How to Buy Compact Flash Memory Cards When You're on a Budget

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How to Buy Compact Flash Memory Cards When You

Buying Compact Flash Memory Cards on a Budget

Due to their higher speeds and capacities, CF cards are generally more expensive than SD cards. However, there are some things that consumers can do to reduce their costs. Here are some handy tips:

Check the Cameras Spec

Before even considering looking for CF memory cards, check the spec of the camera it will be used in. Older cameras may not support CF formats, although they will generally work with smaller capacity SD cards. New digital cameras will work with SDHC (High Capacity) cards, while CF cards will be used with new and top end SLR cameras. The worst thing that anyone can do is to buy the wrong memory card for their camera, something which will waste money unnecessarily. So, always check the cameras spec to find out which cards it will support. In the case of CF cards, focus specifically on whether to get a type I or a type II card.

Choose the Right Capacity

The more storage space the card provides, the more the card will cost. As such, it is important to ensure that only cards with the right amount of storage space are bought. This is completely subjective and will depend upon each individual user. Those who use their cameras regularly will need higher capacities than those who use them only fleetingly. However, it is always sensible to transfer data to computer as often as possible. By doing so, it may be necessary to only buy much lower capacity cards. For example, if someone regularly transfers their picture files to computer they will continue to clear space on their cards. Consequently, they won't need to spend as much money buying a high capacity card.

Choose the Right Manufacturer

Different manufacturers design and build their memories cards at different costs, and so are able to sell them at different prices. In addition, official, well known manufacturers, such as ScanDisk and Panasonic, are able to charge a premium because the quality of their products is well known across the market. Consequently, consumers know that they are going to get their hands on some top quality products when they buy from them, and therefore don't mind spending a bit more for that privilege. Moreoever, official manufacturers commonly provide warranties with their products, giving consumers a level of financial security and protection when buying. When shopping on a stricter budget, however, it may be sensible to look at cards made by smaller third party manufacturers. These manufacturers will create cards that mimic the originals, and will commonly sell them at lower prices. The risk, however, is that these products can be made with lower quality materials and to lower quality production standards. As such, it is essential that enough research is done to ensure that the product is highly thought of by its customer base. Reading reviews online through blogs, forums, and retailers websites is the best way of determining the quality of unbranded memory cards.

Search for Refurbished CF Cards

Consumers commonly shy away from refurbished products because they believe that they are more prone to defects and other issues. In actual fact, this doesn't have to be the case at all. Refurbished products have often never even been used, and those that have been used will have been brought back to spec and thoroughly tested before being re-sold. For example, a refurbished card could be one that was sold in damaged packaging. When this happens, the card will be sent back to the manufacturer or seller to be repackaged and sold as refurbished. In other cases, the card may have been bought along with a camera as a package and used sparingly. If the camera suffers an issue, the entire package may be sent back and re-sold. Once again, the memory card may have had no issues with it at all, but cannot be sold as new. These refurbished goods will invariably be sold at lower prices that new ones, so it may be possible to get high quality branded CF memory cards at lower rates by using this method.

Consider Used CF Cards

One final option is to actually buy previously used cards, either from online retailers who specialise in selling used items, or from individual sellers selling single items. Used items will range in quality depending on how much they have been used, so it is important to closely check what condition they are in: this should be listed on any description of the product on any retailer’s website and, if it isn't, it is possible to contact the seller to get clarification. Regardless as to whether used cards have been used a lot, or just once, they will invariably be a lot cheaper than new ones, and even refurbished ones, depending on the seller/retailers and condition of the card.

Buying Compact Flash Memory Cards on eBay

There is no better place to shop for CF memory cards with a limited budget than on eBay. Here it will be possible to look through thousands of listings for appropriate cards from hundreds of sellers. Doing so will give any shopper a great deal of choice to work with, and this is a sure-fire way of saving money when done properly. First of all, however, it is important to search for potential listings to compare. To do this, go to the eBay homepage and then click on the category on the left called Electronics & Technology. When this category loads a series of smaller ones will appear - now click on Mobile & Home Phones. Once again the page will reload with new categories, so search for Mobile Phone Accessories and, finally, click on the link for Memory Cards when this page loads up. There will be additional tabs down the left of the page that will help to filter out unwanted listings, such as those that search by Format, Brand, Storage Capacity, Condition, and so on. To find CF cards, click on see all under format and this will bring up a box with a greater range of formats than are provided on the main page. Click on CompactFlash I or CompactFlash II to search specifically for these cards. Alternatively, simply type 'CompactFlash memory cards' into the search box at the top of the page to create a specific search for listings with those words in only.


CF memory cards are predominantly used with top quality SLR cameras, and can be fairly pricey. As a result, it is sensible to use some of the tips listed above to help to build a list of more affordable options. These will include making sure that the card is compatible with the camera, choosing as low capacities is possible, buying from unofficial manufacturers, or buying refurbished or used cards. Use these tips and it will be simple enough to find appropriately priced CF cards.

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