With the majority of people today live surrounded by smartphones, MP3 players, digital cameras, camcorders, pocket, or all of them together, flash memory cards have become a requirement for keeping your digital life running. If you have a new brilliant device that can take photos or listen to music, the odds are that you’re going to use a flash memory card to offer additional storage capacity.
Most likely, you will use some variety of Secure Digital card (SD). The SD has emerged as the format of the flash memory dominant, but it is not so simple. There are scores of SD cards of all shapes, sizes and speeds available, so choose the right path for each different device can be a little confusing.
When it comes to flash memory cards, there are three aspects that you need to consider: physical format, size, and speed. Each of the three variables has its own set of classes, so that you can have anything from a card class 2 1 gb microSD card UHS-1 SDXC memory card of 32GB. Let’s explore the distinctions below.
Physical Format of the SD Card
The first thing to consider when getting a memory card is the place where you will use it. Different cameras, camcorders and smartphones use different sizes of card, and when you can start with cards that are smaller and use adapters for other devices, it is usually best to use the size of the particular card is destined for the device.
The standard SD card is the largest and has been used for over time, measuring 32 mm x 24 mm x 2.1 mm (Height x Width x Depth), weighing 2 grams, and showing the cutting corner as a signature of the SD cards. Most of the digital cameras that you can buy today use cards of standard size SD. Even though they are the largest SD card, they are still very small, and are dwarfed by the CompactFlash cards used by professional photographers in high-end digital cameras, such as Canon’s 1D Mark IV. however, the cards can become even smaller.
MiniSD cards, the least frequently used format these days, measure 21.5 mm x 20 mm x 1.4 mm and weigh just one gram, with a little more than one-third of the volume and occupying little more than half of the area of a full-size SD card . Instead of the cut on the corner, miniSD cards have a corner tapered to help you orient the card when putting it in a slot.
MicroSD cards are the smallest available on the market, and are used in most mobile phones and smartphones, are frankly minimal, measuring 15 mm x 11 mm x 1 mm (HWD) and weighing only half a gram. With a total volume of 165 mm3, you could fit nine microSD cards inside a single SD card (though realistically, with the slight “lip” found at the end of microSD cards, you could probably only squeeze 6 in the same space of the SD).
Generally, microSD cards cost slightly more than SD cards of the same size and speed class, but, along with the physical size are the only differences effective.
Capacity of the SD Card
This is very simple. SD cards offer different storage capacities, and the amount of space determines the classification of the size of the card. The odds are that the microSD card in your smartphone is not a microSD card. Is a microSDHC card, or Micro Secure Digital High Capacity. Standard SD cards have a capacity of 2 GB, with the basis of their classification and the controller used only by devices SD. Most SD cards you’ll find today are technically SDHC, with capacities between 4GB and 32GB. The largest class is SDXC, or Secure Digital Extended Capacity, which can vary from 64GB up to 2TB. Currently, no cards actually get near 2TB, the largest capacity available is 128GB.
While bigger is better, you need to check if the device can use the card for greater capacity. The ratings for SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards are not only for cards but for devices also. Digital cameras older can only read SD cards, making SDHC cards useless. In the same way, the cameras that are not compatible with SDXC cards do not accept 64GB cards. Most of the current devices are compatible with SDHC, but check on the older devices before you choose SDHC cards, and check the specs on your new gear before getting SDXC cards.
Speed Class of SD Cards
SD cards are also available at various speeds. If you are using a digital camera basic or a pocket camera, speed class doesn’t matter much. If you’re taking RAW photos in high resolution with a digital SLR camera, however, you need a fast card to take more than two or three pictures at once. SD cards are generally described by their speed class, ranging from class 2 (slowest) to class 10 (fastest). There is also a separate category, even more quickly, call UHS Class 1 (for Ultra High Speed), but most current devices can’t use them.
While the Association of SD (the group that defines the technology of the SD card) does not release the patterns of speed, exactly for the classes of cards for non-members, it releases guidelines for the acceptable uses of the different classes. Class 2 is suitable for recording standard definition video, while the class 4 and class 6 can record high-definition video. Class 10 is the card for HD video. The various classes of card seem to have different speed ranges according to different manufacturers of memory. According to Sandisk, for example, cards of Class 4 offer read and write speeds of 15 megabytes per second (Mbps), while cards class 6 cards can handle 20 MBps, and Class 10 can reach 30 Mbps. The manufacturer is Kingston, on the other hand, describes its class 4 as the supply of a data transfer rate of 4 MBPS, Class 6 as having 15 MBps write speed, and Class 10 offering a data transfer rate of 40 Mbps. According to Sandisk, SD cards UHS-1 can transfer up to 45Mbps, and according to the Association of SD, the maximum speed of transfer based on the interface used is 310 Mbps, although this limit is not reached through the cards yet.
How to Choose the Card Right for Your Needs?
Generally, if you want to record HD video, or if you’re planning on taking a lot of high resolution photos in quick succession or use the format of the RAW image file of a digital SLR, buy a card Class 10. If you are planning just to take photos or occasionally show videos, Class 4 or Class 6 will meet and even exceed your needs. Since even smartphones can record HD video these days, cards Class 2 are not the best choice. They are simply too slow to record HD video, then you are limiting the capabilities of your device. The price difference between Class 4, Class 6 and Class 10 can vary, but not by much. The price varies in the choice of capacity, but the ratio of dollar per GB of capacity tends to decrease as you increase the capacity of the card.
However, it is a LARGE caution here: a good part of the cards on the market is counterfeit. I cannot give exact numbers here, but some time ago, while I was working with imports, more than 50% of the cards that I was researching on international sites was counterfeit. To avoid this major problem, only a solution: only buy from trusted shops and avoid auction sites or where the cards are sold by users. I’m not saying that they all are not reliable, but risk here is almost sure to catch rum card counterfeit that will not last for a long time.
Final Considerations on SD Cards
Unless you are a professional who needs absolute certainty in speed when dealing with very large images or high bit rate, you don’t need cards UHS-1. In fact, unless you have professional equipment or semi-professional, you probably will not even be able to use these cards. Always check the device’s documentation for support information before you commit with a memory card.
Do not overdo it also in the settings. Sometimes, it is worth to invest in a device with more internal memory a microSD card.
Have already had experiences good or bad with SD cards? Share them with us in the space below!