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Camera Cards: Is Bigger Really Better?
by Vickie Belt


With digital photographic equipment, the temptation is always to seek out the biggest, baddest, fastest, coolest tool on the market. Bigger cards are certainly more expensive which is often how we measure value and quality! For those working with Huge RAW picture files, this may be a viable option. When purchasing memory cards and photographing with a 10 or 12 megapixel camera, I still prefer the 2GB card over the 6 GB card.

Why is the smaller card a better solution for me? It all comes down to workflow and insurance. I usually keep my cards in plastic, waterproof cases with a window showing each card. The cards are numbered on the back. If a card is empty and ready for use, the side without a number will show through the window. If a card has been filled with pictures, it is returned with the numbered side facing through the window. I can tell from the outside of the case, which cards have no photo images. This allows me to change cards swiftly and smoothly. Since I am using more cards, it is important to be quick and professional so that the client hardly notices when I am changing to a new memory card.

When transferring images to the computer, it's a good idea to indicate the card number in the folder name. Do a quick check on each folder to make sure your photos will open. If you have a card that is failing, you want to know this before your next photographic event. If all is well, do a temporary back up to your computer files on an external drive and format your cards from the camera. After processing the card files, you can do a couple of permanent backups of your keepers and delete your temporary backups.

Camera cards can fail. Good card maintenance, including regular formatting from the camera,after every shoot, will keep your cards healthy. If a memory card should fail, the losses are minimized if you only lose 2GB of a shoot. If you put the entire job on one card and it fails, then all is lost.

Bigger cards take much longer to transfer and this is one of your most vulnerable steps. Bigger cards and folders can take forever to load in Adobe Bridge. Use a bigger card if you like living on the edge and before every shoot you will have to ask yourself, "Do I feel lucky?"

Click here to download a printable version of Camera Cards: Is Bigger Really Better?



Vickie has been in the photographic industry for over 20 years and served as the digital imaging specialist at Warehouse Photographic. She pioneered the organization's transition from working with traditional photographic film to incorporating digital imaging services into the workflow. As an early adopter of this technology, she developed training programs aimed at an educational, corporate and defense contractor client base to facilitate conversion to digital cameras and the use of Adobe Photoshop. She works on both PC and Mac platforms and is familiar with digital capture; scanning, photography, and output; printing and web application. Learn more about Vickie at www.digitaldooda.com.

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