The Cost of Memory

I got a little bit of a shock whilst browsing Amazon earlier.

You can now get a Viking 512MB Secure Digital memory card for £2.99. Brand seems pretty decent and SD memory is now more or less standard for use in cameras, mobile phones and I’m told the Nintendo Wii uses SD memory.

This was quite a shock; when I bought SD memory for my camera earlier this year it cost about £8 plus P&P for 512MB. I ran out of memory on holiday and looking around the department stores, the SD cards there cost about £25 for 512MB. 

SD memory is now cheaper than film, even if disposed. On a 512MB memory card at insanely high resolution and filesize (say 6MB per image), you could fit 85 photos. It’d cost about £9 for the same amount of pictures with traditional film (around £3 per 28 photo film) 

A few years ago a 64MB Memory Stick Duo for my mobile set me back £45. My camera came with a 8MB memory stick and buying 4 64MB memory sticks in order to get a decent number of photos cost quite a bit. A 512MB Memory Stick Duo today costs £7.72 through Amazon Marketplace and £17 through Amazon.

A 1GB USB memory stick costs a tenner. Since I’ve been stuck with my 512MB USB drive for a while and often been annoyed at how a CDs worth of data couldn’t fit onto it this could be a worthwhile investment. This is a far cry from the cost of even a 128MB memory stick few years ago. 128MB USB drives seem to have become the standard freebie from every company now.

A rough comparison of memory costs from a search on Amazon: 

  • Hard Drive: £0.18 per GB
  • CD-R: £0.28 per GB
  • Blu Ray Rewritable: £0.55 per GB
  • CD-RW: £1.90 per GB
  • SD Card: £6 per GB
  • USB Drive: £10 per GB
  • Sony Memory Stick: £15 per GB

Seeing as an SD card for my camera now costs less than my lunch, I don’t think I’ve ever got another excuse for running out of pictures on holiday.

4 thoughts on “The Cost of Memory

  1. Impressively cheap, but not like-for-like. You won’t even get the resolution of film (digicam = 3000 to 3800px wide (10MPel); somewhere around 6-7000px wide for a 35mm frame on a dedicated film-scanner, up to 20,000px wide for a 5×4" frame), let alone the same grain effects or colour-depth of a transparency, and as for movements and satisfaction of running off your own b&w prints in the darkroom…

    But really the first question you should be asking is: how many of this bulk of photos will you remember, in their post-processed state, one year later? There’s a strong likelihood that, for those photos you pre-visualised and spent time over, you’ll remember the photo itself; however, the real shame is when you find a photo you’d forgotten that reminds you of the place later.

  2. On that megapixels crap:

    Sure, megapixels might help if you want to print to 2×2 meters and use it as an actual wallpaper. Other than that, 5 megapixels are fine. If you use a good printer and photo paper the results on A4 (normal page size) are pretty decent. Hardly anyone sees any difference, and even if, they have to take a very very close look. So, better look out for a good objective and a good sensor (the one that determines which color… there are two variants – one that rules and one that sucks, forgot their names though) instead of looking for trillions of pixels.

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