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Toshiba bumping SDHC cards to 32GB

Good news for digital videographers: Toshiba now is selling the new 32GB SDHC format of Secure Digital.

Toshiba announced it's reached the 32GB frontier with SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity) flash memory cards, a successor to the widely used SD format that extends to bigger sizes.

Toshiba's SDHC flash cards will reach 32GB by January
Toshiba's SDHC flash cards will reach 32GB by January Toshiba

Don't get too excited, though. The 32GB card won't go on sale until January. But a 16GB model will show up in October.

A lot of folks with digital cameras have trouble filling up a 1GB SD card, but high capacities are useful. For one thing, they make flash-based video cameras more feasible. For another, some people like to leave libraries of photos on their cameras so they can hold impromptu slide shows. And some high-end cameras, such as Canon's new EOS-1Ds Mark III, support SDHC as well as the bulkier but currently higher-capacity CompactFlash standard. That's a 21.1-megapixel camera, and its users are likely to shoot unprocessed "raw" files that are roughly three times the size of a JPEG, so it'll gobble up 32GB in a studio shoot in no time flat.

Toshiba also announced an 8GB microSDHC--a smaller format that uses the same communication protocols--that will ship in January. Toshiba sells the NAND flash memory chips themselves as well as flash memory cards.

Also Wednesday, Delkin Devices announced a new batch of CompactFlash cards--1GB costing $80, 2GB for $110, 4GB for $180 and 8GB for $300. Their claim to fame: 305x transfer rates, or 45MB per second. Of course, that's the maximum speed for offloading data to your PC--digital cameras rarely can get anywhere close. But that's slowly changing too--the 1Ds Mark III supports the same high-speed Ultra Direct Memory Access (UDMA) transfer technology as the new Delkin cards.

Delkin also announced a UDMA flash card reader that works via CardBus or FireWire (IEEE 1394) ports, with a ExpressCard version in the works.