Canon Memory Cards

Want information on Canon Memory Cards?  

Canon doesn't make their own memory cards so you can get any brand of digital memory card you want.

They are very affordable and you can buy them everywhere but you still should know a few things about memory cards before you make your purchase. 

Getting the right type of card is the first priority, followed by enough capacity and speed to serve your particular needs.  Only the cheapest digital camera memory cards fail in terms or reliability.

The most well-known memory cards are made by SanDisk, Lexar, Kingston, and Transend.  What you need to know about: compatibility, memory card rankings, and pricing: 

Digital Camera Memory Card Types

There are two main types of digital camera memory cards and a few that I'll mention only briefly.  CF stands for Compact Flash Memory and SD stands for Secure Digital.

Most newer cameras use the SD cards with the exception of the higher end "pro" cameras.  My Canon 5D Mark III takes both and that's a feature that I really enjoy having.  I have the option to write to both cards at the same time if I am worried about having back-up images right away.

Photo of CompactFlash digital memory card for Canon cameras

CF = CompactFlash and is about 1 3/4 inch square in size and about 1/8 inch thick.

Photo of SecureDigital digital memory card for Canon cameras

SD = SecureDigital and is about the size of a US postage stamp and thinner than CF cards.

1.  There are two main kinds of CF cards, Type I (3.3 mm thick) and the thicker Type II (CF2) cards (5 mm thick).

2.  There are three main kinds of SD cards,  SD.  SDHC for high capacity and SDXC for extra capacity. There is also a SD UHS-1 designation for either of the last two which stands for ultra high speed.  Ultra high speed may be needed for shooting HD video as well as when shooting RAW files in a rapid sequence. 

Are you confused yet?  The chart below can help with compatibility. 

Canon Memory Card Compatibility

Canon memory card compatibility chart

Canon Digital Camera Memory Advice

Use the chart above.

Read your camera's manual.

Go to a dedicated camera site like dpreview.

Search Amazon for your camera or memory card reviews and look at the specifications.

Memory is ridiculously affordable now compared to just a few years ago.  A few extra dollars gives you double and quadruple the memory you need.

Faster cards with higher speeds for reading and writing have come down in price.

As a pro photographer who make his living with digital photography, I never want to run into a situation where I miss a shot because of insufficient memory or writing speeds on a digital memory card.

Capacity is important for shooting videos or recording a lot of big files like RAW and those from very large sensors.

Speed is very important for recording HD video as well as rapid sequence during an event like a race or shooting a wedding.

Memory cards and batteries are the two most essential camera accessories that every digital photographer must have.

Digital Camera Memory Card Rankings

I spend a lot of time reading articles on cameras and accessories and came across an opinion poll taken on one of the really big digital photography sites.

The photographers who voted on their favorite memory cards are professionals and advanced hobbyists.

Here are the results:











Digital Memory Cards Prices

Do price comparisons on digital camera memory card prices and read the ratings from photographers who have purchased them:

Remember that any digital camera memory card can be used as your Canon memory card provided it is the right format.

Shoot more photos.

Use your memory.

Watch less TV.


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Written by Bruce Lovelace

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Composite image of several memory cards

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