Joe Fitzpatrick teaches us the best memory cards and SD cards to buy and why!
Do you know what all those symbols mean? Joe will teach us!
Memory Cards Explained with Joe Fitzpatrick
Types of Memory Cards
- CF: used in professional and advanced amateur cameras
- XQD: in some Nikon and Sony cameras
- CF Express: replacing XQD, backwards compatible
- SD: most common, several types, all backwards compatible, smaller than CF without pins
- Micro SD: GoPro, Drones, Smartphones – several types, all backwards compatible
SD (Secure Digital) and Micro SD Cards – Deciphering the Symbols
- 95 MB/s -usually designates top write speed measured by the manufacturer
- SC, HC, XC, or UC – classes of speed ratings. SC is only used on older cameras now.
HC is most common
XC and UC are newer and have 2 rows of pins – check manufacturer’s recommendations
- Roman numerals next to SD logo (I) – most common, 1 row of contact pins
(II) – 2 rows of contacts, used in new high-end cameras
- Speed class – designated by a “C” with a number (2-10) inside
This is the sustained write speed – the most important! Best is a C-10
- UHS Classes – designated by a “U” with a number (1-3) inside Best is U-3
3 = 30 MB/s minimum sustained write speed (may be as fast as 95MB/s in short bursts)
- Newer cards have a video rating
Video will need faster cards – 30 frames/s has much more data
– V30 (about $20, most common)
– V60, V90 ($100, 2 rows of contact pins, used only in newer advanced cameras)
- 32 GB or 64 GB – 32 will hold about 1,000 images – perfect for most photographers
64 GB is much better for storing VIDEO
CF (Compact Flash) Cards
- Typically found in pro-level cameras and very old cameras.
- UDMA 7 – best read speed
- Clapboard number is write speed. (95 MB/s)
Always check your manufacturer’s recommendations. A newer, faster card may not be faster in your camera if the camera is not designed to utilize the newer technology.
How long does a memory card last?
- Transistors within the cards last between 500 – 3,000 erase/write cycles.
- Typically not a total failure, may start to give error messages or corrupt images.
– could try to reformat, best option is download all images and replace card
- Trouble getting images off card? Recovery software is available online.
– RECUVA – recommended by Joe, Freeware
Cleans the directory without having to erase all the individual images.
Storage and Backups
- Memory cards will not hold the data forever – they are not a reliable form of storage.
– The number of use cycles affects the length of storage. A brand new card may hold data for 20 years, while a card that has been used 1,000 times or more may lose data in less than a year.
- Separate Hard Drives are more reliable for long-term storage.
Drives will not last forever either! Connections and file systems change over time. Make sure you keep your backups updated to your current system.
- 2 backups are recomended– one on site and one off-site
- Cloud storage – iCloud, Dropbox, Amazon Drive, Google
- Backup software – Time Machine, Acronis
- Cloud backup – Carbonite, Acronis, iDrive, Backblaze
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