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If you have Sony or Olympus/Fuji, you're pretty much stuck with their propietary card technologies. Otherwise, you're in the more wide-open world of standardized cards: CF and SD. And you already know that the included card isn't going to be enough to fill your needs, so you're thinking about shopping for an upgrade. When looking for a standardized card for your DSLR, here are a few shopping tips:
* Buy the right card: You need to know the difference between CF and SD and what your camera takes.
* Buy the most capacity you can: It's better to have capacity and not need it than to need capacity and not have it. Buy at least 1 GB.
* All cards are not created equal: Once you know what type of card you need and how much capacity you want, you need to have a basic idea of what brands get better reviews for speed and reliability. Stay with the big names in storage whenever you can.
If you buy a digital SLR, it's going to come with a digital storage card -- a compact flash, SD or Memory Stick, depending on the brand. But if you're serious about photography and can invest $1,000 or more on digital storage, consider a card with 1 GB or more. The digital storage card that comes with your camera is going to be relatively tiny. So just count on paying for a card upgrade up front and you'll be happy you did.
So you may like compact flash over SD, or prefer SD to Memory Stick Pro. For most folks, however, it's not really going to matter. The decision on which digital storage method to use is made by the manufacturer. Canon uses compact flash, Nikon uses SD, and Sony uses its proprietary Memory Stick technology. If you're camera shopping, you'll likely be a lot more concerned with megapixels, features and the look and feel of the camera. All you need to know about digital storage is that each of the cards works fine and the capacity is about equal.
Sony forces most digital camera buyers to use its proprietary Memory Stick technology for DLSR storage. Olympus and Fuji are only a little better. While they want you to use their expensive and relatively slow xD cards, they have a second slot available for compact flash cards.
Someday your DSLR may have a hard drive. Now that major video camera manufacturers -- led by JVC and Sony -- have come out with hard-drive based videocams, it seems like DSLRs could be next. Or maybe not.
No major DLSR manufacturers have announced plans to build a hard-drive based camera. And DLSR photographers seem content with the ongoing advances in digital storage card technology.
Someday, maybe. But it doesn't appear that you'll see a DSLR with a hard drive anytime soon.