How to purchase memory for your HD Camcorder

HD camcorders use a couple of different types of “solid-state” memory, that is memory which does not have any tape or moving parts (MiniDV, or MiniDVD and VHS all have moving parts). The most popular kinds are built-in flash memory, SDHC (Secure Digital – High Capacity), and Memory Stick, a proprietary technology developed by Sony.

Because SDHC is not proprietary to Sony products it is the most widely used removable memory in HD camcorders. However, not all SD memory is created equal.

There are some things to look for when purchasing SD memory cards. First is the HC, or High Capacity, designation. Any SD card over 4GB will be classified as HC. However, a 2, or even 4GB SDHC card will not be sufficient for use in most HD camcorders. An 8GB SDHC card will hold about 1 hour of the highest quality HD video, and is the minimum amount of memory required for today’s HD camcorders. 16GB is preferred.

In addition to levels of memory, there are also different classes, or speed ratings, for SDHC cards. The classes are multiples of 2MB per second, and so include Class 2, 4, 6, 8, and 10. Each number tells you how many MB per second the SCHC card is capable of writing. This is important when recording HD video. The bandwidth required is very high because each frame of video contains a large amount of data. If you can’t write fast enough then you won’t be able to capture what you want to.

The class is designated on the card with this symbol:

The card shown here is Class 2. This class may work well for most consumer point and shoot cameras, but it is too slow for HD video capture. For an HD camcorder you should use class 8 or higher.

The price of memory keeps dropping. It is possible to find an 8GB card that is Class 8 for about $20.

-Clayton Mathis

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~ by Clayton Mathis on March 13, 2011.

 
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