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News For Digital Camera Owners - Your Old SD Cards Are Obsolete

Updated on June 2, 2011

New SD formats explained

All of these new SD formats - SD, SDHC, SDXC  - what do I need?
All of these new SD formats - SD, SDHC, SDXC - what do I need?

Help! I can't read these new SD cards

I recently bought a new digital camera - a Panasonic Lumix DMC-G2 and it takes SD cards which of course is not included with the camera. In fact Panasonic didn't even include a small SD card for testing purposes so right away I had search around the house for an SD card.

My other camera, a Fujifilm point and shoot uses XD cards so that didn't help and other devices in the house like the Wii were off limits for stealing SD cards according to my 11 year old so I had to go shopping.

Now if you've recently purchased a digital camera or are thinking about purchasing one you'll be shocked to learn that there are a bunch of entirely new SD cards on the market. It seems that the old SD format could only hold up to 2 gigabytes of information. The new cameras which are typically taking 12 megapixels or more per shot and like my new Panasonic G2 have video capability, 2 gigabytes amazingly is not that large any more.

SD Formats

There are currently three different SD card formats and they are basically have different storage capacity and come infull size,miniandmacrosizes:

  • SD - up to 2GB
  • SDHX - from 4GB to 32GB
  • SDXC - from 32GB up to 2TB

All of the devices that use these cards are backwards compatible. For example a SDXC device can use all three formats.

Besides storage the other thing to look for is the speed of the card. Speed is expressed as the maximum speed in which your device may write on, or read from, your SD memory card. Higher speed products provide the speed needed for rapid picture-taking by requiring less time to store the image between each photo and transfer files faster from your SD memory card to your computer.

The "Speed Class" is the minimum and constant speed is guaranteed for video recorders and digital cameras. Smooth performance is defined no matter what data (like music, video, photos) you are saving. Speed of the card is indicated on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the fastest. Cards are available in 2, 4, 6, or 10 speeds. Faster speeds of 6 and above are needed for HD video and for regular photography the higher speeds allow you to take more rapid pictures. Sports photography for example would benefit from higher speeds.

Of course higher speeds and more storage attributes to the higher costs of the cards. Save yourself some money and don't go for the highest speed and storage if you don't need it.


SD Cards Recommendations

Transcend makes a nice SDHC card which is considered a great value for the price point.
Transcend makes a nice SDHC card which is considered a great value for the price point.

How do I read these new SD cards on my computer?

Even if you have a fairly new computer you might find that your computer can not read the new SD card formats. Baffling yet true, the older, and I mean as old as one year, card readers are not set up to read this new format. Luckily there are inexpensive card readers on the market. The one I got is listed below. It was super easy to use. You just pop the new SD card into the little device and then put it in a USB port. This reader is very small and compact. It has a nice led indicator that tells you when it connects and works great. Plus its really cheap! I highly recommend it. You can get it for about $6 on Amazon.

The 'Fro Knows


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    • peanutroaster profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from New England

      I bought the SDHC card reader mentioned above and it works great on my HP computer.


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