SD/SDHC Cards need demystification...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by whyrichard, May 10, 2009.

  1. whyrichard macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002
    Hey guys,

    i'm getting a new camera! a Panasonic Lumix DMC LX3, after much research, I am excited!

    My question is regarding memory cards... i have been out of the loop regarding this technology. There seems to be so many fluctuations regarding price/brand/speed/size... can someone help demystify sd cards for me?

    Which sd card should i buy for this camera? It takes sd or sdhc cards...

    Which brand should i get/avoid? Are there speed differences to watch out for between a 16gb and a 32gb card?

    Should i just go ahead and get a 32gb card?


  2. Tosser macrumors 68030

    Jan 15, 2008
    You should go get the fastest possible. That means you can't get the highest capacity. Go for 16GB or 8GB for a camera.

    As an example, the highest capacity Extreme III card (SDHC) Sandisk makes is 16GB.

    But, anyway, you want it to be as fast as possible, so you're propably "stuck" with an 8GB card, which isn't that bad. There can be a lot of pics on an 8GB card, even if shooting in raw.
  3. whyrichard thread starter macrumors 68000

    Aug 15, 2002
  4. Tosser macrumors 68030

    Jan 15, 2008
    Well, from the Sandisk SDHC stables it is. With CF cards you can go faster than that, but that is another discussion.

    When you go looking, you want a class-6 card. That's the fastest class. However "Class 6" is just a category where there is a minimum speed, which means that even in this category a speed difference between cards exists. If I were you, I would go look at what deals are to be had and then go search for reviews of those cards. The reason you want a fast is not because of faster transfer speeds in a card reader (although that is nice), but because you want it to be able to receive the dump from your camera as fast as possible. Especially if shooting sports, people, or movement in general.
  5. SimD macrumors regular

    Apr 15, 2008
    Bigger isn't always better, mind you.

    Imagine you're on a trip, no computer, only you and your camera.

    a) You use a 32gb card and towards the end of the trip, you have 2000 pics on there and woops, the card either:

    1) gets stolen
    2) fails
    3) falls in water
    4) you get the point

    You've just lost all your photos.

    b) You carry 8x 4gb cards.

    Only downside is you have loads more cards to carry. But with proper labeling, it's not a problem.

    Think about it.
  6. nutmac macrumors 68040

    Mar 30, 2004
    2 GB or smaller = SD (SD can be as large as 4 GB, but I am not aware of any current SD cards larger than 2 GB)

    4 GB to 32 GB = SDHC

    32 GB to 2 TB = SDXC (this is a new standard and currently, only 32 GB and 64 GB SDXCs have been announced)

    SDXC cameras and memory card readers can read and write all 3, but SDHC can only read and write SDHC and SD, and SD only SD.

    Card performance is indicated by a "class" speed rating, which is a minimum write speed.
    • Class 2: 2 MB/s (13x)
    • Class 4: 4 MB/s (26x)
    • Class 6: 6 MB/s (40x)
    Card manufacturers typically specify maximum read speed to artificially boast and differentiate their cards from the rest.

    There are also smaller variation of SD-series designed for cell phones, such as microSD/SDHC.

    If you shoot lots of video, particularly 720p or 1080p HD (your camera supports 720p), I would go with 16 GB class 6. Although I swear by SanDisk Extreme III series, I got Transcend as it is only a fraction of the price.
  7. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    No, the SD standard goes upto 2GB because of FAT16. There are borderline SD cards of at least 4GB which have to be formatted as FAT32 to use the whole capacity. Many older cameras cannot use them or can use them but not format them.

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