SD cards and the importance of write speeds

I thought this Shutterbug article by Ron Leach was a great explanation for students in our program; I’ve just talked about the different speeds of cards to my Intermediate class, as I showed them a medium format digital camera and what it needs to run well; while I use brands that display the speed on the card itself, a few students had cards that had no speed listed anywhere, so beware of that–I’m guessing it’s a low speed…

SD Cards Explained: They’re Not all the Same

So you’re shopping for a new SD card and confused by all the options. These memory cards are available in various capacities, and read/write speeds and other specs differ widely. And what about the difference between SD, SDHC, SCHX, and SDUC cards?

The 11-minute video below from our friends at Adorama TV answers all the pertinent questions, and will help you decide which SD card is best for you. Key considerations to keep in mind while watching the tutorial include the camera you use, and whether you shoot video or fast action stills in continuous drive mode.

This is the latest episode of the popular Ask David Bergman series, hosted by the NY-based sports and celebrity photographer. While most of today’s cameras are designed for one of the SD variants, other formats are available.

mb/s on sd card

This information is not only important for users of older cameras, but for those of you who own a modern model with two slots for different types of cards. Bergman says, “There are so many different cards, speeds and specs.” This is important to understand if you want to make the most of your camera and the images or videos you shoot.

Card capacity is easy to understand, and this consideration is pretty much the same as when choosing an external drive to archive your images. The difference between the different types of SD cards is a little more involved, and Bergman runs you through the differences between the various options available. Pay close attention to this, because some new SD formats may be inappropriate for use with the camera you own.

Backwards compatibility is another key topic, and Bergman covers what you need to know. He also discusses read/write speeds, and explains when it makes sense to spend the extra cash for a faster card.

speed chart

Bergman also makes sense of all the confusing nomenclature, explaining how to interpret “Speed Class,” ‘Bus Speed Class,” and other important specs typically printed on cards. Then you can make an informed purchasing decision with confidence.

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