Friday, June 1, 2007
How to Choose a Digital Camera Memory Card
Choosing Memory Cards For Digital Cameras Can Be Tough. Arm Yourself With Valuable Information.
Write, And Write Again
The core benefit of any memory card resides in the fact that it can be reused over and over simply by deleting unwanted images. That also means images can be deleted accidentally. Because deleted images aren’t actually “erased” until a new image is saved in the same space, it’s reasonably easy to reverse the accidental deletions and avert disaster. First and foremost, however, it’s critical that you don’t save any additional images to a card after the accident occurs, otherwise you’ll overwrite the images you want to reclaim.
Lexar Media offers Image Rescue 2.0, a simple menu-driven undelete software package that works like a charm. It also includes utilities that allow you to update memory card firmware, run diagnostic tests and perform other functions. SanDisk has a similar product, Rescue PRO 1.0. There are other brands available, but you won’t find anything better than these two. The fact that deleted images can be restored should give you pause. If you loan your digital camera to a friend, it may be possible for them to see what you’ve been shooting, even if you reformatted the card. Applications like Lexar’s Secure Erase, included with Image Rescue 2.0, prevent this by overwriting every byte with a 1 or zero.
Some camera makers are starting to build more memory into the camera instead of packing a memory card in the box, a great change, as the bundled card is invariably too small anyway. Additional on-board memory always will be useful. Some research has shown that a certain segment of consumers buy one large memory card, install it in their camera and never think about media again. A point-and-shoot camera that has 1 GB of storage built in would seem ideal—if the marketplace and retail world would accept it.
Building a USB interface right on the memory card is another innovation that will become mainstream in the near future. The SanDisk SD Plus can be used in any SD application, but can be plugged directly into a USB slot simply by folding the innovative design in half. Think of it as a combination memory card/thumb drive.
Two specifications that will continue to grow and improve are capacity and read/write speeds. Progress in these areas is fueled by the expanding popularity of digital SLR cameras, ever-growing image file sizes and by the fact that, in the final analysis, there aren’t many other specs that can be improved. Manufacturers try to differentiate their products by using distinctive colors, attractive packaging and other superficial gimmicks, but consumers demand performance, and they spell it “big and fast.”
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