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Large or Small Memory Cards?
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Large or Small Memory Cards?

Depends on how many photos you want to risk losing at once

But if your memory card fails you, there are ways to rescue lost images!

Larger capacity memory cards let you store more images but also cost more leading to a debate about what's best option: Fewer, larger capacity cards or more, lower-capacity cards?

The first school of thought is the "eggs in one basket" theory that holds that you should use more smaller-capacity memory cards so in case of loss or data corruption, you'll still have most of your images from a particular shoot.

The "bigger is better" school that I belong to thinks having fewer cards makes them easier to track and you're less likely to run out of room on the card for new images when that decisive moment happens right in front of you.

A CompactFlash card (right) weighs a half ounce and measures 43 x 36 x 3.3mm, while an xD Picture Card (far right) weighs .098 ounces and measures 20 × 25 × 1.78 mm. Yet both kinds of cards can have the same capacity and store the same number of image files.

All is not lost!

Because of manufacturing efficiencies and competitive pressures, the cost/GB for memory cards is constantly declining, I'm not sure if you could make a cost/shot argument for either approach. But as far as losing images because of data corruption have no fear, rescue software is here!

Some manufacturers provide rescue software with their cards but I've found that PhotoRescue 3, which is available for Mac OS and Windows computers, has never let me down and I've tried every major brand of rescue software. I've even used PhotoRescue to successfully recover images from memory cards that have reformatted.

PhotoRescue 3 software is remarkably easy to use, inexpensive ($29), and indispensable for digital photographers. If you take a laptop in the field when shooting, it should have PhotoRescue installed.

Joe Farace is the author of a new book called "Getting Started in Digital Imaging" published by Focal Press (ISBN 024080838X.) It's available in all the best bookstores as well as



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