Sunday, 1 March 2009

Camera memory card modes

triggered by seeing the specs on the new Olympus E620 camera (which has 2 card slots, including the stupid xD format) I had some thoughts about how cameras use memory cards. This led me to the following ideas:

  • Have all cameras take 2 cards, either 2 CF or 2 SD (not mixed - hear me Canon)
  • Combined with the 2 card slots, have 2 buffers. Not sure how feasible this bit is, or where the buffer limits lie. essentially I want to get more shots in a burst.
Have some flexible card writing modes. At present we have both together, or sequentially or RAW to one and jpeg to the other. That's all fine. Here are a couple of others that I'd like:
  • A-card priority. That is, if there is a card in the A slot with space, write to that first. Even if I've written some files to the B card. This means the B card is a back-up when I'm shooting lots and need to wait a bit to change cards.
  • Alternate write. Specifically aimed at rapid fire mode: writing to the cards alternately. Combined with 2 buffers, and with current read/write speeds I bet even at high frame rates buffer would be almost unlimited. This would also serve a good back-up for card failure with less space taken than complete duplicates.
  • I'd like to be able to combine them - that is select card write mode based on shooting mode. Use A-priority for single shot and alternate writing for rapid fire. To be really clever, the mode switch would be based on buffer status: empty buffer use A-priority, buffer (part) full, use alternate shooting.
Funnily enough, all of this comes from my experiences on safari. Often I would nicely fill a card or the buffer just at peak action. Even the 5s or so it takes to switch a card can be too long. Waiting for the buffer to clear can seem an eternity. Sports & PJ shooters would also benefit, I reckon.

1 comment:

  1. Martin, you are definitely right. And as a programmer, I do judge with at least some background knowledge that this should not be difficult at all and would need (except the high speed alternating mode) and additional hardware.
    That companies are so lazy to provide 2 card slots (good for the specs I guess) but not the adequate function - Sony comes to mind here, with both the A700 and the A900 - can originate only from a thorough despise of the consumer...


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