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Tips on Selecting and Handling Flash Memory Cards for the Holiday Season

  • 05 December, 2005 15:43

<p>SanDisk is the world’s largest manufacturer of flash memory card products. As an expert in flash memory, SanDisk has some tips on selecting and handling flash memory cards for the holiday season.</p>
<p>Determine your device’s card format
Before you go shopping, determine what type of card your digital camera requires. The most popular formats are SD, Memory Stick PRO, CompactFlash and xD Picture Card. If you are planning to snap pictures on your mobile phone, the most common formats include miniSD, microSD and RS-MMC.</p>
<p>All cards are not the same
Various brands of cards may share the same format and common characteristics such as an internal controller and flash memory chip that store images. But cards can be constructed differently and the quality of component materials can vary widely. Always buy cards from authorised dealers and don’t let price alone be the determining factor.</p>
<p>Upgrade to higher capacity cards
Many of the compact, point-and-shoot digital cameras have resolutions of 4 or 5 megapixels. Most new cameras come with a low capacity flash memory card of 32 or 64MB which will only allow you to store a handful of pictures. Consider standardising with a 1-gigabyte card which will give you around 400 compressed images at 5 megapixels (number of images captured dependent on camera make and model).</p>
<p>Get faster cards
A frequent complaint with digital cameras is the momentary delay while the image is being recorded after the click of the shutter. This becomes noticeable when you take pictures at higher-resolution settings and especially when you are trying to capture moving subjects such as children or skiers. Consider purchasing a flash memory card which has a faster write speed if you have a camera that is 4 megapixels or higher resolution. A high-speed flash card allows you to transfer images, music, etc. to a computer via a card reader much quicker.</p>
<p>Use a card reader to transfer images
All digital cameras or mobile devices provide a USB cable to allow you to transfer images to a PC easily. If your household has multiple devices with different card formats, consider getting a multi-card reader which allows you to transfer images without having to swap USB cables.</p>
<p>Avoid situations that corrupt your cards
Although no battery power is required to store pictures, it is important to have sufficient power when your device is transferring captured images to your card. If the battery is too low, you could lose images during the transfer. Never remove a card while a device or computer is writing to it or while formatting the card.</p>
<p>Avoid exposing a card to water
If a card is exposed to water or a washing cycle, let the card dry for a couple of days – you can even use a hair dryer with a non-heat blower. Chances are the card might still function. Consider testing a completely dry card first in a card reader.</p>
<p>Coping with heat
It is advisable to keep flash cards at room temperature. Standard flash cards are designed to withstand relatively high temperatures of up to 60 degrees Celsius without a loss of stored images but some flash cards are designed to operate in extreme temperature conditions. Speak to an authorised dealer about your requirements when making a purchase.</p>
<p>Metal detectors and x-ray machines
You can put full or empty flash cards in checked baggage or carry-ons with little risk of damage from airport scanners. The International Imaging Industry Association conducted tests with security devices used in United States airports and found no damage to the cards with normal travel frequency.</p>
<p>Recovering deleted images
If you have deleted images or reformatted a memory flash card by accident, the images usually remain stored on the card in an inaccessible memory location. Using software programs available on the Internet, it is possible to recover “lost” files including images.</p>
<p>Backing up
Before you drop your card at a professional photo processor or use a self-service kiosk, back your images on a PC or save this storage medium like a CD-ROM or USB flash drive. That way, if you card is lost or damaged, you will have the pictures backed up safely.</p>
<p>- ENDS -</p>

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