Do you use the highest capacity CF card you can buy or do you like a particular size for convenience or safety?

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by dan_k|6, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. Do you buy the most memory at the highest speed you can afford or do you sometimes use just several 2 or 4GB cards because a 4GB card easily transfers to one DVD or the 2GB card is less risky than using a larger 8 or 16GB where you might lose more work should something go wrong?
    I'm just curious because I like the 4GB card because you can just transfer it to a DVD.
  2. I have some 4GB, some 8GB and a 16GB card. When I was using an XTi, the raw files weren't too large and 4GB was usually fine (and I had more than one). I have a 7D now so raw files are quite a bit larger. Add video to that, and 4GB just won't go very far anymore. I usually use the 8GB for photos, but I'll use the 16GB if I'm going to shoot a lot or shoot video.
  3. It depends on where your risk comes from. Some people find that juggling multiple cards (physically), and carrying them, introduces more risks than having all of their eggs in one (larger) basket. This all depends on your working style and circumstances.

    As for transferring to DVD ... never enough room for me. Multiple disk drives for working backups, and "keepers" get stowed to optical media, later.
  4. I am not too concerned about losing a card or data on the card. Wouldn't like it, but it isn't a big risk.
    I personally find the size of the card has much to do with the MP of the camera and the type of shooting you do. I use a 21+mp camera and find that an 8gb card will hold me for a day in most cases. My camera has a second card slot, so I do keep another 8gb card there for overflow. Sometimes I don't need to download for a couple of days, depending on what I am doing.
  5. 1. Check out write speed for your camera with various cards at
    2. You'll find that some cards work much faster than others with your particular camera
    3. Of the faster cards, find out the price per GB for each card
    4. Your camera will have an average rating for # of photos per battery charge - I wouldn't recommend getting card with capacity smaller than that.
    Myself - I have a Canon 5D MII, I only shoot raw, so I only use 32GB / 64GB cards with it. I am in the field, my goal is to reduce the times I have to open the camera up for any reason.
  6. I used to transfer to DVD when I was in the field, but stopped that, now I just carry a couple of 500GB small WD drives along and make two copies that way.
  7. My 5D2 and 7D produce large files and I shoot both jpeg and RAW (I use the jpegs to review my results full-screen and select keepers) and I shoot wildlife, often resulting in bursts at the camera's maximum fps burst rate. For these reasons I use fast, 32GB CF cards.
  8. As others have pointed out, it really depends on your workflow. However, I might suggest not using DVDs as a back up. For starters, using DVDs for back up is simply very time consuming. But then there is also the DVD "rot" factor. I can go back to discs made 5 years ago and have a 20% fail rate. These are verified discs, properly stored. This simply means you need at least two copies on DVD. Even more time consuming. I would suggest using a pair of hard drives. One is the "main" depository and the other is the back up. Far faster and easier to recover from a hard drive failure as opposed to finding out 10-years from now that your optical media won't work. Another viable option if you are shooting JPEGs is to simply keep the CF card: never format or erase any of the images taken and store the card as a form of back up media. Memory cards are far cheaper than film now-a-days and this just gives you a built in archive. Of course if you are shooting Raw, this isn't a good option!
  9. SCL


    The highest capacity cards carry a price premium, so I usually use cards which are 1-2 steps below that. As for storage, I just buy an external hard drive and use that until it is 80% full....just bought 1T last week for less than $100. Prices have really dropped while performance has dramatically increased.
  10. I have 2 primary cameras, a 20D that's converted to shoot infrared and a 7D. I have a high speed 16GB card in my 7D in case I choose to shoot some video...I always have capacity for that, and I keep a spare card of the same speed and capacity in my bag at all times. For the 20D, I use a 4 GB card of slower speed, since I don't need anything faster, and I never shoot near the capacity of the card. I also keep a spare in my bag. I also have 2 backup 2 GB cards, but I don't usually carry them...they're my "just in case" cards that I bought second hand for $5 each.
    My workflow is such (as an amateur, not a pro) that I copy the files off my card each day, for the most part. I may not erase the images from my card immediately once it's back in the camera, though...only when I get tired of waiting for Lightroom to get to the new pictures on the card after going through all the old ones that I've previously transferred.
  11. Large, fast, reliable CF card are NOT inexpensive. When you can buy TB of HD storage for $200 to $300, why would you store on CF cards? I have a couple of 2TB LaCie Firewire 800 external hard drives for my archives. One is at the house and one is at the office and I sync them monthly. This yields a searchable database of all images in both jpeg and RAW formats.
    My workflow starts with a fast, 32GB CF card, loaded with jpeg + RAW images from my shoot. The day of the shoot I review the jpegs to select the RAW images that I want to process. I transfer the selected RAW files to my computer's HD into a File Folder labeled with the shoot date. I do the RAW conversion in DxO's Optics Pro and route the resulting jpegs into subject matter Folders. After RAW conversion, I copy the RAW Folder to one of my 2TB HDs and sync the subject matter jpeg Folder from my computer's HD to the external HD. Once a month I take the home based HD to work to sync it with my 2TB HD at work. When I've done that, I erase the copy of the RAW files on my home computer to free up HD space for dat-to-day processing.
    I reformat my CF card before every shoot.
  12. I have a 40D and use 8GB cards. On a day trip, that is about the max I use. I take all my photos in RAW. If I were to take the photos as JPEGs then I would probably use an 8GB card, but copy the photos to the computer, backup, etc, prior to getting anywhere near full.
    When I go on a trip, I count on using one 8GB card per day. At the end of the day, I download the files to a laptop and then copy to a portable hard drive. Then, I take the card and place in a card safe, backwards and keep in my shirt pocket. Should I run out of cards, I would simply reuse the cards and have two copies. This has not happened yet. When I am home, and have several copies, that is when I will reformat the card; in the camera of course.
    Should I eventually go to a 5DII or higher, I would get larger capacity cards.
    Too time consuming to backup to CDs or DVDs as others have stated.
  13. I started out backing up to CD/DVD, but as my post processing skills are improving (read: I don't really know what I'm doing yet) I find myself going back a year or two and reprocessing favorite RAW files. Consequently I wanted to update the DVD's with the new JPG's. This got old fast so I went out and got a 1.5 TB external drive.
  14. I'd rather go with a larger, good quality card than a bunch of smaller cards. They can get lost too easily. I usually seem to misplace them after the images are on the computer though so it really is my own fault.
  15. Large, fast, reliable CF card are NOT inexpensive.​
    I did actually recommend 2 hard drives. My point was that if you are using the DVD as an archive, it might be better to store the CF card. I also said this wasn't a good option is shooting Raw. However, an 8GB CF card is around $30 (most shooters don't need the fastest card there is). With a 12MP camera, that is over 700 images on the card, shooting JPEG. That is a LOT for the average shooter. Filling a card and storing it is a viable archive option; better than DVDs by far. To shoot 700 images with film, over $!00 for film alone plus processing? Which all goes back to it depends on your workflow, I merely presented alternatives superior to DVD.
  16. I use 4GB exclusively. Mostly for the convenience of a 1:1 backup to DVD. They hold enough data (5D Mk I) that I'm not constantly changing cards, and small enough that a card failure, although certainly not welcome, wouldn't be the end of the world. Of course, I've never had a card failure; probably because cards are retired and replaced every 6 months. I number and date all cards, shooting from the highest number to the lowest; in this way the very oldest cards seldom, if ever, get used. I'm also getting into the habit of including the price of cards in the fee for certain events. They will be used for that event only and never reformatted. Of course, that's only for special circumstances. Works for me; your mileage may vary.
  17. I have only 2GB and I am beginning to loathe them since I constantly have to change them out. Personally if I was buying today, I would say 8GB cards are about the right balance unless you are shooting video. Then probably more.
  18. LOL! My first CF memory card was a 128KB card (Aug. 2000).
    Since then I've bought nearly every size up to now, my max, 8GB (7D).
    Whatever fits your camera/workflow the best. No right answer. (I just bought a name brand 2GB SD card yesterday for less than $10 incl. shipping)
  19. Partially for financial reasons, and partially for all the dire warnings about eggs in one basket, I settled on 2GB cards when I first got my 30D. (A foolish) consistency being the hobgoblin of little minds, I moved up to 8gig UDMA cards for my 7Ds, as they hold about the same number of images from that camera as the 2gig did from the 30D.
  20. Dan, I usually bring lots of CF memory cards during long coverage. I use 2gb Sandisk, Extreme IV then limit the images to 100-150 taken. I use Sandisk 8 Extreme III on raw, and some Sandisk 4gb Extreme 4 on fine. I also have lots of Lexar pro 1 & 2 to help up. Downloading images are fast with these CF cards.
  21. I use the 32 GB and 64 GB card on my 7 D for video and wildlife, its easier than changing cards when a flight of birds are taking off. If I were to shoot weddings I would use 8 or 4 GB cards just for insurance against loosing images. I have had good luck with the 400x Transcend cards, they are fast enough and much less expensive than the 600x. The 64 GB cards give enough capacity for blue ray disk.
  22. I've always been of the mind to buy the biggest, fastest CF cards you can...
    Way back when that meant a 12x 512MB card, which my then-girlfriend bought me as a gift to double my storage capacity before a Winter trip to Yellowstone... now it means 16 and 32 GB UDMA cards that won't clog up or fill up too quickly when I'm shooting hi-resolution time lapse or RAW HDRI capture bursts. Even if I'm using an older camera, the DL speeds via FW800 are well worth it when you're talking this much data, in my opinion.
    I've heard the "eggs in one basket" argument before, but I've not had any issues with a CF card from Hoodman, Sandisk or Lexar in years and I'm pretty lax about formatting cards and oftentimes have had files from many different cameras on a CF card without problems, too.
  23. I use a couple 16 Gb cards and a couple 8 Gb cards. That will last me through a long vacation shooting RAW+L with a 5D.
    I've used about 10 different cards over the years, starting with a 16 Mb card. I've never had one fail. I know it happens, but it's not something I worry about much. I have had hard drives fail, and I keep images on two drives which are stored in different locations.
    The debate over larger number of small cards versus smaller number of large cards is interesting. Having smaller cards does decrease the cost of a loss, but at the expense of increasing the probability of experiencing a loss. That is to say, given that some fraction of cards eventually fail, having more cards means you're more likely to eventually have a failure. It also increases the number of times you change cards, which presumably adds to the wear and tear on the CF pins in the camera. I pondered the matter and went with larger cards.
    I will say that, over the years I shot film, I lost approximately 1% of images to various causes: Accidental opening of the back of the camera happened a few times, and a few times a roll was lost or incorrectly processed by developers. Also, the camera was finicky about starting the film roll, and it was easy to think you'd spooled it correctly when actually the film wasn't moving. With digital I have lost very few images.
  24. I have a handful of 16GB CF (the fastest that I can afford). I don’t really do video so I can manage without a bigger card. For permanent storage I’ve found that DVD’s don’t seem to hold up for me. I’ve also had hard drives crash on me irreparably – a hard drive, a teenage daughter, and a tile floor is not a good combination. So, in my paranoia I use dual external drives (one mirrors my PC and main external drive). Hard drives are quite inexpensive now. I’d rather be paranoid than loose data!
  25. I have 34gb in cards....all sandisk, some extreme, mostly ultra. Highest is 8gb but I like having smaller cards.
    When I shoot weddings, after each event, aka pre ceremony is one card whether it's full or not. Ceremony, reception, same thing.
  26. I use Sandisk exclusively: some 2GB Extreme III's and 4GB Ultra II's. I shoot L (fine) and occasionally RAW on a 5D2.
  27. I always use a couple of 4GB cards. I would like to have a couple of 8GB cards, but seeing that I'm actually doing OK with the 4GB ones, I can't square buying the larger cards (I know they're not that expensive, but I find myself remembering the old adage of 'if it ain't broken...')
  28. ...or the 2GB card is less risky than using a larger 8 or 16GB where you might lose more work should something go wrong?​
    Lose one card with all your important photos and the answer to your question becomes pretty obvious...
  29. I back up my files on a software RAID using MirrorFolder. I can set the options so that when I copy from card to disk, it automatically makes another copy on another drive that cannot be destroyed. When I modify the copy on the primary disk, I have it set to modify the backup, but you can control that as well.
  30. Jack said:
    "Lose one card with all your important photos and the answer to your question becomes pretty obvious..."
    To someone that's never filled a 2GB card in one shoot, it may be obvious, but to the rest of us it's not so clear...
  31. Paul, where do you buy these drives "that cannot be destroyed?"
    If I could find one of those, then I wouldn't need two, one at home and one at the office. ;-)
  32. I use a mix of 16GB and 8 GB UDMA. Mainly 8GB for safety. with a 5DII or 7D shooting Raw on 4GB or 2GB cards does not get you very far. On the other hand I do not want to risk 3GB or more
  33. I back up my files on a software RAID using MirrorFolder.​
    A Raid is NOT a back up. The ONLY thing a Raid protects you from is drive failure. Period. It does not protect you from file or directory corruption, from accidentally deleting a file, from a surge taking out your drives and so on. It only protects you from drive failure. At which point, you really need a back up drive to prevent the "other" catastrophes that can (and are more likely) to happen. Since you now have a back up drive, the need for the Raid is really... unneeded!
  34. To someone that's never filled a 2GB card in one shoot, it may be obvious, but to the rest of us it's not so clear...​
    David....could you elaborate on your comment? Not sure I get your point here...
  35. Jack, read your own post, then mine and I think you'll get the message.
  36. David... I did read my own post...hard not to do since you quoted it...
    Thanks anyway... not really a big deal...
  37. I bought 2gb cards through my ownership of a 10D and 30D. 212 RAW files on a card is fine for me. Now that I use a 40D I only get 141 pics on a card so I buy 4GB cards now. I am rightfully wary of having all my 'eggs in one basket' so I have no problem changing cards a few times a day. Cards can fail, get lost or stolen or succumb to some sort of human error. Were my camera to be stolen during a day of shooting I wouldn't want the added insult of losing all the day's pictures.

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