Photography

Why is buying a 1TB SD card a costly mistake?

Caught on camera: high capacity cards are overpriced

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Those tiny little memory cards that you can slot into your cameras now come in terabyte capacity. As a semi-pro photographer, the idea of having a card inside a camera that can take as many images as you’ll ever need on a photo shoot is tempting, but also flawed. Here’s why buying 1TB SD cards is a mistake.

1TB SD card – the price premium

The first reason to avoid these high capacity cards is their cost. At the time of writing a 1TB Lexar Professional 633x card costs nine times as much as exactly the same card with a 256GB capacity, even though it only has roughly four times as much storage.

Here’s a breakdown of the range with, price per GB.

Card capacityPrice£ per GB
1TB£339.9934p
512GB£82.3816p
256GB£38.1015p
64GB£10.1416p

As you can see, you’re paying a hefty premium for the privilege of having all your storage on the one card. And even if you can afford to drop £340 on an SD card, it’s not a great idea in the first place.

1TB SD card – all your eggs in one basket

If there’s one thing photographers are paranoid about, it’s a memory card corrupting. If you’re shooting an event such as a wedding, where you can’t possibly go back and take the images again, you’re putting a lot of faith in those little cards. That’s why pro-grade cameras often have two card slots, one acting as the backup in case the first fails.

Memory card corruption is rare these days, but it does happen. If you don’t have a second memory card slot in your camera (and even if you do), it’s good practice to change the memory card midway through a shoot so that – if the worst does happen – you’ve not lost all your photos from that event.

Massive 1TB memory cards that can store tens of thousands of images encourage you to put all your eggs in one basket. It’s better to have two, cheaper 512GB cards than one big one.

Only if you have a very specific need for a high-capacity card – such as shooting hours of 4K video – does it make economic and practical sense.

NOW READ THIS: What is the safest way to transfer photos from camera to computer?

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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