|Camera specs||What to look for|
Some cameras use storage formats that are on their way off the market, such as SmartMedia, or formats that don't quickly ramp up capacities, such as Sony Memory Stick. Take that into consideration if you're making a long-term purchase. If you have a PDA or an MP3 player, you may want to choose a storage format that can work in those devices as well.
Our favorites are CompactFlash, because it comes in the largest capacities, and SD/MMC, which is increasingly popular and quickly upping its capacity. Most cameras don't come with enough storage for practical uses, so budget for an additional memory card. The optimum size you buy depends on the size of the images the camera takes. A good rule of thumb is the ability to shoot 24 images at the maximum size, about the same as a small roll of film. So, for instance, to shoot 24 pictures at the best compression setting with a 2-megapixel camera would require a 32MB card (approximately 0.715MB per image times 24 shots, rounded up to nearest card size that will accommodate them). If you shoot uncompressed, that would be 5.7MB per shot, for a suggested card size of 192MB.