What you should consider before buying a memory card

What you should consider before buying a memory card

When you first look at the different options out there for memory cards, it can get to be a little confusing if you don’t know what you’re looking for. To help, we narrowed it down to 4 major points of consideration:


There are a lot of different types of memory cards on the market today. From Micro SD card to SD card, CF card, and even the M2 from Sony. Many of these have different uses, but two are more generally used by professional photographers and videographers: the SD Card and the CF card.

  • SD Card

SD cards are used primarily in digital cameras and their only real constraint is the capacity of the card. While when they were first created, the capacity limit was only 2GB, today you can find SD cards with capacities of up to 512GB. SanDisk even makes a 1TB SD card, though it is definitely not cheap.

  • CF Card

CF cards, otherwise known as Compact Flash cards have high speeds and high capacity which is why they appear inside many professionals cameras. While SD cards are catching up, professionals aren’t ready to ditch CF cards just yet. Many cameras will have a slot for each. The cost of CF cars is almost double that to SD cards, which is why many wish that the CF card format would become obsolete because SD cards are much more affordable


When you go shopping, the factor that determines how much you will end up paying is the transfer speed, not the capacity. For example, an SD card will cost much less than a CF card at the same capacity. On the other hand, you can buy high capacity memory cards wholesale for an affordable price


When it comes to memory cards, the term speed relates to writing and reading. The number indicated on the card is the maximum speed at which the card can read the data on the card but how fast it can write it is what is really important. For example, on CF cards, the speed is often presented as X times or in MBps. If it is shown as 600X or 1066X, what exactly does X mean? It means 150Kb per second. So to what out the exact speed, multiply the number in front of the X by 150 and you will have the MBps that data can be read off the card.


The actual capacity of the card you use is pretty easy to understand. If you buy a 32GB memory card, it can hold up to about 1000 RAW photographs. If you take photos in jpeg format, a 32GB card can hold up to 3200 photographs. If you plan on shooting a lot of photos or even videos, aiming for a higher capacity card can ensure you don’t run out of storage at the wrong time.

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