Memory Cards

Have you ever heard professional photographers speak to each other about their equipment? Sometimes it seems like it’s a bunch of confusing jargon and then other times it seems like there’s a word or two that you might understand. Take the phrase “memory card” for instance. It might seem like there’s not that much to talk about with memory cards (I mean, most people just go into Best Buy and pick the cheapest one), but there actually are some important things everyone should know about memory cards.

  Brand DOES Matter – Most people believe that they can just walk into Best Buy, purchase any old memory card and be happy. What they don’t know is that they might not be getting the best pictures with that process. I’m not saying that if you purchase the wrong memory card that all of your pictures will be ruined. What I am trying to say is that Sandisk is not the same as Lexar and which brand you need to optimize your pictures depends on your brand of camera you have. As always, you should check your manual for this information.

  Card Speed – If you know you’ll be shooting a lot of video with your camera, it’s best to have a faster memory card. For example, 8X transfers data at 1.2 mB/second while 133X transfers data at 20 mB.second. Higher speed cards are not only useful for video, they can also be beneficial for photographers who shoot many RAW files in bursts.

  Deleting Images – Most DSLR cameras (if not all) have the option to “format card” within the menu settings. If possible, this option is better to remove images than simply reviewing them in the playback mode and erasing them all. Why, you might ask. Well, every time you delete all the images on your card they are technically still there in a protected form within the menu settings. If the card is never formatted,, the camera will become sluggish. That’s where formatting the card comes in handy. This option removes all files (protected and not) from the card and increases the functioning speed of the device. Professionals recommend formatting memory cards a few times a year (or more if you shoot frequently). For more information on this you can visit

  Deleting Images Continued – Playing off of the tip above, deleting all of your images off your card by using your computer is even worse than deleting them by using the camera. It may seem harmless, but in actuality you are tainting your database.

  Removing Cards – When you remove memory cards from your computer (for Mac users) or your card reader (for PC users) be sure to be very careful. ALWAYS eject your card and pull it out gently when it’s appropriate. Not doing this can damage the little pieces of plastic on the underside of the card.

  Battery Life – Different memory cards can last different lengths of time. One important thing to keep in mind is that high capacity cards (ie. 16GB) use slightly more battery on your camera. If you decide to use a card with more storage, be sure to bring extra batteries that are fully charged.

  Photo Recovery Programs – Although most schools are on a budget, buying the professional-level cards from Sandisk and Lexar come with photograph recovery programs that can be extremely invaluable if you accidentally delete a picture. On a side note. if you do decide to go the extra mile to get these programs, and you do in fact delete a picture you didn’t mean to, be sure to stop shooting immediately and run the card through the program. This will even work if you formatted the card.


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