Deciding if a High-Speed Memory Card Is Worth It

I just ordered a new digital camera, Canon Powershot SD 990 IS, and wanted to get a memory card to use with it. There are so many storage choices these days, it’s a bit overwhelming. I finally decided on a brand and size, but didn’t know if I should pay extra for the high-speed cards. I looked all over to see if the SD 990 would support it. From my research, not all cameras were capable of writing fast enough to take advantage of the high speeds that some cards offered. Without knowing the camera’s write-speed, I could not know how fast of a card I needed. So I wrote to Canon. I was very surprised to get a quick and detailed response from them. I hadn’t even gotten the product yet and they helped me already. Sorry, I guess I’m just jaded with customer service these days. The following is an excerpt from the email:

Canon does not speed rate digital cameras.  The write speed of the camera is limited by the drive inside the camera.  Using a faster card rated at 12x or 24x speed may not perform any faster than a slower rated card.  If you use a card reader capable of reading at the faster speeds, then you may experience faster downloads from a card reader.

The only features on our cameras that will utilize the high speed rated memory cards are the Continuous Shooting and video recording features. The exact performance increases are not published.  Unless these two feature are of extreme importance to you, you will honestly be wasting your money on a high speed rated memory card.  The memory cards that come packaged with our cameras do not have a speed rating.

I do intend to do continuous shooting and video recording so speed was a factor. I decided to get a card that was in the middle… not standard, but not the fastest either. It would also be nice to have the faster downloads. If speed were to become a big issue, I could buy a faster card in the future, when the price is lower. Besides, I read that it’s better to have multiple cards instead of one big card, in case there are any issues… kind of like “not putting all your eggs in one basket” kind of thing.

I’m so excited. My camera is scheduled to arrive tomorrow. I’m looking forward to getting back into photography and posting photos in my gallery.

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