So what does 2018 have in store for you? Holidays? A wedding? A big birthday? A new arrival? A house move? Unforgettable events and special moments, never to be repeated, unless of course you capture them on a camera.
Gone are the days when taking a photograph was a big deal and almost a special occasion in itself – who remembers the days of checking to see how many photos were left on the film, using disposable flash bulbs and posting off your camera film and patiently waiting weeks for your developed photographs to come back – often to find you hadn’t captured what you’d hoped/intended!
Don’t take your memories for granted
Today, it seems everyone (even kids) have cameras and thanks to digital technology we’ve all become trigger happy. You take a photo, you don’t like what you see, you delete it (instantly), and take another, and repeat until you are happy. We download our photos, we share them with the world at large online and (when we get round to it) we print them (either ourselves at home, or in a retail outlet or online). It’s all so easy. Too easy perhaps.
It’s probably fair to say that most of us take photo taking for granted. We don’t think, or worry, about what goes on inside our camera but we should.
Saying that you don’t in fact need to understand the inner workings of your camera, you just need to understand a bit about memory cards. That clever little card nestled inside your camera which is responsible for keeping your precious memories safe.
Look after your memory card and it’ll look after you
Memory cards were invented back in the 1980s and over the last 30-something years have become smaller (but bigger in terms of capacity), faster, more robust and cheaper.
MicroSD, SD, CF, C-Fast and XQD cards… just some of the memory cards used today, all surprisingly robust and capable of surviving extreme temperatures, prolonged submersion in water and physical impact. But despite their tough exterior, memory cards are prone to becoming corrupt and unreadable if mistreated, putting your irreplaceable photos at risk.
Dos and Don’ts
If you want to avoid the stress and upset of losing valuable photos, there are a few precautions you can take:
- Dispose of old, small capacity, unbranded/inferior brand memory cards.
- Cards have a limited lifespan and can only be reformatted a certain number of times before they corrupt.
- Old data files can clog up your memory card.
- New, quality memory cards are readily available and affordable.
- Using an old card might save you money, but it could cost you your memories.
- Write the purchase date on a memory card so you know how old it is.
- In addition to investing in a quality memory card, you’ll want to buy the best card reader you can find to eliminate a potential point of failure.
- Your camera is for taking photos NOT deleting them. Please don’t delete individual images from the memory card in your camera, it’s not what it’s designed to do.
- Format your memory card after each and every download, in the camera in which the card will be used.
- DON’T use cards that have been formatted in another camera and assume it’ll be good to go. ALWAYS reformat the card in YOUR camera prior to taking any photographs.
- Download images regularly. DON’T wait until your card is full before downloading, give your data room to breathe. Carry a spare card or two with you.
- NEVER remove the card whilst the camera is still in operation. Give the camera time to finish writing data to the card and always ensure the camera is turned off before removing the memory card.
- Keep your camera battery charged. If the battery dies during the write process, your memories will most likely die too.
- If your camera has a second card slot, use it!
- Big isn’t always best. Consider using a number of medium sized cards which you can alternate between during a shoot, instead of capturing everything on just one giant-high-capacity card.
- If your memory card does corrupt, try to recover the images on it and then discard it. Don’t reformat the card and try to use it again.
Whilst adhering to the principles of flash memory card hygiene will minimise the likelihood of a corrupt memory card and data loss, ‘stuff’ happens and sometimes for reasons beyond your control a card will fail. Should the unthinkable happen the important thing is not to panic!
Take a deep breath and…
- Take a look at the memory card – does it appear to be physically damaged? Are there any signs of corrosion? Are the contacts clean?
- If you’re using a CF card check the contacts in the camera’s CF slot are OK too. Inserting a CF card incorrectly can damage the contacts in the camera – a different, and much bigger problem than a corrupt card.
- Check your card reader. Use compressed air to remove dust from built-in card readers. Try a different USB port, different card reader, different computer.
Data Resus to the rescue
If you have no joy with the above, remain calm, as there’s still every chance that you will see your photos again.
You may not be aware but the process of formatting a card doesn’t actual involve any images being deleted from the card. If an image were a book, the act of formatting simply removes the cover from the book and leaves the pages predominantly untouched. Your formatted card is now ready to write new images, but your ‘lost images’ are still on the card (minus their ‘covers’), awaiting recovery.
Data Resus from Cardwave offers two data recovery options for files and photos:
- Do-it-yourself software recovery – try our free online evaluation at www.dataresus.com
- Send in service for larger, sensitive, more complicated recovery jobs – ‘no recovery, no fee’
Happy snapping in 2018!