Compact Flash (also CF, CompactFlash) is a solid-state flash memory card unit, somewhat bulkier but sturdier than more popular Secure Digital (SD) cards. Nowadays, the increased popularity and reliability of SD and newer XQD cards press CF cards out of the market.
Today, the main area of utilizing for Compact Flash card memory is the segment of pro-level reflex cameras (DSLRs). Another area where CF cards are somewhat implemented is the compact computer units, which sometimes utilize CF as small but reliable solid-state drives.
Secure Digital card format (SD) is smaller than Compact Flash card types in size, and has a bit more protected contact area (the main weak point of any heavy-duty CF reading device). Newer formats of MicroSD and XQD cards have the same memory and speed as CF cards.
However, Compact Flash cards can be potentially bigger in storage capacities than SDs of same generation. Also, being compared to one CF, these are some SD standards — SD, SDHC, SDXC and to be continued, causing older devices to be unusable for newer SD cards.
Compact Flash is electronically stable, although has a problem with mechanical contact rods, which are prone to bowing in almost any CF reading device (including cameras). These are also too few built-in readers for Compact Flash (compared to SD readers) in mobile devices.
Some photo-storing devices, like portable HDD albums and different media players, have capabilities to automatically save data from CompactFlash card memory to the main storage device. For other backup purposes, a CF card must be connected somehow to PC firstly.
Because CF cards are still have an area of implementation, backing up Compact Flash units is still a part of solid-state flash memory backup technologies, via USB ports or built-in readers.
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