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12-09-2010, 08:04 AM   #1
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memory card error for real?

Hi Everyone,

I just got back from an amazing trip to Argentina, with one glitch. After filling up my 16 GB card, I went and bought an 8GB Kingston class 4 card (in original packaging - everything looked legitimate). After a day and a half of use, probably 500 pictures (some of my FAVORITES!), while standing on top of a glacier in Patagonia, I got the dreaded "MEMORY CARD ERROR". Couldn't take any more pictures on that card and couldn't see anything previously taken.

After bringing it to an excellent computer service/store (Tekserve in NYC) I'm now told that NOTHING can be recovered from the card.

Has this happened to anyone else?

I can't tell you how disappointing this is and how nervous it makes to me continue investing time and money in digital photography.

Do you think there's any point in trying to contact Kingston? How often does something like this happen? How do I make sure this never happens again?

Thanks

12-09-2010, 08:19 AM   #2
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Sorry to hear about your troubles. I do understand how frustrating it is when this happens.

Kingston's products are usually lifetime warranted. At least their memory for computers is, and I would think so for their memory cards. I'd contact them.

Have you tried to recover the photos yourself? I use recuva (pronounce recover) and recovered quite a few of my photos and others pictures for them.
12-09-2010, 08:29 AM   #3
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That why I carry multiple card 4 GB or 8GB. This way if one is defective , I can switch easly. PS I buy also before going on a trip
12-09-2010, 12:45 PM   #4
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The issue was not that the card failed to take additional pictures - I had backups. The issue is that the 500 photo's I'd already taken are lost! I can't imagine what I'd be feeling if this had happened to my 16 GB card. Is this a reason to stick to smaller cards and just more of them?

And the card i purchased looked totally legitimate from a seemingly legitimate electronics store in Buenos Aires. Do you think it was a fake or are there just bunk cards out there?

My real question is, was this a freak accident, or a risk that we all accept?

12-09-2010, 05:34 PM   #5
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It's a risk we all accept. I've been told by people wiser than me that a card shouldn't be filled more than 75%-80% capacity, in much the same way hard drives should never be used to capacity.
Also, I format my cards every time I put them into the camera, and periodically I format them in the computer and then format them again in camera.
Without wanting to dis Kingston, the only cards I've had fail have been inexpensive ones.
My Sandisk cards bought from a guaranteed genuine source have never failed me.
I wonder sometimes if using a card that is quite slow can cause write problems for a camera, but this is just idle thought.
12-09-2010, 05:40 PM   #6
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I'd definitely give Kingston a call. I'm sure they can tell you in an instant if you got a fake card or not. There are also sites out there to help people ID fake cards from legitimate ones. Just do a Google search.

I would also agree with a bunch of smaller cards vs one large card. Reason being is that if your out on a vacation or photo shoot, and you use 1 large card, and it craps out on you, you lose everything. If you've used a number of smaller cards, then you only loose a percentage of your stuff. I'd rather lose some than everything.

One other comment. You mentioned something about investing time & money in digital. I've had film come back to me where is was no good. Lab or camera issue or film issue. No matter what medium you use, there are risks. Plus with film, your paying everytime for processing.
12-09-2010, 05:52 PM   #7
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Card failure is a risk we all take. However, as most electronics flash memory cards are likely to fail early if at all. Unlike most electronics they will eventually wear out, but this takes so long (more than 100 000 write cycles) that it is not a practical concern in camera use. I advocate testing a card throughly before putting it into any important use; I have found a couple of lemons this way, and it seems that the ones that pass the initial test continue to work reliably as long as I care to use them (my sample is obviously small :-). Personally, I do a couple of cycles with the Linux utility "badblocks" (say overnight) for this, I'd be surprised if something for this purpose is not out there for Windows and Mac as well.
12-09-2010, 05:57 PM   #8
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Yep, got one brand new faulty SD one day... Of course it was on a wedding! I don't know how many shots were misrecorded before seeing the MEMORY CARD ERROR message... Maybe 10...

Since that day, I always make sure my camera can fill a brand new SD card beforehand...

12-09-2010, 07:25 PM   #9
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I have gotten the Memory Card Error message but never to the extent that you did. If I get that message I either turn camera off then on and if that doesn't work then I move the photos to my computer and format the card via the camera and all is good. I have never lost any files before.

Definitely try to recover the files yourself using free/paid software. I use Tune-Up Utilities (it has a recovery program) and it works pretty good.

As for calling Kingston, I would. They will probably send you a new card. Don't be to worried about investing in digital photography. Kingston is a good brand and this problem does not happen too often (at least I think it doesn't). You are more likely to not have problems than to have them. Good Luck.
12-10-2010, 03:09 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
I've been told by people wiser than me that a card shouldn't be filled more than 75%-80% capacity, in much the same way hard drives should never be used to capacity.
Take it from people wiser than the people that are wiser than you that this is nonsense.

QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Also, I format my cards every time I put them into the camera, and periodically I format them in the computer and then format them again in camera.
I formatted all my cards exactly once. Subsequently, I always just deleted the image folders within the top folder after copying the images. Never had a problem. Not saying this is the golden path but the FAT file system used by these cards is really simple and there is no reason why things should go wrong and they never did for me. Just another success story with a different approach.
12-10-2010, 03:52 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Class A Quote
Not saying this is the golden path but the FAT file system used by these cards is really simple and there is no reason why things should go wrong...
The implementation has been tweaked quite a bit over the years, and what is worse, it is not a formal, but a de-facto standard (= Microsoft implementation at any given time). It is not terribly likely, but still possible that different implementations result in trouble which can be avoided by formatting in camera as it will result in a mint file system conforming to the camera implementation. This also neatly avoids the need for an explicit file system intergrity check every now and then.
12-11-2010, 10:19 AM   #12
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As for testing a memory card with Windows I found this from another thread: Download H2testw 1.4 Free - Check your USB for errors with this tool. - Softpedia. Ticking 'endless verify' and leaving that to run overnight should do it: if no errors are found changes are that the card will work ever after, if errors occur the log to can be copied to clipboard, pasted to, say, Notepad and saved to a file which can then be used to convince the supplier that the is a problem.

[Edit: 'endless verify' is not as useful as I thought, it just reads back the data until stopped. The really useful thing to do is to a couple of cycles where all of the the card is written to, seems like this cannot be automated with this. Incidently, watch out for the computer going into power save, this seems to interfere with the test. A useful tool, regardless.]

Last edited by jolepp; 12-11-2010 at 11:47 AM.
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