Sunday, July 10, 2011

Just Past My Comfort Threshold On Capacity, The 256MB Fuji xD-Picture Card Is Great (But...)

The Good: Great capacity, Good warranty, Relatively inexpensive, Easy to use, Durable
The Bad: May be lost easily when outside camera.
The Basics: A perfect card with amazing capacity, the 256MB FujiFilm xD-Picture card overcomes the anxieties us paranoids have about such excessive abilities as this has!

Sometimes, a product is fine in its own right, but experience teaches those who use it valuable lessons. In my case, fear teaches me a lesson that experience has yet to illustrate to me. I love taking photographs. It's a hobby and while I am not all that good at it, getting married has encouraged me to preserve the new memories and experiences we are having together and I am generally thrilled with that. However, the more pictures I take with my camera, the more anxious I become about keeping the pictures on the card in my camera.

I have a Fuji Finepix camera (reviewed here!) and it uses Fuji xD-Picture cards. Despite my anxiety with continually moving up in sizes, I bought the 256 MB capacity while on my honeymoon and it worked as I hoped it would. I did not have to upload my pictures until night (I was able to easily go two days on the honeymoon before uploading, even when feeling free to take all of the pictures I wanted to take), but there were enough pictures on the card that made me feel anxious about keeping them there, encouraging me to upload them from the card. However, the number of pictures this card was able to hold put me at the threshold for my comfort level with picture cards. In other words, after a day and a half of shooting with my camera, this card made me anxious, not because I have ever had a Fuji xD-Picture card fail, but because if this one did, I was now at a place where I could lose vast amounts of pictures that I would like to be able to keep and enjoy!

This is a great picture card for professionals, but most people who travel with their computer and have anxiety over everything in the world failing, this is at or beyond the comfort of many users as an entire library of images fits on it! Truth be told, now that I am married with a photographer, I am discovering: 1. This is still painfully low capacity for a professional and 2. The Fuji Finepix camera is a pretty basic digital camera and no professional in the world is going to be using it for serious photography. That said . . .


The Fujifilm xD-Picture Card with the 256 MB capacity is hard plastic card that stores digital images. This picture card is a small, flat chip that fits into virtually any Fuji digital camera and any other camera that uses an eighteen pin connection to a camera. If you are unsure of whether or not that applies to your camera, either consult the camera's manual or carefully remove your current memory card and count the pins. "Pins" are the flat leads (usually a gold-color) that conduct the information, they are separated by faint nonmetallic bars. If your memory card has eighteen little bars then it is considered an eighteen pin lead and this product would be instantly compatible with your camera.

The Fujifilm xD-Picture card is approximately one inch wide, three-quarters inches deep and only 1/16" thick! This is small and easily lost. Fortunately, one of the more common camera accessories these days is a picture card wallet, so they should be easy enough to not lose. The xD-Picture cards are smaller than some and because most people never remove them from their cameras, that ought not to be much of an issue (and, as far as the travel concept goes, the space one saves with picture cards over film is likely to be eaten up by space needed for batteries to keep one's camera powered).


As one might guess, the 256MB Fujifilm xD-Picture Card holds two hundred fifty-six megabytes worth of visual information. This is an incredible amount of capacity for people who are spending a day out shooting the sites at places they are likely to only go once in their lives or just kicking back and getting great candids at a party or event. I have found the seven hundred sixty-eight pictures this will store to be more than sufficient for even a decent family vacation. Still, I found it a bit nerve-racking when I find myself in more risky situations; the capacity allowed me to shoot fearlessly all day without worrying how many pictures I had left, but I limited some of the places I went for fear that the camera might get damaged and I would lose the hundreds of pictures I had already taken. When one considers how many pictures they honestly usually take while on vacations or at weddings or such, seven hundred sixty-eight is the fairly impressive amount. With my camera (and most peoples) there are various quality levels for the pictures taken. My FinePix offers four quality levels based upon the resolution of the shot taken.

At the minimum resolution (.3M) the 256MB card will hold 1936 photographs, but they will be the most grainy that the camera takes. Conversely, a 256MB chip will only hold 384 of the highest resolution images possible. My experiences have been that I do not like the result of the lowest resolution images and I burn through batteries and memory far too quick with the highest capacity ones. I keep my camera set to the 1M quality, which provides images that are a decent size with an impressive enough resolution and this picture card holds 768 pictures at the medium quality. With my increased desire to take photographs, I found I was quite happy I upgraded to the 128MB card, but was more anxious when I then upgraded to the 256MB card. In fact, I am more likely to use this on social trips (like weddings) than recreational (theme park) trips! Despite my concerns before my last trip, I did not come anywhere close to filling up the card with all 768 JPG files that are 6.40 inches (162.2 mm, 1280 pixels) X 4.80 inches (121.9mm, 960 pixels) with a 200 X 200 DPI resolution (though, honestly, that might just be the imaging program I open the pictures in) and True Color (24 Bits).

For those who can live with 768 great pictures between reloads or almost two thousand crappy ones, this is a great memory card for you. I suspect that this is the perfect amount for most people, even those of us who are paranoid about losing pictures on a picture card.

In my experience, even as the picture card gets full, there is no noticeable difference in transfer time (i.e. amount of time it takes for the image to get put on the picture card after it is taken) from when the picture card is empty vs. when it gets full. As well, there seem to be no advantages in the transfer speed on this card vs. other FujiFilm xD-Picture cards. The only thing that seems to have a real effect in transfer speed is increasing the level of quality of the photographs. The bigger the file, the longer the transfer time and as this picture card becomes more full at maximum resolution, it may take up to two seconds for the camera to be ready to take another shot.


The Fujifilm xD-Picture card is essentially a small, plastic chip and this style of picture card is a lot thinner than most picture cards I have recently come into contact with. Some picture cards are even self-contained with the pins all being protected on this inside. This is not the case with this style of picture card. The leads plug into a slot in one's camera (consult your camera manual for how to do that). As well, there are chip readers that may be plugged into computers to read the chips directly. It is important to note that software support for extracting information from this card is entirely dependent upon the user's camera or computer! This picture card comes with no software support, nor does it require any to use. It simply plugs into a compatible camera and is as easy to use as batteries.

However, this is a small device and is easily lost. As a result, users must be very careful while handling it and a picture card wallet is highly recommended. I have NEVER had this picture card lose a file. Proper care indicates that one should ground themselves (eliminate static electricity from the body) by touching something metal before touching the card. The only other way I can imagine to damage this is step on it or poorly packing it in a carry-on!

This is a durable card that most people will never need to take out of their camera.


Fujifilm tends to have a five-year warranty on a lot of their picture cards, and this 256MB card has that. In all honesty, having used FujiFilm xD-Picture cards of various capacities for years, I have never had any need to cash in the warranty and I suspect this will last more than the five warrantied years.

This product has a five-year warranty and I cannot speak to how responsive the company is to replacing them when needed, as I have not needed to exercise that.


The Fujifilm 256MB xD-Picture card is great as far as capacity and usability go. I find myself endorsing it as a perfect card, despite my anxiety, but I suspect this will be the highest I ever go or recommend most casual photographers consider.

For other camera-related products or memory, please visit my reviews of:
CB-5L Charger for Nikon P5000 camera battery
Tribeca Pinkdrive 2 GB
Nikon CoolPix S60 digital camera


For other electronics product reviews, please visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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