#16 Camera Flash Card Recommendations
The instructions sheet that comes with the camera says to use at least a Class 4 card
. That is good advice to avoid problems. But in any event, I would avoid "generic" cards or little known brands.
NOTE: A few memory cards have shown to have some incompatibility with the camera, and it's not just certain brands, but rather certain capacity and/or speed class of card, with specific firmware. Class 10 cards are the most problematic. See this post for known problem cards
<EDIT> V 0.49 firmware has new card communication code that, so far, has eliminated the communication problems with higher speed class cards. That said, you don't need more than a class 4 card with this camera. Higher speed cards only add cost with no performance benefit! <EDIT>
If the camera is set for the higher 10Mbps data rate, more data each second must be written to the card, so you could reach a point where your video card does not record fast enough, and dropped frames can result. This will show up during play back with moving objects showing a slight pause, then "jumping forward" abnormally (jerky motion). A faster card may remedy that, however I have found my Class 4 and Class 6 cards both work equally well at the 10 Mbps data rate. For what it's worth, I do not think the higher data rate results in any visible improvement in image quality, so I don't use it. The higher 10Mbps setting also produces files about 40% larger and decreases recording time as much as 10%. Finally, in very low light (e.g. indoors or even outdoors on very dark, overcast days), it is NORMAL to have dropped frames, as high as 30% in some cases. This is caused by the much slower shutter speed required to get a decent exposure, and a faster flash card will not cure this.
Personally, I go for a Class 6 card since the cost difference compared to a Class 4 card is not much. And since compatibility issues are more frequent with some Class 10 cards, I do not recommend using them with this camera.
The higher card speed cannot improve the video image quality. I found the Transcend 4GB and 8GB Class 6 card shows test results consistent with the best cards and work in this camera, but some problems have been reported with their 16GB CL 6 cards! The best everyday price I have found on the web is at this site
(about $10 delivered in the US in about 3 days), but other places (e.g. Amazon.com and newegg.com) sometimes have good deals also. There are other good cards like Sandisk, Kingston, Patriot,and others.
As for minimum flash memory size, the stock 250 mAH camera battery only lasts for about 40-45 min. maximum. The file sizes will differ according to your Data Rate setting and the amount of fast motion and very fine, high contrast detail in your scenes. A 4GB card is generally big enough to record all that the camera can normally record with its fully charged, internal battery. The only need for a larger card would be the desire to store additional video on the card before it is copied to your computer to free up the space, or when using external power with greater capacity for longer recording ability.
New flash memory cards should be formatted using the in-camera formatting routine!
Formatting in other devices may appear to work, but increases the risk of a corrupted file!
In ALL cases, test your new flash memory card
for full memory capacity verification using the h2testw.exe utility
(should get no errors), and for read/write speed with the Crystal DiskMark utility (portable edition)
(2MB/sec. is a very good random write speed for the 512K test, and about 1MB/sec. is near the low end of acceptability for good performance.