Are you ready for this answer? Cause it's going to blow your mind... Yes & maybe! The biggest variable in this situation depends on what you're shooting. The speed of the card is really only going to affect you if you use continuous shooting for your photography. If you don't use continuous shooting a lot, (i.e. most stock images, portrait, studio, etc..) then it probably won't affect you that much. Even the lowest class of cards can handle a few shots in continuous mode. However, if you're doing sports, events, wildlife, etc. then the speed of the card may greatly matter to you.
The buffer is a temporary middle ground between the camera and the card. Each camera and memory card has a certain speed at which it can write data. That temporary storage space, called the buffer, is always moving data from the camera to the card as fast as the card speed will allow. Most newer cameras take pictures at a greater rate than the buffer can move them to the card. Therefore, the buffer fills up and in effect the camera must stop taking pictures until there is new buffer space available. So, the faster the memory card's speed is, the faster the data can be moved to the card. This allows the camera to take more continuous photos without slowing down. There's three things that can affect the buffer speed. Read on.
There are different classes (speeds) of cards. For example, the card pictured above is a class 10. The higher the class, the higher the transfer speed. So, a class 10 is faster than a class 6. So when you're looking up cards, check the speed class of your memory card.
Type of Card:
There are also two primary card types(there are more but these are the two main ones) used in digital cameras; SD and CF. SD stands for "Standard Digital" and CF stands for "Compact Flash". As a rule, CF cards are quite a bit faster than SD cards. So this is also good to remember when choosing a camera. If it has a CF slot, you're going to have a greater capability for continuous shooting as a rule.
Now don't assume that the card alone will be the determining factor. You also need to know the speed that your camera can transfer data to the buffer. Getting a card with a faster speed than your camera's buffer speed isn't going to help you. If your camera transfers at (I'm making this up. I'm not even sure if it's an accurate speed) 30MB/s, then a 45MB/s card is still only going to transfer at 30MB/s. The lower of the two speeds between camera and memory card is the maximum speed you can transfer at. Understand?
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