SD Cards

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If you’re using a digital camera then you’re familiar with the SD cards that are out there today.  The selection is really something else, during one trip to staples I counted over 12 brands and about 85 different cards.  I was overwhelmed to say the least.  I searched online and through about twenty different sites I learned the basics…now to save you the search on twenty sites here it is all summed up:

What are they? An SD card and SDHC cards are flash memory cards used most commonly to capture video and images.  An SDHC card is a high capacity SD card that allows the card to go up to 32GB size.  One thing to note is that some devices do not support SDHC cards so be sure to check your device prior to making a substantial investment in one of these cards.  

What do they look like?  SD cards are just a touch bigger then a postage stamp and have a write lock switch on the side of the card to protect it’s contents.  


What does the size of the card matter?  Cards come in a wide range of sizes the larger the card the more photos you’ll be able to hold.  One important thing to remember if you’re shooting in RAW format your images are larger in size and fewer pictures will fit on a card then if you’re shooting the same picture in a JPG format.  Now I always shoot in RAW so that I have the greatest use of that image SOOC (Straight out of the Camera) so if I’m doing a shoot I need to remember larger cards and more cards.

So should I just buy the biggest card out there?  I think not.  These cards are small (remember, postage stamp) and they are valuable little suckers empty and when full they are priceless.  For me, it’s risky to put all my eggs in one basket.  I get into What If thinking like: What if the card becomes corrupt (although, this hasn’t happened me, knock knock knock) or What if I step on it and it breaks, What if it’s lost, What if it’s stolen.   

What does the speed of the card matter?  Some video cameras require a minimum speed to capture video it’s best to check with the manual on this point.  For digital cameras if you’re in continuous shoot mode you may see the shoot speed improve slightly with a faster card.  The speed is measured the same way CD-ROM speed is measured.  The most common speed I’ve found is 6x, 66x and 200x.  Price of the card does go up with the speed.  I’ve personally used 6x most frequently with no issue.

 So what do you have?  I have two – 2GB SD cards, three - 4GB SDHC cards, and two – 16GB SDHC cards.  This works for me.  

Anything else I need to know?  YES this is IMPORTANT.  Some computers have an input slot for SD cards.  This does not always work with the higher capacity SD cards or the SDHC cards so you’ll need a reader or to connect your camera to your computer.  The SD card readers are much faster then hooking up your camera.  I have a couple of different readers.  This one by Sandisk is always connected to my USB hub and can read a variety of different types of cards.  It’s available at for $17.99.


I also have this little guy that stays in my purse just in case I’m ever in need of sharing images on the go.  Also available on for $12.17.


Where should I buy my SD or SDHC cards? Well you can buy them all over the place.  Personally I’m trying to be more “green” so I have been using Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging (they should be slipping me money for all these placements).  Plus I don’t like to be frustrated or cut myself on the plastic trying to get these little suckers out of the packaging. I also find their pricing is very good.  Here is a card I just bought 16GB for $30.50 and it arrived in two days as promised.  

Okay this is getting long, anything ELSE?  Just one tip.  If you’re going on vacation I recommend bringing along a few pre-paid self addressed padded envelopes.  As you’re taking valuable memories on your trip and you fill up a card slip it in the envelope and mail it back home.  The last thing you want is to have your camera bag stolen and lose all of your memories – insurance will cover the camera (which we’ll talk about next week) but you’ll never be able to take those shots again.

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