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View Full Version : Which Flash Memory Card to Buy?

Jason Dunn
08-13-2003, 07:22 PM
<div class='os_post_top_link'><a href='http://news.independent.co.uk/digital/features/story.jsp?story=433211' target='_blank'>http://news.independent.co.uk/digital/features/story.jsp?story=433211</a><br /><br /></div>"Looking at some new digital cameras the other day, I noticed that the slot for the flash memory card (where the photographs are stored) was a different shape from those of other cameras. "What's that?" I said. "CompactFlash? SD?" The demonstrator said, eagerly, "Oh no, it's xD - much better." Inwardly, I groaned. What the world doesn't need right now is another format of flash memory card. Anyone who has bought more than one digital device capable of storing data is sure to be struggling with the multiplicity of formats available and the lack of flexibility about which one you can use it with."<br /><br />This is good article for those of you who need a primer on Flash memory.

08-13-2003, 08:20 PM
If you've already got a digital camera that takes CF and you're wondering which of the many CF cards to purchase, check out Digital Photography Review where they did detailed testing of 22 cards (http://www.dpreview.com/articles/mediacompare/). Surprisingly there is quite a difference between the read/write speeds of the various cards, and a microdrive is not necessarily the fastest.

08-13-2003, 10:26 PM
I don't mind a new flash storage media if there is a valid reason for it. &nbsp&nbspBut, they are all too similar to justify one over another.

With similar prices, capacities, and data transfer rates, the only real noticeable difference between the media is their form factors.&nbsp&nbspAnd rarely does the difference matter, as in most devices, the size or shape of the storage media is not the determining factor in the device size or shape.&nbsp&nbspAn xD-card may be 12mm shorter than an SD card, but are Fuji/Olympus cameras noticeably smaller or do they pack significant new features in that xD-tra space?

Since High Capacity Flash prices can be even more expensive than the devices in which they are used, choosing a particular format can lock you into a specific vendor (ie - once you start using SmartStick, you are stuck using Sony.)&nbsp&nbspIs anyone besides Olympus or Fuji using xD-cards?

Compatibility and flexibility are more important to me.&nbsp&nbspRight now my preferred media are 1) Secure Digital and 2) Compact Flash.

I can transfer the images from my camera or mp3's from my audio player to or from my laptop or PocketPC.&nbsp&nbspI have a SD-CF Adapter which gives me even more flexibility (like two SD cards in my Pocket PC at once).&nbsp&nbspEven my Nokia 3650 has an MMC-card that at least I can use in any SD slot for moving images, apps, etc, back and forth.&nbsp&nbspAnd with SDIO and CompactFlash, there are a growing number of non-storage accessories which I can also share between devices.

Steven Bush had a good article last year about Flash Media:

We don't need anymore incompatible formats in Flash media, DVD's, headphone jacks, power cords, connector ports, or Wireless standards.&nbsp&nbspThank you very much.

08-14-2003, 12:41 AM
I agree. I was annoyed to hear about the new xD format cards last Christmas while shopping for a second digital camera. I was not about to embrace yet another storage medium. I bought another Canon, which uses CF cards. I also will use MMC/SD. But that is it. So, manufacturers take heed- these little things do make a difference to consumers. There are enough choices of most gadgets out there that people can make a choice.

08-14-2003, 05:08 AM
I don't think a large SD card makes sense on a SmartPhone. See my comments The Truth about Smartphone Memory:



08-14-2003, 05:59 AM
I'm using the MMC/SD card format exclusively now... It works on my Canon IXUS camera, Compal Smartphone, iPAQ Pocket PC. :) Transfer rate is apparently 10MB/s for my Panasonic 256MB SD cards, and it does seem faster than CF memory cards (though I haven't done any benchmarking). I've never actually owned a CF Memory Card ever... because of the speed issue. One thing's for sure, I'd never buy a Memory Stick, SmartMedia, xD, miniSD etc. because I think supporting these other standards are a waste of time - let's bury them and move on. I think SD card is the way to go. I only wish that 512MB capacities and beyond would become more affordable and if they could start producing faster MMC/SD cards... 8)

I don't think a large SD card makes sense on a SmartPhone.

Mitch, on the contrary... I find larger capacity (256MB onwards) SD cards useful, because I have used my Smartphone to record meetings, presentations, lectures etc. for review. I have a couple of 256MB Panasonic cards which I use exclusively on my Smartphone, and these are almost always >50% full.