A Few Tips Protecting Your memory Cards

January 30, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Using You Memory card - Memory card tips!

That small piece of plastic we insert into our camera’s and mobile phones, how many of us overlook its importance! So if you enjoy taking digital photos on a memory card (and you probably are), SPEND A FEW MOMENTS  AND READ THIS!


Most people look at a memory card as a piece of plastic or metal, and they don't think much about them (To a certain degree me included). But inside those covers, there is a LOT of technology to save our memories. There is flash memory, a controller and much more. The quality of that memory and often determines the speed and quality of your card.

Your memory card has something called a File Allocation Table, otherwise known as a FAT Table. Think of your memory card as a book and the FAT Table as a Table of Contents. When you format a memory card, you are not actually erasing the card, you are just clearing the FAT Table. So...you have removed the Table of Contents, but the chapters of the book still remain. All the images will remain on your card until you take more pictures and overwrite them. This is why you Lexar's with their memory cards supply a free software program Image Rescue, While SanDisk's use Rescue Pro. To be honest there are other data recovery software to help recover images from a card even after it is formatted. 

So that said : -

1. DON’T erase images from your memory card in your camera! Even I am guilty of this from time to time but do not go through your photos and delete them one by one using your camera. I see family and friends doing this all the time and it isn’t a good idea. Your camera does a good job in taking photos, but it is not very smart at managing the data on your memory card. Deleting individual images from the card using your camera is a great way to scramble the FAT Table. DON'T DO THAT! Memory cards have gotten so inexpensive and large, that you should not have to delete images to save space. Just pop in a new card and keep shooting. Once you have downloaded to your computer, and backed up the images THEN by all means format your card to use it time after time again.


2. Format your memory cards in your camera, not on your computer. This should be common sense but I have seen advice given to people to format their memory cards on your computer. Nooo, please don’t’ do this! You want to format the cards in the camera. And you should do this on the camera you are shooting with. You are reading this correctly...I do not format in one Canon camera and move it to another. Will they work? Yes, they will. But in time when you run into issues this will be the cause as to why. Speaking of this, it is not a good idea to pull a memory card out of one camera model and putting it into another without formatting.


3. Formatting: It’s a good idea to format your cards after each shoot. Actually I do it before its event but same rule applies. Once you have downloaded your card and have the images stored on your hard drive (In more than one place is sensible), you should format that card before it's next use. It keeps things cleaner on the card.

4. Use a fast card reader! There is no point buying reliable memory cards to insert into a cheap card reader that cannot cope with the file size or an acceptable transfer speed. it really kills me. Its simple. Buy fast reliable cars then also by fast reliable card readers to speed up the transfer rate and connectivity. Keep an eye on technology improvements. At present USB 3.0 is quite common, buying USB 3.0 devices which will be compatible with USB 2.0 devices for not much more expense. Trust me this will save you an incredible amount of time waiting for images to transfer due to its increased speed. as the speed


5. Don't fill a card completely. Try not too but thee may be that odd occasion. But even though most memory cards are built well, it is not a good idea to fill a card completely. One of the reasons that I love shooting with large memory cards, is so that I have tons of head room to shoot a lot of photos and not worry about overfilling the card.


6. Don't pull a memory card out of your camera or card reader when data is being written or read from the card. While data is being transferred to/from the card and the user interrupts that process, There is a high chance now that you will lose some or all of your photos. And don't always trust the red light either on your camera to determine is data is being transferred. Before I pull my memory cards, I always wait an extra couple of seconds after the red light on the cameras goes off, signifying that the data is done being written to the card.

7. If you have two card slots in your camera, write your images redundantly to both cards to have more peace of mind. This way, if one card gets corrupted, you can most likely get the images off of the other card. Seems tedious to do so but if one card were to fail, imagine your joy as the second card steps in to save the day and all your work

8. Purchase name brand memory cards. Oh my god please, please do this! Not cheap ones bought and imported from eBay. People have tried to tell me how they bought a massive sized memory card on eBay for peanuts and I should too… (Sound the Klaxon) Absolutely not a chance in hell I will purchase these cheap and possibly…  fake cards. When they fail (oh and they will) I haven’t got time to add this kind of stress into my life and fight with a machine trying to recover a day’s work which I won’t have a chance in recovering. When cheap cards fail! That’s it, everythings gone with a lot of time work and effort also! I use SanDisk or Lexar memory cards in all my cameras, but there are others too, These two brands are my preferred choices but make sure that you do not use one of those cards made by a no-named company. Remember, you are trusting your images to the card! And you are going to be using the card over and over, so spend a little more to get a better product, in the long term, will not cost you much more. Nothing kills me more than seeing someone shooting with a great camera, expensive lens with a cheap and slow memory card.


They myth that * If memory cards get dropped in water, the data will be lost forever!* Nope, not true. Memory cards are made with solid state memory these days, it is not uncommon for them to go through the washer and dryer and still be useable. Would I keep using that card after a situation like this? Probably not. But most likely your data will still be on the card and can be recovered


9. Storing your cards I have my cards loose in my bags all the time. I do not use the little jewel cases that come with the cards. But would a little extra card protection be a bad thing? Try and use the jewell cases the cards came in or think about purchasing the ThinkTank Pixel PocketRockets.

10. X-Ray machines can’t damage your cards I have had many people ask me how they should travel with their memory cards, especially at airports. In the old days, the X-Ray machines could damage 1000 speed film, but they pose no threat to the solid state memory cards you own today.

In conclusion...

I hope this helps you have a better understanding of your memory cards and readers and appreciate them a little more. There is so much technology packed into these small devices. They’re so small now that it is easy for us to take them for granted.

Just a few and simple tips that could save you from a disastrous situation. I hope this helps. Keep your cards safe and happy shooting.


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