How to Choose a Digital Camera Memory Card
Selecting memory cards for digital cameras can be tough. The quality and number of images depends on the type and size of digital camera memory card you choose. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind when selecting a card to store your digital images.
Digital cameras store images on thin, stamp-size memory cards. Images are transferred to a computer via a cable or by removing the memory card and inserting it in a card reader that’s attached to a computer. In general, using a memory card reader will give faster downloads and is easy to use.
How large a digital camera memory card you need depends on how many megapixels your camera has and whether you’re shooting RAW or JPEG. The most common file format, JPEG, compresses unneeded data from the file before the image is saved, but the file sizes can still be quite large. RAW files can commonly be 10-20 megabytes in size, while high-quality JPEG images will typically run 1-4 megabytes (always use high-quality JPEG settings).
You need a high-capacity digital camera memory card to store a reasonable number of images. Cards are relatively inexpensive. Small cards, such as 512 MB, should be used only for low megapixel cameras and JPEG files. For most cameras, get at least 1 MB, and if you have a high-megapixel camera and are shooting RAW, look for the largest-capacity card you can afford.
While there are several types of memory cards on the market, most cameras are designed to use only one type, with a few having two card slots. You need to buy the right type of card for your camera. If your camera did not come with a memory card (and that’s quite common these days), check your owner’s manual to be sure you purchase the right type.
If it did come with a card, that card is likely way too small. Take it with you to the store and buy the same type in a larger capacity. Cards do have speed ratings that indicate how fast they can store and retrieve data, but only the high-end pro cameras can really support the fastest cards.
Review more information on digital camera memory and get the right card for your camera!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristine Knight is a professional nature photographer who specializes in Southwestern landscapes. As an Arizona native, she’s been honing her art since childhood and maintains several personal photography websites.