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Choosing the Right Memory Card

Memory cards are the digital film that stores every shot you take until you move them to a computer. The cards come in all shapes and sizes, and they are critical for capturing all of your photos. It is important not to skimp when it comes to selecting your memory cards. The NEX-6 uses Secure Digital (SD) memory cards (Figure 2.1).

Figure 2.1

Figure 2.1. Make sure you select an SD card that has enough capacity and speed to handle your photography needs.

If you have been using a point-and-shoot camera, you may already own an SD media card. Which brand of card you use is completely up to you, but here is some advice about choosing your memory card:

  • Size matters, at least in memory cards. At 16 megapixels, the NEX-6 will require a lot of storage space, especially if you shoot in the RAW or RAW+JPEG mode (more on this later in the chapter) or shoot HD video. You should definitely consider using a card with a storage capacity of at least 4 GB.
  • Consider buying High Capacity (SDHC) cards. These cards are generally much faster, both when writing images to the card and when transferring them to your computer. If you are planning on using the Continuous shooting mode (see Chapter 5) for capturing fast action, you can gain a boost in performance just by using an SDHC card with a Class rating of at least 6. The higher the Class rating, the faster the write speed. Having a fast card will also benefit your video capture by keeping the flow of video frames moving quickly to your card.
  • Buy more than one card. If you have already purchased a memory card, consider getting another. It’s a bad day when your card is almost full and you have to either erase shots or choose a lower-quality image format so you can keep on shooting. With the cost of memory cards what it is, keeping a spare just makes good sense.
  • To get the fastest memory possible, you could consider purchasing an SDXC memory card. Although they appear to be the same as SD and SDHC cards, they are made to new specifications that allow memory capacities above 32 GB. Your camera is SDXC compliant, but if you plan to share SDXC cards between devices such as your NEX-6 and a video camera, make sure the other device is SDXC compatible too. SDXC cards will work only in SDXC devices. Also, you should format your SDXC card only in your camera.

Sony recommends a speed rating of at least Class 4 for shooting video. What you need to know is that all cards are not created equal. In the past, I have had issues with Class 4 cards that could not keep up with the demands of video recording and caused the camera to stop in the middle of a recording session. My recommendation is that, if you know you are going to be shooting video with your camera, you should use a Class 6 or 10 card to keep the pixels flowing.

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