Monday, August 25, 2008

Memory Snob

The AG-HMC70U comes with a 2GB SDHC card. That should hold about 20 minutes of video at the highest quality setting. Not too bad for playing about with, but not enough for everyday use.

B and H Photo (where I bought the AG-HMC70U), lists – amongst accessories - a Panasonic 16GB Class 6 card for $129.95. Considering what I’ve paid over the years for Compact Flash cards, that’s almost like giving them away, but I thought I could do better.

A search for SDHC cards at Amazon came up with only a few 16 GB cards (though I think the number increases each time I go back there!) My first preference was for a name brand card. The SanDisk Ultra II seemed like the obvious choice, which they were selling for $89.99. SanDisk is a “known” entity; they have been around for a while, and I have several cards from them already that I have been happy with. But a little research revealed that this card is a Class 4, with a maximum transfer rate of 15 MB/sec. The AG-HMC70U maximum bit rate is 13, so in theory a Class 4 should be fine, but there are Class 6 cards out there. I thought it would be better – both for this camera, and for any future purchases - to get a Class 6 if it wasn’t too much more.

My search proceeded to the SanDisk Extreme III, which was too much at $74.89 for 8GB, and ultimately to the Transcend 16GB (SD 2.0 SPD Class 6) which at $51.85, was cheaper than the Class 4 card, and included a simple card reader too! While I don’t really know anything about Transcend, the price difference was enough to make me give it a try.

I ordered the card, and can report that - so far - the card (and reader) have worked just fine. The card reader is about the size of a USB memory stick, and I wonder how long it will last; I once got a card reader bundled with a memory stick and it lasted two weeks before it stopped working.

I see now that there’s an A-DATA 16GB Class 6 card listed for $39.75. I’ve never heard of them either. If I buy a second card, it will either be that, or the Transcend 8GB (which sells for $26.35)

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