An Overview of Compact Flash (CF) Cards


Updated 6/3/2011 by SuperMediaStore Staff

Compact Flash (CF) Cards have revolutionized memory since they were introduced in 1994. Availability of lots of memory on a small unit with no moving parts that Compact Flash (and its successors, like memory sticks) offered made digital photography and video possible. The early style of Compact Flash for computers was known as Type 1, and a smaller version know as Type II followed. Type II is currently the standard type of Compact Flash used.


Campact Flash was initially designed for the burgeoning notebook PC market. In a PCIA format, it could be plugged into a notebook PC slot and appear as another storage device. It was small, non-volatile, and since it had no spinning disks or reading heads it was much less prone to problems or failures. It could also be written to and erased over and over again without losing capability. Some manufactures claim they can be used for 100 years without degradation.


This technology was quickly adapted for digital cameras, both still photo and video. While other formats have gained in popularity, Compact Flash is still a staple in digital photography and video. It has proven to be more durable, especially in harsh conditions, than other memory cards. Top manufacturers like Sony, etc continue to use Compact Flash in their top-of-the-line models.