I'm a miserable old git.
I'm ashamed to say it's been a **** very **** long time since I reviewed my "trusts", have sought to rectify this by going through every review I've written in the past couple of years, if you feel hard-done-by, drop me a note.
Members who trust:32
This will seem small beer in a few years time
Huge capacity, tiny format
Olympus own - brand are sold at a premium
Ease of use
Value For Money
Memory / capacityExcellent
Ease of InstallationExcellent - very quick and easy
Instruction manualVery useful
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With the relentless increase in digital camera resolution, 'traditional' memory cards find it difficult to keep up with technological progress.
Add to this, the fact is that new formats live or die by the 'take-up' figures of consumers, it's important that you back the 'right' memory format!
It was with this in mind, that Olympus and Fuji got together to produce a joint standard , known as xD-Picture Card.
The primary purpose of an xD memory card is to provide removable storage for digital cameras, but that doesn't mean it's restricted entirely to that task.
Aimed as a direct competitor to existing formats (Compact Flash, Smart Media, MicroDrive, SD, Sony's Memory Stick etc) the xD card was designed to offer high transfer speed access, large capacity, small format, and in the case of Olympus brand; special features only available with Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) media.
At 20 × 25 × 1.7mm, xD is one of the smallest 'mainstream' memory formats - the specification currently offers up to one gigabyte of storage, although not all xD enabled Olympus cameras (mainly the older ones) support up to this amount of storage!
The main difference between Olympus cards, and Fuji ones is that the former offers 'panorama' picture mode to be used on their cameras. This comes at a slight premium, so if yours is a Fuji - there's precious little point in buying them!
Why would you want as much as a gigabyte of storage? - well - at the highest resolution, my 1Gb card in my C-8080 Wide Zoom camera (at highest resolution uncompressed RAW format) offers up to 87 pictures, although the lowest resolution format allows 9999 shots! -
In video mode, nearly three and a half hours of AVI format can be recorded, although I would have serious doubts over whether the batteries would last that long - highest quality allows eighteen minutes!
I would always transfer my pictures to a 'proper' PC at the earliest opportunity - but given that it isn't always possible to lug even a compact laptop around with you, the card offers plenty storage for most needs.
One tip I read on a site was that you should always use the camera to format the card, and not rely upon third party PC adapter cards to do it correctly - I've no idea why this may be the case, but I'm happy to follow their advice!
XD won't be the cheapest memory format available, nor will it be the smallest, nor the highest density, or fastest, but bringing all four parameters into consideration, I doubt few come close!
IBM was famous for suggesting that there would only be a need for around eight computers in the world, Microsoft was caught on the hop for stating that 32Mb was more than anyone would ever need in terms of PC hard disk capacity, doubtless 1Gb seems an astronomical amount of memory, but give it a couple of years and we'll be looking down our noses at it!
For the moment - in practical terms, this is more than the average serious photographer would ever want!
Removable storage needn't be limited to just photographs!
I regularly use my Olympus camera as a 'portable storage device' - from MP3 music (there's enough space in one of these babies for around 17 albums!) to backing up drivers and data.
In spite of being a joint venture, this format will always be verging on the proprietary, Olympus cards will always attract a premium but given that the cameras you're buying now will have an expected life of around five years maximum (before they're superseded by something almost unimaginable by current standards) I'd suggest it was well worth the few quid extra.
Guide price (November 2005) is around £90 (Jessops - over the counter) £54 (amazon.co.uk) £37 (Ebay - + £14 postage)
If you have an 8 megapixel Olympus camera, this is the obvious choice.