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Author Topic: Does anyone else never re-format SD cards?  (Read 1588 times)

aross007

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Does anyone else never re-format SD cards?
« on: February 16, 2018, 08:07:02 PM »

In the old days, I shot medium format Velvia film. $5.00 a roll, usually $5.00 to process, and I could record 15 shots almost permanently.  Today I shoot micro 4/3rds, and I usually use 16 GB Sony or Sandisk sD cards that cost me $10 each and hold more than 800 files.  Seems a no-brainer to flick the write-protect tab and hide them away when they are full.  Certainly not guaranteed infallible, and unknown longevity, but for at least several years, I won't have to live through the "I can't believe I deleted the only....." 

For the record, my current Lightroom catalogue and files lives in five different copies on five different hard drives.

Alan
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rdonson

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Re: Does anyone else never re-format SD cards?
« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2018, 12:39:01 PM »

Seems you've got a workable solution for your needs.  Perhaps dependent on how many photos you take though.

I use 64GB UHS-II SD cards and reformat them in the camera after download.  My X-T2 has 2 SD slots and sometimes I shoot RAW+JPEG each on a separate SD card.  Saving 64GB SD cards would be unwieldy and expensive for me.  I also shoot 4K video on occasion and that can chew up some space on an SD card.
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armand

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Re: Does anyone else never re-format SD cards?
« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2018, 12:53:39 PM »

Seems you've got a workable solution for your needs.  Perhaps dependent on how many photos you take though.

I use 64GB UHS-II SD cards and reformat them in the camera after download.  My X-T2 has 2 SD slots and sometimes I shoot RAW+JPEG each on a separate SD card.  Saving 64GB SD cards would be unwieldy and expensive for me.  I also shoot 4K video on occasion and that can chew up some space on an SD card.

Keep in mind on X-T2 the video only goes to SD card 1 even if you have them set as mirroring.

rdonson

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Re: Does anyone else never re-format SD cards?
« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2018, 05:20:59 PM »

Yes, that's true.
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Ron

Jonathan Cross

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Re: Does anyone else never re-format SD cards?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2018, 07:13:21 AM »

Yes I reformat them or just delete all after downloading and backing up and/or archiving.  The price of mass storage is more cost effective, either as a 1TB or 2TB USB portable HD or as flash drive sticks.  All my images are kept in 3 places.

Jonathan

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Jonathan in UK

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Re: Does anyone else never re-format SD cards?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2018, 04:30:07 PM »

Whenever I take a photo-centric trip I use fresh SD cards, and when I return I put the cards in my safety deposit box. Two or three times a year I dump my fav pics (RAWS + processsed TIFFs) from the preceding months onto a card or two and put it or them in safety deposit too.

-Dave-
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Kirk_C

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Re: Does anyone else never re-format SD cards?
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2018, 12:41:24 AM »

Certainly not guaranteed infallible, and unknown longevity, but for at least several years, I won't have to live through the "I can't believe I deleted the only....." 

NAND flash should hold it's files for 4-5 years before they loose integrity. The higher the density of the media the faster it'll suffer loss of charge and become unreadable.
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Alan Klein

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Re: Does anyone else never re-format SD cards?
« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2018, 11:59:47 AM »

I backup my files with Western Digital WD Passport 1.6TB external drive.  It stays hooked up to my desktop's USB port all the time backing up all my files continuously in the background in real-time without my having to do anything once set up.  It also saves changes to files over a selectable quantity - I use 5.  That will allow you to go back to previous edits that wouldn't be in the computer but are in the Passport.  (You can buy a 4TB for around $100 today. That's 4,000 GB.) 

My question is how long these units last?  Does it pay to save on duplicate units or will the longevity defeat that procedure since two units could fail in the same time period?

Chris Kern

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Re: Does anyone else never re-format SD cards?
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2018, 05:51:17 PM »

I backup my files with Western Digital WD Passport 1.6TB external drive. . . .

My question is how long these units last?  Does it pay to save on duplicate units or will the longevity defeat that procedure since two units could fail in the same time period?

The goal of any back-up strategy is to avoid a single point-of-failure.  From your description, you have a primary datastore (your desktop computer) and a back-up device (the external drive).  So to that extent, technically you're covered.

These days, even consumer-grade spinning disks are quite reliable.  The mean-time-between-failure statistics provided by the manufacturers are usually accurate in my experienceóbut that's over a large population of drives, and individual drives may last much longer or fail much sooner.

My rule with respect to backing up important data (I designed and for a number of years managed the enterprise computing environment for a U.S. government agency) is that you need to be prepared for lightning to strike twice.  So at the very least, I would recommend that you add a second external drive to independently back up the files on your desktop computer that currently are being backed up by the existing external drive.

Is that enough?  Depends on how paranoid you are.  I peg the needle on the back-up paranoia scale.  I back up my files in essentially real-time from a second-floor office desktop computer to a file server located in the basement of my home and, redundantly and independently (i.e., using different software), to "cloud" storage provided by Amazon.  All the files on the file server are backed up at hourly intervals to a second file server.  Once a week, the files are archived from the primary file server to a five-drive network storage device which is designed to withstand a two-drive failure; each of these weekly archives is saved for three months before being replaced by a newer one.  The most recent of these archives also is uploaded to "cloud" storage provided by Google.  Currently, that last upload-to-the-cloud operation is manual; everything else is automated.

Another suggestion: regularly verify that your back-ups are good.  Enterprise back-up software typically does this by reading each back-up operation after it has completed and comparing its contents with the original files, but as far as I know this is rarely if ever true of consumer back-up programs.  A weekly random check of a few recently backed-up files will give you some confidence that the back-up software you're using is working properly.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2018, 08:43:45 PM by Chris Kern »
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patjoja

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Re: Does anyone else never re-format SD cards?
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2018, 01:13:05 PM »

In the old days, I shot medium format Velvia film. $5.00 a roll, usually $5.00 to process, and I could record 15 shots almost permanently.  Today I shoot micro 4/3rds, and I usually use 16 GB Sony or Sandisk sD cards that cost me $10 each and hold more than 800 files.  Seems a no-brainer to flick the write-protect tab and hide them away when they are full.  Certainly not guaranteed infallible, and unknown longevity, but for at least several years, I won't have to live through the "I can't believe I deleted the only....." 

For the record, my current Lightroom catalogue and files lives in five different copies on five different hard drives.

Alan

I am also one of those who does not re-format my SD cards.  To me it's just one more form of backup.  I usually use 32gb cards which go for about $13 on Amazon.  I also mark which camera and date on each card, with a very fine point Sharpie.

Patrick
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MattBurt

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Re: Does anyone else never re-format SD cards?
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2018, 01:57:13 PM »

Not me.
My typical workflow is to shoot, download images via a USB3 card reader, and then return the card to the camera and format to be ready for the next outing. I do this almost daily.

I use a mix of 32, 64, and now a couple of 128 GB cards. I got the high capacity cards for my Africa trip where I wanted to load two cards into my camera and leave them in there until I returned home (with some incremental backups via my Surface along the way).

Years ago I had an elderly family friend once say something like: "I thought digital was supposed to be cheaper than film but I keep having to buy new cards all the time and they are expensive!" This was when 256MB cards were the norm and they cost something like $75 and he would just put them in a drawer when full and get another. I tried to explain the whole workflow with a format/delete to re-use media but he never really caught on.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2018, 02:01:25 PM by MattBurt »
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smthopr

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Re: Does anyone else never re-format SD cards?
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2018, 08:07:20 PM »

In the old days, I shot medium format Velvia film. $5.00 a roll, usually $5.00 to process, and I could record 15 shots almost permanently.  Today I shoot micro 4/3rds, and I usually use 16 GB Sony or Sandisk sD cards that cost me $10 each and hold more than 800 files.  Seems a no-brainer to flick the write-protect tab and hide them away when they are full.  Certainly not guaranteed infallible, and unknown longevity, but for at least several years, I won't have to live through the "I can't believe I deleted the only....." 

For the record, my current Lightroom catalogue and files lives in five different copies on five different hard drives.

Alan

I've just had a data back up disaster.  Fortunately, I've been able to recover or find copies of 99% of my work.  But that 1%?  It was on the only CF card that I've reformatted when I forgot to bring additional cards.  So I've lost my work for a single 6 week period.  Interestingly, the 11 year old cards still had their original data intact.  And of course, I have the film negatives from the film work.

So, going forward, it's all new cards for me!  (but I don't shoot that many frames that it should be an issue)
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Bruce Alan Greene
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multiple backups at multiple locations, but not on SD cards for ever
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2018, 08:17:26 PM »

Today I shoot micro 4/3rds, and I usually use 16 GB Sony or Sandisk sD cards that cost me $10 each and hold more than 800 files.  Seems a no-brainer to flick the write-protect tab and hide them away when they are full.  Certainly not guaranteed infallible, and unknown longevity, but for at least several years, I won't have to live through the "I can't believe I deleted the only....." 
I keep photos on the cards for a long time, with several blank in my bag in case it fills ups mid-trip. But only until I am sure that all the files have been copied to my computer and thence to both a cloud syncing service and to a portable hard drive that I store away from home. Then I erase and reuse the SD cards once they past half full.

I only delete obvious duds; storage is cheap.
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