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PNY, Transcend flash cards move to 32GB

A new generation of flash cards reaching 32GB are headed to market. Pro photographers and flash-based video camera fans rejoice.

Correction January 27 7 p.m. PST: I messed up the photo-capacity math. A 32GB card can hold more than 10,000 3MB photos.

PNY's 32GB CompactFlash card should cost about $400 when it emerges in the second quarter of 2008. PNY

Jumping the Photo Marketing Association trade show gun by a few days, PNY Technologies announced several new 16GB and 32GB flash cards for cameras and video cameras on Thursday.

The 32GB SDHC card can keep up with high-definition video captured at 9 megabits per second, the company said. And the Optima Pro CompactFlash card, has a 266X transfer speed, or 40 megabits per second, using a UDMA interface.

Both cards will be available in the second quarter. The SDHC card should cost about $250 and the CompactFlash card about $400, though the company cautioned prices could change given volatility in the flash memory chip market. PNY purchases its flash memory chips from Toshiba, Samsung, Intel, and others, the company said.

Capacity of 32GB may sound like overkill for digital photography--that's enough to hold more than 10,000 3MB images--but there are reasons it's useful. Raw files, especially newer 14-bit files, have moved well beyond 10MB apiece, shooting in combination with JPEG adds even more, and trigger-happy high-end cameras that shoot 5, 6.5, 9, and even 10.5 frames per second chew through memory in no time. And, of course, flash memory-based video cameras need all the capacity they can get.

Transcend's 32GB CompactFlash card Transcend

PNY plans to show the cards at PMA along with new 8-inch and 10.2-inch digital photo frames and a 32GB USB flash drive, the company said.

Another company that's taking on better-known flash card brands such as SanDisk and Lexar is Transcend. It announced a 133X 32GB flash card earlier this month that includes support for ECC (error-correcting code) that can catch and fix some errors that sometimes occur when reading and writing data.

The Transcend card also supports UDMA access. (UDMA lets cameras write to a memory card faster, but only newer and higher-end cameras include the feature right now.)