Memory card sizes

Once upon a time I had six 128 and 160 megabyte PCMCIA memory cards and I happily rotated them through my 1.9 megapixel Canon/Kodak DCS520 cameras. That was over nineteen years ago and, like most other photographers, I have kept on buying more and more newer, faster and larger cards ever since. In 2002 when I was shooting with the original Canon 4.1 megapixel EOS1D I graduated to a small pile of 256 megabyte cards which were replaced by 512 meg’ cards pretty quickly. Nine and a half years ago (2008) when I went freelance I was shooting with 8 megapixel Canon EOS1D MkII cameras and I had eight 2 gigabyte cards (along with a stack of ‘retired’ cards) and rarely needed more than four of those a day.

Fast forward to today and I still have a Think Tank wallet with eight compact flash memory cards in it – but now they are all 32 gigabyte plus three spare SD cards for the Canon EOS5D MkIVs and the 7D MkII. On top of that I keep a couple of 16 gig’ CF cards, six 8 gig’ cards and a couple of specialist SD cards in my ‘just-in-case’ case. further on top of that each camera starts the day with a 32 gig’ CF card as well as a 32 gig’ SD card.

That’s a lot of data but, now that I shoot a lot of commercial projects, I seem to get through it! On a three day shoot this week I used up the equivalent of fifteen 32 gigabyte cards with RAW files from my Canon EOS5D MkIV cameras as well as four 32 gig’ SD cards with medium JPEG backup files that can also be sent quickly to clients for their social media.

We are now crunching through so much data that I no longer ingest cards into the computer to make selections later. These days I only import the good pictures into the computer which saves time and space. Of course I then edit those down to form the final edit which get prepared in Adobe Camera RAW for the clients. You often hear the word ‘exponential’ used when talking about the growth in the amount of data we are creating and storing and in my work that is certainly an accurate term.

Every single card in my case is Sandisk – one of those rare brands that has given me no stress over the years. Most of them are the Extreme range with write speeds of 120 MB/s. I buy new cards every twelve to eighteen months and relegate the oldest ones to the back up folder. Logic would dictate that the next purchases should be 64 or even 128 gig’ cards but there’s something about the pace of shooting when you get around 700 pictures on a card. When you fill one, you know where you are and I seem to make subconscious notes of how much time my edit is going to take.

I still own one DSLR that has a single SD card slot (the EOS6D) but I am far happier with a camera with dual slots and far happier with compact flash than I am with secure digital.

There are a few other low or no stress brands too; Think Tank, Manfrotto, Canon and Volkswagen spring to mind as being on that high level with Sandisk.

Image rescue software

sandsk_rescue_proI just thought that I’d post a very quick note about the free one year licenses that I got with two new Sandisk compact flash cards that I bought today. As someone who relies on their cards for a living it’s great practice to replace and update your cards so every few months I buy a couple of new ones.

Since I went freelance and got to start making my own purchasing decisions almost six years ago I’ve been buying ever larger and ever faster Sandisks. I don’t always buy the fastest or biggest but they tend to be faster and/or bigger than the last batch. Anyway, you get the idea.

This time it was a couple of 16 gigabyte 120 mbps CF cards that work nicely with the Canon EOS5D MkIII cameras each of which came with a one year license for the Rescue Pro Deluxe software. I was prompted to get a couple of new cards because my last one year license for the software expired a week or so ago. It struck me that this is quite a good way for Sandisk to keep me loyal and for me to keep up to date with the software. Every twelve months I need to buy at least one new card and by doing so I keep the software running. By buying two new cards, I now have two computers with valid licenses!

Everyone is a winner.

The joke here is that I haven’t ever had a Sandisk card go wrong on me. I have rescued a card belonging to a colleague (Transcend Card) and I have had some fun ‘rescuing’ a few very old and very small retired cards of my own.  Earlier today an ancient Lexar 512 Mb card threw up some images shot on a Canon EOS1D in 2003 and some more shot on a 1D MkII in 2005. A 2GB Sandisk card went through the process a few minutes later and that had some personal stuff from 2008 along with a couple of jobs from the same year. If I can find the right card reader in the loft, I also have a PCMCIA card dating from 1998!

This could become addictive…