How To Choose a Compact Flash (CF) Memory Card

If you are into digital photography, getting the right Compact Flash (CF) memory card is an outright advantage. It is considered as the highly preferred memory card format in the market today. It gives you a sizable storage space for your valuable pictures and allows you to transfer your files into your computer faster.

Now, here are some no-nonsense suggestions in finding and buying your ideal CF memory card:

1. Learn more about the speed. Yes, faster speed means higher costs. But as you may already know, quality has a price. So, better invest on a more expensive CF memory card if speed matters most to you or to your job. Settling for a lower-speed CF memory card may create a lot of hassles. Remember, speed here pertains to the card-to-computer transfer rate. The actual transfer rate would greatly affect your workflow.

If you are stern about the speed specifications, you may want to check out the CF Memory Card Performance Database If you are using a Canon or a Nikon digital SLR, you could regularly and conveniently access speed test results there. Simply click the pop-up menu. Camera models that are no longer being tested are efficiently archived.

2. Check out the available designs or styles. Go for the one that fits you. Would you prefer something simple or something ostentatious?  Again, style might affect the price tag.

3. Consider the size. Size has something to do with the thickness of the CF memory card. There are two sizes for you to choose from. The first type, CompactFlash Type I (CF I) Card, is about 3.3mm. Meanwhile, the second type, CompactFlash Type II (CF II) Card, is thicker. It is about 5.0mm.

4. Know the capacity. Ideal capacity usually starts at 4GB. You may also consider an 8, a 16, or a 32GB-CF memory card. However, there are also smaller variants at more affordable price ranges (16MB, 32MB, 64MB, 128MB, 256MB, 512MB, and1GB).

5. Canvass the price. Look around before you get one. Visit shops. Check out online offerings. Know about the price ranges and the on-going promotions.

6. Value the brand. Check out the label. Is it from a reputable company?  A good brand carries a warranty and a technical support service.

According to, a quality CF memory card is expected to last for 100 years. With normal wear and tear, it could store your data that long, without loss or deterioration.

7. Determine the internal information. Inspect what you are buying. Look for the series number. It could be written on a label attached to the card or printed on the actual label of the card. The series number is indispensable in availing services after your purchase.

Also, you may insert it into a computer, right click on the card’s drive letter, and then choose “Properties”. In exploring the internal information, you are actually doing some sort of detective work. If something is not consistent with the specifications, you should promptly inform the vendor about it and verify.

Despite your diligence, fake CF memory cards may still come your way. Just remember, if something is too good to be true, think again. A knock off CF memory card may wipe out all your valuable files. You should not sacrifice performance, reliability, and compatibility to a few bucks.


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