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Thread: Signs of SD card failure?

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    Senior Member Hosermage's Avatar
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    Signs of SD card failure?

    Yesterday I encountered something I've never seen with my SD card and M9. I took about 30+ shots and everything seemed normal. I setup the camera up to allow me to "chimp" as long as I keep the shutter pressed and was seeing everything. Then, when I picked it up 10-15 minutes later to review some of the images, I noticed I lost about 10+ shots. I'm pretty sure I took them because I remember there was one I really liked and I wanted to show it my wife, but it was gone.

    I began to feel a little uneasy, wasn't sure if it's the memory card or the camera itself. I removed and reinserted the card, and the camera started to report "No SD Card". I immediately swapped to a backup card because I didn't want to risk losing any pictures, and all was well so I think we can rule the camera out as the culprit.

    Back at home, I was able to import in all the photos (minus the ones that were lost), I reformatted the card in camera and it seems normal again. But now I'm not sure if I should continue to use it or if I should just toss it. The card is almost 2 years old and had around 11k pictures written/read/erased. Has it reached the end of its life?

    I know people always recommend formatting in camera after each import, but I've been doing just a regular delete all without any troubles (until now). I wonder if that could be the problem. Any insights will be appreciated!
    David Young
    My journey into Leica: LeicaLux.com

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    Re: Signs of SD card failure?

    If you have just been doing a delete and not formatting it, that could be the problem. It is kind of seems like it. However, with the costs of cards, a new card is a better bet. Keep the old one in the bag in case you fill the other one. I did have a bad card that worked for a while and then one day after I previewed images on the card, the images could not be read. Data recovery did not work but showed the data. So, cards can go bad too.

    For the cost, why wonder if it is the card or a formatting issue.

    BTW, start formatting your cards.
    Will

    http://www.hakusancreation.com
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    Senior Member Tim's Avatar
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    Re: Signs of SD card failure?

    IMO the cost of a new card is substantially less than the cost of losing your images, particularly when you take time, fuel to location and all the other variables into account. So I would certainly use/buy another card, buuut I'm sure you know this already. I have had to ditch a couple of USB flash adapters as the adpater had failed not the flash cards themselves. I've also had issues on PCs with front USB ports that are connected with short cables. There rear mainboard connectors often work best.

    Having said that I have researched in the past some software to check cards to see if they are genuine and also looked for testing software to check a card. They may be of little use but here is some suggestions to examine..

    H2testw 1.4
    this one is designed to detect fake cards but may still be useful identifying faulty ones?

    USB Flash Drive Tester

    I can't say I've used either software much but I note them for later use if I need it, so use with caution and at your own risk.
    These do have destructive tests I understand, so don't leave images on the cards.
    Also if you are a Mac only user, you'll have to research some Mac software obviously.
    In the end you could just ditch to another card and move on.

    Was it a large/fast card that was expensive?
    Last edited by Tim; 4th November 2013 at 19:13.
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    Re: Signs of SD card failure?

    First off, you should have run a recovery program on the card before reformatting to see whether you actually did lose the images.

    When you just "delete all" without ever reformatting, you can hamper the performance of a memory card, especially if you shoot a fair amount. Deleting images just tells the camera it is okay to write over existing images and always leaves traces of data on the card which can add up if you never reformat ... as explained by Sandisk here:

    Reasons to format a memory card

    Also read this:

    When to erase and format a memory card?

    And this "best way to format a SD card" from the Secure Digital Association:

    SD Formatter: Best utility to format SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cardsMemory Cards

    (I assume once you use the above SD Utility, you would still have to reformat in the camera before use ... I think this is a method of deeper cleansing : -)

    I reformat every time I do a fresh shoot ... but only after downloading the existing images and making a second copy to a separate hard-drive.

    BTW, I shoot Weddings where a card failure is not an option, or a very disappointing personal inconvenience ... it is ruination. So both my main wedding cameras shoot to two cards at the same time ... I use my Leica Ms only for images I can afford to lose.

    Hope this helps,

    - Marc
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    Senior Member Hosermage's Avatar
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    Re: Signs of SD card failure?

    excellent information, gents! Thanks a lot
    David Young
    My journey into Leica: LeicaLux.com

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    Senior Member Tim's Avatar
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    Re: Signs of SD card failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    BTW, I shoot Weddings where a card failure is not an option, or a very disappointing personal inconvenience ... it is ruination. So both my main wedding cameras shoot to two cards at the same time ... I use my Leica Ms only for images I can afford to lose.

    Hope this helps,

    - Marc
    Hi Marc, this begs a great question of what brand/s do you rely on?

    There has been some suggestion that keeping off the top speed cards is a wise move as the moderate speed models less likely to give issues. Some mid range cards are only a little slower but substantially cheaper at times.

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    Re: Signs of SD card failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim View Post
    Hi Marc, this begs a great question of what brand/s do you rely on?

    There has been some suggestion that keeping off the top speed cards is a wise move as the moderate speed models less likely to give issues. Some mid range cards are only a little slower but substantially cheaper at times.
    All of my CF cards are Sandisk Extreme Pros because it was recommended (and tested) by Hasselblad when I used their products. I now use those in the Leica S2 (which also takes a SD card for parallel jpg capture as backup).

    My SDs are a mix of Sandisk Extreme Pro's that I use in the Leica MM and S2 ... and Sony Branded SDs for the Sony A900 and A99 (which simultaneously shoots RAW to two SD cards). I didn't buy the Sony cards to be Brand loyal or anything, I did it because they were on sale for substantially less than the Sandisks, and I always am using the same cards in the same camera.

    The speed of the cards is usually the fastest available at the time of purchase, not so much for any capture speed since I don't "machine gun" with any camera ... it is to facilitate faster downloads of a lot of images after a wedding shoot. It is there that card speed, or lack of it, becomes very evident.

    The argument about shooting smaller capacity cards verses larger ones is on-going. One side asks why put all your eggs in one basket? The other side says swapping cards mid-stream increases the chances of user error, so why risk it?

    IMO, it is all relative. I use mostly 32 gig cards in the S2 which captures much larger files than the Leica MM, and 32 gig in the Sony's so I don't have to swap cards frequently (if at all) in hectic shooting conditions ... or manage a bunch of smaller capacity cards.

    Card failure (as opposed to camera failure), is less of a worry for me because I use dual capture on the S2 and A99 at weddings, so losing images on larger capacity cards is of less concern. I've yet to completely fill a 32 gig card in a single camera at a single wedding.

    There is also the school of thought that you should always swap out cards before completely filled ... which I intuitively buy into without any solid evidence why ... So I've never tested the theory ... I just swap them out when 3/4 full.

    - Marc

    Oh, BTW ... of the issues I've ever experienced with card failures, most were suspected to be due to weak or faulty camera batteries ... no real evidence on that either, but it coincidently seemed to be the case. So I do not let the battery in any camera go below 2/3s empty.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Signs of SD card failure?

    The battery issue has been a "big deal" with the M8/M9 because of the low capacity batteries ....when you don t have enough "juice" to complete a write to the card ...you can make it impossible to record additional captures . If the battery was below 2/3 (as Marc said) and the card appears to come back after reformatting ...its normally the battery not the card .

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    Re: Signs of SD card failure?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    If you have just been doing a delete and not formatting it, that could be the problem. It is kind of seems like it. However, with the costs of cards, a new card is a better bet. Keep the old one in the bag in case you fill the other one. I did have a bad card that worked for a while and then one day after I previewed images on the card, the images could not be read. Data recovery did not work but showed the data. So, cards can go bad too.

    For the cost, why wonder if it is the card or a formatting issue.

    BTW, start formatting your cards.
    Hi, Shashin! I wanted to know if my files will be lost if i reformat my sd cards? thanks.

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