5 Things to Know About Memory Cards

The following post is from Amanda of Everyday Elements:

things to know about memory cards
source: Everyday Elements

The last time I was here I talked about five things that should be in every camera bag. This time I want to talk about one of those items – memory cards.

What is so special about memory cards that a whole post could be devoted to them? They are holding your precious pictures until you can upload them to your computer. If you capture once-in-a-lifetime moments, like a wedding or a birth, if those images are lost they cannot be redone.

Format every time card goes back into a camera.

Memory cards must be formatted before using for the first time and each time they are put into different cameras. For example, if you have a Canon Elph 100 and a Canon Rebel, the SD card should be formatted each time it goes between the cameras.

Also it is wise to format cards (in camera, NOT on the computer) after uploading images to your computer to delete all the images at once and remove trace info from old images from the card.

Larger is not necessarily better.

Yes a 16G memory card can hold a lot more than a 4 or 8G memory card. However, on the flip side, you are basically “putting all your eggs in one basket.” What happens if that card fails?

For instance, you go on vacation and take a long a 16G card so that you can shoot all your family pictures on that one card and when you get home you suddenly get a card error – the card is corrupt. That type of loss would be a little easier to swallow if you had used three 4G cards so you at least had images from the other two cards.

Speed is important.

With DSLR cameras, if you want to be able to shoot multiple frames back to back, your camera needs that capability but you also need a fast memory card.

When card shopping for an SD card, look at the “speed class” on the packaging – class 2 is slowest and class 10 is fastest. For compact flash (CF) cards, the speeds range from 25 bps to 322 bps.

Think before turning off your camera.

Do not turn off your camera too soon after shooting because it may still be writing files to the card. Interrupting the process can cause the card to become corrupted (meaning you may lose all the images on the card).

Label each memory card.

Write your name and date purchased (if possible) on them. Your name so that if you are with other photographers, your cards are easily identifiable and so that you know the age of the card and when to replace it. Memory cards are not a buy-once-use-forever type of product; they do need to be replaced every few years.

Do you already prescribe to these tips? If so, do you have any other helpful tips regarding memory cards?

Amanda is a quirky, introverted mom of four who is passionate about helping others learn their cameras and editing software. She homeschools her four kids, ages 13 to 6, all of whom run away when they see her carrying her camera.
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