People never cease to amaze me at times. They will spend a ton of money on their camera, lenses in all lengths, fancy bags, do-dads that are supposed to make you the hit of the wedding circuit and more. But, they will not spend any more than they absolutely need to on flash memory. Flash is the “film” of today’s digital world and comes in two flavors that interest the photographer. You can use either SD (secure digital) or CF (compact flash) cards. There is alot of debate to which format is “better” but the fact is that flash memory is flash memory.
You see, I remember shooting film and when you needed film, you bought for the type of project. So if you wanted Black and White, you bought black and white film, Tri-X was one of the mainstays but I was always an Illford man myself. If you wanted color with warm saturated colors, you would look at Kodachrome. If you wanted the cooler color, then maybe Fuji chrome. There was always IR film, Polaroid film, E6 film for high speed or pushed development and so on. The one thing you did not do was whine about the price of the film. It was what it was and if you could not afford it, then you did without that film and suffered for it. Film was typically around 8 bucks a roll for good color film and you could bulk load BW and save alot. Plus there was the development costs since most color films could not be developed at home. So something like a buck a shot was the rule.
Nowdays, with digital film, you just shoot it. There is no longer any need to carry five types of film, worry about not shooting to the end of a roll or better, trying to rewind the film and then reload it later to keep shooting (been there done that). You dont worry about the temperature of the light, how little light there is and so on. It is all the same nowdays, Ones and Zeros on a memory chip. The software now handles all the processing that used to take place in the film chemistry and in the tanks.
So we have this wonderful product for our camera that is reusable (indefinitely for most people) and saves us so much money over film. Why do people cheap out? Why do they buy crappy underperforming cards and then complain because the card cant keep up with the camera’s data rate, or picture get “lost” or the damn thing just stops working? And especially since the price delta between bad cards and good cards is measured by just a few bucks? You spend 50 dollars to buy a high quality brand name card and it’s paid for itself by the time you have run around 180 pictures (5 rolls of 36 film) through it. Everything after that is a gimme. When you have spent 200 bucks on a cheap point and shoot and you are shooting the once in a lifetime graduation or wedding pics, why risk it all on a bargain basement flash card when a good card you can trust is maybe, 10 bucks more? And thats not counting the pros I know who brag about the cheapass cards they use on a paying customer’s shoot. You lose those pics and it will be a bad day.
The moral is to buy good equipment and buy good cards. The internet provides a wealth of information on how well different brands work across time and even then, if you just stick with some of the big names like Sandisk, Panasonic, Kingston or Lexar just to name a few, you would be hard pressed to go wrong.