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Monday, 15 June 2015


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The problem with this habit is that it directly conflicts with my habit of keeping everything closed up tight as possible to prevent dust.

Seems like the certain guarantee of broken cover.

I have a small number of cards that are numbered and stored in a plastic multi card case with the same numbers on it. Card out, import to LR, card in, format and go.

Alternatively (or additionally?), one can always leave a belt pouch with the accoutrements next to the camera and take both when heading out the door.

This is my solution, anyway, so anything I might need -- EVF, wide-angle lens converter, spare batteries and memory cards, microfiber lens cloth, cable release -- is readily at hand whenever my camera is with me.

I leave the covers open or else I inevitably leave a card in the reader. I put the camera on the shelf while I do this, so no issues with breaking doors or anything. Same thing on the battery, although I don't usually have to do this as I generally put a fresh one in the second I take a spent one out.

I also do this with cards. It doesn't mean always having a new card ready to install. Sometimes it is simply leaving the camera sitting beside the computer with the door open while the card is in the computer's card reader downloading. Then the camera is a reminder to remove the card from the computer and return it to the camera before I grab the camera and return it to the camera bag. It's not all that long to leave the card door open. I've never had a problem with dust or dirt.

I do exactly this. Not for long periods of time, but just while copying off the card. Open door, copy, put card back, close. Usually I'll wait until I have backed up those new images onto an external drive before closing the door too.

I guess it works because leaving the door open means you can't put the camera away, which is the last part of the job (for me anyway).

It reminds me of a possibly apocryphal story that when cash machines (ATMs) were first introduced, people would regularly take their money and leave their cards behind in the machine. After all, you go up to the machine to get cash, you get cash, you leave. The manufacturers stopped this by giving you the card before the money, so what feels like the end of the job you set out to do really is the end.

The fact that the D800 has dual card slots has saved me on numerous occasions. I leave the CF card in almost 100% of the time and it just acts as a backup (and as a spare card if I forget the SD card). I do wish it was dual SD cards.

Leaving the door open is a good idea on cameras without dual card slots, but place it somewhere safe. The doors are not too sturdy on most of them and debris can get into an open camera.

One other idea is to keep a spare SD card in your wallet (or cell phone case). Given how cheap they are it's not a big expense and with SD cards they seem to clean up easily from the cruft that will invariably get on them even in a thin case.

No this isn't good enough and I've several times packed the camera (E-M5) with the card door open or no battery. These doors either close on their own w/o locking, or they are so small you don't feel that they are open.

My suggestion: stick something into the card slot, e.g. a piece of old credit card. Same with the battery compartment, e.g. stick in a crumpled sheet of paper.

I was thinking of your "left out card" dillemma, and I think most, if not all my cameras tell me if there's no card in the slot (except for the double slot cameras). Yours doesn't do that?

I sure understand the reasoning behind it & I think it is sound. However, I NEVER leave them open because a)I don't want dirt and stuff to get in and b) I think the camera is more vulnerable to damage laying around with the door open.

I follow Dwig's guideline as interpreted by you, Mike, every time all the time.

I always have plenty of extra cards... Cards are far less expensive than missed opportunities.

"To me, photography is an art of observation...I've found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them."

In the years since I first heard Elliott Erwitt make this statement it has become my theme statement and the guiding idea for nearly every type of photography I do. "The decisive moment" never took hold for me; it's too centric, not too mention meaningless in practical terms. Elliot's statement make perfect sense against the highest values I hold for for the medium.

Related: Don't erase or reformat your cards until after you've completed a backup of your image library.

For me, this means I rotate through a small stack of CF cards all week and don't format them until after I've done my weekend Aperture Vault backup.

Considering how flimsy some card doors seem to be, my fear (for myself) would be in grabbing the camera in a hasty moment and snapping the door backward and clean off the camera. Black camera on a dark wood shelf in dim light... snap.

This applies only to my own clumsiness, however. Your mileage may vary.

Sorry for your frustration but I agree with Dennis and KeithB. I store my cameras in the backpack in which I carry them. It would be quite risky to leave them in there with open battery and/or card covers. The battery cover on my old D700 came off repeatedly. At least it was easy to re-attach. The best solution to forgetting a card is having a number of cards in different places. I keep a small Thinktank card carrier with my other critical accessories such as batteries, cables, filters, rings, and lens cleaning parephenalia in a zippered case in the camera bag. I even store an older small capacity card in the car for an emergency. Like pilots and surgeons, I have a check list on my phone that I review prior to leaving for a shoot. I still take lousy photos but at least I can take them as I've not YET forgotten a card.

I leave an emergency SD card in my wallet and a set of spare cards as well as batteries in my day-bag. That covers me for most situations.

Cheers, Pak

"FK: "What's a fail-safe routine that ensures I never leave for a trip without the camera? I did that once, left the camera on the bed and consequently have fading memories of Glasgow." "

Whilst still a working pro, based in London, I once travelled up to - strangely enough - Glasgow, for a shoot, complete with client, art director, assistant, lighting, tripods, toolkit, big bag of film, etc.

But no cameras.

As we were checking into our hotel, my mobile-phone rang. It was my wife, who said "There is a big silver case in our hallway - did you decide not to take it?" After much pleading by me, she took the case up to Euston station and put it on an overnight train to Glasgow Central, where I and my assistant collected it at 7 the next morning. Neither client nor a.d. knew anything until the job was handed over and approved a week or so later.

The overnight parcels service ("Red Star Parcels") no longer exists.

Can't most digital cameras be set so the shutter doesn't fire if there is no memory-card present?

You better keep a roll of tape handy. I had to use tape to close a broken battery/card compartment for couple of years until I finally retired an old camera. Parts are available for new cameras, but at what cost? Older cameras? forget it. And that door has to be closed or the camera doesn't work.
Since you now have that roll of tape, why not make two stickers, one with the words 'no card' and other 'no battery' and stick them to the top of your camera as soon as you take one of these out and do not have an immediate replacement.

Yep, I always leave the camera open and upside down on the table when charging or downloading. It's eliminated a lot of worries.

Dust? Oh please, there is a lot more to worry about than dust in these modern cameras that get replaced every few years. If you are doing this during a sand storm in the Kalahari, maybe.

Breaking a door? Well you will do that if you like, but you can establish a routine that makes that not a part of the process. Camera upside down on the table, nothing around it.

I bought a digital Rebel from work, back in the day, to take on a trip to San Francisco. Luckily, I also packed my Contax G gear, as I only had the one battery....which worked great, since I left the canon body at home, but I did bring the charger, battery, and lenses.

One of my favorite features of the Nikon D600 is dual memory card slots, so I can practice this policy easily - I only ever take 1 card out at a time, and swap after downloading. I also only delete cards with only one card in the camera, just to make sure I don't, say, delete the entire wrong card by mistake.

I generally close the doors for the same reasons others have listed: keeping dust/water out, and worrying about breaking the door. But I have recently been training myself to ALWAYS have spare cards with me and not to leave the camera empty. Even if it's an older/slower card, I try to keep something in reserve in the card wallet so I can swap it into the camera temporarily.

It's not necessarily about heading out of the house without cards (although I have been guilty of that in the past) although I'm a big believer in having spare batteries/cards with me where possible.

One example that happened to me last month was after filling a bunch of cards on a big wildlife shoot I took the cards out and put them into readers attached to my laptop (which was strapped down in the car with power and SSDs attached so it could import and process the photos while I drove the 4 hours to get to my next destination). The camera bag was in the back of the car. Along the way I noticed a scene beside the road that I wanted to photograph. I pulled the car over, grabbed a camera, and climbed down the embankment to get the shot. And THEN realised the camera was empty. With failing light and moving wildlife this was "sub-optimal"!
Even a small and slow SD card in one of the camera slots would have saved me.

I use my pilot's preflight discipline to increase my odds of never leaving home again without photo essentials. I've listed them on a letter sized notepad converted into a door hanger. The list is always the last item in and the first one out of my storage drawer. If I open that drawer with intent to go shoot or pack to shoot, I hang the list on the inside of the only exit door of my apartment.

I adopted the habit of "card out/card in" from an early stage - by this I mean as I take out a card, I put another card in - not leave the door open, which I agree is asking for trouble.

But I have a corollary - put the card in and format it. It's not a disaster, but very annoying to find you've taken a few important shots on the "new" card then realise it's got hundreds of frames from your last shoot still on it, which then may need to be deleted individually.

Which leads to another potential disaster - formatting a card you haven't downloaded yet. I use a little wallet to hold my cards - available cards are inserted face up, used cards face down.

I like failsafe habits too, but I won't leave the camera in the bag with the door open, I'm afraid it'll get snapped off. In addition to the worry about dust and dirt that has been mentioned.

However, all my cameras can be set to not shoot without a card, and of course I have done so.

I may have lost a full wallet of cards (jury is still out on this one; and they're empty or already copied), but I don't think I've ever formatted an uncopied card or lost one before I got to copy it.

I make sure that camera settings prevent images being recorded when a card isn't installed.

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