One piece of hardware that is almost as important as a camera to a photographer is the memory card. Without this tiny, portable storage locker, even the best camera would be handicapped. A professional photographer captures hundreds, sometimes thousands of images per client, and all of those memories need a place to go. Cameras themselves either have no internal memory or the memory capacity is extremely limited - therefore, taking photos without a high-quality memory card is rather useless. The memory card is the conduit that takes the images from the camera to a computer where the magic of editing happens so that images can be immortalized and permanently stored. Without it, images would just be lost.
Select Only the Best Memory Cards
Much like professional photographers know the importance of a great camera and an even better lens, they should also know the importance of choosing a high-quality memory card. Purchasing professional equipment is an investment in a photographer's business. Regardless of price, the best products available should be used in order to provide the utmost in quality and service to clients. Here are some of the things that photographers should consider when selecting memory cards:
Size and Capacity: All capacities are different. Consider your typical file size and how many images you shoot per job. Then choose a card that can handle three or more jobs at a time, to be safe. The capacity is typically relative to the size, which can be misleading when only looking at the card's physical appearance. They are also sometimes similarly named. For example, there's miniSD, microSD, SD, SDHC, SDXC, etc. That brings us into our next category, speed.
Transfer and Read Speeds: The read and transfer speed varies by product. There are usually icons on the packaging to help define the speeds, but those also vary by product and can be confusing. All you really need to know is that it's important to have high transfer and read speeds, for ease of use and rapid accessibility. Purchasing a card with inferior transfer and read speeds will cause you to lose time when it comes to loading and moving images.
Speed Class: Speed class is something that is very important to be aware of and, again, that varies by product and size. There are four different speed classes and two ultra high speed classes available. Depending on the desired file type and size, image quality, and whether or not you're shooting HD video, speed class is something that can make or break an important photography or videography job. From fastest to slowest, the speed classes are 10, 6, 4, and 2 for regular memory cards. For devices that support UHD, there are two classes of ultra high speed memory available for professional use. This article from howtogeek.com further explains these specs.
Risks Associated with Purchasing Low Quality Memory Cards
Being a professional photographer is expensive, we know. When you're just starting out, it may be tempting to purchase the most affordable equipment available - but this will only hinder your business. Professional grade, high-quality cameras, lenses, light sources, batteries (and the list goes on) are crucial to operating a successful photography business, right down to the type of memory card you use in your camera. Understanding what to look for is just as important as understanding what to avoid:
- Low-quality memory cards may have hidden acronyms or specs that affect the card's performance. Most buyers are unaware of these attributes.
- Less renowned manufacturers will often put inferior memory cards on the market, causing their products to have a higher failure rate.
- Memory cards have limitations, and purchasing a low-quality product will make you more susceptible to risks like block erasure, memory wear, read disturb, x-ray effects, etc.
In summary, don't sell your camera or your photography business short by trying to avoid making the investment in high-quality memory. The right memory cards are designed to save you time, provide optimal service, and make you money. A professional photographer should never skimp on the equipment they need to run a successful business.