Tapes Or Memory Cards: What Should You Use?


There have been many different storage media in the past, ranging from magnetic tapes to hard drives to optical disks and now solid state storage media such as Memorysticks and SD cards. The use of memory cards can bring be very convenient, but tapes and memory cards both have their own advantages.

The capacity that you get for the same amount of money for solid state storage media is doubling every 2 years, and as a result the use of memory cards in camcorders have become increasingly popular. Also reading and writing speeds have improved and are now sufficient to allow recording high quality HD footage.

Using tapes

The main advantage of using tapes is that you can carry around as much of them as you need, and they are cheap. You won't need to download the data to your computer when your memory cards are full. Another advantage is that because of their size, tapes less likely to be lost.

Advantages of memory cards

A Class 4 SD Card for HD footage
A Class 4 SD Card for HD footage

In the current climate, it looks like tapes are on it's way out, therefore it's probably a good investment to look for a camcorder that uses solid state memory cards. The biggest advantage of using memory cards is that you can simply insert the card in your laptop when abroad, and start editing immediately.

An overview of advantages:

  • You can erase unwanted footage immediately.
  • You can immediately jump to the clip you want to review, and you can even do a bit of basic editing with the camcorder.
  • No need to transfer footage in real-time to a computer from tape which reduces editing time.
  • You can re-use memory cards up to 1000 times, where tapes can only be used once or twice.

Whether you need a camera that uses solid state media or magnetic tapes will depend largely on the amount of footage you are going to record in a day. There are also cameras that are able to record on both tape and memory cards, and this brings an additional advantage that you can keep recording while changing tapes!

Your Comments

Sunil
one year ago
Could you point me to a good solid state camera for documentary use. In still starting out but I'm looking for something with enough functionality to last me for sometime. My budget is about 3 aus dollars. I saw some second hand cameras also. My email is aartis@comperation.com

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Memory card, Capacity, Solid state, Storage, Sd card, Footage, Film, Tape, Data, Clip



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