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Old Dec 27, 2003, 9:09 AM   #1
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Default newb question: diff. between smart media and oly XD pic.card

Well the topic says it all...

I've read that the difference between xd and smart media is that the smart media has stalled at 128 megs and that the xd can go up to like 8 gigs or something.

Except that, is there a difference in the picture quality or something else.. ?

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Old Dec 28, 2003, 8:07 PM   #2
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SmartMedia fell victim to bad future planning. When introduced they topped out at a whopping 16MB and were enlarged to 32MB next but most cameras already made couldn't use them. And SmartMedia (aka SSFDC cards) were also available in 3.3v and 5v and you guessed it, some cameras used 3.3v and others used 5v, it wasn't interchangeable. The problem was that these two types of SM cards looked identical and could be inserted in any camera.

When SmartMedia first appeared yours truly dubbed it StupidMedia for several reasons. I definitely didn't think that it could be made as large as some early claims, there's just a limit to how much memory you can laminate on a thin piece of plastic - especially with 1999 fab technology. I also thought it stupid to have exposed contacts that people's fingerprints got all over, finger oil is some really destructive chemistry. Add to the physical (sliding, grinding) contact when you insert the card and I figured it was failure prone. It took about two years for the resolution of the cameras to exceed the capacity of SM media. Turns out the max. SM card is 128MB and even though most new cameras come with a 16MB card, you need at least 256MB for today's 4 or 5 megapixel camera.

Anyway - RIP SmartMedia

The two big users of SM was Fuji and Olympus so they got together and designed a new memory standard and hence the xD-Picture Card was born. It is capable of holding much more (denser) memory and has already gone from 16MB to 512MB and we expect the 1GB cards early in 2004. The xD standard allows for higher transfer speeds, smaller physical size and lower power usage. And the price has come down rapidly unlike the large 128MB SM cards which were always overpriced.

It's still only Fuji and Oly using the xD standard - the rest of the digicam world has moved to SD - SecureDigital cards. Even Nikon, a long time CompactFlash user, chose SD memory for the new Coolpix 3700. The higher end consumer cameras and all digital SLR cameras make use of CF or CF2 devices like Microdrives but the rest seem to have adpoted the SD standard.

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