Every year, a pine tree close to our house produces the most perfect cones, and I often pick up a handful of them on my way home. The cones are undeniably beautiful, but not of much practical use. Or so I thought, until one day it hit me that a cone would make a rather nifty SD card holder. Besides the SD cards designated for regular use with my camera that are stored in a proper holder, I also have a bunch of cards that I use only occasionally. These cards are all over the place, ad keeping tabs on them is an impossible task.
Although there have been some announcements of 1TB memory cards, Lexar seems to have beat them all. The company has released the world’s first 1TB SDXC memory card and it’s officially the first one actually available in the market.
ProGrade Digital is rounding out their card reader lineup quite nicely to appeal to as many different types of user as possible. They’re now up to four card readers, covering CFast+UHS-II SD, CompactFlash+UHS-II SD, dual UHS-II microSD cards and now dual UHS-II SD cards. The new card reader is priced at $79.99, same as the other three, and is available now.
The SD card market seems to be hotting up, and getting pretty competitive (and fast!). With Lexar seemingly back, ProGrade taking square aim at the high-end market, and SanDisk & Sony releasing new cards boasting big numbers like there’s no tomorrow, who really is the fastest these days?
One of the biggest failings off SD cards is their physical durability. SD cards falling apart is a probably bigger cause of death and image loss than file corruption. Sony plans to fix that with a new line of SF-G series “Tough” SD cards.
It seems the fakes are out in force again at the moment. I’ve seen a number of posts across Facebook and other social media where people have ordered SanDisk and other SD cards only to receive counterfeit cards. These days, we need to be vigilant with memory cards.
Memory cards are made to varying degrees of quality, and these forgeries are often whatever’s cheapest. There’s no quality control, because there’s no backlash on them. The last thing you want in the middle of an important shoot is to lose all your work. Or, worse, your client’s work.
When Micron announced they were quitting the Lexar brand last year, it came as quite a shock. Many long-time Lexar fans were worried about where their future memory cards would be coming from. A short time later, the Lexar brand was acquired by Longsys, a Chinese manufacturer of flash storage. Very little seems to have happened in Lexar’s story since then, though, except for the continued production of Lexar XQD cards.
Now, though, it seems a new company, sort of, is entering the fray. ProGrade Digital is a new brand of professional grade memory cards and card readers aimed at photographers. But while this is a new company, they aren’t newcomers to the memory card game. It’s being headed up by a team of former Lexar and SanDisk executives and senior management.
So this is an interesting idea I haven’t seen before. Called the Memistore, it’s an SD card “wallet”, of sorts. But it’s not like any others I’ve seen. This is a small unit that sits either in your camera’s hotshoe or screws into the tripod socket. The Memistore is being funded through Kickstarter. and has only just launched, so there are plenty of early bird specials for those interested.
A couple of months ago, I asked all of you to email me with ideas for future blog posts. One of the suggestions that came up numerous times was the request for me to explain all the different memory card formats.
I guess that my 12 years in the industry, marketing memory cards for Lexar, makes me slightly more knowledgeable than most photographers about this subject. With that in mind, I am writing this blog post to explain the many different memory card formats, including those from the past, current card formats and what might be the card of the future.
We’ve seen memory cards that have survived the wash, explosions, four years in the ocean and more. But as if memory cards weren’t tough enough already, SanDisk just had to go and make them tougher. Their new line of Industrial and Automotive cards designed to stand up to the intense extremes to which they’re exposed.
The Automotive SD is designed for use within vehicles and drones. The Industrial SD, Industrial microSD and Industrial XI are intended for more mainstream use. The standard Industrual can withstand temperatures of between -13°F (-25°C) and 185°F (85°C). While the top end remains the same, the Automotive and Industrial XI cards are rated down to as ridiculous low of -40°F (which is also -40°C).