Digital Film and Memory Card
The starter memory card that may
have come with your digital camera just isn’t enough.
Taking pictures at highest
quality will fill up your memory card much too quickly.
Downloading photos (copying them
to your computer) can be quick, but it's not really as
simple as changing a “roll of film”, particularly if you're
not close to your computer.
So let’s look at some solutions
for selecting and caring for memory cards.
Large Capacity Memory Cards
Bigger is better – to a
point. You’re going to take a lot more pictures
using digital cameras than you would with film. And why not
– you’re only pay for the pictures you keep!
Think about your picture taking
habits and consider multiple cards you can change
frequently. Big capacity memory cards in the range of 1 GB
(1000MB) and up will certainly
help you shoot longer without having to download your
pictures to a computer frequently.
Cards up to 512MB allow you to
backup the entire card onto 1 CD.
Smaller cards make sense from
the “don’t keep all your eggs in one basket” point of view.
High Speed Memory Cards
Unlike conventional film, “high
speed” memory cards are not more sensitive to light. They
just write and transfer data faster. That’s an advantage
only if your camera reads and writes data quickly.
Digital SLRs work faster with
High Speed cards – compact models often don’t.
Black and White or Color Cards?
No such thing – but many cameras
can make a black & white image electronically.
One problem to be aware of – sometimes, but rarely,
memory cards do fail and if this
should happen to you, think about all the images you will
have lost. Not a pleasant experience. Read on to find
out how to best protect your memory cards.
Editing and Deleting Images
While you can delete images in
the field to free up space on your memory card, I
don’t recommend it.
It’s tough to judge the quality
of an image on a small screen. It’s also hard to see the
monitor in bright light.
You might click on “delete all”
when you want to delete just one photo. At least find a
shady spot and work through the procedure slowly!
Chris’ Tips for Protecting your Memory Cards from Damage
Good news! You can safely
take your memory card through security x-ray at the
airport without worrying about image damage!
Don’t carry extra memory
cards loose in your pocket. Static can damage them;
loose change can scratch the contacts or short them out.
With CF cards, dust that gets in the holes could damage
your camera or computer
Format your card in the
camera! You should reformat the card in your camera each
time after downloading and
saving the pictures on your computer.
Deleting all the images on your
flash card while it is mounted on your computer after
downloading is not the same thing as reformatting the card
in your camera.
A contributing factor to card failure can be the existence
of previously deleted photos. The best thing is to always
format the card in your camera after you have finished
Always create a backup by
saving your files from the memory card to your computer
or a CD.
can hook your camera to the computer with a USB cord,
but that’s slow and can drain on your camera's
batteries. You can even damage your camera’s cord socket
by pushing the USB cord too hard. A better way is to use
a small peripheral device called a card reader.
Never remove a memory card
from your camera or card reader during the image
power down your camera before card removal.
Do not remove the card from
the camera or card reader too quickly as this can result
in the corruption of data on
the card and lead to damaged memory areas. Wait for just
a few moments to ensure that
all the data has been written to the card before you
shut off the camera.
Don’t start a transfer
unless your batteries are in great shape. Battery
failure while shooting will result in corruption of data
on the card and can even lead to a damaged card.
Avoid large static charges,
and be extra careful when handling cards in dry, low
Keep cards away from strong
magnetic sources, and extreme heat and cold.
If a memory card problem
occurs, stop using the card immediately. Do not reformat
(even if your camera asks you too) or delete
Be careful with the "delete
all" and "Format" functions on cameras using Smartmedia
or XD cards. These are
irreversible formats that cannot be recovered by
We can usually recover lost photos from your memory
It doesn’t take much to
make the photos disappear from digital “film”:
Sometimes it seems you just have
to look at the card sideways.
At Chris’ Camera Center, we’ve
got special software that can often recover lost or
scrambled images, even from cards that have been
reformatted. Just bring us your memory card, and don’t make
matters worse by taking additional photos. We’ll copy
recovered photos to a CD.
It’s guaranteed - If we
can’t recover any pictures there is no charge.
If it happens to a
ProMaster card bought from Chris, we’ll do this recovery