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Memory Cards for Digital Cameras and Other Canon Devices

written by: M. J. Abernathy•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 1/21/2011

Canon offers digital compact cameras, SLR cameras, camcorders and printers compatible with a variety of memory card types. There are numerous factors to consider when purchasing a memory card for your Canon device. Once you have chosen your Canon memory cards, proper use and care are essential.

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    Memory Cards for Digital Compact Cameras from Canon

    Canon offers cameras, camcorders and printers with flash memory card slots for image storage. After reading Canon camera reviews of both high-end amateur and DSLR models and choosing the ideal device, many consumers find themselves with one of Canon's popular point-and-shoot cameras. Canon's PowerShot line of digital compact cameras primarily utilize Secure Digital memory cards, better known as SD cards. As SD cards are based on the preceding MultiMediaCard (MMC) format, the SD card slot on Canon PowerShot cameras is compatible with both MMC and SD cards. The MMC card is slimmer than the standard SD card, but will fit in a standard SD card slot.

    PowerShot cameras from Canon are compatible with several types of SD and MMC cards. The PowerShot's memory card compatibility encompasses a range of media storage formats, including the SD/SDHC/SDXC Memory Card, MultiMediaCard, MMC Plus Card, and HC MMC Plus Card. Mini SD cards can also be used with an adapter. Some new Canon PowerShot cameras are also compatible with the Eye-Fi wireless SD card that allows for wireless data transferring, enabling photo and video uploads directly from the camera.

    Well-known manufacturers of SD cards include Panasonic, SanDisk, Toshiba and Kodak. The average SD card with standard capacity (SDSC) stores 2GB of data. SD cards with high capacity (SDHC) store up to 32GB of data. SD cards with extended capacity (SDXC) can store up to 64GB of data with potential for increased capacity in the near future. Cards come in a range of writing speeds, defined by the speed class rating or an "x rating" anywhere from 6x to 600x. Understanding why speed is important will help you choose a memory card best suited for your needs.

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    Memory Cards for DSLR Cameras from Canon

    Canon's Digital SLR cameras have primarily utilized CompactFlash memory cards since they were developed and first introduced by SanDisk in 1994. However, many of the best new professional camera models from Canon like the EOS-1D Mark IV offer dual memory card slots allowing for additional data back-up. With dual CompactFlash (CF) and SD card slots, files can also be transferred between cards within the camera.

    The CF card is a wider memory card than the SD. Compare SD cards and CF memory cards to learn more about the differences between these types of cards. The CF card includes two formats, Type I and Type II. Both can be read by most CF card slots on Canon's DSLR cameras and can have a capacity of up to 128 GiB. As of 2011, the CF specification can support up to 137 GB.

    Writing speed for CF cards is expressed in terms of speed ratings, however, speed is largely affected by the writing speed of the camera. Canon's newest cameras like the EOS-1Ds Mark III offer compatibility with the most recent high-speed Ultra Direct Memory Access (UDMA) CF cards with maximum data transfer speeds. UDMA cards like the SanDisk Extreme Pro CF Card have write speeds of up to 100MB/sec.

    Certain Canon DSLR cameras of the Rebel series only utilize SD cards for recording media, like the EOS Rebel T1i EF-S and T2i EF-S. Both of these cameras are compatible with SD and SDHC (high-capacity) cards. The EOS Rebel T2i is also compatible with the SDXC (extended-capacity) and supports the wireless Eye-Fi card.

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    Memory Cards and Other Canon Devices

    Once you have chosen a memory card for your Canon camera, you may want to find a printer that includes a card reader compatible with your cards. Most high-end Canon photo printers include card readers compatible with a full range of card types. Compatible SD memory cards that can be used with these printers include SD/SDHC cards, MMC/MMC Plus, CF cards and memory stick storage devices. MiniSD cards, microSD cards and other cards can also be used with adapters.

    Flash memory or dual flash memory camcorders from Canon also utilize SD cards. Dual flash memory video cameras like the VIXIA HF S21 or R10 or the Canon FS21 include two SD memory card slots.

    Understanding memory card formats is essential to finding the best card for your device(s). For some, the best price at a Black Friday sale or a clearance sticker will determine which card they purchase. However, knowledge and familiarity with the different types of cards and their specifications will ensure that you card is best suited to your needs and your Canon device. Learning more about the types of memory cards available will also encourage proper usage, a key factor that is essential to maintaining and prolonging the life of your card.