Page 1 of 1

Replacing camera memory cards

Posted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 9:09 pm
by Alicia
Wasn't able to post in the Non-Yellowstone forum so posting here.

I'm curious how often do you replace your memory cards? Do you use it on clicks or time/duration?

Re: Replacing camera memory cards

Posted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:52 am
by JimO
Depending on the camera you are using, most have a display that will show the status of the card and how much space is left.

Re: Replacing camera memory cards

Posted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:55 pm
by andrew
I haven't had any fail yet (knocks on wood). By now some of them have been formatted hundreds of times.

Re: Replacing camera memory cards

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:14 am
by RikWriter
I usually replace them when the new cameras start having files too large to make the older, smaller cards practical. I currently don't have anything smaller than 8GB, and those are the last ones I want to use because they hold so few pictures.

Re: Replacing camera memory cards

Posted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:05 pm
by yellvet
Hi Alicia! You're probably going to get some different answers to your question because the answer is fairly dependent on 1) the personal philosophy of the photographer, 2) whether or not their camera is programmed for back button focusing 3)how many pix they normally shoot for an event or how long they're going to be on a vacation/special trip (ie: Yellowstone) and 5) how many pix they can comfortably lose without having a personal breakdown or going into a tirade.

FWIW, here's my philosophy with a few thoughts on memory cards. I hate missing shots....period!!! That's why, I always have more than an adequate supply of memory cards and power on hand, whenever I'm on a Park shoot. I can easily take 5 to 6K pix on a single visit. My wildlife cameras are also programmed for back button focusing which increases the number of shots taken, considerably. Because I'm a picky and very budget minded photographer I tend to use a combination of high and low capacity Sandisk extreme CF memory cards. Been using "Extreme Sandisk cards for over 2 decades and I've never had one fail. For that reason, I feel quite comfortable using some of my older 8GB memory cards that I bought several years ago for my Canon 50D camera. But I also know that a memory card can fail. So, whenever I'm on a 4+ week photo shoot in Yellowstone, I generally bring along (6-8) Sandisk Extreme 16GB CF cards, (2-3) 32GB Sandisk Extreme CF cards and 4 of my old 8GB memory cards from 2010. I also have (2) 12-volt battery chargers and 4-6 batteries for my wildlife cameras.

I try to buy at least one new Canon battery and one new 32GB Sandisk memory card every year. That way, if one of the older cards poops out, I've got a brand new one as a replacement. I also write the original purchase date on each battery and memory card. That gives me a heads up to watch the card/battery so it doesn't go bad while I'm shooting an important wildlife series. The date is my way of reminding myself to swap out the card/battery before I start taking pix. Usually, I have more than enough memory. But there have been a few times when I've had to pull out my old 4 GB Sandisk cards from 2010 so I could pick up some more memory towards the end of a trip. Personally, I'd rather lose the images off one 4 or 8GB card rather than to lose all the pix off a 32 or 64 GB card. But that's just me.

To easily swap out and keep track of all my memory cards, I like to keep things simple....(when you get to be my age, "simple" is good) with less chance of accidentally inserting a full card of images into a camera. I use 2 air tight freezer baggies for each camera that I use. For example, For my 5D3 camera I one baggie is labeled "5D3CLEAN Cards " and the other baggie is labeled "5D3FULL Cards". I do the same thing for my other cameras and for all my batteries. One battery baggie is labeled "5D3 CHARGED" and the other baggie is labeled "5D3 NEEDS CHARGING". While I'm driving around, I always have one or two batteries charging. Using baggies is the easiest, cheapest and most effective way to keep track of and protect all your cards and batteries and makes swapping them fast and EZ. If you haven't tried the baggy system, try it....I think you'll like it.

Re: Replacing camera memory cards

Posted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 4:24 pm
by Max
Alicia, I'm not sure it was clear to everyone what you meant. I'm assuming you meant replacing old cards (throwing them away) and purchasing new ones, rather than just when to swap them out of the camera while you're in the field.

In the case of the former, I've held onto my old cards for some time. It usually just comes down to needing more capacity, but I can see some folks wanting cards that write faster (I know my old ones are on the slow side). A new camera body may dictate the purchase of new cards as well. When I got the 1D Mark IV, I needed my first SD cards, having only shot CF before that. And now with the 1DXII, I needed CFAST cards (not a cheap investment, btw).

As for card storage, I don't get why the baggie thing would ever be a better option over a good card wallet. I've had clients carry around little ziplocs full of cards, and it's been completely disorganized and inefficient. I've heard an excuse about not being able to clip a ThinkTank Pixel Pocket Rocket's (my preferred card wallet) strap, but it can be looped through a pant belt loop, clipped onto a pocket zipper pull, etc... it works just about anywhere. You're way better organized (just flip the used cards so the back is showing, no need to label them), and have less to worry about.


Re: Replacing camera memory cards

Posted: Sat Sep 16, 2017 1:11 pm
by yellvet
Max, I looked at the memory card wallets when they first came out (many, many years ago). Just checked the specs on the current ones from TT. They're still made out of nylon with no mention if the wallets are 100% waterproof or not. That's why I prefer doing "the baggie thing". Here's my rationale. Using air tight re-sealable HD freezer bags are cheaper and lighter than a memory card wallet, they offer maximum protection for memory cards and batteries (keeping them out of the dust, water, wind, moisture, condensation, blowing dirt, grit and grime and they can be folded and stored just about a camera bag, inside a pocket or even in a small fanny pack. I keep 2 baggies in my tiny fly fishing pack and another in a small, neoprene camera bag that holds my compact P & S, 2+ batteries and 4 memory cards. I've been a minimalist and an economist most of my life. But, as someone who has spent most of their life, sloshing around in the backwater and/or wading through fast-flowing riffles to "get the shot", the baggy system works great for my needs and allows me to put the savings toward buying a new battery or high capacity memory card every year. No matter what method people use to keep track of, or to protect their memory cards and batteries, makes no difference to me...just thought I'd offer another viable option that doesn't cost much $. BTW, TT sent me a free Pocket Rocket several years ago to try out, after it was first released. I tried it but I still preferred doing my "baggy thing". Baggies have a million different uses and applications: ie: from storing/protecting memory cards, batteries, chargers, cords, camera accessories, tripods and gimbal heads to storing camping gear and food staples like rice, cereal, potato buds, crackers, spaghetti and macaroni noodles, coffee, creamer and sugar, cosmetics, toiletries and candy. So for Yellowstone camping photographers like myself, baggies are absolutely indispensable!

Re: Replacing camera memory cards

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 9:52 pm
by Alicia
Yes, Max - swapping old card to new ones was what I meant.

Yellvet: good to hear form you and I appreciate your process and the detail involved. I have several on hand and download our cards each night. I keep my cards in their plastic case and put an extra in my pocket. The used ones for the day go into the glove compartment.

Max: never even thought about a card wallet. And faster writing speeds are nice to have.

Andrew and Rik: Same thing, haven't had one fail except for one that got bent in the car door. :D And I don't use anything under 8GB.

Thanks everyone for your replies!!

Re: Replacing camera memory cards

Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:40 pm
by Mike W.
Nothing like Max I'm sure, but I take a lot of pictures and the only memory card failure was at work when a guy tried to insert it upside down and broke the lockout switch. Electronically I think they do have a life rating, but it's probably in 10's of thousands of write/read cycles. I think they're more at risk mechanically, as per my coworker, but with care and caution I don't think that's much of a risk. I think lifespan is in obsolesce, not mechanically or electronically. I've still got a bunch of 256M cards but obviously never use them.