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01-21-2008, 08:55 PM   #1
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Card malfunction


Wish I had caught it earlier. Went out using a cheap 4 gbSD card to wander about locally. It was the first day light wasn't just flat, to try out new Bigma and to give the Sigma 105 some macro time, as I was packing around the heavy tripod and mono-pod. Light was great, walking along a cottonwood river bottom. It snowed overnight. Sun broke out in late morning. Ambient temperatures were still below freezing in late afternoon, leaving icicles hanging from winter iterations of brush, caught in low angle light / refraction)

Saw the "previews" on the screen for that 3 seconds or so, when they come up after "snapping" the shot. I shoot manual, because I understand that better. I'll snap first in Program to give me a bracket range. I'll then set manual parameters, then scroll either wheel, to advance or lower, shutter or aperture, based on what I see on that 3 second preview.

Noticed that in scrolling action, I would get different views on that "preview". That's typical when brought up in "re-call". After "snapping a few", I went back to recall, and would get a message on the LCD, that "image cannot be rendered by camera". I wasn't immediately concerned about that warning, and kept on shooting.

Now, in retrospect, I should have paid heed. If the camera couldn't render the image, it wasn't likely that my computer could either. There were some older images on the card that came through, and a few early "snaps" of that day that came through, but ...

Later, and more practiced snaps, did not come through. Not sure what happened. Hopefully it was just a card "hic-cup", but I lost the vast majority of the images for the day. No big loss, as none were "once in a lifetime", as I was just out to exercise. (If you look in my fridge, you'll find a few cubic feet of unprocessed exposed film canisters, some nearly 30 YO). So that was no big loss.

I would suggest to folks, that if they see the "image cannot be rendered by camera" message, when bringing up recall images, they change cards before snapping any more. I pack a few cards in a "wallet" designed to carry them. I didn't think about changing. I should have.

I pack extra cards and that card wallet because I "expect" malfunctions. I never experienced one, until yesterday. Camera (K10D) gave me a "head's up", that I ignored. I'm not sure what caused the malfunction. It might have been my impatience to bracket and exposure based on what I saw in the 3 second preview, and scrolling the wheel, or the card was garbage. That will take further experimentation, unless somebody here can provide previous results.

Right now, that card is retired. (until the cause / issue is resolved). I'm to be a bit more patient when scrolling shutter or aperture wheel during that 3 second preview. I'm still likely to shoot manual and RAW, (not that I'll ever have a submission to PPG ever accepted), but in that mode, I can be tied back to a darkroom, and continue some reason I ever picked up a camera. To live in the moment, see something, as light passes, and resolve a snap mistake, (I purposely underexpose, because that can be recovered, by "burning in", (Looking at some 64 color slides I sent to lab for large prints, came back to me as garbage, but the slide placed up on a reflective screen, exposed to nearly 4' wide still looks pretty good). Burned out highlights are often lost. It's not a good solution, but it has saved a few of my exposures).

OK. Post sent to warn folks that should they see that "image can not be rendered by camera", message in review mode, they should replace SD card ASAP.

Post also sent, asking if I should be warned against scrolling any of the wheels during that 3 second preview. (Or to purchase quality "name brand" cards). I expected card failures, (as I expected that I might shear a film cassette and open back), and not always "feel" or be aware.

Aw $%!#, I thought I had a few decent exposures and was looking forward to seeing them. Oh Well, I learned something on my own. I've learned most of what of what I know on my own, or forgot how to credit folks that offered advice. In that, thanks.


01-22-2008, 01:01 AM   #2
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Mud (really? or just feelin' like it...?), anyhoo, a couple thoughts come to mind:
1) even premium brand SD cards are prone to a little accidental "lock switch creep" when handling or inserting the little boogers into the camera. If the little lock switch on the side of the SD card is bumped even part way toward the "Lock" position, the card can refuse to write new files or delete old ones. It's worth checking that switch if the camera gives you an error message like the one you saw.
2) do you format your cards in camera or do you erase/reformat using your computer and a card reader? Some combinations of card and camera or computer work more reliably than others, so it might be worth trying to reformat the offending card in camera if you used the computer, or vice versa.

And, yeah, I've spoiled a few rolls of film in my time, but (knock on wood) have yet to lose images on either CF or SD cards (I use Lexars and SanDisks) since adding digital to my bag in 2004. It's only a matter of time, I'm sure...
01-22-2008, 02:35 AM   #3
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I just did a complete global count and there are exactly 653,569,392 defective SD cards, and I'll bet yours is one of them!

The word is out, many unscrupulous retailers (and some scrupulous ones, too!) are selling fake SD cards for the genuine article. If the price is unusually cheap - beware! Due to the rapid increase in phony cards I would strongly recommend you buy from reputable local retailers. That way, if it is found to be defective you can return it for a refund.

I guess the other lesson learned is to be sure your equipment is functioning before you venture out to take pictures. It only takes a few minutes to do a few test pics and see if everything is ok; especially if you just added something new to the system - like the very important memory card. And pay heed to the warnings.

(If you look in my fridge, you'll find a few cubic feet of unprocessed exposed film canisters, some nearly 30 YO). So that was no big loss.
You have undeveloped film from 30 years ago!!! What the heck! Head over to your nearest Costco and get them processed; it's cheap now. Why take pictures if you never want to see them? You might just as well not put film in the camera to begin with. It's cheaper that way and the outcome is the exactly same!

Post also sent, asking if I should be warned against scrolling any of the wheels during that 3 second preview. (Or to purchase quality "name brand" cards). I expected card failures, (as I expected that I might shear a film cassette and open back), and not always "feel" or be aware.
Try it, what have you got to lose? My K10D is off for repairs so I can't test it. But if I move the thumb wheel on the *ist DS while previewing an image it runs through a series of events that displays the image in different ways; no harm came to the saved image. On the second note; I have yet to encounter a defective 35mm film canister and I have been around quite a while. What I have encountered is human error in failing to properly load the film or failing to push the release button under the camera before rewinding, (That was an unforgettable mess!)

Last edited by J.Scott; 01-22-2008 at 02:57 AM.

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