General Frequently Asked Questions

Why is memory important to digital cameras?

As picture quality and resolutions on digital cameras have improved, the need to save and store larger photo and video files has increased. Earlier versions of digital cameras often featured built-in, non-expandable memory for storing pictures and video. Memory capacity of these cameras could be reached quickly, forcing users to download pictures constantly to their computers or erase pictures before taking another photograph. This is very inconvenient for users who want to use their cameras without having a computer nearby.

Today’s leading digital camera manufacturers typically feature removable digital film cards for capturing, storing, and swapping images. Popular removable memory solutions include CompactFlash, Memory Stick, and Secure Digital formats. Typically, camera manufacturers include a minimum-capacity card with the camera, just enough memory to provide a good out-of-the-box experience for the user. As the capacity of that card is reached, either the user must download the photos to a computer, erase pictures, or replace the card to continue taking pictures. That’s why for many typical picture-taking situations like vacations, weddings, or sporting events, the digital photographer needs more digital film.

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What are the popular types of digital film today?

Digital film uses non-volatile flash memory, meaning it does not require power to store the pictures taken. Flash memory technology is ideal for applications that require portability and ruggedness. There are three main types of flash memory (digital film) used for digital cameras today:
CompactFlash, Memory Stick, and Secure Digital formats.

CompactFlash: A small form factor (about the size of a matchbook) that combines non volatile storage, high-capacity options and industry-standard compatibility, which is absolutely essential for digital cameras and handheld computing devices. Because they are designed to the guidelines set by the CompactFlash Association, a base-level assurance of compatibility has been set between all-certified CompactFlash cards and any CompactFlash-compliant device.

Memory Stick: Though smaller than a stick of chewing gum, Memory Stick packs big performance and is compact, rugged, reliable, and has erasure prevention. It too has an on-board controller that ensures compatibility with numerous consumer electronic devices.

Secure Digital: The size of a postage stamp, SD cards are compact and flexible for use in multiple consumer electronic devices. Its ability to deliver high performance allows consumers to quickly capture photo and video files in a reliable and easy-to-use format.

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What is the CompactFlash Association?

The CompactFlash Association (CFA) was established in 1995, as a non-profit, mutually beneficial industry association. The CFA’s premise is that CompactFlash technology will result in the intro-duction of a new class of advanced, small, lightweight, low-powered mobile products that will significantly increase the productivity and enhance the lifestyle of millions of people. CompactFlash provides the capability to easily transfer all types of digital information and software between a large variety of digital systems. The goals of the CFA are to promote and encourage the worldwide adoption of CompactFlash technology as an open-industry standard.

Information on the CompactFlash Association can be found at http://www.compactflash.org

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Why is memory important to digital cameras?

As picture quality and resolutions on digital cameras have improved, the need to save and store larger picture and video files has increased. Earlier versions of digital cameras often featured built-in, non-expandable memory for storing pictures. Memory capacity of these cameras could be reached quickly, forcing users to download pictures constantly to their computers or erase pictures before taking another photograph. This is very inconvenient for users who want to use their cameras without having a computer nearby.    

Today’s leading digital camera manufacturers typically feature removable digital film cards for capturing, storing, and swapping images. Popular removable memory solutions include CompactFlash, Memory Stick, and Secure Digital cards. Typically, camera manufacturers include a minimum-capacity card with the camera, just enough memory to provide a good out-of-the-boxexperience for the user. As the capacity of one card is reached, either the user must download the photos to a computer, erase pictures, or replace the card to continue taking pictures. That’s why for many typical picture-taking situations like vacations, weddings, or sporting events, the digital photographer needs more digital film.

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Is performance important when talking about digital film?

Yes! While all CompactFlash cards that are certified by the CompactFlash Association should operate in all CFA-compliant devices like digital cameras, some important performance differences can be found in CompactFlash cards used for storage, and those designed specifically as digital film. 

Most flash-memory technology today was developed before the advent of today’s digital cameras, which require large image files to be processed quickly. In fact, most of the original applications for CompactFlash were for data access where READ performance was more important than WRITE performance. As digital cameraapplications, camera resolutions, and picture and video file sizes continue to grow, the ability to both WRITE and READ large files quickly have become  critical performance requirement. Improved WRITE performance can significantly reduce the waiting time before another photograph can be taken ("image storage time"). Improved READ performance can significantly reduce the waiting time for photo and video files to be transferred to your computer--saving time and improving digital photography "workflow."

Lexar CompactFlash and Secure Digital memory cards significantly reduce file transfer time to your computer AND the time  a picture file can be written to the card. While actual performance will vary between camera models, Lexar digital film offers high-speed performance so you never miss the memories tht matter: a baby’s smile, a wedding kiss, or any other precious moment.

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What does 100x, 200x, 400x, and 600x (1x=150KB/s) performance mean?

Because digital film performance is so important in capturing the right picture at the right moment, Lexar has implemented an easy-to-understand system to indicate the speed at which the card is capable of storing data. The system is adopted from the CD-ROM industry, in which the performance of CD-ROM drives are rated in "x" increments, where 1x is equal to a sustained write speed capability of 150 kilobytes per second (KB/s). Lexar will continue to introduce faster products with greater "x" ratings, giving consumers an easy way to recognize the latest in high-performance digital film.

100x = Up to 15MB/s read transfer, write speeds lower
200x = Up to 30MB/s read transfer, write speeds lower
400x = Up to 60MB/s read transfer, write speeds lower
600x = Up to 90MB/s guaranteed minimum sustained write speed
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What does the symbol CF+ represent?

This symbol means the CompactFlash card meets the CompactFlash specifications, contains additional USB functionality, and is guaranteed to work in all digital cameras. CF+ is a symbol established by the CompactFlash Association.

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