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Before you buy: Make sure you buy the camera which is best for you.  go there . . .
What to look for and what it does:features and functions of the digital camera.
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Quick-start guide: start taking pictures right away.
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Versatility: the choices - from pixels to paper.
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Storage media and sharing your photos.  more . . .
Essentials of photography
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Memory Cards & Card Readers

Storage of your digital photographs: short-term.

Your camera will almost certainly be supplied with a memory card, but most manufacturers cut costs by providing one with a very low capacity.
Alongside some higher capacity rechargeable batteries, a new memory card is likely to be your first extra purchase after you buy your camera.

All memory cards perform basically the same function. They differ only because manufacturers have not established a mutual standard, but are usually interchangeable between cameras which use the same type of card.

CompactFlash
Widely used in the higher spec cameras, this is the available in the widest range of capacities and is the most cost-effective.

Microdrive
This is not a card but is actually a miniature hard disk. It is featured here because it is usually interchangeable with CompactFlash and is used as a higher capacity alternative. Available in capacities over 8Gb.

SmartMedia
A very compact card, smaller than CompactFlash and thinner than a credit card. Favoured by Fujifilm and Olympus cameras.

SD/MMC
Also known as ‘multimedia’ cards.

Memory Stick
The Sony proprietory format and therefore essential if you have a Sony camera.

xD-Picture card
Developed as a joint venture between Olympus and Fujifilm and designed for compactness and fast data transfer.

Card Readers
Although your camera will connect straight to a computer, perhaps via a docking station, a card reader is a very useful accessory. It will save having your camera on the desk, powered up, while your photos are transferred. Many photographers keep their card reader permanently plugged in to a USB port. The card is removed from the camera and the camera can then be put away while the photographs are transferred.
Card readers will also write files to the card from your computer, so edited photographs can be taken in to a print shop in this format.
Card readers can be single-format – for just one type of card – or multiple-format. The multiple format is a better purchase and is not significantly more expensive. Buying a multiple format reader allows for more than one camera, future changes of camera, and exchanging photographs with friends.

FlashDrive
Although not a camera memory card, it is useful here to mention the range of flash drives, because they are basically similar in their technology and perform a short-term memory function. They are card / reader / writer all-in-one.
FlashDrives are small data storage devices which are available in a similar range of memory capacities to memory cards. They will have a USB socket at one end and will therefore plug straight in to your computer or a USB cable.
Because they are so compact they will be presented as key fobs, or incorporated into pens or even the famous Swiss Army Knife!



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