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Compact Flash Memory Cards

written by: KennethSleight•edited by: Amy Carson•updated: 6/29/2011

Compact flash memory cards are used in a variety of still camera and video capture devices. These cards were first developed by the SanDisk Corporation in 1994 and have recently become resurgent as a medium for high resolution storage in professional digital photography and videography.

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    Compact flash memory cards are a stable type of external memory chip that allows for large files to be stored on a removable and portable space. It is also a non-volatile storage method which means it does not need constant electricity to save the data long term. There are two different size chips the Type I and Type II. Type I is 3.3 mm thick while the Type II is 5 mm thick. Compact flash memory comes in four speeds; Original Compact flash, Compact Flash High Speed that uses CF+/CF2.0,Faster Compact Flash 3.0 standard and Faster Compact Flash 4.0 standard. These chips have very large storage capacities – ranging from 2GB to 64GB (with larger capacities promised in the future).

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    The large capacity of compact flash memory cards makes them the perfect choice for photographers and videographers eliminating the need to consistently change storage cards. This allows for more pictures over a longer span of time with a higher degree of precision. The compact flash memory card is also the most durable form of memory. Not only is it non-volatile it can withstand extremes in temperature (-40C to +85C) and even function with scratched and otherwise compromised surfaces. According to the compact flash memory cards have a shock rating of 2,000G’s (which is the equivalent of a 10 foot drop) and can be used for upwards of 100 years without compromising the integrity of the data.

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    Transfer Rates

    One of the most important things to look at when choosing a compact flash memory card is the transfer rate of the card in comparison to the speed of the device into which it will be used. The transfer speed will be noted as 100x or something along those lines where the x = 150 kilobytes per seconds. The number in front of the x is your multiplier. As long as the speed of your card is higher than the speed of your device you will not notice any delay in performance due to the writing of data to the disk. It used to be true that the larger the storage capacity of the card the slower the transfer rate but that is no longer the case.

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    Best Compact Flash Memory Card

    sandisk - 

    There is no doubt that the 64GB 600x SanDisk Extreme Pro (SDCFXP-064G-A91) is the top of the class at the moment. For $544.99 it provides the largest capacity and fastest read and write speeds on the market today.

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    If you are looking for the best value in CF cards look for the Transcend 32GB Compact Flash (CF) 400X Flash Card Model TS32GCF400. For $71.69 you get 90MB/sec read and 60MB/sec write speeds that will allow continual shooting with most models of Digital SLR cameras on the market today. User reviews on suggest that is more than adequate for use with several Canon DSLR models and the Nikon 300s and 700 series.

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