How long with a memory card last?

January 17th, 2007

I've just bought my first digital camera.  It used SD media for storing the photos.  One question I have though is how long with the card last?  How many photos can I save to it before wearing it out?  Do they need changing regularly?

I've had a number of questions sent in that follow the basic patter of this question.  It seems that there are a number of people out there who think that the media cards used in digital cameras have a limited lifespan. 

This simply isn't true. 

Digital media is very, very robust and if you take care of it (don't drop it, bend it or get it wet) you can expect it to last for years.  I have compact flash (CF) cards that are over a decade old and they are still going strong.  Other kinds of storage media seems to be equally robust.

One tip - format your card regularly.  To find out how to do this read through your digital camera manual.  I find that doing this regularly reduced the chance of data corruption and frees up space that might be being consumed by improperly deleted files.  Do this monthly if you use your camera a lot or two or three times a year if you are a light user (just remember to take your photos off the card first).

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