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Archive 2012 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?
  
 
zwilliamson
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p.1 #1 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


I'm curious about how people deal with data management when shooting. I started off my kit last year with a Canon 60D for video work, and purchased a couple 16gb SanDisk 30mb/s SDHC cards. A lot of the freelance work I've been getting recently is documentary/interview stuff, and I bought a 32gb Class 10 Patriot SDHC card. I haven't had any problems with any of these, but I got a great deal on a 5Dmk2 last week from the buy/sell board and got a 16gb Lexar 600x CF card to go with that. I need the faster cards for video, especially with the MagicLantern bitrate hack, but I'm on the fence whether to buy more 16gb cards, or get one or two 32gb. I know smaller cards offer a bit more safety in case one card fails, but high speed/capacity CF cards get expensive quick. Just curious what you all think. Thanks


Apr 16, 2012 at 09:18 PM
Robert Body
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p.1 #2 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


Let's say you know you need up to 100 gigs of data during a fast changing action events.... 25 4gig cards?
Since the beginning I only bought Sandisk Extreme and Pro cards and never had an issue. I started with 2 4gig cards, then added 16, then another, then 32 and when there was a short lasting sale on 64's, I got 2 of those. Let's just say I don't use the 4 gig cards anymore.

When using a 16gig card today after several days of shooting, I ran out of space because when you chase light, there are plenty of other things to think about. In this case the "base camp" also known as big bag was just 20 feet away but it was still a hassle to leave the extremely awkward and sliding prone camera/tripod position, not to mention the changing light. (Another camera had a 64 and I didn't look too hard for the 64/32 so the not-heavily used camera -- or so i thought -- only got a 16)

My strategy is to buy only Sandisk, not look at the likes of Transcend and even Kingston, both of which I read about issues people had, and use the biggest cards and format rarely (like when the PC wants to scan and correct the card, probably that's the a good time to reformat in camera).

It's like when you're picking a DSLR for landscapes, you'll go with Nikon or Canon, same with Sandisk and Lexar, it takes a while to get it right and why would you switch if you never had a problem with the likes of Sandisk?



Apr 16, 2012 at 09:55 PM
zwilliamson
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p.1 #3 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


I bought the Lexar 16g CF card on Amazon because some seller had it listed for a crazy low price, I think $70. I've heard good things about Lexar and SanDisk, if the price is right then I would buy either. I'm hoping there is a sale soon because full frame is just so damn awesome to shoot on, it's now my 'A Cam', and video eats memory up quickly


Apr 16, 2012 at 10:04 PM
arbitrage
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p.1 #4 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


So far I've stuck with 16GB cards and I own 7 of them at varying speed ratings as I always seem to need more and upgrade to better cards when deals are to be had. I shoot on a 7D, 5D2 and 5D3 which all have similar file sizes. I find the 16GB to be a good number 3-400 images per card. I only worry about a bad card that would loose too much stuff if I had a larger card. That said, I've yet to ever have a failure and will likely look into a bigger card for my next purchase of some 1000x cards for the 5D3 to help with the buffer. Currently I mainly use two 400x Transcend and two 400x Lexar cards with three others at 133x and 233x from some no-name brands. For me though I'm using CF and I guess you would be into SD for the 60D. I also have some Transcend Class 10 SD cards that were a good deal through Amazon. I never buy a card unless it is on sale for at least 30% off as they are always going on sale.


Apr 17, 2012 at 12:14 AM
lukeb
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p.1 #5 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


I've been using Sandisk 32's in my 700's for several years - never had a problem. So, since I said that, tomorrow both will fail. But seriously, I don't think you can go wrong with Sandisk or Lexar. However, anything electronic [or mechanical] will eventually fail.


Apr 17, 2012 at 12:26 AM
anomalyconcept
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p.1 #6 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


I have 2x 16GB cards in either of my cameras. It's a bit overkill for the amount of shooting I do, but I've only come close to filling up both cards twice. I do have a third 16GB SD card... somewhere... but I've not had to use and and have obviously forgotten exactly where it is.

I must point out that I pretty much only shoot stills and usually am close by to a computer to transfer files, but 32GB is enough for a few days' worth of shooting, even with some video mixed in.

My strategy is to add more cards if necessary, but otherwise the cards are rotated whenever they get downloaded (A gets downloaded, B moves to A, downloaded card goes into B).



Apr 17, 2012 at 01:22 AM
GroovyGeek
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p.1 #7 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


More of therm.
1) If you loose one you loose less photos
2) If one gets corrupted you loose less photos
3) Except for the high end Canons and the Nikon D4 and D3x, a 4Gb card will fit around 200 images, more then enough for a day's worth of shooting... at least if you pay attention when you press the trigger.
4) They get cheaper faster, you can buy 4GB Sandisk Ultra's for a song nowadays, and unless you are shooting high frame rates or HD video you really don't need anything more.

Then again, I once shot with a guy who had set his D3s for a 9-bracket shot. Every time he pressed the trigger he fired off 9 shots and then chose one after the fact. I guess this works too if you don't want to think :-)



Apr 17, 2012 at 03:43 AM
Robert Body
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p.1 #8 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


5d2 or 1D4 can fit about 120 pictures (or less) on a 4gb with Raw+max JPG. If you shoot action and 3 shot sequences, that will last a few seconds. For landscapes and bracketing and changing light and ND filters, flash angle changing, worrying about 10 shots left is not productive.
If you shoot 100 pictures or less a day and go home right after, either will do, but if you're away for a week, chase light and scout spots, spending time and energy in the field..... do you want to use 10 4gb cards, have a system of what's used and what not..... then on day 4 when you don't have any room left, put each into a reader 1 at a time, wait for it to finish, switch.....
or on day 10 do you want to unload your 2-3 cards instead?

Everyone's needs are different, I just know big cards work for me
Waterfall spray, finger biting cold temperatures, batteries exhausted, changing light..... enough to worry about than how many shots are left.... feels like using film with 24 shots a roll



Apr 17, 2012 at 05:34 AM
sjms
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p.1 #9 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


i have never been a collector of cards but i do tend to roll them about every 2 years. i go up in capacity to match the bodies capabilities. in the past 5 or so years in my use i have had no issues with any of the cards i have owned so i have that false sense of security that they have grown substantially more reliable since i started using them over 12 years ago. capacitywise keeps my numbers down and minimizes my need to handle the many. this way i know where things tend to be. and i have yet to suffer a loss. i also haven't had a need to shoot hundred of thousands of images a year to get what i need.

2 bodies
D4:
(1) 16GB XQD in camera (1)32GB XQD (4) 16GB 600x one in camera (2) 32GB 600x
D7000:
(2) 16GB 90MB/s SDHC cards in camera (1) 16GB 45MB/s (1) 16GB 133x

all for the most part near enough in in camera performance to not make a difference in use.

as was said it to the individual need.

i do hate SD cards though





  X10    7mm    f/11.0    14s    100 ISO    0.0 EV  



Edited on Apr 17, 2012 at 11:56 AM · View previous versions



Apr 17, 2012 at 11:33 AM
Psychic1
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p.1 #10 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


1DsIII - 64gig CF for RAW & 16gig SD for LJPG

1DIII - 32gig CF for RAW and 8gig SD for LJPG



Apr 17, 2012 at 11:46 AM
 

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Hammy
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p.1 #11 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


Statistically speaking, the more cards you have, the more likely you're going to have a failure.... statistically.

I'm not a fan of the fear of large cards: "all eggs in one basket" I happen to own one house, drive one car, etc... And if you take the extreme of: more cards, less to lose, then we'd all be shooting with 16Mb cards and getting one frame per card.

Yet I understand the worries that most ppl have, and as others have mentioned, I believe you'll get better reliability out of higher end cards. Don't misunderstand me, I buy lots of the smallest (reliable) cards I can find. For my workflow, we only shoot about 500Mb of photos in two minutes and then download each card. So I don't need bigger cards. As for reliability... consistantly, the cheaper cards: from Sandisk Ultra to Kingston, to other (lessor) brands, will cause problems, whereas the better brands: Extreme, Lexar Pro, Transcend, etc... have been troopers during 150,000 images per day shoots, camera/reader swaps and downloads every ~100 frames.

That being said, what size you go with, really should be a matter of your budget and workflow. Bigger cards usually carry a price premium relative to smaller cards. Even if they are a linear price match ($/gb), it's may be hard to spend 4x the amount on a 64Gb card when all one might need is 32Gb.

But if your workflow is better suited for one camera in the card for a whole day shoot, not worrying about carrying extra cards, when to swap, maintaining spent cards, etc.. then a larger card may make sense. Conversely, if you have time and space and a system to manage cards, then saving money may be worth the extra time dealing with multiple cards.



Apr 17, 2012 at 04:44 PM
Sven Jeppesen
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p.1 #12 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


GroovyGeek wrote:
More of therm.
1) If you loose one you loose less photos
2) If one gets corrupted you loose less photos
3) Except for the high end Canons and the Nikon D4 and D3x, a 4Gb card will fit around 200 images, more then enough for a day's worth of shooting... at least if you pay attention when you press the trigger.
4) They get cheaper faster, you can buy 4GB Sandisk Ultra's for a song nowadays, and unless you are shooting high frame rates or HD video you really don't need anything more.

Then again, I once shot with a guy who had set
...Show more

You will of course have a lot more cards that failure if you own 20 cards instead of 4 cards



Apr 17, 2012 at 09:50 PM
Lasse Eriksson
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p.1 #13 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


Large cards for me


Apr 17, 2012 at 09:55 PM
Focus Locus
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p.1 #14 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


GroovyGeek wrote:
"...a 4Gb card will fit around 200 images, more then enough for a day's worth of shooting... at least if you pay attention when you press the trigger. :-)



HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HAMMY!

From what those cheer photographers report upstairs on the Sports forum, 200 images is not quite enough for 5 minutes worth of shooting... while paying attention. On one of the posts made today, a member shot 10,000 images in one or two days of shooting gymnastics. From the looks of the samples he posted, he seemed to be thinking about when to press the trigger, and I assume that whoever was paying him to do it was thinking also.

The point obviously being that photography is different things to different people. Those differences spawn different needs. High availability card space for sports, for example, is just as much of a need today as the 250 exposure film magazine was for 35mm film some 30 years ago. Those 250 mags on MD-4s were not a necessity for some types of photographers, but were a godsend for other photographers in certain lines of work. That doesn't mean mindless.

The implication that photographers are not "thinking" or are not "paying attention when they press the trigger" if they just happen to frame, focus, and fire more shots in a minute than someone else can manage in a day is as laughable as it is a put down. There are legions of event photographers that crank out thousands of images per shooting day. If they don't use a system like what Hammy talks about, they might find large capacity cards quite useful. And that doesn't mean they aren't thinking.



Apr 17, 2012 at 11:02 PM
GroovyGeek
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p.1 #15 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


Sven Jeppesen wrote:
You will of course have a lot more cards that failure if you own 20 cards instead of 4 cards


You guys need to read up a bit on Weibull distributions and the statistics of failure, as well as on semiconductor yield and risk management. There is a reason why price does not increase linearly with memory size or why the cost of an FF sensor is a lot more than 2x that of a cropped sensor. Unless the failure is in the packaging and not in the memory, the probability of 10x4Gb cards failing or 1x40Gb card failing are roughly the same.

And let's talk about opportunity cost. When a card fails it often takes every image with it. Would you rather loose a day of shooting or a week? To each his own, I find no problem tracking a significant number of cards. You number them with a permanent marker and come up with a system.

I can understand how others have other preferences, but there are no absolutes. The OP was asking for opinions and this is all he is getting.

As to some of the obnoxious comments - just because you shoot 100 images in 10 seconds that does not make you right. As many of these same people pointed out, people used to do just fine on a 24-frame roll, and images were not any worse. Having to choose 2 images out of 1000 is no better than having to choose 2 out of 100 unless you are mindlessly clicking away and simply playing the probabilities. There are very few general photography situations that require 10 fps. I don't think the OP is a paparazzo trying to capture a nipple slip :-)



Apr 18, 2012 at 02:57 AM
Focus Locus
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p.1 #16 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA

Again!

As obnoxious as this mirth may appear, in the spirit of sharing opinions that differ, some opinions here are very funny!

People doing "just fine on a 24 frame roll" in the elder days of yore are irrelevant to the OP's situtation and equipment. People did just fine with paint brushes too, and still do. In the meantime, technology has moved on, offering other tools to create with.

Bringing it back to the OP? He's not shooting 10fps with a 60D, so why even mention 10fps up in the first place? Every time you do, it appears as if you are on a soapbox to assert your selective superiority over those who actually can find a creative use for 10fps other than what came to your mind... capturing "nipple slips."

The OP is not only not shooting 10fps... he is in fact shooting VIDEO, which can be 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, 59.94, or 60 fps. A 24-frame roll of film would be gone in one second, shooting at the slowest frame rate possible. We have moved on from 100 years ago. This is 2012, the inverse of 1912, when the first 35mm still camera was delevoped from movie film (could shoot both) and was introduced to the market as the Tourist Multiple in 1913. (Wiki)

There is nothing worse than running out of card space in the middle of a live moment that cannot be repeated again with the same authenticity. The only time I've ever lost shots on a card, both still and video, was when I couldnt take the shot. Card full. Having lots of little empty cards standing by means nothing in that lost moment.





Apr 18, 2012 at 03:39 PM
KaaX
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p.1 #17 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


GroovyGeek wrote:
You guys need to read up a bit on Weibull distributions and the statistics of failure, as well as on semiconductor yield and risk management. There is a reason why price does not increase linearly with memory size or why the cost of an FF sensor is a lot more than 2x that of a cropped sensor. Unless the failure is in the packaging and not in the memory, the probability of 10x4Gb cards failing or 1x40Gb card failing are roughly the same.


I think you're drastically undercounting modes of failure.

For example the most common "failure" is losing a card. The probability of losing one card out of 10 is noticeably higher than losing your single card. Another mode of failure is accidentally formatting a card before copying the data off it. Again, the probability of doing so is higher if you have 10 cards than if you have one. Another one is physical damage to a card, etc. etc.



Apr 18, 2012 at 04:52 PM
zwilliamson
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p.1 #18 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


Focus Locus wrote:
There is nothing worse than running out of card space in the middle of a live moment that cannot be repeated again with the same authenticity. The only time I've ever lost shots on a card, both still and video, was when I couldnt take the shot. Card full. Having lots of little empty cards standing by means nothing in that lost moment.


Exactly, changing cards means missing a moment. With MagicLantern installed and video bitrate boosted to 1.4x, I max out each clip at 4.28Gb and about 9 minutes. To put it in perspective, a 0:13 second clip is about 110Mb, which works out to be about 8.5Mb/s. Boost it any higher and I start to run into buffer overload problems and the camera stops recording.

I was curious about how people managed their own data workflow now that I need both SD and CF, but it seems that not a lot of people on this forum are filmmakers haha. I guess I'll have to bit the bullet for a couple 32Gb 600x Lexar Pro cards. I'd have to try out a 1000x card to be sure, but I think I'm actually hitting a wall with the internal buffer with the boosted bitrate and not the speed of the care itself. At least B&H has EDU discounts on Lexar Pro cards



Apr 19, 2012 at 01:37 AM
Psychic1
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p.1 #19 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


FYI - http://www.mydigitaldiscount.com/transcend-compact-flash/?&sort=alphaaz&sort_direction=0&xsearch_e10=Bundle

I have been using them since 2006 when I purchased a 1D and needed batteries.

Very nice people.



Apr 19, 2012 at 10:34 AM
Focus Locus
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p.1 #20 · Memory cards: larger capacity or more of 'em?


Zwilliamson...

The beauty of your 60D is that it is SDXC capable.

Why dork with 32's on the HC standard, when for the same cost per GB, you can relax with 64gb in the SD slot, and see up to 95mb per second on the download with a UHS-1 compatible reader?

You sound like you KNOW that copy to computer speed can be important at times. Not all the time, but the times when it is... it so nice not to watch progress bars while the entire set stares you down waiting to see the rushes on a larger monitor, so retakes can be made before props and lights move and talent gets recycled. Playback HDMI out of camera? Prefer that backed up first, and would also perfer the DIT (even if me) on the set select the playback from the files on the editing drive, not the original card.

Right now, the SDXC cards are less than HALF the cost per GB of same size similar speed CF cards ($2.50 versus $5.60) for the class of cards with speeds greater 90mb per second. And your 60D's firmware can handle them! That's where I would be looking. Slower cards don't even enter my consideration. It isn't just the camera to card time... it is card to computer time that can sometimes make a difference.



Apr 19, 2012 at 10:42 PM
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