It happens that during intense shooting, when you need to take a lot of frames quickly, the camera suddenly starts shooting with a long interval or does not allow you to take a single frame at all. Or maybe you are a beginner who just brought home the first camera and is now thinking about how to complete it? If at first it does not matter which lens you use and whether there is a protective filter on it, then without a memory card, not a single shooting will take place.
We figured out what memory cards are, what the numbers and letters on them mean, and what to do to make your card last as long as possible.
Types of memory cards
1. SD (Secure Digital Memory Card)
Most modern cameras support this type of drive. Even if you suddenly decide to change the camera model, switch from Nikon to Canon or from a DSLR to a mirrorless camera, you don’t have to change the card.
Cards of this type have more modern modifications:
- SDHC (memory capacity up to 32 GB);
- SDXC (up to 2 TB);
- SDUC (volume up to 128 TB);
- Eye-Fi (cards that support Wi-Fi, which allows you to immediately transfer pictures to a computer and even upload them to the Internet).
It seems that the choice is obvious — it is better to immediately take a card with the maximum amount of memory. But the newer the drive version, the less likely your camera is compatible with it.
Therefore, before buying, you need to find out if the camera can support the type of card. Look in the instructions for the camera, on the manufacturer’s website (for example, here is a table of correspondence between memory cards and Canon camera models), or open the characteristics of your camera in an online store.
These cards are suitable not only for cameras, but also for phones. But in order for the camera to read it, you will have to buy an adapter. Despite the fact that SD and MicroSD are equal in all respects, this option is considered less reliable. But cards of this type, as a rule, are cheaper.
This is a good option for a beginner photographer or someone who is trying a new hobby — why invest in technology if you are not sure that you will do it?
3.CF (Compact Flash)
Some professional and semi-professional cameras have a dedicated CF card slot (eg Canon 5D Mark III). Their advantage is in large volumes and recording speed. But in order for the card to work to its fullest, you need to make sure that the camera has support for the UDMA (direct memory access) function.
Some cameras allow you to burn photos to both CF and CD at the same time. In this case, if one of the cards breaks, you will always have a second one with duplicates. An option for those who are already making money on the set and want to protect themselves and the client as much as possible.
4.Memory Stick Micro
Memory card from Sony manufacturers. It is used both in cameras and in game consoles, phones and even printers of the manufacturer. Sony Alpha also supports the regular SD format. The advantage of a Sony card is not obvious, since they are more expensive than universal SD cards, but for the most part they are suitable only for Sony equipment.
What do the markings on memory cards mean?
There are many abbreviations and numbers written on any of the above cards. Let’s figure out what parameters mean what.
1. Card class (C2, C4, C6, C10)
It is denoted by a number inscribed in the letter C. It looks like it was placed in the center of an underdrawn circle.
Tells about the minimum guaranteed speed at which the card writes information. At the moment, there are only four classes — 2, 4, 6 and 10. The number determines the number of megabytes per second. So a class 2 card records information at a speed of 2 Mb / s, and a class 10 card records information at 10 Mb / s.
It’s simple — the larger the number, the better.
2. UHS (Ultra High Speed; U1, U2, U3)
Same as card class, only reflects the high-speed data transfer standard that cameras started to implement in 2009. It is indicated by numbers (1, 2 or 3) placed in the letter U. The numbers indicate the speed at which data is recorded: 10, 20 or 30 Mb / s. If your camera supports UHS, then the card will work more stable during continuous shooting, and even 4K video can be easily recorded at a recording speed of 30 Mb / s.
3. UHS bus version
Denoted by Roman numerals I, II or III. These numbers are usually written next to U1, U2 or U3 from the previous paragraph (while you can still find the class of the card nearby), but there is no clear system — it all depends on the design of the card. If the number II is on the card, there are two rows of contacts on the drive. The higher the number, the higher the performance, the stability of the card, the faster the photos are recorded during continuous shooting. But all this is relevant if the camera supports UHS II or III. If the camera is not capable, it makes no sense to overpay for unnecessary features — the second row of contacts will not be used for data transfer, and, therefore, the performance of the card will drop to UHS I.
4. Maximum reading speed
It is indicated by a number, next to which MB / s is written. Not an important parameter for shooting. It indicates how quickly you can transfer files from the card to your computer and view them.
5. Speed value
Denoted by a number and an X after it. For example, 1000X. Shows the maximum speed of the card in read mode. Essentially the same as the maximum reading speed. It is easier and clearer to focus on the maximum reading speed parameter from point 4. But if it is not indicated on the map, we focus on the speed value.
6. Card type
Those same SD, SDHC, SDXC, SDUC, MicroSD, Compact Flash and Memory Stick Micro, which we have already talked about in detail.
It is indicated by a number and the marking of GB or TB after it. The higher the number, the more data will fit on the card, and the more it will cost you. For example, an 8 GB card will fit about 300 photos taken in Raw and JPEG formats.
The larger the card, the more expensive it is, and the more information can be lost if it breaks. Therefore, it is better to take several memory cards of a smaller capacity (16 GB cards are ideal), divide the shooting into parts, between which you will change cards, so that not all shooting is lost in case of a breakdown. For example, set yourself a timer and change the card every half an hour or an hour. Or record photos simultaneously on SD and CF.
8. Video Recording Card Class (V6 to V90)
Indicates the minimum video recording speed. For example, the V6 records video at a minimum of 6 Mbps, while the V90 starts at 90 Mbps. You also need to know that V6 allows you to record video in HD, V10 — FullHD, V30 — 4K video, and starting with V60 — 8K video.
How to choose a memory card for photography. Brief checklist
- Choose the highest card class — C10.
- UHS and UHS bus version are only important if your camera supports these settings. In this case, the larger the number, the better.
- More reliable cards are considered SD or FC.
- If the camera is capable of recording pictures on two media at once, buy both.
- The volume of the card. Most photographers agree that it is better to buy several cards of a small volume than one large one. Although, if you are working with two cards at the same time, then you can neglect this advice.
- The maximum reading speed and the speed value are not the most important parameters when choosing a card for stable and fast performance during shooting. If you come to a photo session with a laptop and immediately give the source material, then it is better that these parameters are higher.
How to take care of your memory card so that it lasts longer
- If you can transfer photos without removing the card from the camera, choose this method. The less you pull out the drive and insert it back, the slower the contacts will be overwritten.
- Do not format the card using a computer. If you need to erase files, do it directly on the camera. It is believed that this option is safer for the card. This also applies to partial deletion of files. For example, if you decide to erase bad frames directly from the drive. This can lead to a failure in the logic of the equipment.
- Do not pull out the memory card from the switched on camera. Also, do not disconnect from the computer, turn off the camera or remove the battery when transferring information from the card to another medium, or simply interacting with it. For example, you are viewing footage. It’s like removing a working flash drive from a computer without safely removing it — there is a chance of damaging the drive and losing files.
- Turn on LOCK mode to avoid accidentally deleting photos. This feature can be enabled on the card itself by sliding down the small lever on the side. In this case, you can copy the files to your computer.
- If you are using a microSD adapter, make sure the card is firmly inserted into it. Otherwise it may break.