• #405
    Al Tanabe

    I have always been a bit skittish with storage devices and failure, be it film or cards. When I shot film, I never sent the whole batch for processing, preferring to send one roll first to see if there was a push/pull needed and more so, always worried about the lab having a catastrophic failure. So when these wonderful big cards came out 4, 8, 16, 32 and now 64 GB that can store hundreds of images vs dozens I still held onto my small cards. Why? Would I not want to never reload? Continuous machine gun shoot an entire street without fear of running out of memory? AND the answer is!

    No. I still harken back to my old ways the card is like the lab, if it fails then all the images are lost – end of story. Could they be recovered using software, not always and not without some cost. So what happened? I had a fairly new, five month old SanDisk Extreme 8 GB card in my M9 when it just gave up the ghost – the card that is. Luckily, I was just a few frames into that card now if I had 400 of the possible 422 frames then I would be REALLY upset. The card it seems could not be read on a Mac or PC and would not even accept formatting – so the header must be corrupt, basically not recoverable. An 8GB card in the S2 is good for 100 images, in the M9, 422, I think I will go back to 2 and 4 GB cards for the M9.

    Now this is only the second card that has gone bad on me in 10 years shooting digital but it reaffirms my theory of When not IF it fails.

  • #470
    Albert Knapp, MDAlbert Knapp, MD

    Were you able to view images on the LCD? This is truly distressing… I have been using 64GB CF and 32GB SD cards in my S2 without any problems so far but I always back up at teh end of the day as a safety measure… Using 2, 4 or 8GB cards would be very difficult and frankly impractical. I always reformat in the S2 every time I commence a new shoot with the card.
    Albert

  • #471
    Al Tanabe

    Albert,
    No, the images were not viewable in the camera and as noted, the card was not even formatable in either a MAC or PC platform.

    If you shoot a lot of images covering a subject say 400 + images per subject then losing one 32 gb card means that you only lost one subject. But if it is what you shoot in one day, then you have lost everything for that day. For me, an 8 gb card in the S2 holds 100 images which for me is a quarter day of shooting so losing that would not be that catastrophic.

    I number each card and use odd numbered cards on odd days and even on even to give each one use. They are downloaded everyday to a portable LaCie drive and that drive backed up to another one. All cards are formatted in the camera and never in the computer.

    Paranoid? Obsessive? I deal with tech on a daily basis and one thing is for certain, it is when, not if, it fails. You need to have a good backup plan and minimize losses. A portable drive failed on me and without the backup, all of my images would have been lost.

  • #472
    Albert Knapp, MDAlbert Knapp, MD

    I back up each card to two portable LaCie 750GB hard drives. I also check that each picture is displayed on the LED backscreen as an added precaution. And yes, I always format in the camera and not on the PC.
    Did you send in your Sandisk card for evluation? Any idea as to what sparked the failure?

  • #473
    Al Tanabe

    Your back up of images to two drives is a good one. My point of the posting was when cards die, how many images are lost and how much impact will it be? I choose to use smaller cards, ones that would store a quarter day’s shooting for me so that if it did fail I would not be out a lot of images. This is at the expense of having to carry four cards for a day’s shooting and taking 15 seconds to change the card out periodically, instead of one in the camera. So if 32 gb is what you shoot in a quarter of a day, then use a 32 gb card by all means.

    This is a similar strategy used in the data storage world, save data in small increments so that any machine/device failure will result in the smallest impact. If a business waited till the end of the day to tally the tills and had a device failure, all of the transactions that took place during the day would be lost. If they constantly polled the tills at one minute increments, and a failure were to happen, only one minutes’ data would be lost. Think of those polls as a memory card, how much data are you willing to lose?

    The technology for SD and CF cards use “bubble” memory where each cell is numbered and holds a bit of information, they have a finite life. The header of the card, keeps track of the bad cells and controls where each bit of information is stored on the card. If the header fails, then the entire card is toast and that is what happened to my card.

  • #696
    ka7197

    In the long run, your average number of files lost per year due to memory card failure will be the same, no matter whether you’re using a large number of small cards or a small number of large cards. With lots of small cards, the average loss per failure will be less but the number of failures will be higher … so it’s six of one or half a dozen of the other.

    I stopped worrying about the ‘all eggs in one basket’ syndrome years ago after realising that today’s absurdly big cards are tomorrow’s ridiculously small cards. When I bought my first ‘serious’ memory card for my first DSLR camera (6 MP) I really considered buying four 256 MB cards rather than one giant 1 GB card. Eventually I got the 1 GB card and guess what? It died on me after taking the first couple of dozen test shots. The replacement then got a lot of use over the years, never missed a byte, and still is going strong today, however hardly gets any use anymore as it is not very useful in my current cameras due to the ridiculously small size … 😎

    Memory cards typically die right at the beginning when using them for the first or second time, or they’ll last for many years (but not forever). If after the first couple of outings a card has proven reliable then stop worrying and just use that thing … the bigger the better. I very much prefer one or two (or at most three) well-broken-in large cards over a dozen small ones. I do carry my collection of old small cards (1 GB, 2 GB, 4 GB) at the bottom of a side-pocket of my bag as spares but hardly use them anymore.

  • #700
    Al Tanabe

    KA7197, welcome to the forum. Small vs large cards are relative to the number of images stored or lost. Yes, those “big” cards of yesteryear are small by today’s comparison but did store a good number of images, a 512 mb card would store 93 5.47 mb images from my D1X but only 6 from my S2. So in relative terms, I would have to use a 8 gb card to equal the storage capacity of 100 images.

    So it is more of a risk/reward proposition, just like gambling, do you put down $1000 on Red or $100? The pay off would be the same, even money, but the risk of losing $100 is 1/10th the loss of $1000. By nature, I am a cautious and do not gamble so I am only willing to “bet” 100 images that my card will not fail vs 500 images on a bigger card. My reward for using the bigger card is four less card changes saving some time but at the risk of losing all 500 images. Mind you, I marvel at those individuals who bet large sums of money at the gaming tables – but it is not my comfort level.

  • #701
    David Farkas

    Atanabe;432 wrote: KA7197, welcome to the forum. Small vs large cards are relative to the number of images stored or lost. Yes, those “big” cards of yesteryear are small by today’s comparison but did store a good number of images, a 512 mb card would store 93 5.47 mb images from my D1X but only 6 from my S2. So in relative terms, I would have to use a 8 gb card to equal the storage capacity of 100 images.

    Wow. From 100 shots to 6 (although you would get around 13 with lossless compressed DNG). Quite a change. And I remember when those 512MB cards cost $300. 😮

    So it is more of a risk/reward proposition, just like gambling, do you put down $1000 on Red or $100? The pay off would be the same, even money, but the risk of losing $100 is 1/10th the loss of $1000. By nature, I am a cautious and do not gamble so I am only willing to “bet” 100 images that my card will not fail vs 500 images on a bigger card. My reward for using the bigger card is four less card changes saving some time but at the risk of losing all 500 images. Mind you, I marvel at those individuals who bet large sums of money at the gaming tables – but it is not my comfort level.

    Just to play devil’s advocate, with smaller cards and more CF card changes, you are putting more wear and tear on the connector pins, both in the camera and in the cards. I doubt with normal use you’d ever see a failure, but statistically…..

  • #703
    Al Tanabe

    David Farkas;433 wrote: Wow. From 100 shots to 6 (although you would get around 13 with lossless compressed DNG). Quite a change. And I remember when those 512MB cards cost $300. 😮
    I still have some old Micro Drives that cost $$$$

    Just to play devil’s advocate, with smaller cards and more CF card changes, you are putting more wear and tear on the connector pins, both in the camera and in the cards. I doubt with normal use you’d ever see a failure, but statistically…..

    That is what you have a warranty for 😮 and a spare body.

  • #704
    ka7197

    Atanabe;432 wrote: By nature, I am a cautious and do not gamble so I am only willing to “bet” 100 images that my card will not fail vs 500 images on a bigger card. My reward for using the bigger card is four less card changes saving some time but at the risk of losing all 500 images.

    You’re pretending the only possible reason for losing digital images was card failure. Maybe I’m just too clumsy but in my experience, other kinds of reasons are much more prevalent in real life.

    In six years of shooting digitally, it happened three times that I lost images on a memory card before I could download them to some other media:

    1. Hardware error on a brand-new 1 GB flash card (as described above).
    2. Pulling a card from the camera while the red access light was still blinking, as I was in a hurry when the (small) card was full right in the middle of the unfolding action.
    3. Confusing two cards, being in a hurry again, and inadvertently formatting and re-using the wrong card.

    Failures #2 and #3 were my own faults, not the card’s—and that’s my point: this kind of glitches will occur when you have to change cards in the middle of the job too often. Both failures would not have occurred if my cards had been bigger. I am more afraid of me to make a mistake than of the card to fail. After initial break-in, flash cards are pretty reliable in normal use. Heck, even my 6 GB Microdrive from Hitachi, being more sensitive to shock and vibration than any flash card, has never missed a byte. So—the less cards I have to juggle while shooting, the safer I am from losing images.

  • #706
    Al Tanabe

    ka7197;436 wrote: You’re pretending the only possible reason for losing digital images was card failure. Maybe I’m just too clumsy but in my experience, other kinds of reasons are much more prevalent in real life.

    In six years of shooting digitally, it happened three times that I lost images on a memory card before I could download them to some other media:

    1. Hardware error on a brand-new 1 GB flash card (as described above).
    2. Pulling a card from the camera while the red access light was still blinking, as I was in a hurry when the (small) card was full right in the middle of the unfolding action.
    3. Confusing two cards, being in a hurry again, and inadvertently formatting and re-using the wrong card.

    Failures #2 and #3 were my own faults, not the card’s—and that’s my point: this kind of glitches will occur when you have to change cards in the middle of the job too often. Both failures would not have occurred if my cards had been bigger. I am more afraid of me to make a mistake than of the card to fail. After initial break-in, flash cards are pretty reliable in normal use. Heck, even my 6 GB Microdrive from Hitachi, being more sensitive to shock and vibration than any flash card, has never missed a byte. So—the less cards I have to juggle while shooting, the safer I am from losing images.

    Doing something in a specific order – all of the time helps. When running low on disk space, replace before it fills completely. I have a different colored case for my spent cards. Not only that but it has a leash, waterproof and floats. Hey, blank cards can be bought new but loaded cards can’t be replaced.

    As far as MTBF, the card that failed me last was used about 40 cycles before failure. The one before, about 60 cycles, I have yet to have one fail early in it’s life. The last card failure was due to a sequence of button pushing on my M9 and not from changing the cards, so stuff happens.

    As with Las Vegas, I’ll bet on myself any day before betting against the house.

  • #708
    jrv

    David Farkas;433 wrote: Just to play devil’s advocate, with smaller cards and more CF card changes, you are putting more wear and tear on the connector pins, both in the camera and in the cards. I doubt with normal use you’d ever see a failure, but statistically…..

    It’s not just the cycle wear on the connectors but also other risks such as dropping the card, putting in the wrong card (already full), etc. My preference is to use large cards and keep swapping in the field to a bare minimum. The safest and most protected place for a card is in the camera.

    I also cycle through my cards: after every shoot spare #1 goes into the camera, spare #2 goes into spare #1’s slot, etc, and the card with images goes to the back of the line after being copied up to the server. The point is to not unwittingly wind up with duds as spares. I do the same cycling with batteries.

    I treat all of these cards as fragile, especially SD cards, and never handle them over a hard surface.

  • #10091
    dalethorn

    I’ve been using many flash memory cards since 1994. In the mid-2000’s I had a couple of corrupted cards and a few people I knew also had corrupted cards – compact flash and SD cards. All of those I recovered with Windows 98, since the Windows NT/2000/XP and newer O/S versions (as well as Mac) could not read those cards.

    Since then I’ve lost a couple of cheap off-brand USB flash drives, but I wasn’t using those for anything important. In the past 2 years I’ve had several failures of ‘exFAT’ format cards, especially the 128 gb MicroSD cards from Sandisk. Name brand SD cards formatted for FAT32 have been totally reliable.

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