Wednesday, August 03, 2016

They Don't Owe Me Anything

Woodbury, Connecticut

When I first began to use digital cameras that took SD cards instead of the larger CF cards, the dainty little cards proved quite unreliable. Not in a computer/electonic/data way, but mechanically. The thin plastic body of the cards tended to crack and split (even though I treated them carefully and wouldn't be caught dead doing something like dropping a card loose into my pocket) and worse, the write-protect tab would break off, also rendering the card useless. At least this left the cards readable, so no pictures were lost. This happened, repeatedly, with several different brands.

Sometime late 2010, I needed cards again, and bought a pair of 16 GB, 163x Delkin Devices cards. I chose them simply because they were on sale, and I hadn't tried that brand before. They have performed flawlessly ever since. I have no idea how many times they have been removed from a camera, inserted in a reader or computer card slot, then returned to the camera and formatted. Something over five years, 365 days in a year, and if I shoot I always download the cards at the end of the day, and I shoot at least something nearly every day. Most everything that found its way to this blog in the past 5-6 years was recorded by that pair of cards. Finally, earlier this week when I replaced "card 1" in a Lumix GX7 camera, it wouldn't seat properly. I got it out, and with close examination found that a bit of the housing plastic between two of the gold contacts had come loose. I managed to remove the sliver, and out of curiosity put it back in the camera, where it proved to work just fine.

But the handwriting was now on the wall. So, a quick trip to the B&H site, where I searched for SD cards, Delkin only. I found that 32 GB, 633x-speed cards were on sale for the ludicrous price of $15.99. Twice the capacity, and nearly four times the speed. I got a pair, and had to order a couple of other little accessory items to get the order up over $49 for free shipping.

When the cards arrived this afternoon, the first thing I did was put one in a GX7 and format it. Sure enough (I didn't use a stopwatch) but the format operation for the 32 Gig card took about half as long as the 16 Gig cards had taken. Downloading the several snaps of the old cards, using the Adobe DNG Converter, also went obviously faster than with the 163x cards. So the venerable cards are now put out to pasture, in a hard case for extra cards, where they will have a peaceful existence because I've never come near filling them, and now have twice the storage in-camera.


Mike Rosiak said...

My "last resort" backup strategy: When a card fills, I slide the write-protect switch, write the camera and out-of-service date on it, and put it into a small container, where it has dozens of others for company. Should my hard drive go South, as well as the external backup, as well as the NAS, I still have the cards. Cost per image about a half-cent; cheap insurance. I do not miss film (although I love to play with it).

Martina said...

Interesting ...

I never have used memory cards more than once - whether they are CF oder SD. With the prices nowadays (and even some years ago) I simply use a card, when it;s full, I copy the files on a hard disk and to a cloud service and store the cards away as a third backup.

Of course I don't take as many photos as you do I guess ;-) And usually I don't shoot RAW so the files are, depending on the sensor and the data, between more or less 10 - 20 MB.

Carl Weese said...

Interesting. I'm not an expert on the electronics end of things, but I recall reading that memory cards are not a good idea for archive purposes. The point was that they are designed for an endless cycle of record/format/record-again. If they were meant for long-term, static, storage, they'd be engineered differently. Seems worth a little research to see what the situation really is.

Martina said...

Problem is, in the nearest future, will there be a device to read your DVD, Floppy Disks etc. ;-)?

Flash storage, Hard Disk - they all have a presumed life span of 30 years (if in use (i.e. spinning) Hard Disks up to 10 years). Magnetic Disks oder Magnetic Tapes 30 - 50 years.
Optical Disks (CD, DVD etc. up to 100 years.)

A design for multiple write/read operations doesn't mean that is not a good storage medium, too ;-).