Take Care of Your Memory Cards

Recently when testing the Leica Q I ran into a memory card problem that was solved by using the camera itself as a card reader and connecting it to my computer and copying the image files to my hard drive. While card failures do occur, in all my years of using both CF and SD cards I’ve only had two such occurrences and I’m pretty sure each time it was caused by user error.

So here’s a few tips to avoid this happening to you:

lexarDon’t remove the card when saving or viewing images. This seems as obvious as not sticking wet fingers in a light bulb socket but I’ve had to use Photo Rescue to save images from a neighbor’s—the same neighbor—more than once who had a bad habit of doing this.

Don’t remove a memory card when turning your camera on or off. A corollary is to forcibly eject—without using your computer’s ‘safely remove media’ command or the Mac OS’ Eject command. Error messages you get doing it the wrong way are more than a warning, they are a prediction of future damage.

Don’t change your memory card when the camera is on. Yes I do this sometimes so maybe that’s why the card in the Leica Q bought the farm. While you can skate on all these faux pas a time or two some of these bad habit are ultimately going to bite you in the butt.Please learn from my mistakes.

Stop taking or viewing pictures when the battery is low. In the photo world there was an expression that certain rolls of film from certain individuals were CEV film—the roll contained images from Christmas, Easter and Vacation. Don’t less this happen to your memory cards.

1321975220000_IMG_229181Do take the time to reformat which can prevent it from becoming corrupted.

Don’t purchase memory cards with the Crazy Charlie Flea market brand name. Really good cards from really good companies are worth the pain and misery they avoid.

Flash memory has a limited number of write/erase cycles and that electrons sometime get trapped where they’re not wanted and voltage levels shift, eventually causing  failure. Sometimes the cards just wear out. With newer, faster and cheaper cards coming along think about buying new cards and placing the others in some kind of card holder—I use the indestructible Pelican 0915 Memory Card Case —as reserve. It costs less than $20 and is cheap insurance.

Author: Joe Farace

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