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06-20-2012, 06:34 PM   #1
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Use of SD card that once had a problem

Let's start with some context for my question at the end. Lately, I have been using two SD cards for all my shooting, and both were purchased new at a local store within the past 2 years. Both are SanDisk Ultras, one an 8G and the other a 16G. Up until recently, they both performed flawlessly. I usually back up files from those cards onto a harddrive reasonably soon after taking the shots, just in case.

Within the scope of several months, first one card and then the other card appeared to be corrupted.

In one case, I had filled a card at an event, was trying to get the card out of the camera in darkness, and did something that caused the camera to fail to read the card. But in that case, it turned out that pulling out the camera batteries (in my K-5 and in the grip), recharging the batteries, and then putting them back in the camera restored the camera's ability to read the card. So, perhaps we'll chalk that one up to a camera glitch. Nevertheless, after saving the photos, I reformatted the card.

In the case a few days ago, I had a card in a card reader, plugged into a USB hub, plugged into my main computer. This setup has worked well. But this time something strange happened. I was converting a few RAW files (I always shoot in RAW) into JPEGS in CS3 and saving the JPEGS to the card, which I've done before, but after doing so, I went back into the card to move the JPEGS onto another folder in my computer and the card wouldn't read at all. I plugged the card into my camera and it wouldn't read there either. Oddly, the OTHER card also appeared corrupted at this point. The other card too wouldn't read in either the card reader or the camera.

I had not yet saved all the images from the card onto my harddrive, so I was stuck with trying to solve the problem. I tried Image Rescue to try to save all the images on the first card, which left me with ugly pixelated JPEGS. I then used Image Rescue to test each card for errors, but it found none. I then gave up and reformatted each card within Image Rescue. Now, each card appears perfectly fine. They both work in the camera and in the card reader.

So, my question is this, do I dare continue to use these cards? And, what might have caused the weird results I got?

Any help appreciated....

06-20-2012, 06:52 PM   #2
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Bad card

If you have a Mac open up the disc utility and run first aid. On Pc Norton should work and it should be able to rest the sectors. The price of cards went way down, I bought a 64 gb card for I think $30 a weeks ago. An 8 is like $10-$15. Get another card and test the old ones.
06-20-2012, 06:52 PM   #3
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1. Always copy the files on your card to an alternative media, usually one or more hard discs, after you have finished shooting.
2. Don't write anything back to the cards. Save converted files to your hard discs.
3. Always format the cards in your camera - This will delete ALL photos on the card. This is better than formating the card in a card reader.
4. Clear the cards of all images and reformat the cards at periodic intervals. Some shooters reformat their cards everytime they start a new shoot.

Items 2 and 3 are the important ones. I'd macke sure the cards will work with your K-5 be reformatting them in camera before shooting more photos to them.

Regards

Chris Stone
06-20-2012, 10:29 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by sholtzma Quote
...So, my question is this, do I dare continue to use these cards? And, what might have caused the weird results I got?
Sorry to hear your trouble.

In simple words, stop to use these cards. Get some new ones of high quality for replacement.

It is simply not worth to risk loosing some great shots because of dodgy cards. SD cards are cheap now and there is no excuse not to get new one. Next time you see a special on good quality SD cards, get 3 or 4. Simple.

If you need to recover some files from corruputed, dodgy cards, use some file recovery utilisty softwares. I used Recuva (free software), but others work.

Hope that the comment may help.

06-21-2012, 01:13 AM   #5
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If they were crappy/cheap cards to begin with, I'd say get rid of them. Or if you are unsure of the source -- counterfeits are common. But corruption can be caused by lots of things, mostly having nothing to do with the physical card. They can be error-checked and tested on your computer just like a normal hard drive. I'd reformat them on the computer, run some tests on them (plenty of hard drive testing programs for free out there that will put them through a gauntlet of tests), and if they pass all tests then I'd put them back in the camera, reformat in the camera, and don't worry about it -- your problem probably had another cause.
06-21-2012, 02:20 AM   #6
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There are too many variables at this stage to blame the cards straight away. Computer hardware and operating systems, cardreaders etc.

There is a program called h2testw that can check your cards (Windows). You can do a search here (and elsewhere on the web) to find more info. For Linux, badblocks can do the same.

If the cards fail, throw them away. If they are OK, I personally would probably still use them.
06-21-2012, 02:59 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by pentaggio Quote
man, nowadays those SD cards are really cheap. So I wouldn't bother with those crappy one's any longer.
Because the risk is high that you will lose some of your newly taken pictures... and this will be a big pain in your butt, trust me!
SanDisk Ultras are not crappy cards, and they should last basically forever. The really good cards are not cheap, but they do hold more than they used to.
06-21-2012, 05:50 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by vonBaloney Quote
SanDisk Ultras are not crappy cards, and they should last basically forever. The really good cards are not cheap, but they do hold more than they used to.
All the sd cards ( all brands) have gone down. They are 30% of the cost from last year. You can get 3 x the storage for less money. Target , Staples, Best Buy and Amazon have all these on sale last few weeks. I got a larger card for less money than I paid last year. I use San Disk only. I think a 32 gb card is $25

06-21-2012, 07:46 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by sholtzma Quote
Let's start with some context for my question at the end. Lately, I have been using two SD cards for all my shooting, and both were purchased new at a local store within the past 2 years. Both are SanDisk Ultras, one an 8G and the other a 16G. Up until recently, they both performed flawlessly. I usually back up files from those cards onto a harddrive reasonably soon after taking the shots, just in case.

Within the scope of several months, first one card and then the other card appeared to be corrupted.

In one case, I had filled a card at an event, was trying to get the card out of the camera in darkness, and did something that caused the camera to fail to read the card. But in that case, it turned out that pulling out the camera batteries (in my K-5 and in the grip), recharging the batteries, and then putting them back in the camera restored the camera's ability to read the card. So, perhaps we'll chalk that one up to a camera glitch. Nevertheless, after saving the photos, I reformatted the card.

In the case a few days ago, I had a card in a card reader, plugged into a USB hub, plugged into my main computer. This setup has worked well. But this time something strange happened. I was converting a few RAW files (I always shoot in RAW) into JPEGS in CS3 and saving the JPEGS to the card, which I've done before, but after doing so, I went back into the card to move the JPEGS onto another folder in my computer and the card wouldn't read at all. I plugged the card into my camera and it wouldn't read there either. Oddly, the OTHER card also appeared corrupted at this point. The other card too wouldn't read in either the card reader or the camera.

I had not yet saved all the images from the card onto my harddrive, so I was stuck with trying to solve the problem. I tried Image Rescue to try to save all the images on the first card, which left me with ugly pixelated JPEGS. I then used Image Rescue to test each card for errors, but it found none. I then gave up and reformatted each card within Image Rescue. Now, each card appears perfectly fine. They both work in the camera and in the card reader.

So, my question is this, do I dare continue to use these cards? And, what might have caused the weird results I got?

Any help appreciated....
It is generally not recommended to format the SD cards in the computer if they are to be read in the camera. I would only format the cards in the camera and would do so before every use. Instead of deleting any of the photos on the card in the computer, rather, to erase the photos, do so by re-formatting the card in the camera. This deletes everything on the card and assures that the camera can read the card. Also, don't write any photos back to the card in the computer. This could render the card unreadable by the camera. I would also immediately copy all of the image files from the card to a computer hard drive and then do any raw conversion or manipulation only on the computer. In my mind, the SD card is only for temporary image storage, not permanent storage.
06-21-2012, 07:58 AM   #10
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People can be a little too paranoid about these things -- for instance when you update the firmware you generally copy it to the card from the computer, right? It doesn't render anything unreadable. And I have formatted in camera and in the computer both with no problems -- if all these things were not compatible we couldn't swap them in and out of different cameras, computers, and card readers as we do and they'd have little use. I do agree you don't want to be using the card for "doing work" -- just taking the pictures and moving them to the computer.

I have heard it could actually be a bad idea to be reformatting all the time (shortens life of card), but don't know if there is anything to that -- anyway most of the time just deleting images will be fine, but if there is a hint of corruption give it a format.
06-21-2012, 08:21 AM   #11
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I would not use those cards again for photos. Photos getting lost is awful. 8GB cards can be had for like $10. Use those for something else where it doesn't matter, like in an MP3 player or tablet if you can. But replace them. Better safe than sorry. How are you deleting and formatting? In the camera or with your computer? Sometimes that can make a difference. I always do it in the camera myself. Never in the OS.
06-21-2012, 09:05 AM   #12
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I'd be more suspicious of the card reader than the cards based on what the OP said....
06-21-2012, 11:19 AM   #13
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I'm grateful to all the respondents. But, I'm surprised and somewhat dismayed at the sometimes wildly differing opinions on what constitutes best practices. Is there no trusted body of data on how to use SD cards? Where and when to format them? Whether to save to them or not? Etc? Surely by this time there is some agreement on these matters.

vonBaloney, I too have some doubts about the card reader. And it is a relatively cheap one, and older one, at that. Would you advise getting a new and better quality card reader?
06-21-2012, 11:25 AM   #14
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I'll vote for "throw the card away". Cards fail every now and then. Especially the cheap brands, but occasionally the good brands. And sometimes the "good brands" are actually knockoffs anyway (as an example, see: Fake SanDisk Ultra II SD cards revealed!).
06-21-2012, 11:35 AM   #15
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Card readers can corrupt if they suck, or maybe the card has to be inserted in just the right way, etc. You don't want "play" in a card reader. You can buy a name-brand one for under $10, so yeah I'd do that. But corruption of a card one time when you were doing something a bit dicey in the first place is not reason to throw out the cards AS LONG AS YOU TEST THEM THOROUGHLY. (See advice above about programs to do that.) Cards don't go bad, and then good again, and then bad again. They break, and that's that. Now, if this corruption happened in 100 degree weather, and now they work fine in your 75-degree house, that's something to think about. (That's why I get the "extreme" cards.) But things get corrupted all the time without hardware failure.

Anyway, if you are going to throw them out, send them to me instead and I'll risk it -- I'll send you the postage!
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