Please comment briefly on your experience with higher capacity cards or any concerns you have about memory cards in general.

Editor's picture
Memory card technology has grown considerably in the past two years with new architecture allowing for greater capacity and speed. Yet, some photographers are a bit leery about using, for example, 16GB cards and entrust their entire shoot to one card. Do you have similar qualms, or do you feel the convenience of one card far outweighs any such concerns?
Please comment briefly on your experience with higher capacity cards or any concerns you have about memory cards in general.
Yes, I generally shoot with a number of smaller capacity cards to "spread the risk."
87% (408 votes)
No, I think those concerns are overblown and shoot with the highest capacity card my system can handle.
12% (56 votes)
My camera is a bit older and cannot handle the higher capacity cards, so this does not apply to me.
1% (5 votes)
Total votes: 469
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Comments
F.  Field's picture

I shoot raw (10 MPix camera) and find 4 GB about optimal -- holds about 400 images -- while at the same time avoiding the risk of all images in one basket that would come from 8 or 16 GB cards.

Donovan Rieger's picture

All electronic devices will fail sooner or later. If the shoot will be impossible to do again, then I say use multiple smaller cards.

Bob Fidelman's picture

Having had cards fail for no discernable reason, I am a firm advocate of spreading the risk around.

Don 's picture

We have shot over 50,000 images each year for the last 4 years and have never lost an image due to card failure. Are we the exception or is this normal?

Deb Simon's picture

Love the super fast & super large new cards. In a fast action situation, I don't loose any shots to reload a fresh card, and I don't have to worry about dropping anything out of my camera bag while frantically trying to pull out an unused card and reload. Yea, it's worth the risk.

Paul Gomez's picture

Same habit from my film days, I never put a whole wedding on one roll. I try and use several cards for vasrious aspects of a shoot.

Rudi Terstege's picture

I had a number of faulty cards which are under warranty but it still doesn't bring back the corrupted photos. Even with recovery software there is allways a risk in placing all your "eggs in one basket". Spreading the risk just makes sense to me!!!

Joan Wheeler's picture

I have had an 8 g card go bad and lost may photos. Now I use 2 and 4 g cards ( and stay away from 'generic' cards. Also a 4 g card is perfect for a DVD.

Jesse Wayne's picture

I, too, am leery, but it appears most everything is a gamble these days and I prefer to use a high capacity & speed that is, until I experience a problem.

Ken Williams's picture

With several capacity cards, I can unload one to my "photo wallet" while shooting with another. You can't do that if you only have one card.

Mark Van Bergh's picture

What is a "smaller capacity" card? I have moved to 8 GB cards, and still have two 4 GB cards. The larger cards work well with my 12 MP DSLR, but when the 24.6 MP "full frame" camera becomes available, it may require going to even larger cards to provide a good number of shots (almost exclusively RAW only) per card. But with 16 and 32 GB cards, do these (8 GB) qualify as "smaller?" I have never had a CF card fail, and have heard of such situations on rarely, and usually with "off brand" cards, so that is not a big concern. Also, you may want to re-think, expand or better describe the options in your little survey (see my original comment regarding where an 8 GB card fits in your options).

Jim Cabezola's picture

A small card is as likely to fail as a large one. Indeed, I've have little 64MB (way back in the day) and 512MB cards fail, whereas none of my 2GB cards have bitten the dust yet. The problem is overblown, I feel, and can be ameliorated simply by backing the cards up to another media storage device during the lulls in shooting.

Pete's picture

I use 8 gig cards but with large RAW files this is only a few hundred photos. If I had to use smaller cards I would be changing all the time.

Jim McEwen's picture

I shoot RAW and use several 2gb CF's. I can index by card a day's shoot or by subject and edit later. And loss, if any, will be minimal.

Will's picture

I try to never remove the CF cards from a camera. The connection holes are so small a speck of dust can cause card failure. Therefore, I use the largest, fastest card available at a given time. I've never lost an image(professional photographer).

Pat Wadsworth's picture

I have an A-Data 16GB SDHC card that I have been carrying in my pocket for several months now, with no problems. I carry it inside a tiny SanDisk MicroMate card reader and use it as a USB flash drive. On the basis of my experience to date, I wouldn't expect it to be any less reliable than a smaller capacity card.

Gary C's picture

I used to shoot only on 1GB cards, but it was more to limit my 'shoots' to what would fit on a CD. I've been shooting for a while with 16GB cards and have had no problems or concerns. Just need to separate the photos into storage-size groups now.

Dave Peck's picture

I do not want to take a chance on larger capactiy card failing, if it fails then I have a lot more money invested and lost. I have mostly 1 and 2 gig cards.

Walter Lubzik's picture

We use to put all the photos on one roll of film.

Brooks Bollman's picture

I would never shoot an entire assigment on one roll of film, neither would I use only one memory card.

Bill Sheets's picture

You digital photographers seem spoiled and lazy..16 GB cards indeed. Smaller cards are cheap and it takes only a few seconds to swap in my Nikon D200. I dont use anything over 4 GB, and most of my cards are 1 and 2 GB. Sometimes the latest aint the greatest.

Dennis's picture

I use a Canon 5D. RAW files use up a lot of space. While traveling I like to spread the risk and use 8GB cards.

Dave's picture

I use 4gb cards as a balance between number of shots and safety of not having all shots on one card. I shoot raw plus jpeg.

Chuck Stefanetti's picture

The only way to go is spreading the risk. When you're being paid to shoot an event that will never happen again (photojournalism, weddings, etc.) one needs to give themself all the safety advantages practically possible. I shoot 2GB cards on my DX2 in raw mode. That allows 100 shots per card. Enough to cover one phase of an event without needing to change.

John Ayres's picture

4GB cards are the largest I use. I have some 8GB cards, but seldom will I use them. If you have to use a recovery program to recover files it takes a very long time for the program to recover the files from a large capacity card. I've had to do this on a few occasions .

Ray Hull's picture

Having cracked the perforated face of an expensive, large capacity CF card with a name-brand card reader whose pins had gone awry, I stick to 4 GB and lower.

Dale Hazard's picture

Putting all your eggs in one basket? Not for me. So far, I've had one 512 mb card go corrupt on me. Fortunately I was able to retrive the files before the card went bad. Suppose that was somebody's wedding pics. I'd have lost 50 pics, not 500 or more. Until it gets to the point where the file size get much larger and my 512mb cards only hold a small amount of pictures (I get about 60 RAW files on 1 card) I'll stick with the smaller cards. And by the way, just try to buy a card today smaller than 1GB.

David Robinson's picture

I have the perfect back-up system for my travel photojournalism. It's called a wife. What I miss with my Nikon D80 she nails with her Canon 40D. We both use 4-gig cards, because anything can fail, and they take 5 seconds to change. So get 4-gigs and a spouse!

Cliff Sanders's picture

I have experienced the failure of a card and the hours of effort needed to recover the photos. I find it hard to place my trust in a single card; no matter the make.

Fred McCaslin's picture

This is a developing area of interest for me. For now I shoot with 2GB SD cards. I would prever to spread the risk and would not consider a higher capacity card. Additionally, the larger capacity cards really download slowly in my HP computer though it is only a year or so old. In the film days, I would send rolls of my important shots in for processing on different days so as not to lose them all at the same time. Nothing has really changed in terms of risk.