Memory storage for Digital Photography...

The most welcome gift for the
digital camera owner...

Memory! More specifically: storage. Prices are lower than ever on storage media for digital cameras.

Fred Showker, sends this story about his experience with the Smart Media card. . .

More storage... we need more storage! More importantly, are the new devices hitting the markets that utilize the same storage as digital cameras. The Smart Media cards I use for my Olympus cameras, works perfectly in my Olympus Voice recorder, and a number of the new pocketable MP3 players. Even Olympus is coming out with an MP3 player!

Why it really works for me?

Just before leaving for my summer workshop trips, and Macworld, I picked up a SmartMedia-PCMCIA Adapter for my PowerBook and a 16 megabyte SmartMedia card for my Olympus 2020 camera.
      I discovered early on that ownloading your images from a digital camera to the computer via cable can be quite slow -- the 400z taking as much as 15 minutes to empty the onboard 8 MB to to the computer. Testing the FlashPath Adapter Olympus sent for review proved to take just about as much time, and problematic. Even worse is the aggravation of a full camera when it's not convenient to download and reload. I knew there had to be something better.
      Compared to the other medias for digital cameras we've tested, I like the smart media card the best. These are wafer thin, and as you can see only about a square inch. They're shipped in their own plastic case, with internal liner for safety and protection. They make the perfect gift for any digital camera owner because they provide a second storage facility for those long trips and holiday functions. An 8meg card runs between $29 and $35 and the 16meg comes in under $55. I think mine was $49. There's also a 32meg card but the 16s are probably your best buy. This SmartMedia reader PCMCIA Reader was on special from the PC Warehouse for just $49 at the time -- I think the retail is $79. I don't recommend the Olympus reader since it seems to be the exact same as the SmartMedia, for fifty dollars more. Same goes for the memory cards. USB units are available as well ranging from $39.95 to over $100. 2MB and 4MB versions are available, but they're really not worth the time. A 64MB card is available and will hold up to two minutes of medium-resolution video, or QuickTime. A wonderful thought.

What is "Smart Media?"

SmartMedia Cards are known as Solid State Floppy Disks. They're the thinnest storage media in the world today. Compared with conventional memory cards, which use a semiconductor memory assembled on board, SmartMedia has an extremely simple structure. SmartMedia consists of NAND-type flash electronically erasable programmable read only (EEPROM) memory chip embedded in a thin plastic card shaped like a small floppy disk. SmartMedia is based on the ATA and DOS file standard, which ensures interoperability and interchangeability among different applications and systems.
      Right now, you can get 64 Megs right now for just $29.95 !
      The first time your digital buff uses a set-up like this, they'll be convinced it's the best thing since sliced bread! I was thrilled the first time I saw the camera card come up on the PowerBook desktop just like another hard drive. Emptying a full 16meg card took about as long as it took me to select all the files, and drag them into a folder on the hard drive!

Changing cards couldn't be easier:

I was a little put off when the PCMCIA came with no instructions. They said it was plug-n-play so I shoved it in. After several tries I discovered it does take some effort to get it to hold. The spring-loaded slot is pretty stiff -- I had to use such force I was afraid I was going to break it. My PowerBook has a double slot -- meaning it can handle two PCMCIA units at the same time. I had to be careful that I held the SmartReader in the top-most slot.

The SmartMedia card slides right into the slot, popping out a small 'eject' button. I feared that some sort of software would be required to read the SmartMedia card, but to my amazement the card showed up on the desktop just like a hard drive. When I double-clicked it, I saw the files, complete with QuickTime icons, all ready to be dragged over to the hard drive.

Changing cards requires removal of the reader - easily accomplished by dragging the thing to the trash can. Beware: when it ejects it really ejects. That stiff spring in the PCMCIA slot fires it out with some force -- the first time did it the whole thing shot out, scooting across the table and onto the floor. Since then I cup my hand and catch it as it's fired out of the slot.

Changing cards is easy, just slide the next one in, and insert the reader back into the slot and presto, another hard drive appears on the desktop.
      After some playing around you'll be as happy as you can be. Remarkably, I also discovered that the files can actually be viewed and edited right there on the SmartMedia card. You can also copy off files, and copy new ones back on -- in case you want to load last year's holiday shots for a slide show on the folk's TV. Be careful, edited files will not be readable by the Olympus camera.
      After I transfer the files to the hard drive, I let the camera empty or reformat the card and I'm ready to go again. You can delete files from the card in the computer, but I feel it's probably safer to let the camera do the housekeeping.

Whether it's for yourself, or as a gift for a digital camera bug on your holiday list, this is one of the best add-ons possible for a digital camera. You can get everything you need at your dial-up online shopping web site, or from one of the computer catalogs that come every other day. If you wish, zip on over to the Simpletech web site at http://www.simpletech.com or drop an email out to their excellent support team at: support@simpletech.com.

Go shopping: You can get 64 Megs right now for just $29.95 !

Hope I helped.
Fred

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