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Author Topic: Keeping Memory Cards Organized  (Read 1119 times)

RMW

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Keeping Memory Cards Organized
« on: May 22, 2021, 10:07:09 am »

Looking for a good way to keep cards stored and organized.
Are they vulnerable to things like light, dust, moisture, or magnetic fields?
How do you identify the cards? Do you write something on them?
Do you write on the little case they come in?
Or do you have a "Dewey Decimal System" with a separate catalogue?
Sorry if this seems dumb, but I don't know much about what you can do with theses cards.
Thanks.
Richard
PS- Are they to be considered part of a backup system?
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langier

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Re: Keeping Memory Cards Organized
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2021, 11:35:46 am »

Years ago, cards were expensive, slow, stored few photos, failed regularly. We've come a long way since then.

However, in my experience overall, I've lost few images to card failure, other than a few images due to corruption and another few images when a micro SD card got chipped since SD and micro SD cards are a little on the fragile side. CF, C-Fast and XQD cards seem to be much more robust.

I've had SD and CF cards go though the washing machine. Once dried out, seemed to work fine.

In years of travel through airport security, never an issue with the magnetic and X-ray screening devices affecting cards, cameras and file.

My card stately is to have enough cards to do a job (seldom more than a single card in the camera nowadays) or enough to last several weeks on the road without having to download and reformat. For me that's about 1 TB of cards, about 12-18, each numbered so I can at least log the date and place I started shooting the card to when I replaced it with the next card. Also, if there's an issue later with corrupt files, I can then identify which card became an issue.

My tactics is that every card is numbered and in a card wallet. I use multiple card wallets to spread them out, either in baggage and camera bag or field and studio with a few in the little plastic cases spread around in the bags, usually older, slower and smaller media so there's always something available if I forget or loose something. When I swap cards in the wallet, the used card is flipped over so I can tell that it's full.

As I travel and work, I try to back-up files either daily or every few days if travel is more than a few days. Since cards are cheap, reliable and large, it's not as much a ritual to do a nightly back-up as it once was and allows me more time to shoot and enjoy my travels and travel companions.

Once back in my studio, the card are ingested into my computer and set aside. I'll then stash the cards away until I've had a chance to add metadata to the downloaded images, do a fast screening then a back-up and out-of-studio placement of the back-up drive with all the files except butt-taken shots of the ground, back of lens caps, out of focus--the usual junk, is safely out of the studio and then I can reformat all the cards and prepare for my next project or adventure.

Media cards are not considered archival and have a limited write-rewrite cycles that most of us will never reach. One probably shouldn't fill them to the brim since that can lead to file and card glitches, also. Like a hard drive, you need to leave some headroom, maybe 10%, to avoid issues.

I reuse my cards regularly, and if there's an issue, then replace it. However, it's been several years since I've had card problems. I will usually upgrade a card to something larger or faster before a card goes bad or move on to a new card type required by a newer system as my cameras are updated.

In day-to-day shooting, I'll simply rotate my cards every month or so so that the cards will wear somewhat evenly though this practice is probably more habit than necessary today.

When I prepare for a trip, I'll also prepare each card by writing my contact info on the outside (in very tiny letters ;-) and then write a jpeg file onto each that has my name and contact info (email, phone, website) as part of the file that says "Read Me" so that if I do loose a card along the way and it is found, there's still away to find me if the card isn't crushed or reformatted in the interim.

I think Thom Hogan has good info on cards as do several other sites to get you the nitty-gritty on each. My system works for me but as always YRMV...
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Larry Angier
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Rhossydd

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Re: Keeping Memory Cards Organized
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2021, 06:07:25 am »

Memory cards are pretty robust and there's plenty of tales of how they've survived submersion for months, been stuck in snow, been driven over or tripped through washing machines. Despite that it still makes sense to keep them clean and dry, preferably in some sort of case, you really don't want to transfer too much muck into your camera's card slots or into the connectors of CF cards etc.

I've only ever used 'premium' brands Sandisk & Lexar, brought from reputable dealers, and haven't suffered any data loss from card failure yet in over 20years shooting digitally.

Given the big capacity at very low cost, there's really little need for most people to need to use multiple cards if shooting stills. A 64gb card will shoot 1350 raw shots on one 20 card in my 5Div, so it's very rare that I fill a card on a trip.
If you think marking up cards would be helpful, I'd suggest numbering the cards themselves, not the cases as they can get mixed up.

I always try to copy all images to a separate system the same day as they're shot, eg a laptop. I don't erase or re-format cards until I have two other copies of the images on my main system and an external backup drive. That's as far as using the cards for 'back up' goes.

Shooting video, or really high volume shoots(sport, weddings etc) is a different case and then things will probably need to be more ordered. Especially so if you're passing cards on to a third party for editing.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2021, 10:08:36 am by Rhossydd »
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PeterAit

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Re: Keeping Memory Cards Organized
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2021, 11:40:50 am »

I wouldn't use SD cards for backup. With hard disks so cheap these days, it's not economically wise. I have 4-128 GB cards, enough for 8,000 photos with my camera--more than enough even when traveling. And out of an abundance of caution I back up every day (when traveling) to a Western Digital Wireless Pro, a portable hard disk that has an SD card slot. Insert a card, push a button, and all the new files on the card are copied to the disk. But I must say that in 20 years of traveling with digital cameras I have never has a single memory card failure.
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Rhossydd

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Re: Keeping Memory Cards Organized
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2021, 12:49:04 pm »

Western Digital Wireless Pro, a portable hard disk that has an SD card slot. Insert a card, push a button, and all the new files on the card are copied to the disk.
That sounds an ideal 'on the road' solution, but there are a lot of poor reviews of it on Amazon, not to mention quite a premium price for what it is.
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Jonathan Cross

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Re: Keeping Memory Cards Organized
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2021, 06:25:08 pm »

It all depends.  If you are hiking and camping out for one or more nights a self powered backup like the WD may be a security blanket.  I have 2 card slots on my cameras, so if one goes down I have the other.  I do not camp out so have access to power at a base in the evening.  If I am away for more than a day or two, I copy to a portable SDD (Sandisk Extreme) using a MacBook Air.  I have enough SDs to cover an outing, but very rarely take more than 64GB in a day, so two of those cards are sufficient. I then do post processing at home, and yes I do shoot RAW, 50MB+ an image so 64GB is over 1200 images. 

I do not use SD cards for backup for the reasons already stated.

Best wishes,

Jonathan



 
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Jonathan in UK

BobShaw

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Re: Keeping Memory Cards Organized
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2021, 09:12:16 pm »

Looking for a good way to keep cards stored and organized. HAVE AS MANY AS YOU NEED UNTIL YOU GET TO A COMPUTER.
Are they vulnerable to things like light, dust, moisture, or magnetic fields? NOT REALLY
How do you identify the cards? Do you write something on them? I WRITE A NUMBER IN PEN ON THEM
Do you write on the little case they come in? NO, THEY WILL NEVER GO BACK IN THE SAME CASE
Or do you have a "Dewey Decimal System" with a separate catalogue? I DOUBT THAT YOU WOULD NEED MORE THAN SINGLE DIGITS
Sorry if this seems dumb, but I don't know much about what you can do with theses cards. YOU SHOOT WITH THEM IN THE CAMERA AND THAT'S IT. YOU COPY THEM TO A MASS STORAGE DEVICE ASAP.
Are they to be considered part of a backup system? IF AT ALL POSSIBLE SHOOT TO TWO CARDS IN THE CAMERA. DON'T ERASE THE CARD UNTIL THE COMPUTER HAS SUCCESSFULLY BACKED UP THE MASS STORAGE, IN FACT DON'T EVER ERASE THE CARD, YOU FORMAT IT IN THE CAMERA>
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RMW

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Re: Keeping Memory Cards Organized
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2021, 06:39:19 pm »

Belatedly, I thank you all for your help and I have one more question.
Is it safe to write on a memory card with indelible ink?
Thanks All,
Richard
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langier

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Re: Keeping Memory Cards Organized
« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2021, 01:27:46 am »

I write using a Sharpie all the time on nearly every card I have (other than Micro SD) and have done this for years.

I've dropped the cards, left them in pockets through the washing machine and more...never had an issue other than cards defective from the factory and that's been years ago since I had such issues. I had another issue one time with a Micro SD card which got broken when it got cracked like a cracker and became useless. Luckily, I only lost a few images since it had a pretty good chuck broken off.

Seems like today that the larger the card (in size), the more durable with the micro cards being the most delicate and CF/XQD and CF-Fast being quite durable.
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Larry Angier
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RMW

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Re: Keeping Memory Cards Organized
« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2021, 07:31:22 pm »

Thank you Larry.
Now I know how to keep all those cards identifiable.
Richard
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