Another day, another memory card review - this time for the 8GB Lexar 'Premium' SD which has a current retail price of £19.99 from amazon.co.uk. The price is a little odd to be honest, as the newer (and faster) version of this card costs only £7.99.
I purchased this particular card on the strength of the Lexar cards which I have previously owned and have been very impressed with. The card isn't Lexar's quickest on the market (that title is reserved for the cards in Lexar's 'Professional' series) - but I only use the card for transferring files between my computers, and not in any speed-reliant devices (high-res video recorders, or DSLR cameras etc).
Design, Appearance & Performance
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I know looks aren't important in a device of this nature, but the Lexar appears professional with a black body and a silver and blue trim. The write speed is rated as 60x, which, on paper translates as Class 4 (it can maintain a write speed of at least 4mbs per second).
In the five months that I have owned the product, I haven't encountered any card errors or random losses of data - so no issues to report performance-wise. As I previously mentioned, the card isn't specifically designed for devices which require blistering write speeds - however, it *can* actually cope with whatever i've thrown at it. For the purposes of this review I gave it a once-over to check its speed, and it just about manages continuous shooting mode in my Nikon camera, and 720p video is similarly not an issue.
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Overall, the 8GB Lexar Premium SD is a good product which combines reliability and a solid performance. However, in regards to value for money the card isn't the best - the sensible thing to do would be to buy the faster version of this card which costs over £10 less.
Last time I reviewed a memory card was more than 6 years ago, and the size was 128Mb - the format a Smartmedia card. How things have evolved in those years. I was using a 3Megapixel camera made by Fuji, now I'm using a 12 Megapixel made by Canon.
With the higher spec cameras, has come the need to ever larger memory cards. Looking in my top drawer, I've just pulled out 6 SD cards. The smallest, probably never used came with one of my cameras and is a lowly 32Mb. The others are all 1Gb or 2Gb - so why did I go and buy an even bigger one? Good question. Impulse buy actually, the packaging was opened and it was in the bargain bin. Someone had probably bought it, tried to use it and found it was the wrong one. So I had myself a bargain, although I guess I don't really need it. I think I paid under £10 for it, that was 6 months ago - prices seem to drop every day so shop around.
It's the largest possible card that will work in my G9, at 8Gb. Just so you know, SD stands for Secure Digital, and HC for High Capacity. Not all devices can support HC so check your specs before you shell out for one of these postage stamp sized cards. By the way, there are other devices apart from cameras which can use the SD format including MP3 players and mobile phones - again check your specs.
How many photos you can store on your particular camera will vary depending on how many megapixels it has, the file format you save as and whether you use any compression or not. On my Canon, 8Gb will store more than 1300 photos at largest 12Mp resolution, and the lowest JPG compression.
The fast write speed of the card means that it is also ideal for video, including HD video. An 8Gb card should allow plenty of space, again depending on how the video is stored but will be in the region of 2-3 hours.
Reliability is of course crucial with memory cards - you wouldn't want to entrust your memories to a dodgy unbranded card you picked up on ebay. Lexar is a trusted brand, and one which I have not had any negative experiences with as yet. As with all memory cards, there is a sliding protector which stops you from deleting the contents - just in case you wondered what it was.
Treat these cards with respect and they will provide you will a reliable source of storage, so always remember to put them into a protective case when not in the camera.
Reading the card is easy, most modern card readers will recognise it, and transfer the contents very fast.
There are lots of choices out there, this one might not be right for everyone, but for me it's the last card I need to buy - at least for the forseable future.