With camera megapixels getting larger, it can sometimes be difficult to figure out what capacity memory card should be purchased. This guide should help you determine the memory card capacity that will be right for you. As megapixels increase, so does the file size for each photo.

Choosing The Correct Memory Card

The first step before buying your memory card is to discover what type of card you need. There are several variets that are widely used currently. These include SD (Secure Digital), SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity), CF (CompactFlash) & MicroSDHC. Older styles that are not as common now include xD, Memory Stick & SmartMedia. Having discovered the card your camera is compatible with, the next step is to research what capacity you need. If your camera is fairly new, capacity of the card should be no problem and you should be able to purchase any size you like. If your camera is older, it's possible the camera may have a size limitation for the memory card. You can typically check this by visiting the camera manufacturer's web site or checking your owner's manual.

Card Capacity

When considering what capacity card to buy, you may want to think about how you will be using the card. If you're planning an extended vacation, larger cards may be the best choice. It's a good recommendation to buy several cards so all your photos are not in the same place. This helps protect against theft, loss of the camera, water damage, and other unforseen circumstances. OneCall even carries protective cases to keep your memory cards safe when not in the camera. Please refer to the chart to see how many photos will fit on a memory card based on your cameras megapixels.

*All capacities listed are approximate.

Shooting Video

Digital cameras are no longer limited to still photos. The latest DSLR and point-and-shoot cameras are capable of recording HD video as well. In addition, most camcorders and helmet cams for sale also use memory cards to store the video. This helps keep the video cameras small, lightweight and eliminates recording errors from the camera being jostled. Please refer to the chart that will explain minutes of HD video recording based on the card size and bit-rate.

*Video (shot in MPEG-4/H.264). All capacities listed are approximate

Card Speed

Card speed can be very important, especially when recording Full HD video or high speed RAW images. If the memory card is not fast enough to keep up with the data flow, there may be pauses in video recording and reduced speeds in still image capture. Card speeds are designated by class with the most common classes being Class 2, Class 4, Class 6, & Class 10. The fastest performance category currently available is UHS (Ultra high speed) cards which can write up to 104 MB/s. In order to take full advantage of this faster bus speed, your camera or camcorder must be UHS compatible.

*Maximum speed differs from the bus I/F speed. It varies depending upon the card performance. The average speed that a device writes to an SD memory card may vary depending upon the device and the operation it is performing. The speed may also depend on how other data is stored on the SD memory card.
Most consumers will be completely satisfied with a class 6 or class 10 card, but professionals may need something faster. With advancements in memory cards and higher bit-rate demands, it's likely we will see faster and larger cards available in the near future.