6 Types of Memory Cards

There are several different types of memory cards, and it's important to know the difference between them so that you can choose the correct one for your camera. Lots of different memory cards are still in use in various cameras and other devices, which makes choosing the right one a little difficult.

1. SD Cards

SD cards are probably the most popular digital memory card format used in compact cameras. These are fairly small memory cards, which are about the same size as a postage stamp. They're actually identical in appearance to the MMC memory cards, but also has a lock switch to write protect the contents of the card. SD Cards are compatible with any device with the SD card mark on it, and they will also work in devices supporting SDHC and SDXC cards.

SD Cards are pretty much universal on compact cameras, with only a few brands choosing to use their own type of memory card. SD Cards also include SDHC cards, which are available in capacities above 4GB.

2. MMC Cards

MMC Cards are the same size as SD cards, but are not available in the same capacities. Anything which accepts an SD card can also use MMC cards, however, anything which only supports MMC cannot use SD cards.

3. Compact Flash Cards

Compact Flash memory cards are also very common, as these are often used in Digital SLR cameras. They are bigger than SD cards, however, are generally cheaper and also very reliable. The standard has also been around for a long time. Rather than using contacts, there are a series of holes which accept pins from the reader. Compact flash does not normally include a write protect switch, although it is possible to protect the cards contents on most cameras.

4. Mini/Micro SD

Mini and Micro SD use the same basic technology as SD cards, however, the memory cards are much smaller. These are designed for portable devices, such as mobile phones and MP3 players. Adaptors are often included to make them compatible with SD card readers.

Mini and Micro SD cards are the standard memory card format, used in small portable devices where a full SD card is too big.

5. Memory Stick

Memory Sticks are used on the majority of Sony cameras and portable devices including the PSP. The latest incarnation of the format resembles a slightly smaller version of an SD card and is known as Memory Stick Duo. Nobody other than Sony have adopted memory sticks, and this means that they are slightly more expensive than regular memory cards.

Many modern Sony digital cameras also support the use of SD cards. Sony, however, still intends to maintain and develop the Memory Stick memory card standard.

6. XD Cards

XD Cards are similar in size to SD cards, however, these are based on the same technology as SmartMedia memory cards. XD cards were normally used in FujiFilm cameras, until recently as most new models support SD cards.

Spend time choosing the right memory card for your camera so that it will physically fit inside and will be compatible with your camera. Choosing the incorrect type of memory card is all too easy because many modern memory cards look pretty much identical.

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