Photography - Knowledge

Memory Card for Cameras: Top 10 Facts You Should Know

1231 Views - 10 mins read

We all love capturing moments and store them in cards so that we can access them in future. From beginners to professionals -all of us possess a camera; be it a simple point and shoot or a high-end gear. But the thing we ignore most while capturing the beautiful moments is the Memory cards for cameras which store those snaps. Have you ever wondered why your cherished images from your trip got damaged after you tried to access the memory card on your PC? Or why your pictures on memory cards take never-ending minutes to get loaded on your computer? Well, we all face awkward and unfortunate problems with our SD memory cards. And while you are at a loss of how to make your memory cards last long and get awesome results, we are here to give you some simple rules to follow to squeeze out the best performance. Let’s get started.

Types Of Memory Cards For Cameras

Before you buy a memory card, you should know how many sd card types are there and what their characteristics are. While some cameras support only one type of cards, some professional DSLRs support both Compact and SM cards. So before you go for card-hunting, let’s discuss briefly the types –

  • SD Memory Cards or Secure Digital Memory Cards are the most commonly used memory cards. These are compatible with almost all types of cameras. If you are a beginner, then this is the perfect choice for you and while you search, you will also find shopkeepers or online stores shows you these type of memory cards for cameras abundantly. 
  • SDHC Memory Cards or Secure Digital High Capacity cards come up with higher capacity storage. If you are a hobbyist, then you can go for these cards. SD and SDHC cards are identical to look at but while the capacity of SD Cards is the 2GB max, that of SDHC is up to 32GB. 
  • SDXC Memory cards or Secure Digital ‘Xtra Capacity cards have the storage capacity up to 2TB. It can also fit into your camera’s card slot, but before using, you should definitely check whether your camera supports this SD Card types or not. If you want to ample storage then it is best to pick SDXC over SDHC memory card 
  • CF Memory Cards or Compact Flash Memory Cards possess the high storage capacity and fast processing times. These are advanced cards and are only used in most advanced DSLRs. Canon has chosen these cards for its new lineup of professional HD video cameras. These Canon Memory Cards can store huge capacity and work faster than ever. 

These are some of the generally used Memory cards for cameras used in modern technology. There are also some sd cards for the camera used in older version of cameras.  Such as – micro sd cards, Xd Picture Memory Cards, Memory Stick Duo Memory Cards, Multi-Media Cards (MMC), UHS-II, CFast 2.0 std etc. 

different cards
Different Types of Memory cards

Top Facts About Memory Cards that You Didn't Know

Listed below are top tips that will change the way you use your memory cards:

Fact #1 Card According to Your Need of Capacity 

Believe it or not, your choice of memory cards will affect your comfort genre of photography. If you are a wildlife photographer, you need a high capacity memory card that can store the numerous shots you snapped continuously. If you are photographing an action, then you need a memory card that would positively affect your shots in ‘burst mood’.  For a macro session, you will click on regular intervals. So that does not need a high capacity camera.

Again if you are a landscape photographer or need to photograph star-trails or milky-ways, then you must go with the highest capacity memory cards for the camera. After all, you don't need the storage to run away in the middle of some magical shot.

If you are on a long trip and don’t carry laptops or card readers to download the images from your memory card, then go with high capacity memory cards. This will enable you to click freely without being worried about the low storage space. You can also carry two cards with smaller capacity as a caution for not losing all the images of a single card with higher capacity.

While professional photographers prefer to shoot in RAW format as they need a great amount of post-processing, the beginners and freelancers are comfortable with JPEG format. In this context, you should know that RAW format eats up huge space, much more than that of JPEG. So it is better to carry an SDHC rather than SD memory cards if you are planning to shoot in RAW format. The resolution of your camera too needs to be taken into consideration. Higher Resolution takes more space than low-resolution cameras.  

sdhc cards
Opt for SDHC memory card

Fact #2 Speed to Shoot 

Micro SD Card speed is crucial for two reasons – Reading and Writing. For action shoot, you will need a card with fast writing speed. And for clicking lots of images, especially in RAW format, you need a card with higher reading speed.  Professional DSLRs need higher reading rate than Compact Cameras. 

The speed of a memory card for the camera is determined on the Class system. The highest class is 10, meaning that you have a 10mbps transfer speed. The UHC-1 (Ultra High Speed -1) has surpassed the class 10 speed with its 104mbps speed. If your camera supports UHC-1 and your camera is not less than 1.5 years old, then you can go with this one. The UHS-II Have the speed of 312mbps. Although if you don’t have too many RAW files, you should not go with this one; as the most advanced DSLRs support this speed type.   

CF Memory Cards have a speed of 150mbps and work with a majority of the cameras, while SDHC Cards operate in around 20-30mbps. But before you decide, you should check whether your camera is compatible with the speed.  
There are also the “fastest” UDMA (Ultra Direct Memory Access) CFast 2.0 Memory cards for cameras with speed of over 500mbps. However, these are highly expensive and compatible with only a small range of cameras.  

speed of cards
Need for Speed

Fact #3 Opt for Genuine Brands

We won’t go promoting any brands, but you should always make sure you buy genuine and branded memory cards. Whatever brand you would use, is definitely your personal opinion. You should always buy best sd card from a trusted retailer. Don’t forget to take the signed warranty card. And while buying, keep an eye that the card case does not tamper. Even while buying online, check thoroughly whether there is any duplicity in the packaging. While it is safe to buy cards of reputed and popular brands, it’s also a fact that these packaging and logo can be forged to give it an original look. So beware. While hunting for micro SD card, you might end up with a forged or duplicate item.

Fact #4 Don’t Go with The Number of Shots Shown on Card 

It is never right to keep the pressure on anything. Same goes with your Memory Card. A card with 4GB does not mean you can squeeze files of 4GB in it. It’s always better to leave some space; otherwise, the best SD card you buy will end up being corrupted. If your card can store 500 images, it is not mandatory that you can manage to click that many shots. Your images depend on the resolution, exposure, and many other technical things.  

It’s better to format your memory card for the camera after a trip or occasion – when your card is nearly full. It’s considered cleanliness! The regular you clean up space, the smoothly your card operates.  We are going to discuss that in the next point.

Fact #5 Formatting is Important

As we discussed, formatting in regular intervals is important to keep your memory cards healthy. Now while you have the tendency to erase or format from your computer, it is more easy and important to format on camera. There is always an option on your settings asking you to format/delete. And another important thing is that you need to format SD Memory Cards from the camera you are using now. 

If you are thinking about pulling out your SD card for the camera and putting it into another camera without formatting it, then you are at high risk of corrupting your card. Beware if you are changing your gears from one brand to another.  

If you think deleting a few pictures from your card on camera would work as formatting the card, you are wrong. Formatting and deleting are different. Deleting is okay, but also you need to format your card regularly so that your SD Card speed remains smooth.

Formatting memory cards
Format your card regularly

Fact #6 Cards in Holder – Myth or Reality 

It is among the few myths about memory cards for cameras that you should keep your little memory cards enclosed in Card Holders. Many professionals call this habit as fanaticism. It is not possible to keep a number of cards in cases while you are continuously shooting and need to change cards. However, this is not a full-proof misconception.    

It is better to keep your best sd cards filled with your precious photographs in a cardholder. After all having security never hurts. Moreover labelling them accordingly with your name and phone number keeps them secure from theft. You can even label them according to some important events that you shot on. So that whenever you search for the particular pictures of that event, you can find them easily. 

Fact #7 Memory cards are Your Jewels – Don’t Pull them out Abruptly

We have seen many photographers, who with an excuse of being in hurry, had pulled out the memory cards abruptly while the data was being transferred to or from the card.

The result?

Precious data lost or Card corrupted.

Obviously, you don't want such accidents to occur. So we advise you to be patient while the transfer process is taking place. Your time is not more precious than your hard-earned photographs.

Before ejecting memory card from the camera, just wait for some extra time before the notification light goes off. Also turn off your camera before removing the SD Card for the camera. While you are transferring the data with a

USB cable to your computer, never ever pull out the cable in the middle of the process. After the transfer is completed, "safely eject" the device.  

Fact #8 Backup Your Data, Memory Cards will Back You Up

Keeping a record of your works is always important. Your best buy micro SD Cards can get corrupted or you can even lose your memory card for the camera. To keep yourself safe from such incidents, it is better to back up your data. We advise you to transfer your data to the computer or a spare memory card right after a long shoot. 

The spare SD Card for the camera can act as a perfect backup while you have run out of space on your current card and need to keep on shooting. While you are in the field, and your card is out of space, deleting the shot images one by one takes up lots of time. And in this tantrum, you might miss the moment you could have shot if you had a backup card handy. We have advised you to use small capacity cards instead of one high capacity card. Now we are asking you to keep a backup in that card and also use that card as a backup. 

Fact #9 Use Card Reader

Finally, let us assume that you have passed all the above steps in flying colours. So now you have to store them in the computer or a spare card so that you can have access to your archive shots whenever you need. Moreover, you also need to clean up space on your memory cards. And before formatting, you need to keep a record of your data. So you need a good card reader.

Always go for branded card-readers (As we advised in case of your memory cards for cameras) as you don’t want your card reader to malfunction. Malfunctioning of a memory card reader can erase all or some of your data in your SD memory cards. So why take the risk? There are various brands that offer excellent card readers. You can choose from them. While choosing, also check whether the transfer rate of the card reader is fast enough. 

use card reader
Record your data with card reader 

Fact #10 Drop Your Card in Water and all is Lost

This is an infamous misconception that worries the photographers the most. Suppose you dropped your Canon memory card in mud or water while you are photographing while swimming across a stream or hiking through the mud. The first thought that strikes you like a bolt is that you are ruined!  

Well, your data is ruined in that case. 

Let us assure you, this is a pure myth. 

Memory cards are made with solid state memory and they are made hardy enough to go through the obstacles and still remain intact. Well, it is also a fact that you should not use that card right away. Rather you should let them dry and give them to a skilled software engineer who can recover the data from a damaged card.  

Wrapping Up

So these are some of the steps which are not hard to follow, and if followed, can serve you a long time without causing any nuances. Memory cards are tiny jewels that keep your frozen memories fresh forever. So if you keep them in good health, they will help you in achieving great heights in the field of Photography. Don’t let anything hamper your passion. Consider capacity, speed and brands before jumping into any conclusion. Format regularly and keep backup, and then nothing can stop you. Happy clicking fells!

Cover Source!