Got It
This website uses cookies. More details


Learn Photography

Photo Tips > Memory Cards



Secure Digital Flash (SD) cards are the most common.

SD cards have a write protection switch.

Look for a tiny white lever.

When moved to the on position, files can't be overwritten or deleted.


Compact Flash (CF) cards are used in larger cameras.


There's a "sweet spot" of price versus size that's gradually shifting.

Compare the price versus the size to determine the best size to buy.

When using large cards, be sure to transfer photographs from the memory cards often.

Because the large cards may take a long time to fill up, you may not have that prompt to transfer the photographs.

Extreme Cards

If you're shooting sports, dance, and the like, you need cards that save photographs quickly.

Most photographers don't need these cards.

Counterfeit Cards

Buy memory cards from reputable vendors.

Counterfeit cards are common.

Best Practices



• Extremes of humidity and temperature, such as direct sun.

• Drop shock and vibration.

Loss Prevention

Use a storage case labeled with your contact information.

When traveling, designate a single location for the case.

Consider photographing your contact information as the first photograph on each memory card.


Number or label memory cards.


Turn the camera off when inserting a memory card.

Insert memory cards carefully, without force.

Often, there's an icon showing how to position the memory card for proper insertion.

For SD cards, the icon may show the notch found in the upper-right corners of these cards.

For CF cards, the icon may show the front of a memory card.


Turn the camera off before removing a memory card.

Often, pushing a tiny button pops the memory card out.

If there's no button, the memory card can often be removed by pushing the memory card in further, and quickly releasing the pressure.


Card Reader

A card reader may be faster than a transfer using your camera.


When transferring photographs from a memory card to your computer, don't select the option to delete the photographs automatically.

Occasionally, a transfer fails.

You see the thumbnails of your photographs on your computer.

But, when you try to enlarge them, the photographs are not there.


After transferring, enlarge several of the thumbnails to confirm that the photographs were transferred properly.


Then, format the memory card in the camera.

Check your camera instructions.


Formatting a memory card removes everything from the card.

In contrast, when you delete the photographs, the photographs remain on the memory card.

The space they occupy is made available for new photographs.

Deleting can leave a clutter behind, which can cause a memory card to fail.

So, format the memory card after you're sure the photographs have found a new home on your computer.