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Old Dec 28, 2002, 11:48 PM   #1
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Default Smart Media and the Olympus cameras

I'm in the market for a new camera. My current digital camera is a Kodak dc215, which was dropped the other day and now has a broken battery compartment that won't stay shut.

I knew eventually I would need a new digital and I know that I'm so far behind all of you, but need some advice.

I'm currently looking at the Olympus c4000z, the Nikon 4300, and have even considered the kodak dx4900. I'm leaning heavily toward the Oly, but am a little concerned about the smart media.

I want to be able to take this camera on vacation (especially since they xray all baggage now and can potentially damage your regular film.) So, it makes me wonder how many pics can you get on a 128mb smart media card? I know it depends on the megapix you take the picture at, but in general how many do you fit on one card?

Are you worried about using the only camera that takes smart media? That one day it won't be available?

I'm not a technical genius, but have read lots of information about this stuff (so much that my head is spinning!)

I appreciate any advice.


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Old Dec 29, 2002, 12:08 AM   #2
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My c-4000 w/128 MB card holds apx 48 pix in SHQ mode and 130 pix in HQ mode. I always use HQ mode simply because It holds more pix and more importantly, I have yet to be able to detect the difference between the two modes. It is just the amount of JPEG compression that is applied to the image is greater when using HQ mode. But if I print out two identical shots--one in SHQ and the other in HQ, I defy anyone to tell me which is which.

As for Smart media....There are so many devices is use that use it that you are not going to find it going off the shelves. Camera manufacturers are still making cameras that use it. I don't know if Oly is the only one, but look at it this way: Kodak discontinued the popular Disc camera 15 years ago. You can still buy film for it.
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Old Dec 29, 2002, 1:46 AM   #3
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Well, smart media is being superceeded by the new xD format (not compatible though) but newer Oly camera models can take both SM and xD. The reason is the limit for SM is 128megs, while the theoretical limit of xD is 8gig.
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Old Dec 29, 2002, 7:15 PM   #4
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I just returned from a trip to Hawaii where I used two Oly Cameras. I have five 64 MB SM cards and almost filled them all!
Fry's sells 64MB cards for $19.95 each, every few weeks on sale!
I noticed in their recent ad, they had 128's on sale for $29.95, so I'll pick one up next time. I kind of like using the smaller cards because you don't have "all your eggs in one basket"! Although the likelihood of wiping one out is remote!
I haven't used the "XD" card that came with my C730 because my reader will just handle Smart Media.
Go for the Oly and get a card reader, you will love it!
Good luck, Bob R.
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Old Dec 29, 2002, 8:40 PM   #5
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Stock up when you find them on sale, and you shouldn't have to worry about it for many years. And by the time you do find it a problem, it will probably be about time to upgrade to a new camera anyways :P
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Old Dec 29, 2002, 11:56 PM   #6
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Default Smartmedia

Here is a copy of a recent post by me in another forum. One of the reasons i use CF in all my digicams is that I have had problems with the Smart media. I never use them any more. If you use them don't use a reader, just download from the camera. As is mentioned Xd will replace SM. I chose the 5050 because it took CF and avoided the cameras that took only SM. When I make this arguement I always get guys challenge me that have been using SM for years and never had a problem. That's fine. I use my camera for weddings and can't take any chances. All the other pros that I know who do weddings say the same thing. They use CF exclusively. Not Microdrives, not Smartmedia. Here is the post in respnse to a person who challenged me to expand further on my dislike for smartmedia.

1. SM cards have exposed contacts that are static sensitive and should not be touched.(p. 31 of the E-10 manual)The contacts are right out there just waiting for that walk across the carpet, so they can get zapped. CF is enclosed and is less likely to be affected by static.

2. If you accidentally take out the card while the camera is still writing you will likely fry the card. With CF you just lose the image. (p.30 of the E-10 manual} I have fried two cards this way. Yes, I know this is a stupid thing to do, but sometimes I get in a hurry.

3. Smartmedia is limited in capacity. Last I cared to check it was 128MB. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong. Last I heard CF was up to 2 or 3 Gigs, This means it takes more SM cards to get the job done, thus offsetting the lower price advantage of SM. At a wedding I want to change cards as few times as necessary and I don't have time to upload to a storage device on the fly.

4. Smartmedia PC card adapters are more expensive because the controller is in the reader instead of in the card.

5. Some cameras are limited as to the storage size of the SM they are compatable with. So if you get a diiferent camera you may not be able to use your Smartmedia cards. Not so with CF.

6. SM cards do not vary in performance. So one cannot take advantage of higher speed cards as in Lexar CF. Not an issue for E-10 users, but still and advantage for CF.

7. CF has technology built in to make it more stable. See www.compactflash.org

8. CF cards can withstand an operating shock of 2,000 g's or the eqivilent of a 10 foot drop. And they also wash quite nicely, without loss of data. SM is flexible and after awhile the flexing can cause the internal connections to become detached.

Pros who have had extensive use with SM report frequent failures. I hope SM continues to work for you. What I meant by "wait a litle longer" was that eventually I beleive your luck will run out. I hope your not shooting a wedding when it does. I mean that respectfully.

BTW I have the same amount of disdain for microdrives. I'm well known for it. ;-)
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Old Dec 30, 2002, 11:46 PM   #7
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fotoman150's commentary about SM is quite valid. However, for the average hobbiest many of the points made are not quite as important as they are to a pro taking wedding photos. Other factors come into consideration.
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Old Dec 31, 2002, 8:51 AM   #8
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You're absolutely correct. However, nobody takes great pleasure in losing images. Why even put yourself in that position. CF is not that much more expensive and is so much more durable and reliable. My advice is at least get a camera that takes both.
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Old Dec 31, 2002, 10:54 AM   #9
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Hi Lyndy,

Here are some thoughts/suggestions for you re a new dig camera:

One, it is a fabulous time to be buying a new camera!

To help you narrow down the choices...do the following:

1. Read Steve's Reviews on any cameras which interest you.

2. Then test drive the cameras at a camera store or elsewhere including how the images print out if you can.

3. One camera that really catches my eye is the HP850 available
for about $450 on the web. It uses secure digital media up to
I believe 256 mb.

Feel free to email me privately if you have any questions!

Good luck

PS. I have never had problem w/Smart Media in my Oly 2100uz
which I always remove to transfer via a reader.
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Old Dec 31, 2002, 12:39 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by fotoman150
You're absolutely correct. However, nobody takes great pleasure in losing images. Why even put yourself in that position. CF is not that much more expensive and is so much more durable and reliable. My advice is at least get a camera that takes both.
Well, as someone who has lost images with CF, have had a CF card go bad, have seen many others with CF cards go bad, and never had an SM card go bad yet, I have to say that there's the posibillity of ANY menory card to have problems!

Just because YOU have never had a CF card go bad, doesn't mean it can't or doesn't happen!!!

The biggest problem with memory cards losing pictures/going bad is when writing/reading them with low batteries.

And before you say something along of the lines that I don't know what I'm talking about, let's just say I have 20 years of computer experience, used to be a technician, and deal with CF problems people have.
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