Most digital cameras have very low capacity memory cards. It is necessary to supplement your digital storage with other storage media. Typically you might get a memory card with your digital camera. But this card will hold only a small number of photos. These memory cards come in varying capacities, from 256 MB to several GB. It is essential to have additional digital photo storage to make best use of your digital camera.
These cards are reusable and must be bought to suit your camera specifications. Memory cards come in various avatars - CompactFlash, Secure Digital, X-Drive cards and Memory sticks. Memory sticks work for Sony products. If you are planning to be out on a long holiday or on an extended photo shoot, it would be prudent to go in for portable digital photo storage devices. The number of pictures you can store on a memory card depends upon the compression settings you choose when saving the files, as well as on how an individual camera compresses. Higher compression allows you to fit more pictures on a card, but it might compromise image quality.
Portable Storage Devices:
These are hard drives in a case which allows you to transfer images from your camera or card without using a computer or laptop. At the time of writing, they offer storage capacity in excess of 150 GB which should be more than adequate for any marathon photographic session. As is usual with this class of devices, they can also double up for storing music, video and regular computer data. Most will come equipped with a multiple card reader and run off batteries. Some even allow you to swap the hard drives - thus increasing the capacity to a gargantuan level and also for easy management of captured image files. They weigh typically less than a pound, making them easy to carry around for any field trip.
You may already have a digital photo storage device - laptops or Ipods or other Portable Media Devices for that extra storage capacity. They allow you to view in a relatively bigger screens or to be coupled to a TV for reviewing your photographs. Even if your laptop hard drive has limited capacity, you can burn DVDs off them. They also allow you to upload to your website or online storage space - providing some protection as your precious photographic images are stored in a remote location.
CompactFlash is probably one of the cheapest non-volatile digital storage solutions that has been around since a long time. It works on most digital cameras. This type of memory card can also be used with Pocket PCs, Handheld PCs and PDAs. The controller chip in the CompactFlash allows data transfer at high rate. There are two physical sizes of CompactFlash - Type I and Type II. Type II incorporates higher capacity.
You can pick up stand-alone hard drives with capacities of 20 GB and more if you are planning on taking loads of shots. Such drives offer large capacity storage for your digital photos. You can download the digital photos and reuse the memory cards. Some of these portable hard drives have LCDs for image viewing. Port them on to your computer later through the USB. The xD Picture Card by Olympus and Fuji is compatible with most CompactFlash compatible cameras. It is available in a new tiny format of 0.97" x 0.98" x 0.67" making it convenient with very tiny cameras too.
A Memory Stick is a digital storage device that works on Sony products and ranges in capacity in excess of 256 MB and the new Memory Stick Pro is available in capacities up to several GB. It is compact, light, reliable and easy to handle. By simply sliding the erasure prevention switch on the back of each Memory Stick, users can prevent accidental loss of important content and data.
Secure Digital cards come with data protection locks and are tiny and convenient storage medium for digital photos. This tiny memory card developed by Matsushita, SanDisk, and Toshiba is substantially rugged with high operating shock rating. With a high transfer rate and low battery consumption, Secure Digital Cards are portable across many devices, ranging from cellular phones and PDAs to digital cameras and camcorders.
MMC: Multi Media Cards were introduced in 1997 by SanDisk and Siemens. It is similar in functioning to Secure Digital but lacks the ruggedness and write protection lock offered by Secure Digital. In fact, it has been largely replaced by Secure Digital Cards.