Accessories every photographer should know and use
Memory cards are more affordable than ever, with big capacities for multimegapixel images and HD video. They’re also getting faster, with speeds ranging from about nine megabytes per second all the way up to 45 megabytes per second with UDMA (Ultra Direct Memory Access) CompactFlash. (Note: To use UDMA CF cards, your camera must support the technology. Check your camera specs.)
CompactFlash and SD/SDHC are the most popular memory-card formats. Most cameras use one or both of these formats, and also may support proprietary formats like xD and MemoryStick. SDHC is the latest generation of the SD format (HC stands for high capacity) and, like UDMA CompactFlash, requires a compatible camera.
How much capacity do you need? A 12-megapixel JPEG comes in around 3.5 MB. That amounts to (roughly) 285 images per gigabyte. For HD-video recording, you can get about 20 minutes of footage per gigabyte.
With read and write speeds of up to 30 MBps, the 32 GB SanDisk Extreme SDHC memory card allows you to do more continuous-burst shooting without worrying about storage or speed limitations. It also can handle high-definition video recording if you shoot with a video D-SLR. It’s capable of storing 160 minutes of full-HD 1920x1080 video at a 24 MBps data-transfer rate. Estimated Street Price: $299.
Along with large capacity and a fast transfer rate, the 32 GB Kingston Elite Pro SDHC memory card has a built-in write-protect switch for preventing accidental data loss. You can shoot high-definition video with it, as well. The Elite lineup also includes cards with capacities of 4, 8 and 16 GB. Estimated Street Price: $139 (32 GB).
With capacities from 2 GB to 16 GB, Hoodman’s RAW UDMA 300x CompactFlash memory cards now use SSD (solid-state-drive) flash inside the cards for increased reliability and stability. With 45 MBps read and write speeds, the cards also are UDMA-enabled for fast card-to-computer transfer rates when paired with a compatible reader. Estimated Street Price: $49 (2 GB) to $299 (16 GB).
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