A compact digital camera takes pictures and then stores the digital image for future use; the data is stored on what is known as a flash card which is a very small storage device using flash memory as the storage medium. Although the flash cards are very small, they can contain a great deal of data. As the data that is stored on a flash card is non-volatile, power is not required to be applied to the card to remain intact. Many electronic devices use these cards, a compact digital camera being only one of the users.
The features of flash memory:
Flash memory has no moving parts so there is nothing to wear out or break, unlike a typical hard disk that has rotating parts and collectors which can malfunction. Many formats erase memory byte by byte, flash memory erases by block, hence it can be accessed much quicker for writing and erasing. An electrical charge is what is used to erase data, the charge makes the erasure in flashes; this is where the name flash card comes from. These cards are common in cameras, mobile phones and video game consoles.
Flash memory drawbacks:
Not all flash cards are interchangeable from one device to the other, though many are now. Most digital cameras and camcorders use one of two sizes, a regular SD card or a micro SD card; older cameras, however, may use different types then an SD. When you purchase a compact digital camera the type of card will be specified, different products are formatted to different specifications to meet the needs of the device and the manufacturer.
How to read the data:
Most modern devices that use flash memory have either a wireless connection or a thin wire that goes between the device and the computer. The card can also be removed from the device and used in a card reader in the computer for easy transfer. Most data readers will handle any of the different flash card formats that are available.