Mem­ory cards ex­plained

There’s much more to choos­ing these stor­age de­vices than sim­ply get­ting the right type…

NPhoto - - Over To You… -

It’s easy to take mem­ory

cards for granted. How­ever, you only have to go into a cam­era shop to re­alise that mem­ory cards come in a be­wil­der­ing ar­ray of sizes, for­mats and speeds.

It’s easy to work out what mem­ory card for­mat you need – un­less you own a Nikon D4 or D4s, it’s ei­ther Com­pact Flash or SD. As far as ca­pac­ity is con­cerned, your cam­era’s LCD dis­play will tell you how many im­ages you can save on your cur­rent mem­ory card. If you shoot RAW files, which we usu­ally rec­om­mend, you’ll need more stor­age space, but a 16 gi­ga­byte card should be enough, al­though in­di­vid­ual needs will vary.

Mem­ory card for­mats

Com­pact Flash is the old­est mem­ory card for­mat still in use. They’ve dis­ap­peared from Nikon’s be­gin­ner and en­thu­si­ast D-SLRs, but are still go­ing strong in the top-end pro mod­els. They come in two types, and Type I cards fit all cam­eras. Type II cards are fat­ter, and are no longer made or sup­ported. Most Type II ‘cards’ were a clever but frag­ile minia­ture hard disk ‘Mi­croDrive’ de­sign, but solid state Type I cards have long since out­stripped the ca­pac­ity of Type II cards.

SD cards are the most com­mon card type, and are used across the Nikon range ex­cept for in top-end pro mod­els. Al­though all SD cards are phys­i­cally the same, there are three types. SD cards are the old­est and will work in any cam­era with an SD card slot. SDHC cards are newer but only work in SDHC-com­pat­i­ble cam­eras (see the list over­leaf). SDXC cards are newer still and need an SDXC-com­pat­i­ble cam­era.

Fi­nally, XQD is a brand-new for­mat used in the D4 and D4s. The cards of­fer po­ten­tially huge ca­pac­i­ties and ul­tra-fast data trans­fer speeds, but it’s early days, and the fu­ture of the for­mat is by no means guar­an­teed.

Some Nikons take two cards, and you can use twin slots in a va­ri­ety of ways

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