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Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Overstock.com claims to have the 1gb card on sale at £10.91 ($16.15). But if you're shooting with your D800 - even if (perish the thought!) you shoot jpegs - you are going to need an awful lot of those cards.

First the EF 35mm f/2.0 IS USM and now this "appears."

You'd better buy a lottery ticket and continue the positive reception in a serious way.

My vague recollection is that these were invented in part for the use of law enforcement, so that there was unimpeachable image security and chain of custody for photographic evidence collected by police using digital cameras. Or at least, that was the sales pitch by the manufacturers. I can remember a presentation I saw about this a few years back at a Photo equipment expo in Toronto, along with some new law enforcement features of the then-new Nikon D2Xs.

I'm guessing that it may not have gone very far because courts and law makers did not fall for the pitch, and the admissibility as evidence of ordinary digital image files stored on ordinary computer hard disks has been widely supported by courts, so long as certain operating procedures were followed -- just like film.

So my archival question is not "where is the use-once flash card" but "where is the cheap dollar-a-disc 64GB burnable optical drive?" And don't tell me about burnable Blu-Ray. They're expensive, I've not had much luck with burning them, and the whole optical disc tech is being treated as obsolete, even though it's incredibly useful for things like archives and off-site storage.

I presume they're thinmking of specialist markets for these cards?

Forensic photography comes to mind.

Regular SD cards have a specified life of 10 years (e.g. Kingston) or don't specify how long the flassh cells retain their charge.

Using Sandisk's WORM cards, I could archive all my photo and video files for just under $100,000. And, it would probably take me months or years to copy the files onto the thousands of cards it would take. We are still a long way from any practical and cost effective way of archiving digital files.

The WORM disc is ideal for secure document storage and transfer, large documents which need to be secure and uneditable, such as classified reports within secure facilities. They are much easier to track and safely store than paper documents and can be heavily encrypted. (I do not work for the CIA, so I am just guessing!)

I faintly remember the launch of these cards. They were made for special purposes, such as police forensic work, where the data would then be safe from modification after capture. Amongst others this would allow for higher acceptance of digital pictures in court cases.

Hello Mike; re optimized for 100 years? I'd like to see that first, can they prove it?
Some of my shots from 50 years ago (and printed recently) are on my site under "series"

(site made up following your suggestions on TOP some time ago, thanks!).
hans berkhout.

Given file and folder naming differences between camera manufactureres wouldn't these need to be provided preformatted for each of the camera brands that they were going to be used with?

My problem since I began shooting Raw is the opposite: delete many so I can accommodate more shots (while in the field). Even with a 10MPx only p&s, it doesn't take long before a half-full 16 gig SD card is filled to the brim. (In a recent 5-hr. trek to a waterfall, I brought the wrong USB cable and couldn't unload the contents of my only card. I got enough pictures of the waterfall but had to forego many interesting shots along the way. And I had to lug my laptop along, too!)

The problem is not the card's (also a SanDisk Exreme Pro) capacity, but my shooting discipline. Obviously, a WORM isn't for me. Of the 80-100 or so Raw files a 1 gig card can accommodate, there'll be less than 10 keepers, maybe. A waste of valuable real estate. If it is so that only a camera can write to a WORM, my workaround would be this:

1) Use a regular card during a field shoot
2) copy the keepers to the camera's on-board memory
3) replace regular card with a WORM and transfer to it the files in the on-board memory.*

My GRD4 has a 40MPx internal memory (good for about 4 Raw files). The GXR has 86MPx (7 Raw files) on board. Just about my keeper rate at my most ruthless.

*I haven't tried this with a WORM, but had done so with the Extreme Pro and the GXR.

Security expert Bruce Schneier mentions a small problem with WORM cards for forensic purposes:

"Nice, although note that you can still "edit" evidence by the following procedure:

1) Record to WORM, send suspect+lawyer away,
2) Read back off WORM, edit at will,
3) Write to a new WORM. Pretend this is the WORM you used in the first place."

I believe the real reasons for the lack of success is that a bit of WORM storage takes much more area than a bit of flash, and the power required to write to the card is quite a bit higher.

I adopted the "use a card once and throw it in a sock drawer" policy last year. It works well for me.

The cards you want to steer clear of are the write only versions.

When I worked in a small photo-store doing half-hour printing besides selling cameras, I learned a lot of elderly customers were using memory cards once. They had often abandoned film because relatives were embarraced to see them using "that ancient camera" (or so I imagine from the snipets of conversation I heard), and turned to digital. However, their workflow of going to the photo-store to get prints remained the same. The memory cards kind of took the place of film; you buy a new one when the old is full, and you keep the old one in an archive.
You might say buying those cards were not exactly economical, but considering the alternative cost of buying and developing film, and the fact many if theese people spent a year filling a cheap 2GB card, it makes sence.
However, using SD cards for archiving is not to be recommended, but I don't think they really had that in mind. Maybe WORM-cards could be marketed towards seniors who don't own a computer? Slim market nowadays I guess...

I'm new to this stuff, but I treat memory cards as the weakest link in the chain--move the images onto a couple of hard drives as soon as you can, then format the card and shoot some more with it. If the key to archiving digital images is to constantly copy your files onto new and better media over the years, I think that would be easier to do off a hard drive than a box full of dodgy, unindexed memory cards.

After some cursory research a few years ago it seemed to me that compared to burning DVD's and hards drives, solid state memory was the most likely to stand up to time, especially if you write to a card only a few times. I began using CF cards as though they were negatives. I didn't need fast cards and could usually pick up a 2 pack of 4 gig cards for pretty cheap.

I changed my position once SSD drives become less expensive in price. They are also solid state and failures occur mostly through constant use. I bought some 160gig SSD drives and now archive all my raw files as well as my finished tiffs and work files on these, which are then stored in another location. I basically use these like WORM drives, backup to them until they are full, then don't touch them again. My overall system is a little over the top, my full library is on a 4 disk internal raid 0 for speed, backed up nightly to an external 8TB raid 5 via eSata, which is backed up weekly to a 12th raid 5 eSata store in a fire vault in my house. Those are pretty much automatic using carbon copy cloner. Anything new also gets put on the current SSD, and when it's full it goes to another location.

yes, overkill, but price of storage is so cheap now.

I've been searching for a cost effective, reliable solution for long term data storage and came across the Millenniata M-disc. LG-Hitachi makes disc burners that are compatible. The discs are supposedly stable for "a thousand years" and cost about $3 a piece for 4.7G DVDs.

Ricoh is making a series of tough waterproof and shock resistant compact cameras that advertise the ability to write to WORM cards. I don't remember the models off the top of my head, but it looks like they're marketed both at private citizens looking for a tough camera, and law enforcement/emergency services that are concerned with data integrity and evidence tampering.

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