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Wednesday, 01 May 2024


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What I do now is treat them as write-once. After they are full, they get taped into a file folder for archiving. It's a very cheap form of backup, considering SD card prices now.

Ball point pens, tops to said pens, and odd socks from the dryer. I have a theory (not proven) that the rings of Saturn consist of these items, despite current scientific thought. How they get there, I don't know.

Add the SD cards, they disappear on me too!

Do you leave photos on the cards after downloading them to your computer? I ask because you have a lot of cards and buy them in lots of 4-5. I have one or two cards for each of my cameras. I download the images promptly to a drive that is backed up to a NAS which is also backed up to a NAS at my son's house halfway across the country, then I format the card and put it back in the camera immediately because I have had at one instance of trying to shoot only discover that the card was at home. Like you, I have never had a card go bad. Some of mine are at least 20 years old. I had one HDD hard drive fail (I dropped it) but now I tend to use only SSD drives. They are less delicate (no moving parts) and they are faster.

Maybe all your pens have migrated to my house. It seems everywhere I look, there are pens. Every time one fails to write, I instantly throw it away. And yet there are more pens.

I don't have a long timeline on SD cards. Many are on the order of 6 years old. I think all are Lexar. Many 32 GB, several 64 GB, and one 128 GB. 17 in all, 2 in cameras, and the rest in handy little holders designed for them. I've only had 1 card fail. Why so many? There was a 2 month long trip to New Zealand. I wanted to come home with all images on a hard drive, AND on SD cards, and I didn't want to reuse any of them. I did a bit of math to figure I'd probably need at least a dozen cards. Then I looked at the price of them in NZ (2x at least) and bought more here. I also sometimes set up a camera for night skies, hoping for aurora borealis, and let it run till the battery dies.

As a bonus, my theory on electronic stuff is that it will fail fairly quickly, easily within the warranty period, or else will last long beyond any possible extended warranty, assuming a modicum of care.

Regarding memory cards, I have a dozen "card wallets" all stored in a drawer. Each wallet is labeled for a specific camera and each card slot is labeled with the subject and date, until I'm 100% sure that I have multiple back ups for the data, then the cards are formatted and labeled as such, again for that particular camera.

Card wallets are a simple way to keep those items organized and located in a known place. There are a ton of options on Amazon for them, from small to large storage capacity.

I would not buy the Satechi hub you linked to. It has got only one USB-C port, the rest is USB 3.0. -- I bought a small hub with four USB-C ports because all my external SSD had come with both USB-C and USB 3.0 cables. I am glad I switched to USB-C, no more needing to make sure the cable is inserted the right way. -- Think ahead, you will be using your new Mac five years from now . . .

A little while ago I bought one of those cameras that you don't have to aim -- it takes 360 degree pictures. And videos. Fun.

Not fun: It uses memory cards about the size of the potato chip crumbs one finds at the bottom of the bag. So small that if you drop one on a windy day, all your images will be floating around like so much tiny detritus from the garden.

Anticipating this, the camera company included an iPhone-size carrier that holds 20 memory cards and adapters (one adapter for each memory card -- you don't want to mess with mating tiny cards with slightly less tiny adapters anywhere other than over a clean and uncluttered desk). The carrier's color is somwhere between bright red and international orange so difficult to not see.

I was never very good at quickly loading 35mm film but compared to fiddling with these tiny retainers of digital photography, I was a star.

At least we don't have to deal with them inside a black bag or dark broom closet.

My borrowers don't seem at all interested in cards or pens, as I seem to have embarrassing accumulations of both. That includes a bunch of 1GB SD cards, most of which contain archived audio files ("archived" meaning little more than that I tossed them in a drawer when I was done with them). Heck, I even have an xD card or two somewhere.

I used to be a SanDisk guy. That is, until Western Digital bought the company and some of its bigger SSDs began to fail. The firm did not handle those issues well. I have no idea whether the reliability problems extend to memory cards.

I now stick with ProGrade and Delkin UHS-II, which are very reliable. I also find they run the coolest of any cards I have tried. For the one or two cameras that I have that still specify UHS-I, I use Samsung PRO Ultimate and PRO Plus cards.

what = 4
sometimes = 9
never = 5

I lose pencils.

I only use a pen to write on the kitchen calendar. The pen stays by the calendar until the cat goes on a nip-nip-fueled rampage and turns it into a hockey puck on the counter. Surprisingly, he's been considerate enough to leave it on the counter when he crashes from all the excitement. But the pencils disappear, and I pay big bucks for them bc I am fussy about my pencils.

As a college math major, I received a gift of an expensive mechanical pencil beautifully weighted with the 0.7mm pencil lead I prefer, only to lose it. :(

Yeah, I'm a nerd. Photographers are cool nerds.

I return the card to the camera after uploading. I have a case with backups, but I have never used them. I do not want to jinx myself, but I've never had to deal with lost or damaged cards, just a mysterious case of disappearing pencils.

I'm pointing the paw of blame squarely at my feline roommates. Who knows, maybe those borrowers from the book have some hockey-playing cats on their hands, too.

Maybe I am odd, but I rarely buy cards. Mine seem to last a good long time.

As far as things disappearing:

Pens. The S is the problem.

Get one good pen.

Mentally less drag to track a single object.

And if it's expensive, you won't lose it.

And... a thing of beauty is a joy forever.

I blame Butters.

Lamy fountain pens are a nice alternative to the usual roller pens so common. And very affordable as well.

[I can't use fountain pens. Lefty.

I actually used them for several years in high school, because on the weekends I worked at a pharmacy where we sold them and I couldn't resist buying a few because they were so neat. I was partial to Parkers, which were made down the road in Janesville, Wisconsin. But finally I realized I was contorting my hand in order to write without dragging my hand through the fresh ink, and did the sensible thing and gave them up. Still kinda like them even though I can't use them. --Mike]

RE Jnny's post. "I blame Butters."


The failure of computer related hardware almost immediately or after sveral years of use is well known and is called the bath tub effect as when the failures of a large number of a particular piece of equipment is graphed over time the shape of the frequency distribution takes the profile of a bath tub, steep descent from a large number of near immediate failures, wide valley of reliability and then a slow increase in failures caused by wear and tear. More detail here: https://www.datacenterfrontier.com/voices-of-the-industry/article/11429014/the-bathtub-curve-and-data-center-equipment-reliability

Along with pens paperclips socks and SD cards that inexplicably vanish you can add teaspoons. And this is not just anecdotal but has been thoroughly researched by a group of experimenters in Australia. You can read all the details here :https://www.bmj.com/content/331/7531/1498?fbclid=IwAR0O4yl92RlSz73XSRg11I2r9aMqsq50a4lphTvC4UflKzhlStnCr65rUEs&int_source=trendmd&int_medium=cpc&int_campaign=usage-042019

There results are that large numbers of spoons need to be purchased on a continuous basis to maintain a viable number of useful spoons in the lab tearooms. I would suggest that this policy would only need to be maintained for a few months before the facility would reach a point of 'spoon saturation' such that a spoon would be at hand as soon as you realised it was needed.

I find these handy for storing and carrying SD cards

SDcardholder com.

I flip mine around once they are used.

I only have 4 cards, and the only one that never strays is my faithful 256mb Lexar. When I buy the farm, she’ll probably be lying next to me.

If you find an old tiny Swiss Army knife, might be mine because I can't find it here anymore.

Re Cards.... I lived in fear of duplicate images ... arising from mishandling of cards in the field and related workflows ....

Card to disk, backup to second external disk, format the card.

I have now changed my workflow fundamentally for multi day trips, as cards have such high capacities.

1. Shoot images....
2. Back at base (home, hotel) I synchronise my card to a trip folder on a Samsung T7 (Blue Colour).
2. Synch this folder to a second T7 (Red)
3. Put the card back in the camera ... and continue. At the end of the trip I can ingest to my main system from one of the fast SSD drives and can format the card when my images get backed up to my main backup system.

This would not work for high volume wildlife / sports shooters using multiple cards in a session.

One of the Youtubers did a video a few months back on the importance of backups, and one of his teaching tools was a Ziploc bag full of failed SD cards. When he cracked one of them open (a fake SanDisk, if I recall), inside he found - a Micro SD card of the same capacity!

The Borrower is likely singing, Thanks for the Memory".

One 256GB Sandisk card in each camera.
No carrying cards or losing them.
Copy to the hard disk, replace in the camera.
Usually format them at the start of each month.

"And although my camera supports UHS-II it's supposedly not any faster with it except when ingesting to the computer (I think that's right anyway)—and I almost can't imagine a case where I might need the card to upload faster than a UHS-I card already does."

True for your use, I imagine. But not so generically. Example from some of my SD cards:
Lexar UHS II 1667x cards Max Read Speed: 250 MB/s
Lexar UHS II 2000x cards Max Read Speed: 300 MB/s

Read speeds are generally whats printed on the label. So not much difference, no?

Well, yeah, big difference, if you look at write speed:
Lexar UHS II 1667x cards Max Write Speed: 120 MB/s
Lexar UHS II 2000x cards Max Write Speed: 260 MB/s

I have no idea how fast your camera is able to write. And you shoot slow. When focus stacking, and using burst modes, such as OM ProCapture modes, write speed does make a difference.

As to read speed, it makes a difference to me when I have hundreds of shots from a day in the field. But it simply comes with fast write speed, anyway.

My house seems to have pen borrowing Borrowers as well. They also take screwdrivers and tape measures, but seem to leave the SD cards alone. Like others I keep coming across old small ones I barely remember buying. I just bought a few new ones since the new camera wants faster ones with a V speed rating. It's amazing how cheap even a 512GB card has gotten, though after reading the comments above I now regret buying a SanDisk.

I have repurposed some of the old SD cards to backup the camera settings. That way I can reformat the main cards and ensure I don't lose the settings.

Flash memory like SD cards are not designed for archival storage.

1. I use a La Cie hard drive as the primary storage source for my photography (14 tb) which is exactly the same colour as an iMac mini and sits next to it. It's quiet, has not yet missed a beat, and has a powered USB A port, an SD port AND a CF port on the front for the odd occasion when I talk my now aging D3 out to play. Very convenient.

2. I'm generally opposed to disposable devices for environmental reasons, but sometimes the convenience is just too great to pass up. See if you can get yourself some Pilot Varsity or "V" fountain pens - they can sometimes be hard to find but are often on Amazon etc. They are reasonably cheap disposable fountain pens but are great to write with - better than several expensive pens I've acquired over the years, never leak (even on aircraft), and whose nibs for reasons I don't quite understand, work perfectly well with left-handed writers (with apologies for the very poor attempted pun). And if you ruin a nib with your writing angle (or dropping the pen on it, etc.), or it gets borrowed, just grab a new pen and keep going... I prefer the fine nibs.

As was mentioned by at least two commenters, I have had TWO Western Digital HDDs roll over and die. No satisfaction from WD on the follow-up with them. No more DD for me, also no more HDDs just SSDs. Another frustrating failure of media devices has been "thumb drives". I have had several that appear to be read-once and never again, or simply do not work right out of the package. Cheap, low capacity memory cards are a solution, except when you want to give them to someone and they do not have the correct or any read capability.

As I continue to age, now 77, I find myself "losing" things at a much higher frequency. Pens, pencils, pocket knives, and keys. Pens and pencils are not as upsetting as I try to use low cost ones so the pain is lessened. However, in the case of knives and keys, it can be a $$$$. Have you ever needed to replace a car remote? OUCH!

One final note, In the film days, you could rely on the negative or slide as a back-up if stored properly. Of course now, I am trying to cull the herd as they say and dispose of the voluminous accumulation of the old media. Why? Not sure, my clients and children don't want any of them.

AH, progress, I think that is what they call it.

The flash memory in memory cards won't wear out from age alone -- only from heavy read/write use. It's unlikely you will wear out a card in a camera.

The "ten year" estimate you've heard is probably memory retention, not degradation. Flash memory retains data by trapping electrons in a transistor, essentially like a capacitor. Over time, the transistors lose electrons for various reasons. If they lose too many, that memory cell becomes unreadable.

I have asked Sandisk engineers about retention, but there are too many variables to give a firm estimate. The major factor is transistor size -- newer, smaller transistors trap fewer electrons and therefore retain their data for less time. Broadly speaking, the higher a memory card's capacity, the lower its retention.

Ten years is probably a reasonable estimate. Personally, I think five years is safer. I've had USB thumb drives fail after five years. I wouldn't trust any flash memory (including SSDs) for archival storage.

Many new cards come with access to free recovery software. If you have some old cards turn up it’s always interesting to see what’s still lurking on the cards having been previously deleted….

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