Memory Cards

Secure Digital memory card compatibility

Written by Gail Bjork

Before buying a Secure Digital memory card, check if the card is compatible with both your digital camera and memory card reader. If not, you’ll run into problems.

Before purchasing a Secure Digital memory card, make sure it is compatible with your digital camera and card reader.

Many people unwittingly buy a memory card based solely on capacity, only to find it doesn’t work with their camera. But even if your camera accepts a high capacity card, it may be incompatible with your memory card reader.

SD memory card types and capacity

There a currently three main types of SD cards: Secure Digital, Secure Digital High Capacity and Secure Digital eXtended Capacity. The type is clearly printed on the memory card packaging so check before buying.

SD memory cards have a capacity of two gigabytes and below, though there are a few older SD cards with four gigabyte capacity. SDHC cards have a storage capacity of up to 32 gigabytes. The card with the greatest capacity is SDXC, which ranges from over 32 gigabytes to a whopping two terabytes.

Look for the logo on the packaging

If you’re buying a new digital camera, look for the Secure Digital logo on the outside of the box. Or, if you have an older camera, check the manual specifications to determine the types and capacities of memory cards your camera accepts.

Incompatibility problems

If you buy a Secure Digital card that exceeds the camera manufacturer’s recommendation, images will not be written to the card. You may also be unable to transfer images to a computer as the card may fail to mount in the card reader.

Understanding compatibility

Some SD cards are backwards compatible. The Secure Digital Association explains backwards compatibility as follows:

  • SDXC memory cards must only with SDXC devices.
  • SDXC devices can use SD, SDHC and SDXC memory cards.
  • SDHC memory cards can be used with SDHC and SDXC devices.
  • SDHC devices can use both SD and SDHC memory cards.
  • SD devices can only use SD memory cards.

Source: SD Association

About the author

Gail Bjork

Gail Bjork, who is passionate about digital photography, is the owner and editor of Digicamhelp.Gail is the author of three illustrated ebooks about digital photography. A number of her photos and digital photography related articles appear at other websites.In 2006, a series of her photos, People in the Louvre, were exhibited at the Underground Photo Gallery
in Iisalmi Finland. Eight of her photos taken in the Florida scrub are on permanent exhibition at Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Florida.Gail served twelve years as an elected member of The School Board of Palm Beach County, Florida, one of the largest school districts in the U.S. She has also been the editor of a small town newspaper and a free-lance writer. Gail and her husband owned and ran several small businesses.