Memory cards allow the storage of files, photos and videos from your tech gadgets. Today, SD™ and Micro SD™ cards dominate the market, but other memory card formats are most common in older devices. CompactFlash™ cards are found in many DLSR cameras, while Memory Stick cards are compatible with several consoles and cameras from Sony®.
Unlike the use of USB flash drives for data storage, SD cards increase the memory capacity of devices, and are extremely common in smartphones, tablets and compact cameras. You can write and rewrite data to them several times, and there's no need for a power source. In comparison with traditional hard disks, SD cards are more resistant to accidental shocks. They can also work with a computer, thanks to USB memory card readers.
There are several types of SD cards: standard SD cards, SD High Capacity (SDHC™) cards, and SD Extended Capacity (SDXC™) cards. The standard cards can store from 128MB to 2GB. SDHC cards can handle up to 32GB, and SDXC cards have a maximum capacity of 2TB. These memory card formats are not backward compatible with each other. Most devices from 2010 and later support SDXC, while most devices from 2008 and later are compatible with SDHC. SD cards come in four classes that determine data writing speed: Class 2 (2-8MBps), Class 4 (4-15MBps), Class 6(6-20MBps) and Class 10 (10-30MBps).
Micro SD cards are a smaller version of SD cards. They're increasingly common in smartphones, tablets and some ultra-compact cameras. If you need to insert a Micro SD card in a device that only supports SD, you can use an adapter. The memory cards are available in several versions: standard Micro SD, Micro SDHC®, Micro SDXC® and Micro SDUC®. The standard Micro SD cards can store up to 2GB of data. Micro SDHC cards have a maximum capacity of 32GB, and they're compatible with all devices that support SDHC and SDXC. Micro SDXC cards have a maximum capacity of 2TB, while Micro SDUC cards can store up to 128TB. The latter two types can only work with compatible devices.
MS cards come in different formats. Memory Stick PRO Duo and Memory Stick PRO-HG Duo have a maximum capacity of 32GB, but the latter format has a faster writing speed of up to 30MBps. These two formats look similar to a full-sized SD card. Memory Stick Micro (M2) cards come in different capacities, up to 16GB. MS cards have roughly the same size as a microSD card. Remember to check for media backup devices for additional storage.
CompactFlash cards are popular for use in DLSR cameras and high-end photography equipment. These memory cards tend to be bulkier than SD cards. CompactFlash storage units come in different capacities: 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB or 64GB. CompactFlash cards can have different write speeds, up to 90MBps.