Care and feeding of your camera’s memory cards

When thinking about photography kit, memory cards don’t come high on the list of ‘cool stuff,’ but without them you’ll have nothing to show for your photographic expeditions.

2014-04-17_15-33-00While there are no moving parts to take care of, there are a few things you can do to keep your memory cards healthy.

  • Buy quality cards from a reputable maker. You know what they say – buy cheap, buy twice. And while you can pick up a replacement card, you might not be able to get that once-in-a-lifetime shot again. I buy and use Lexar card, not only because they’ve been thoroughly tested before I get them, but they also come with a great warranty.
  • If you are going to buy cheap cards, buy several small ones rather than a single big one, that way if something does go wrong, you’re limiting the amount of images you’ll lose.
  • Keep cards away from dirt, dust, and moisture, not only for the sake of your cards, but because these cards go inside your precious camera, and any muck on them can play havoc with delicate electronics. It’s a good idea to keep spare cards in a case or card wallet.
  • Format the card instead of deleting the pictures off it. And do this in the camera you are going to use the card in, not on the PC.
  • Transfer the images from your memory card using a card reader connected to your PC as opposed to connecting your camera direct to the PC. Memory card readers are far more reliable and much better suited to the job, and are far les likely to result in data corruption.
  • Never completely fill a card as squeezing that last few images on it might cause corruption.
  • Equally, don’t let your camera’s battery go flat while shooting, as this too can cause corruption.
  • If you do come across a corrupted card, you might be able to recover images off it with a tool like Lexar’s Image Rescue (which comes free with any card from Lexar’s Professional range).

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