Memory card madness

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by NoNameAtAll, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. NoNameAtAll

    NoNameAtAll Guest

    Why are there so many different kinds of media cards? I was browsing around at
    the camera store and saw brand new cameras using Compact Flash cards, which are
    enormous, and other cameras using tiny little cards (can't even remember what
    they were called because there were so many different kinds). Typically the
    rule of thumb is that technology makes things smaller, so why are cameras still
    being made with Compact Flash cards in mind, especially when there are
    alternatives that are so much smaller? And why can't manufacturers just agree
    on a single format? Is one actually any better than others?
    NoNameAtAll, Jul 20, 2004
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  2. Probably for the same reason that there are so many different sizes of
    Randall Ainsworth, Jul 21, 2004
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  3. NoNameAtAll

    dwight Guest

    Funny. I had (have) an Olympus D360L that uses SmartMedia cards, those
    wafer-thin slivers that make me nervous. When I remove the card from
    the camera and insert it into the media slot in my computer, I can
    feel the contacts being scraped. Never trusted them.

    Now, with the Canon, I've got Compact Flash, which strike me as about
    the same size as a Nintendo GameBoy cartridge. Feels much sturdier,
    and, although it takes up more space, I'm much more confident about
    swapping it out from camera to computer and back.

    I suppose the limiting factor in media size is the human finger. There
    comes a point at which things are TOO small and are thus rendered

    dwight, Jul 21, 2004
  4. NoNameAtAll

    Zebedee Guest

    Compact Flash is a compact version of Flash memory. The PCMCIA slot on your
    laptop takes Flash memory as well as a whole host of other things. It was
    designed for use with Flash memory. Compact Flash is simply smaller. The
    PCMCIA CF converter is simply a straight-through wired reduction thing.

    Xtreme Digital has a maximum size of 8 gigabytes. its's not possible to put
    more storage onto such a card. Xtreme Digital is a Dodo that hasn't yet
    died. The same people responsible for Smart Media are responsible for Xtreme

    I use and prefer Compact Flash because:
    1. The contacts are recessed and therefore protected.
    2. It's big enough to hold and to locate in the dark with cold fingers.
    3. It has an uncalculated maximum capacity well in excess of anything any of
    the other formats can hold.

    Secure Digital is handy because it fits most PDAs but that's the only reason
    it's worthwhile. Multimedia is an old storage method that can be largely
    forgotten about.

    Sony try to corner the market with their Memory Stick but it's just Sony
    having one of their fads - a bit like Betamax (another Sony idea).

    As far as the disk versions go - interesting gimmicks but that's all.

    Secure Digital is in my opinion the smallest practical size. Xtreme Digital
    is way too small.

    Personally, I prefer Compact Flash - even if the cameras can't be quite as
    small as a result.


    (Claiming asylum in an attempt
    to escape paying his debts to
    Dougal and Florence)
    Zebedee, Jul 21, 2004
  5. NoNameAtAll

    Douglas Guest

    And don't forget,compact flash is available in much larger capacity sizes
    and faster than other media cards!I have cameras that take smart media and
    sd cards,compact flash is the most convenient type for me!
    Douglas, Jul 21, 2004
  6. NoNameAtAll

    Rick Guest

    One of the reasons the Compact Flash cards are the size they are is so that
    they remain compatible with Micro drives. Maybe?

    Rick, Jul 21, 2004
  7. LOL - I don't know if I'd call diversity "madness"

    The best way to handle the diversity of media is by having a card reader
    connected to your PC (Windows XP helps more than you can imagine)

    On the plus side your card will work like a floppy disk between computers so
    there may be no need to go for USB pen cards. Your memory card will do the

    I use compact flash in my PDA and would prefer it if it took xD cards
    instead. xD cards usually have a higher spec with greater reliability,
    quality assurance (QA) and quality control (QC)

    The push behind different cards is probably related to original plant
    manufacturing and allegiances between brand holders. XD and Memory Sticks
    are attempts to get to a higher spec device with greatr consistency over
    time. Plus, of course, the greater diversity of use of removable media.

    For example - cell phones. I think one of the hopes was that xD would fit a
    whole raft of smaller, smarter devices. There really is not enough room in
    a cell phone for CF media yet xD will fit very nicely

    Will they standardise? Probably not. There is a legacy factor too - what
    may be small to a laptop or desktop computer may be huge compared to a PDA,
    GPS, digital walkman or camera. In fact, the more technology advances the
    more diversity there may be

    While ever there is a plant selling older fashioned memory at a good price
    there will probably be a design consideration to use that memory in one
    device or another.

    They all seem small until you need or want to carry a few about with you -
    then the extremely small cards have the winning edge IMHO

    It may be confusing to begin with but remember that competitiveness between
    the various types tends to work to the consumers advantage.

    Another factor is: how important is your data?
    If not very important - well, any will do

    If very important, well, insist on the best.


    ps & BTW there is CF1 and CF2 and who knows maybe CF3 soon?

    Arte Phacting, Jul 21, 2004
  8. If one has devices which use different storage media, then yes,
    absolutely they're better from the standpoint of not filling one's
    desktop with a zillion different readers. On the other hand, a 7-way
    reader is 6-ways useless if one owns only devices which use Compact
    Flash. I've got a camera that uses CF, and I've got a CF-only reader.

    BillyJoeJimBob, Jul 21, 2004
  9. Wow - a mega oversight on my part

    multi-card readers are far far far better than single card readers

    multi-card readers will accomodate most if not all the different memory
    cards on the go

    Single card readers are snagged in to one card eg CF card reader will not
    take SD cards and so on ...

    Does this help? Or are you still confused by it all?

    Arte Phacting, Jul 21, 2004
  10. I have CF & xD on the go

    The xD card zips along at a far faster rate than CF through USB 2 multi-card

    Arte Phacting, Jul 21, 2004
  11. Compact Flash cards are 'enormous' eh? How quickly things change ...

    Dogger the Filmgoblin, Jul 21, 2004
  12. NoNameAtAll

    Alfred Molon Guest

    Why are 8GB not enough ?
    Alfred Molon, Jul 21, 2004
  13. Alfred Molon wrote:
    "640KB should be enough for anyone"
    David J Taylor, Jul 21, 2004
  14. NoNameAtAll

    Charlie Self Guest

    David Taylor responds:
    The analogy isn't exactly spot on, though. There are eventually going to be
    limits to file size, with the likelihood that top end digital cameras in the
    35mm class aren't apt to go much beyond 14 MP in the immediate future. Not much
    point, anyway, IMO. Given that, and my 18 or so RAW pix in 256 MB with a 6.1 MP
    camera, we multiply that by 32 to get almost 600 shots at 6 MP, divide it by
    2.25 or so for the results and 14 MP, and you're looking at 256 photos even
    there. Since I can peel off something like 60 shots on my Pentax at the highest
    JPEG setting, most people will triple that number.

    Maybe that's not enough, but eventually you get to the point of what is enough,
    finally? In the days when I had a bulk back on a Canon F1, I got not quite 350
    frames per 50'. Getting 256 to 780 frames from something the size of a normal
    SLR, or a smaller one like the *istD, is one helluvan improvement. Add in the
    ability to change resolution and film speed on the fly, and the size is an
    incredible advantage that shouldn't be diminished for some time to come. Of
    course, if you're shooting 645 or 6x7 or 6x9, all bets are off, as those are
    now approaching 22 MP and will probably continue to rise. But I don't think
    many are fed to Compact Flash cards at this time, though not knowing what's
    coming makes prediction folly.

    Charlie Self
    "When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that
    it is his duty." George Bernard Shaw, Caesar and Cleopatra (1901)
    Charlie Self, Jul 21, 2004
  15. Exactly! What about the video brigade?

    I can remember buying my first hard disk - 12MB partitioned as 4 x 3BM
    drives on a CP/M system. It seemed huge! As did the 80GB second drive I
    got with this PC two years ago. Now I have an application that delivers
    1GB of data an hour over a 2Mb/s satellite link, and it really would be
    nice to keep a month's worth of back data....

    I do agree with many of your comments about image and file sizes, though.
    Today, even with raw (and perhaps 16-bit data), and 10- 20MP images, 8GB
    does seem a lot, but I'm equally sure that, contrary to the OP's
    suggestion, it will not, for some people, be "enough".

    David J Taylor, Jul 21, 2004
  16. NoNameAtAll

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Drop one of those little ones in the grass and you will see one reason.
    I spent 10 minutes looking for an SD card I dropped a while back.
    The CF cards are quite small enough for all but the really small cameras.
    Ron Hunter, Jul 21, 2004
  17. NoNameAtAll

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Nope. Battery size reflects directly on capacity. No so with memory cards.
    Ron Hunter, Jul 21, 2004
  18. NoNameAtAll

    Ron Hunter Guest

    So, buy faster CF cards. They are available in many different speeds.
    The physical size is the only really good comparison factor for media
    cards. It is possible to become too small, and xD is right on the verge
    of being too small.
    Ron Hunter, Jul 21, 2004
  19. NoNameAtAll

    Ron Hunter Guest

    "Data automatically expands to fill all available storage."

    And old saying from the early days of computing.
    Ron Hunter, Jul 21, 2004
  20. NoNameAtAll

    Chris Brown Guest

    8 gigs may be enough for contemporary digital cameras, although we don't
    know how much further this "throw more pixels at it" game is going to

    For a general purpose flash format though, it's very short sighted. PDAs and
    smartphones/convergence devices are now approaching the sophistication of
    desktop computers, and it's not going to be long before having "only" 8
    gigabytes in your phone is seen as a limitation.

    What happens when convergence devices actually have half decent digicams in
    them, say 3 megapixels? They already make pretty good MP3 players. My phone
    (Sony Ericssion P800) takes up to 128 megs in its Memory Stick Duo slot, but
    mine is obsolete, and its most recent successor, the P910, accepts up to a
    gigabyte. 8 gigs is starting to look close, and having it as a maximum
    design capacity is a commercial error, IMO.
    Chris Brown, Jul 21, 2004
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