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Digital Camera Memory Cards

There are several different types of flash memory card that are used by digital cameras. There are three basic types:

Compact Flash
Used by Kodak, HP, Nikon, Canon, Epson, Casio and others.

SmartMedia (also known as SSFDC)
Used by Fuji, Olympus, Toshiba and others.

Memory Stick
Used only by Sony.

These are really three ways to package the same Flash memory technology. There are some tradeoffs between size, price and speed for the different types, but on the whole the difference is not very significant. All types are available in a range of capacities from about 4MB to over 100MB. It is also possible to buy a miniature disc drive in a Compact Flash card. Card readers and card slot adaptors are available for all of these memory card types.

The differences between the cards are restricted to physical and electrical differences. To the file system on your computer they all look the same. All types use an MS-DOS file system (the same as the other discs on your computer). If you use a card reader you will see the folders in which the camera stored the image files.

Most cameras conform to a standard called DCF. It defines a convention for the layout and naming rules for the camera image files. The folders in each card from all the manufacturers fit a known pattern. This makes it easy for the Digital Camera Wizard in Photo Explorer to locate and transfer the files to your computer.

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