So what do I buy? Larger or faster?
Now that I’ve ended up confusing you more than when you started reading this article, let me try and make things clearer. What does a buyer out in the market for a card do? Go for memory or speed? Go for larger size cards or multiple smaller cards? The answer to this question depends on the following:
1. You, the photographer:
a. The camera you use – the higher megapixels you shoot at, the larger the file size and the quicker you fill up your card.
b. The format you shoot in – RAW files are typically 4-5 times larger in size than superfine or fine JPEGs, and fill your card faster.
c. Your shooting habits – are you trigger-happy or do you wait for the perfect moment before pressing the shutter button? Try to estimate how many frames you shoot on a typical day.
2. Going by cost per MB, multiple smaller cards work out cheaper than one large card. Another compelling logic is that you don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If, God forbid, your camera (with one of your memory cards in it) finds its way to the bottom of the Pacific, or beneath a tusker’s leg, you lost only some of your photos. That’s better than losing all of them stored in one big card.
3. The flip side to the above logic is the very probability of such an event happening. It's not daily that you’re face to face with a raging tusker. But a smaller card will make its painful presence felt on a far more regular basis. Apart from the inconvenience of having to swap memory cards so often, you end up increasing wear and tear on your camera’s card compartment, as well as the cards themselves. With many of today’s cameras refusing to operate with the card-door loose or open, you really wouldn’t want to damage it at all.