« Are Classic Photographs Still Relevant? | Main | Sony vs. Fuji: A Slight Change in Protocol »

Tuesday, 17 October 2017


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

I've solved the missing SD card problem by having only one card for each camera. When I put my photos on my computer, I copy to several hard drives, verify that they loaded OK in Lightroom, then put the card back in the camera and format the card (I leave the card door open until the card goes back in so that I don't think the camera has a card when it doesn't). The size of the card goes up with the megapixels of the camera so that I get more than 1000 photos on the card. I never need more than one card unless I go on a trip, in which case, I take all the cards from the cameras that are staying home, or maybe buy a few cards if it's a big trip and I expect to take lots of photos (I never format cards on trips, all the cards get formatted before I leave so I don't overwrite any photos when changing cards).

Hi Mike,

I keep a pair of cards in a little zipper wallet with two empty card cases. (You know those cheap little mostly transparent things the SD cards come in?) The key for me is that I labled the two empty cases with the word "Exposed", so I can always keep track of which cards are still left to use.


The best photo accessory I've ever bought was that Brother P-touch label maker. Over ten years of use, and still going strong. Definitely worth an affiliate link.

I typically travel with two cameras, two spare batteries, and two spare cards. The zipper wallet holds the batteries in thier tiny little zipper pouches. This works because I'm using little Panasonic m43 cameras with identical batteries. I've also labeled the SD cards and batteries with date of purchase.

P.s. I took a month off from the Internet. Glad to see you doing well.

I have never lost an SD card or CF card. That having been said, I have at least five tape measures, all of which have been cleverly hidden somewhere in the house or garage, along with the hammer and Philips head screwdriver... and scissors. I must go and look for them. Now, where are my glasses?

Mike: the Edith Grossman link brings up a link to a Stanley tape measure that Sancho might have found useful.

I've figured out where your tape measures have been going. Clicking on the link to Edith Grossman's translation of Don Quixote takes you back to... a 25-foot Stanley Powerlock tape! So obviously they've been teleporting themselves through your browser links to Amazon and back.

A famous science fiction short story, "Or All the Seas With Oysters" by Avram Davidson, was very illuminating on the subject of the population dynamics of paper clips, coat-hangers, and bicycles. I wouldn't be surprised if something similar was going on!

Happens to me too, but with eyeglass wipes...
Also happens on assorted other bits and ends, but wipes are forever in hiding.
Sometimes they resurface, a bit like your tapes.
Sometimes alas they do not...

This is a well researched phenomena. Search for quantum tunneling of socks on Google.

The paperclips that disappear metamorphose into the wire hangers that clutter the closet.

The 12 foot Stanley tape measure pictured will yield inaccurate results as the hook is bent-probably due to a drop onto a hard surface.

I don't shoot high frame rate, Raw, high Mp sensor stills, or high bit rate video so I don't buy expensive, high speed cards... And, I don't reuse them. When a card is full, I put a small sticker on it and record the camera and date, and then put it in a box. I never have to worry about reformatting and over writing a card before downloading files, a computer croaking, or getting hacked files being locked, etc. Cheap, easy backup. (I do understand that the original file, isn't the same as the final edited file.)

Just buy one of something you loose easily. My father used to buy Bic Biros by the box and was infuriated at how they would evaporate. Years later he still has his yellow Lamy fountain pen. Interesting about Don Quixote. Photography is often a Quixotic pursuit I think. I will add to the 500 million, thank you.

This is precisely why I greatly prefer the larger compact flash cards to those tiny little, sliver-thin SD cards. Compact flash cards are plenty small enough to carry thousands of 50 megapixel images in a single hand, and they're still (just) large enough to stand out on a crowded desktop. When I drop a compact flash card I can see where it goes. Those tiny SD cards tiddly-wink away into oblivion.

Oddly enough, I've used the same SD card in my M9-P since the day I took the camera out of the box.

Don't know how that happened exactly, but it's still there, full of photos from my trip out East (where Mike and I just missed getting together).

Yep, you definitely need the UHS-II cards for shooting motorsports, especially if you're using the X-T2 in boost mode 11 frames/sec with the vertical power booster grip. The nice thing is that both the card slots in the X-T2 support UHS-II, so you can configure the camera to "roll over" to the second slot if you need the capacity. The camera does this instantly and absolutely seamlessly.

By the way, you can actually use the X-T1 to shoot motorsports, and in this case, you absolutely need the speed of the UHS-II cards to minimize the blackout time between shots, witness this photo of local American Federation of Motorcyclist's "fast girl" Joy Higa on her Suzuki Gixxer 'Thou...

I quote: under the dubious premise that a case the size of cellphone will be harder to lose.

But you did lose 3 tape measures the size of a point-and-shoot camera.

Something doesn't compute. :)

Seen recently on Twitter: "I am convinced that every time a sock goes missing from the dryer it comes back as an extra tupperware lid." ;)

Those SanDisk 32MB cards really hit the sweet spot for my cameras. The Think Tank SD Pixel Pocket Rocket wallet holds nine of them (https://www.thinktankphoto.com/collections/memory-card-wallets/products/sd-pixel-pocket-rocket); it looks like Think Tank survived the Nort Bay fires.

I still have the copy of the Little Red Book that Radio Peking sent in reply to a reception report in 1968, although I think I was followed for a couple of weeks afterwards. The new guy is emulating Mao, but has not discovered the virtue of brevity in publishing his own Thoughts: https://www.amazon.com/Xi-Jinping-Governance-English-Language/dp/1602204098/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1508302359&sr=1-1&keywords=xi+jinping

Losing mechanical roll up measuring tapes is a form of tape worm.
Finding them is a form of oh damn!
Have an ancient 50 foot tape here (before metrics were considered correct here in Canada) that has a cloth tape, marked at one inch and half inch intervals and is wound with a brass handle firmly attached to the middle. Oh and it's big, 5 inches in diameter. Nothing dares to cover it...sort of like that snapping turtle in your outdoor pond.

I once went to a lecture on the Hubble telescope and at the end I asked a question, could it be rotated back to earth to find my missing socks!

I have the same issue with flash drives. I bought a whole bunch to record programs on my TV and play music in my car. That was about three months ago, but the critters are so small I cannot find any of them for the life of me.

Mike I can empathize with regards to tape measures and other tools that one might use from time to time and neglect to return to wherever one usually stores these items, but with regards to SD cards I'm at a loss [pardon the pun] to see how you misplace them as it would seem to me a card should either be in your camera or computer/downloading device and has no right to be anyplace other than these places?

With regards to having multiple cards and only one or two cameras I think this only leads to sloppiness and constant misplacement of cards unless one is going on a trip and needs the extra storage or one is in the habit of filling cards every time you shoot, stick to one card in each camera [two if the camera allows] and one spare in your wallet as backup or in the off chance that you forget to return the card to camera after downloading.

I too find tape measures can never be found when required!

Perhaps they migrate to a different planet... remember what the Hitchhikers Guide said about biros...

"after a night of drinking Pan-Galactic Gargle Blasters with Zaphod Beeblebrox, [Veet Voojagig] became increasingly obsessed with the problem of what had happened to all the biros he bought over the past few years. There followed a long period of painstaking research during which he visited all the major centres of biro-loss through out the galaxy, and eventually came up with a rather quaint little theory which quite caught the public imagination at the time. Somewhere in the cosmos, he said, along with all the planets inhabited by Humanoids, reptiloids, fishoids, walking treeoids, and super-intelligent shades of the colour blue, there was also a planet entirely given over to biro life-forms. And it was to this planet that unattended biros would make their way. Slipping quietly through wormholes in space to a world where they knew they could enjoy a uniquely biroid lifestyle. Responding to highly biroid-orientated stimuli, in fact, leading the Biro equivalent of the good life. And as theories go, this was all very fine and pleasant, until Veet Voojagig suddenly claimed to have found this planet and to have worked there for a while, driving a limousine for a family of cheap green retractables. "

Case for SD cards. Hmmm? Now you only have one thing to lose! ;-)

Get rid of your current camera and buy one that only takes compact flash cards and all those SD cards will magically reappear

The good thing about losing SD cards is that you can replace them with cards that cost 1/4th as much, but hold 4 times as much and are 16 times faster.

Just buy them 2 at a time.

I've stopped carrying a spare card because my new camera has 2 card slots, so I just keep the spare in the camera all the time. It's also so large that I could shoot heavily for a week and not fill it... which is both handy and a bit scary.

I have just one tape measure, so I can't loose it. After use, always goes to the same place. On the other hand, I keep loosing my SD cards. Maybe I must have just one card in each camera, so each one will become precious.

So nice to know I'm not the only one who doesn't find any tape measures when I need! And I'm sure to have them anywhere around...

I have the same problem with SD cards and socks. I also have a case that looks just like the one you bought ... and which I subsequently lost with several SD cards inside. Turns out the hard plastic allows it to slide rather easily out of the pocket of an overly full camera bag. Turns out, too, black is not the best color for something ... had it been a brighter color I might have noticed it laying on the ground and picked it up.

The case will definitely keep track of all those cards. Now all you have to do is lose/misplace the case and all the cards go with it.. Seriously, I have been using a card case for years and I always keep it in the same place as my cameras. It works. The only way I have managed to lose anything though is when I move. Its amazing what turns up and what disappears.

Sadly this is only part of the story. The beginning part. Wait long enough, they will start to resurface until that very exceptional moment when all are present and accounted for. Then it starts all over again, like waves in the ocean. Except to their own unique time frame, without predictability. They speak to a higher authority than mere mortals. All we can do is enjoy the coming into and out of focus of the world (as represented by these little cards) around us.

Simple system for SD cards: keep one largish one (32 or 64 GB) in each camera (dedicated to that camera), and one backup SD for each camera in original packaging. When one fills (never erase or re-use), mark it with date and camera, retire it (last resort archive), install a new one and format it, and order its replacement.

"This works because I'm using little Panasonic m43 cameras with identical batteries."

I would be so happy if my GX7 and GX8 would condescend to share batteries.

I’ve never really seen the need to have more than one card per camera. I never shoot to the card’s capacity in a single session and if there’s only one card it will always be in the camera except when it’s plugged into the computer. Admittedly YMMV, as I don’t shoot sports or similar. SD cards are so small that once out of the camera the wonder is not that they get lost but, that some of them don’t!

Thinking, combining and deducting may be the way for most (male?) human beings to try and find lost SD-cards, tape measures etc., but once when I looked everywhere for a missing sock, I only found peace (and nothing else) when my girlfriend casually remarked, 'Don't you know? There's a black hole into which socks simply disappear'. A profound paradigm shift.

Like Bryce Lee I too have a cloth tape with brass winding handle, the body is leather covered. Unlike Bryce’s mine is a proper 1 Chain in length [22 yards, the length of a cricket pitch among other things). I know that a Chain is sometimes defined as 50 feet so maybe Bryce’s is a Canadian Chain? Mine was inherited from my surveyor father.

Jim Witkowski: That is the nicest thing I have seen in a long time. And I see nice things everyday.

I have epoxied all of my worldly goods together into a single un-lose-able ball.

I prefer to use an ALTOIDS Mint case, I like them because they are metal plus you get to eat the mints and then re-use the neat little container for many SD cards in their original packaging which is usually a snap fit plastic case. The fit is quite good, then use a little label maker to identify the mint container, card size, etc.

The dog ate my homework.

Mike, you are simply witnessing a natural cycle. My considerable observational research demonstrates that an sd card is a chrysalis. Left in the dark and quiet corner of a drawer, the card will mature over time, shed its limiting shell, and grow into a usb stick of about 1 to 2 gb of capacity. As the usb stick matures, it will acquire more and more capacity until, at between 32 and 64 gb, it will suddenly and permanently fail as a storage device. That is to encourage you to put it back into a drawer and forget about it (you will have the hope that if you leave it for a while, it will magically start working again, which it never does). If left again in the drawer for long enough, it will eventually develop into its end stage in life - a AA battery. It will then roll all over the drawer whenever you open it, until it meets another AA battery of the opposite sex. The AA-AAs will then mate to produce a new sd card before they lose all charge and die. Hence, if you can't find sd cards, you are probably using too many AA batteries found in your drawer - they simply haven't had a chance to find a mate and breed. CF cards are the same, except they produce 9 volt batteries. I haven't observed tape measures closely enough to determine their lifecycle but I do notice that first the button on the side ceases to work and won't prevent the tape from rolling back; and secondly, thereafter, the tape won't roll back anyway. I hypothesise this to ultimately end when the tape measure morphs into two parts, a broken micro usb cable and a broken power plug, but have not yet been able to observe or record the event.

I had never lost an SD card until I started finding them on sale for about $10 or less for 16MB. When I had 2 or 3 per camera or more (now 4 cameras that use SD) I began to lose track. Of them. Having too many, I think is my problem. If ya only have one or two, you are a lot more careful about where you put them. At least I am.

There are certain items in my house for which I had to keep buying duplicates to ensure that one was available when I needed it. I just keep purchasing until the problem is solved.

Spatulas: 6
Paring Knives: 7
Scissors: stopped counting at 9
Measuring cups: 3 sets
Measuring spoons: 3 sets
Measuring tapes: 5 (I think)

In this case, consumerism was a better solution than wrath for making sure that the djinns, children, and other spirits who move objects (or who use them and leave them dirty) could not derail dinners (or fathers) in their course.

Jim's holder makes me embarrassed, the way a shockingly good idea does when you've failed to see it for a long time:) Looks like I have so planning to do on my CNC mill...:)

David Lee - Thanks for the kind words.

UHS-II cards make a huge difference for sequential shots on my Oly E-M5 IIs. For focus bracketing, the even with the fastest UHS-I cards, the buffer fill at about 10-11 shots, and the exposure rate sloooow waaaay down. As I generally shoot hand held and often things that move in even a slight breeze, this was often fatal.

With faster UHS-II cards is seems that writing to the card is as fast as images are produced, and I have yet to fill the buffer.
"But I notice it when downloading to the computer: the UHS-II card is definitely much faster." And that's with a regular card reader, I'll bet. You should see the images fly off a Lexar 2000x card using their UHS-II reader - WOW.
"I guess it's obvious which kind I prefer."

I have and use those, but little lately. IMO, they are designed backwards. I have for decades had a Millers Falls metal bodied tape where a button on the side releases the tape to rewind. Pull it out and it stays there automatically, 'til told to come back. But I've been unable to find a replacement for the beat up tape itself.

Now, glory be, there are new well made tapes that work the same way, Komelon SelfLocks. Nirvana.

Mike: Those of use "of a certain age" find these measuring tapes superior to the common run-of-the-mill products make for the young-with-good-eyes crowd.


Maybe yellow things are just easier to lose? This Porsche 911 that looks uncannily like a Stanley tape measure for instance?


I just have the two steel tape measures. One is on my desk as I type. The other, er... isn't. Mind you, the one on my desk has a yellow dress-makers tape sitting on it - could my 'missing' tape be some sort of metrical chameleon?

As for SD cards, I know where all mine are (in cameras, apart from two). What worries me is the Memory Stick PRO Duo which I seem to own, never having owned anything that takes such a device...

I think that the essence of the problem is that few people have good and consistent working methods. Hobbyist photographers who don't shoot essentially every day the way that a professional does are able due to the comparative infrequency of their photography are able to have sloppy methods of things like image management.

If a hobbyist goes out and makes photos and doesn’t immediately pull the files into the computer, apply captioning/shoot data to the files and then back them up for a number of days or weeks will not effect their world much. That is until they, say, forget that they haven’t done such and possibly format the card and lose the photos. The worst is that the hobbyist won’t have that one shot that they were pretty jazzed about. If that happens to a professional and data recovery can’t save them then they lose money, lose a client and can be possibly sued for damages to the client. Simply put: for a hobbyist there is less on the line and therefore less impetus to create proactive and repeated actions to prevent problems from happening. Loosing memory cards points to inconsistent working methods.

So back to the “where did my memory card go?” problem. If everyone had the simple method of:
1) Make photos
2) As soon as you get home/office/base of remote operations offload all images to two + locations while applying all relevant ITPC data about the files
3) Only after verifying that all files are safely off the memory cards, format the cards in camera to be ready for the next shoot.
4) Put the clean cards back where they are stored.
Then you will never lose cards/files so long as you always do that above process.

You should also:
1) Use a labeler so that all of your cards have your contact info on them so that if you drop the card somewhere and it is found it can be connected to you. You should also do this with all your photo gear!
2) With same labeler put a singular and incremental number of the card for reference. This is important in a number of ways. First if you are having issues with a card you can easily know that “card #4 is giving me problems and may need to be replaced”. Also if you have a long shoot that spans multiple cards you know which ones you have used. Always start the shoot with card #1.
3) Accept that you need multiple cards for a host of reasons i.e. you shoot with more than one camera, it’s a long shoot, cards go bad …
4) Keep your cards that are not in the camera in a protective case and that case should not be black. If it is black, as my Pelican card case is, then put a big stripe of brightly colored “Hey dummy! I’m over here!” tape on all sides so that if you drop it you can easily find it. My tape is an obnoxious fluorescent yellow. I put it on all of my caps and small black photo stuff. Never lose them again.
5) When cards are empty have the cards in the case with its identifying number label facing up and when they are full that side down. Thus you can easily tell by looking at the card holder the condition of your cards.

As a working pro I often come back from a days shooting having shot on 2+ bodies and created thousands of files that may span 6 or more cards. I don’t use huge cards because I don’t want to have a card failure and lose files that way. I often travel for multiple days of shooting and that could create files that easily span a dozen cards. If possible use cameras that have two card slots and set the camera to create backups on the second card. That is one less way to lose files but of course more cards to keep track of. But regardless have a method and stick to it.

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007