Today's choices in flash memory storage devices for digital cameras and other devices is mind-boggling. It's no wonder the consumer is totally confused. Just figuring out which options your camera should have is tough enough.
Then you discover that there are all kinds of memory storage options -- SmartMedia (SM), CompactFlash (CF), MemoryStick (MS), MultiMediaCard (MMC), Secure Digital (SD), eXtreme Digital (xD), Microdrive ... and none of them are compatible with the others.
Only recently have Secure Digital, Memory Stick and xD cards gotten above the 1GB capacity mark -- CompactFlash (CF) devices offer capacities of up to 12 Gigabytes, they're the main focus of this report.
We are also expanding our SD card coverage - SD cards are now the most popular flash media type and getting bigger (up to 32GB) and faster (up to 150x speed and beyond) all the time!
CompactFlash Type I
Popular 1GB CompactFlash Type I cards
There are no compatibility problems with any device certified to
use a CF Type I card, any brand will work. CF cards over 2GB in capacity will work
in all dSLR cameras made after 2004 - to be sure check our list on the
Microdrive review page.
Until year 2005 CF cards were the -only- media used in digital SLRs.
The Canon EOS-1D Mark II and the
Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II can use both
CF and SD cards -- however the new Nikon D40 and
the Pentax K100D use SD cards exclusively -
the times they are a changing...
The Largest and Fastest
MILPITAS, CALIF., May 30, 2008 - SanDisk Extreme flash memory cards swept performance ratings in seven of the current top professional-level digital single lens reflex cameras from Canon and Nikon, according to the latest tests conducted by Rob Galbraith, renowned imaging consultant, digital photography trainer and photojournalist. The SanDisk Extreme CompactFlash and SD cards outperformed all competitors in the tests.
Galbraith, who offers the results on his website, www.robgalbraith.com, tested multiple brands, models and capacities of memory cards with each camera to determine the fastest write times. He measured speeds involving both JPEG and RAW images and, in six camera models that use CompactFlash cards, the SanDisk Extreme Ducati CompactFlash Card took the top honors. Named after Ducati Corse, the Italian manufacturer of high-performance motorcycles, the SanDisk Ducati line was introduced last summer and is the fastest CompactFlash card that SanDisk produces.
CompactFlash Type II
The IBM/Hitachi Microdrive is undoubtedly the most well-known CompactFlash Type II device in use today. These are not flash media, they are miniature hard disk drives and most professional photographers prefer the security of solid-state flash media for obvious reasons.
Both Seagate and Western Digital have announced production of one-inch drives in CF Type II factor (aka Microdrives) with capacities of 5GB and higher although most seemed destined for use in MP3 players.
Read my in-depth Microdrive Report
CF Type I ... Type II ... what's the difference?Physically a CF Type II card looks like a CF Type I card in every dimension except thickness, CF Type II cards are 5mm thick compared to a Type I card at 3.3mm.
CompactFlash Type II and I cards compared
Cameras That Can Use The MicrodriveThe most current list of compatible digital cameras from Hitachi.
SD High Capacity (SDHC) Cards - SD 2.00
SDHC (SD High Capacity) are the newer SD cards larger than 2GB that adhere to the SD 2.00 specification - a design that is required for cards and hosts to support 4GB to 32GB capacities. The specification was developed by the SD Association, which also defined three speed classes for speed and performance capabilities.
SDHC cards adhere to the SD Speed Class Rating specification which defines a minimum sustained transfer speed and use the FAT32 file system. The SD Speed Class Ratings specify a minimum sustained write speed for SDHC cards (Class 2: 2 MB/s; Class 4: 4 MB/s; Class 6: 6 MB/s) - that's MegaBytes not MegaBits.
Most cameras made after 3Q 2006 support SDHC but the majority of the currently available external card readers) DO NOT - consult your user manual or manufacturer's web site before purchasing a SDHC card for your camera, camcorder, netbook or MP3 player. Many manufacturers provide downloadable firmware updates for their cameras and are adding SDHC support.
Click here to read the SDHC specifications (Adobe pdf format).
SanDisk Boosts SD Card Speed By Fifty Percent - Sets New Speed Record
TOKYO, JAPAN, August 27, 2008 - SanDisk Corporation today set a new speed record of 30 megabytes per second1 for SD flash memory cards with the introduction of the SanDisk Extreme III 30MB/s Edition line of SDHC Cards. The new cards, expected to be available worldwide in September in 4-gigabyte (GB)2, 8GB and 16GB capacities, are designed to deliver peak performance when used with the new digital single-lens reflex (DSLR) camera, Nikon D90.
High Capacity MS Pro Cards
Sony and SanDisk now have Memory Stick PRO cards that boast 4GB
and 8GB of capacity.
Hitachi Global Storage - Microdrives
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