Together with CompactFlash cards, SmartMedia are the memory cards used most by today's digicams. Both types have a market share of about 40%.
SmartMedia cards use the same sort of non-volatile flash memory as CompactFlash cards. However the logistics to read and write from the card are built into the camera or the equipment that uses the card. That is why SmartMedia cards are significantly smaller than CompactFlash types.
Older types of SmartMedia cards need 5 volts operating power and their storage capacity is limited to 4 Mb.
To separate them from the newer type, one corner of the card has been cut off so they do not fit in cameras produced after 1997.
Modern SmartMedia cards use a voltage of 3.3 volts and their storage capacities range from 8 to 2Gb. Beware as not every camera will function properly or be able to read 2Gb cards.
SmartMedia cards should be handled with care because the electrical contacts are exposed and should not be touched to avoid memory loss or failure in use.
SmartMedia cards are cheaper than CompactFlash cards, but since the type you will need is usually determined by the camera you buy, you do not really have a choice. At this moment however, some manufacturers offer cameras that will accept both types.