take advantage of this though.

Inexpensive, easy to find, and work in a large variety of digital cameras, CompactFlash is one of the more desirable types of digital camera memory. The only complaint, it is a bit bigger than most other types, and so to save room, it seems like there has been a big shift towards other types of memory.

Anything else to concider?

Well, other than the size of the memory card, and the type, you also need to worry about its speed, and brand. Sometimes camera makers have it set up that you need to use their memory card, be it Olympus for an Olympus camera, to be able to use all of the features inside the camera. Usually this is just a recommendation, and you can use other companies memory cards just fine.

For DSLR cameras, Sticking to brand names, SanDiskKingston, Integral and other big brands is always your best bet. Not saying the memory you could get from a lesser known name won’t run as well, but the speeds of these memory cards may be  less, though  for branded memory cards,you do pay a little more for that piece of mind.

Written by bargainmemorycards

February 20, 2009 at 11:19 pm