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Old Aug 29, 2005, 4:33 PM   #1
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I've been looking at purchasing an Olympus camera and you need to use only Olympus xD media cards. This seems very limiting. Are these cards slower than the SD or CF cards that I am more used to. Are these xD cards newer or older technology, and will they soon have the same capacity as the SD cards?


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Old Aug 30, 2005, 12:18 PM   #2
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xD Picturecard is probably the least popular of the newer memory types (only Fuji and Olympus use this technology). Toshiba did use it (but they've exited the camera business). As a result, it's typically more expensive than other common flash memory types.

As for speed, they have newer cards that are rated quite fast (just like you can find faster SD cards now).

CompactFlash is probably the most popular format (it's been around longer, and is used by more cameras). But, Secure Digital is gaining in popularity quickly (smaller form factor, less power draw). Chances are, it will surpass CompactFlash at some point.

I really don't see xD Picturecard growing in popularity much. If anything, I'd expect Olympus to start making more models that can accept both xD Picturecard and Compactflash media (they've done this with some models). But, due to size and power considerations, that may not happen in smaller camera models. Only time will tell.

Personally, I wouldn't put too much weight in memory type when shopping for a camera. I'd be more concerned with features, image quality and usability for the type of photos I may want to take. Memory cards continue to evolve (faster, higher capacity, lower prices). So, chances are, when you get ready to upgrade to a newer model, you'll want to buy newer memory cards, too.

Also, you can't really judge a camera by the speed of a card that's used in it. Most non-DSLR models have bottlenecks writing to the media (the camera's interface to the cards isn't fast enough to take advantage of their speed). So, you really need to judge them on a case by case basis.

Make sure to read the Conclusion Section of the reviews here for cameras you consider. That's where you'll find information on startup speed, autofocus speed and reliability, cycle time between photos, etc. I'd use it as a rough guide for how fast you can expect a camera to perform.

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