The SDHC memory card, inserted into a digital camera, replaced film long ago. Camcorders that can fully utilize a removable SDHC memory card are fairly new to the scene, and they are among the fastest growing markets in consumer electronics. Until recently camcorders could only use SDHC memory cards for still photographs. In older models, hard drives, DVD, and tape drives were typically the devices used to store video.

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SDHC Memory Card Class 10

“SD” stands for Secure Digital. “HC” stands for High Capacity. Except for Sony, all other manufacturers use a SD or SDHC memory card for their flash memory card camcorders (Sony has its own proprietary design). Sandisk, a big maker of flash memory cards, has even begun marketing certain SD and SDHC memory cards as “video” cards.

All flash memory cards are not created equal. Regardless of whether it’s called a video card or an SDHC memory card, there are some distinctions among SDHC memory cards you should know about before buying one.

SDHC Memory Card Interoperability

A camcorder that says it works with SDHC memory cards will always work with an SD card too; however, it doesn’t apply the other way around. If the camcorder states it works with SD cards, then that’s all it works with; it can’t be used with a SDHC memory card. That, however, is the exceptional case. Most modern camcorders can work with both.

Some of the inexpensive camcorders might not work with all SDHC memory card capacities. Just because your camcorder is SDHC compatible doesn’t mean it works with capacities at the upper end of the range. You’ll have to check your documentation to make sure it works with 16GB or 32GB SDHC memory cards.

SDHC Memory Card Capacities

SD memory cards max out at 2GB of storage capacity. An SDHC memory card can range from 4GB to 32GB in capacity. More capacity means you can store more video and photos. If you have one of the new high definition camcorders you’ll need to get an SDHC memory card. If you have a standard definition camcorder you can probably get by with an SD memory card.

SDHC Memory Card Classes

Slow SD or SDHC memory cards might not be able to keep up with the large amount of data a high definition digital camcorder can feed into it. If your SDHC memory card is too slow your camcorder might not be able to record anything at all.

To better understand this, an SD or SDHC memory card is designated one of four classes to indicate its minimum speed: class 2, class 4, class 6, and class 10. The higher the class designation, the faster the card is. The class number represents the minimum number of megabytes per second (MBps) of the card; the rate at which it can accept and store video data. Class 4 is rated at 4 MBps, class 6 is rated at 6 MBps, and so on. You can expect to pay a correspondingly higher price for a high class SDHC memory card.

Often the actual speed of a SDHC memory card exceeds that of it’s class rating. Likewise, camcorder manufacturers, as well as makers of other SDHC based devices, can design devices that require higher speeds than the minimum speed indicated by the class designation. Because of this it is best to think of class as a general category for comparison purposes, but you should consult the actual requirements of your device before buying a specific SDHC memory card. Don’t rely solely on class.

Some manufacturers advertise the speed of the camcorder prominently on the outside of the box while others might stuff it into the fine print of your documentation. Wherever it is, you should consult this important specification before buying a SDHC memory card.

If you have a standard definition camcorder, either a SD or SDHC memory card of class 2 speed should do the job. The highest quality video you can record plays nicely with this class of SDHC memory card. Your best bet for a high definition camcorder is going to be a class 6 SDHC memory card.

A class 10 SDHC memory card should work, depending on how tolerant to specification limits your camcorder and SDHC memory card are designed. Make sure your camcorder can go that fast before you pay the extra money it will cost you for a class 10 card.

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