Bad card?

I’m only on the third week of my trip and I already have problems with my equipment. One memory card seems to be broken, or at least I think it’s the card. The other day I was shooting and suddenly my camera stopped working. It appeared to be a card problem. My camera prompted me to recover the database, which I did and after that all was well again, no images lost. After transferring the images to my laptop I formatted the card in camera as I always do. I should have stopped using that card right there, but I didn’t, because I thought the problem was solved. However, yesterday the same problem repeated itself and then I realized there must be something wrong the card.

Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur. This image was on the faulty card and I’m happy I could save it.

In my experience, memory cards are very reliable. During my 18 years with digital cameras I’ve only had three card failures, which I consider pretty good. It’s a bit worrying, though, that the last two failures have happened during the last year. Are the cards less reliable today than they were 10 years ago?

Last year one of my Lexar cards broke. I tried it with several cameras and they all reported a card error. That was a very clear case of a faulty card. This latest card problem is with a SanDisk card and I really hope it’s the card. I’ve had my Sony for about two years and so far it has been a very solid performer. Right now wouldn’t exactly be the best timing for any camera trouble.

5 thoughts on “Bad card?

  1. I was invited.., and I say “invited” because I will never do that again, to shoot my nephews wedding. Anyway during the shoot I had a similar experience to yours where suddenly I was getting an “error” message and I couldn’t continue with that equipment. Fortunately I was using 2 cameras, an Olympus EM5-II, and an Olympus PEN-F neither, of which, had I any trouble. Since there were photos on this “Bad” card I didn’t want to re-format until I had transferred what I already shot. Fortunately all images up until the “error” were still available. The card, in question, was a rather cheap one bought in a moment of weakness in an attempt to save money. Another thing I will never do again. Later I did re-format the card and it seems to still work.., and this is two years after the wedding.

  2. I have a Lexar 64GB SDXC II 150 MB/s and the DC-G9 sometimes freezes for a few seconds. I tried to format from the G9 but the problems continue. With the SDHD no problem. Is this a problem with SDXC?
    What card do you recommend for the G9?
    Congratulations on your blog.

    1. Thanks you! I have used Sandisk Extreme Pro cards and never had problems with them. I have 64GB Extreme Pro 300 MB/s cards, but I think also a slower card would work well on the G9.

  3. Yes. Cards are less reliable than 10 years ago. It’s physics.
    The first Memory Cards were so called Single Level Cell cards. One cell could only have two states. High and low.
    The more the memory capacity was increased, a problem occurred. First the structures of the memories were getting smaller. Then instead of Single level cell memories triple level cells were invented. So each cell could could have three different states, high, low and middle. So the data is stored in analog levels in the memory cell.
    Today you find MLC cards, mulri level cell cards which can have even more states in one cell. But this is only possible, because the memory controller in the card can detect errors and rewrite erroneous cells. Therefore the card has to be repowered sometimes. Single Level Cell cards have about 10000 write cycles per cell, modern MLC cards have only about 300 write cycles per cell.

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