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Thread: Memory, as big as you can?

  1. #1
    The Caretaker's Avatar
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    Memory, as big as you can?

    I have a fair few Compact flash cards mainly 5 x 4gb 2 x 8gb and i have just bought a 16gb now my original thinking for this was if your card goes wrong you have only lost 4gb but then got the 7D and 4gb was too small so i bought the 8gb's but in RAW it dosen't take but a few burst's with the 7D and thats used up so i now move onto the 16gb.
    So my question is do you buy the biggest you can afford or do you have smaller capacity cards but more of them?

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    Sam Smith's Avatar
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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    Matt, As i have just perchased a 7d and only used it for 1 day, I have found out I am in the same boat. I believe it would be better for several cards vs just 1 card. My thinking is that if your one goes bad you will have back up and not lose all your work. It seems you have enough cards for that. Just remember to change it at a non critical time while shooting.

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    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    If you are an occcasional shooter (not directly involved in making photography as a business) perhaps owning these big capacity memory cards can work for you. However, I've read numerous stories of professional wedding photographers who still prefer using 1 GB and 2GB capacity CF cards as their main choice. Their reason... if one of the card malfunctions you only lose a small percentage of shots. If you put all the wedding shots on one large memory card and for some unknown reason it died on you then you're in big trouble. What they can suggest as an alternative is to own a portable backup drive that can read and transfer card data on the spot. It's like a memory card reader but with a built in drive inside to back up your data. HTH.

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    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    I simply cannot see the problem of switching CF cards. I guess I am still thinking about using medium format equipment and having to switch rolls of 120 or 220 film every 12 or 24 exposures.

    Switching CF cards seems to me no more difficult or time consuming than changing exposure or focus modes. The maximum size card that I use is 4GB which suits me just fine for my 30D and 40D cameras, I realize that these bodies produce RAW file sizes smaller than the 5D or 7D cameras but, I would have no problems switching cards after these bodies filled the CF card - even when shooting in burst mode. I had an 8GB card go bad on me (actually it was bad from the start). I formatted it, shot 20-30 exposures which were fine and then reformatted it and used it for a project. I could not retrieve the images - even using a rescue program. Lucky it was not a paid assignment and lucky that I was shooting with 4GB cards on my second camera. I decided that, although I don't like losing ANY images, losing 4GB worth is only HALF AS PAINFUL as losing 8GB worth of images.

    Shooting video is another area entirely, you can fill up a smaller capacity card pretty quickly.

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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    Hi,

    I also do not see a problem of switching memory cards. I use a Canon 40D so I don't do any video shooting. I am considering the price per GB as a main criteria for buying cards. The card speed is not that important because I do not often use burst mode and modern ultra high speed cards have a higher I/O rating than the writing speed of the 40D.

    bye
    Robert

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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    One other point to consider is, does your computer have sufficient power to handle these large files quickly. And can you then find a specific image amongst all those others?

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    mknittle's Avatar
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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    Just a thought, how about one high capacity card for video and long bursts{If you use it} and lower capicity cards for stills.

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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    A bit off topic, and not relevant to me because I only have an SD slot, but is there a consensus view on the relative merits of SD and CF. I'm thinking mostly of reliability, and for stills not video.

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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    I prefer smaller cards, since if something goes wrong with a smaller card I've lost fewer images

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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    Richard, what cards do you like for your 7D?

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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    I have a 5DIII and my teenage son a 7D. In our experience 4GB cards are used up very quickly indeed on trips, especially if you shoot RAW or RAW + JPEG. If you shoot video (I use my 5DIII to record commercial videos for publication on a business web site - it is superb for this) then 16Gb is a minimum. High quality fast memory is pretty cheap these days. Obviously the 5D has twin cards, so that helps with backup anyway. I fully understand why wedding photographers, who are capturing memories that cannot be repeated, are cautious: but pro bodies tend to have dual cards anyway.

    60Mbs 16Gb sandisk pro extreme are now under 50. In several years of using CF and SD cards and many thousands of shots, I have never had a card failure or card corruption. Memory cards are very reliable.

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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    I think it is easier to manage cards if they are larger capacity, in my 7D I use 16Gb, 5DIII 32Gb. I have never had a card failure, apart from dropping a card when changing it. Trying to change a card in a hurry is when you will make the mistake of trying to force it in the wrong way round which can damage the pins in the camera, or taking the card out before the camera has finished writing to it, which can corrupt the card. With larger cards it is easier to remember to format them in the camera they are being used in, which is said to reduce the risk of corruption and improve writing speed.

    The other issue is to not delete in camera, which helps to keep the file structure on the card simple and so not so likely to corrupt, and easier to recover files should a fat error occur. When I put a card into my camera I always format it, which ensures all files deleted and files will be written to it most efficiently.

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    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    I get the largest cards that my camera takes that I find affordable.

    I find small cards are too much like film; the prize shot goes by just as I am changing rolls of film or changing cards (my other excuse is that I was changing lenses when the shot went by). For the D90 I shoot 32 GB SD cards, but have smaller (and older ones) as backup. For the AF100, I use dual 64 GB SD cards, and on the D800, I have 32 GB CF cards as the primary card and use either 32GB or 64GB cards in the second slot as a backup and have the camera set to only use the SD cards if I run into an overflow situation.

    I have a number of different off-brands that I use on the old D90, but stuck with the Panasonic and Nikon recommendations when I bought cards for the AF100 and the D800 (i.e. higher end SanDisk and Lexar cards).

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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    Hi Matt,

    I would think the bigger and faster the beter. I have never had a hard disc, CF Card, SD Card, Micro SD, memory stick or any other storage medium fail on me. Maybe I am just very lucky or it could be the way it is handled. Always keep them dry and store them in the protective packaging they come in. Never have them come in contact with anything that might be magnetic and keep away from heat.
    The really fast and big ones are outrageously expensive. Depending on what you can afford you will buy the best. I do not think there is need to worry about the card failing you, maybe the camera will fail you before the card does.

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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    Quote Originally Posted by The Caretaker View Post
    I have a fair few Compact flash cards mainly 5 x 4gb 2 x 8gb and i have just bought a 16gb now my original thinking for this was if your card goes wrong you have only lost 4gb but then got the 7D and 4gb was too small so i bought the 8gb's but in RAW it dosen't take but a few burst's with the 7D and thats used up so i now move onto the 16gb.
    So my question is do you buy the biggest you can afford or do you have smaller capacity cards but more of them?
    Bigger is better, you dont want to run out of space just when the shot of a life time appears in front of you.

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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    I suppose one of the joys of sticking with an older camera is total lack of concern about card capacity. Mine produces 8MB RAW (only) files and I quite often use lower resolution (2MB). So 1GB is more than adequate; actually got a 256MB in there at the moment.

    Other thing is, once any images are transferred to my computer, I usually empty the card.

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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    I have a 7D and have two 16GB SanDisk Extreme 90mbps compact flash cards. I only shoot RAW. Rarely do I fill one card except in an exceptionally long day in the field (hence the backup card). I usually get 600-650 images per card and have never waited yet for the buffer while shooting at 8 fps.

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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    Quote Originally Posted by WJT View Post
    Bigger is better, you dont want to run out of space just when the shot of a life time appears in front of you.
    Since I have only had one 'shot of a lifetime', and I captured it with film this argument doesn't sit very high in my thoughts

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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    My camera takes two cards at the same time. I use 8Gb cards and use one of them as backup. If I really need extra capacity while out shooting I could use the second card as well (but lose the backup).
    Works fine so far. I fill up my card (while regularly offloading to the computer) nowadays, so that all memory blocks get used. When it gets full I reformat.

  20. #20
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Memory, as big as you can?

    While my contribution is not relevant to the original poster's situation, others may be reading this thread that use P&S or Bridge cameras ...

    I recently bought a couple of C10 32 GB SDHC cards having previously used 4 and 8 GB of C2 and C6 speeds.

    In my DSLR (D5000) no problem, they appear a bit quicker and I have 4 times the capacity.

    In one of my other cameras, the Nikon P510 Bridge camera, writing a buffer full of data (5 x 16MP jpg shots), filled by continuous shooting of birds, it seems the larger address space is a bottleneck and they are appreciably slower to empty the buffer than the smaller capacity cards.
    The camera should have no problem with SDHC or 32 GB according to the spec.

    On the bright side, I still have somewhere to use the little cards!

    In summary, "as big as you can" may not work for you in all circumstances if you have a non-DSLR camera. If you can borrow a larger card to try first, that may save disappointment.

    Cheers,

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