Question Newbie photographer looking at memory card options, what do I need to keep in mind?

Nov 14, 2019
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I wasn't sure if there was more to consider other than the storage capacity? Any help is much appreciated!
 

Chris George

Staff member
Nov 13, 2019
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www.digitalcameraworld.com
@AdamM First thing, of course, is making sure the card is compatible with your camera - there are lots of different memory card types. What camera do you use

The next thing is the speed of the card... how fast the images can be written to the card, and then transferred from the card to your computer. The speed is particularly important when shooting motordrive bursts of images, or when shooting video.

There is an introduction to different card types here

But do let us know if you have specific questions :)
 
Dec 12, 2019
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The respondent telling you to look at the speed of the card is correct but make sure it is the write speed not the read speed you look at since this helps the camera write to the card and free it up for subsequent images. Always buy bigger than you need since you are likely in the future to move up camera wise and often they are more megapixels and demand more storage.
 

Artaius

Staff member
Nov 13, 2019
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www.digitalcameraworld.com
Belated reply, but hopefully still helpful…

It's probably a very old fashioned thought process now, but when I started shooting digitally my mentor advised me to shoot on as small a memory card as possible – a 1GB card was ideal, because at that time it was the most equivalent to shooting with a roll of film (in terms of the number of exposures you could take). This way, it trained you to be more considered and not to overshoot, which is the one thing we all become guilty of with digital! (I was apprenticing for a commercial photographer, so excessive shooting really wasn't a good thing.)

The other thing, which certainly does still apply, is how large a card you feel comfortable shooting on. Card failures do happen, but the damage is lessened if you're shooting on a 16GB card that goes wrong (where you only lose maybe a couple of setups) rather than a 128GB card (where you'll lose your entire day of shooting). Using a camera with dual slots obviously helps solve this problem, but as someone who has had two very good SanDisk cards fail on me it's definitely a lesson you don't want to learn the hard way!
 
Dec 12, 2019
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Belated reply, but hopefully still helpful…

It's probably a very old fashioned thought process now, but when I started shooting digitally my mentor advised me to shoot on as small a memory card as possible – a 1GB card was ideal, because at that time it was the most equivalent to shooting with a roll of film (in terms of the number of exposures you could take). This way, it trained you to be more considered and not to overshoot, which is the one thing we all become guilty of with digital! (I was apprenticing for a commercial photographer, so excessive shooting really wasn't a good thing.)

The other thing, which certainly does still apply, is how large a card you feel comfortable shooting on. Card failures do happen, but the damage is lessened if you're shooting on a 16GB card that goes wrong (where you only lose maybe a couple of setups) rather than a 128GB card (where you'll lose your entire day of shooting). Using a camera with dual slots obviously helps solve this problem, but as someone who has had two very good SanDisk cards fail on me it's definitely a lesson you don't want to learn the hard way!
Using small memory cards will result in more card changing which is more likely to wear both card and memory slot and lead to issues also.

I agree that having been released from the 'constraint' (financial as well as numerical) of shooting perhaps 12 images on a 120 roll film that being able to shoot literally thousands on a fair sized digital card can lead to lead to less discipline and less considered shots. However with the digital freedom of zero cost for many shots is the artistic possibility of trying many things, many angles, many subjects, different lighting, different exposures and different filters etc. Again be prepared to sift through many images and self quality control by deleting rubbish it can be an onerous task.

Also most decent digital cameras allow two memory cards so card failure is covered if the option to write the same image to both cards is chosen. Professionals almost demand this! Cards as you say do fail. My wife lost a great wildlife set when a Lexar died (she had set her camera to overflow onto second card) and recently I had an Adata die.

I do know many photographers who keep their images on the memory cards and buy new ones when they are full! this is a recipe for disaster. I always load all images and back-up to two other places (one in the cloud, one on a second hard drive and finally one on a server in my household) as soon as I return from a photo trip and I am just an amateur.

Buy high quality cards and fast write cards but remember they are only temporary storage.
 
Feb 8, 2020
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The two better makes of card in my opinion are SANDISK & LEXAR. These are the most reliable.
 
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