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Thread: Flash cards for upcoming overseas trip

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    Flash cards for upcoming overseas trip

    Here's a situation in which I've not found myself, so I'll be happy to hear other people's suggestions.

    We're heading overseas to Africa in October, and will be on a private photographic safari (amongst other things).

    I shoot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

    I presently use only one CF card (8GB), but I have a spare 8GB card and a spare 4GB card. Neither of these gets used, and I have not been in a shooting situation which has ever required more than one 8GB card before I get back home to the laptop. Maybe once, but I cannot recall.

    Xenedette is soon going to buy a Canon EOS 60D (she currently has a high-end compact). Both use SD cards. She has three 8GB cards and one old 2GB card, and like me, she never uses anything other than the 8GB card that lives in the camera.

    Given I'll probably shoot a lot of frames in Africa, I intend to buy a few more CF cards.

    During our safari trip (four days), we'll be going on game drives at dawn and dusk, and will be back at the lodge (with laptop access) in between, so I'll be transferring images to my laptop, and backing them up to a separate hard disk too. Tentatively, we'll have three copies of all of the raw images we shoot (assuming we don't clear the cards) and I'll have two copies of my processed images.

    For my camera, I was thinking of buying three 16GB cards to use in addition to what I have. It may be the case that I never need more than one card in a day, given we'll be back at the lodge and I'll be transferring and backing up.

    Does the proposed CF card addition sound sane, or would people recommend more cards, bigger cards or both?

    Similarly, for Xenedette, maybe the addition of 3 x 16GB SD cards to her rig would be a good idea.

    Keen to hear people's experiences and recommendations.

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    Moderately Underexposed I @ M's Avatar
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    I think your proposal sounds just about right.

    When we go away for up to 2 weeks at a time we take along all the CF cards we have. From memory that = 32 gb each ( D200 10megapickle raw files ) and in between back up procedures and judicious deleting of definite non keepers from the cards we have never run out of space. We certainly behave as much as trigger happy tourists as the next person at times as well.
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    I don't think you'll run short on space if you are also keeping a back up on the CF cards. I did a 2 month trip to North America with just 2 x 8GB cards (shooting with 5DII also) and backed up to a hard drive and laptop. Both the laptop and hard drive were stored seperately to avoid accidental loss or theft of both at once.

    IMO for travelling 2 x back up is fine, 3 x is better, but much harder whilst travelling.

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    Thanks for the feedback, fellas.

    If possible, I'd prefer to keep my images on the flash cards as well. My usual procedure is to reformat my card post-shoot after I have transferred the images to my laptop and backed up two at least two of my three backup drives.

    There's a school of thought (perhaps not so relevant now) which dictates that it's not a wise idea to rely on a large-capacity card, as a failure of the card means the loss is greater; ie, it's better to have one's eggs in multiple baskets.

    In today's terms, 8GB is not a large-capacity card, but I've been using that since 2008, when I was shooting with my original Canon EOS 5D (12.8mp). When necessity brought about an upgrade to the Canon EOS 5D Mark II (21.1mp) in 2010, I didn't bother buying a larger card.

    I may shoot some video as well, so having a few larger cards could be handy.

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    Currently on my 5D2 for wedding work - a 16gig CF card will hold roughly around 576 shots, give or take a few depending on the scene/subject.

    Having 2 cards per day will give you over 1000 RAW shots, so unless you are trigger happy - I would say having 3 CF cards is more than enough for safari and landscape shots, based on a per day usage then backing up later at night.

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    , New here, not sure how much time you have, But I purchased via E-bay a CF card adapter it is hollow inside and accepts SD cards inside, works out way cheaper than buying CF, and mine works well in my Olympus 510E Hope this helps. Bloke
    Go to E-bay, Type in SD to CF Adapter, The one I just looked at was $16.99 post free, and the Seller had a 99.2% rating and a couple of adds further down was a high speed one for $17.99 post free the seller has a 98.9% Rating. All the best on your big photo Safari. Bloke

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    We have just come back from four weeks in South Africa and I have around 70 GB of CF cards. I take them all with me whenever we travel and last year I used all of them for a three month trip around Scandinavia and the UK. On the African trip I used 32 GB, but that was for four weeks. If you are taking a laptop you can always download them and then transfer to a USB stick which are cheaper than buying more CF cards. I like to keep my photos on my CF cards until I come back home and download them onto the computer. I then copy them to a DVD before deleting them from the card. You can see some of my photos on Flickr if you wish. Enjoy your holiday.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/83646071@N00/
    Last edited by crafty1tutu; 22-08-2012 at 12:25am.

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    If you are going to take video you will need more or perhaps one 16/32gb card dedicated to video. cheers Brian PS Have a nice trip....
    Cheers Brian.

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    Thanks for the input.

    The other night we ordered a Canon EOS 60D for Xenedette. She'll use the three 8GB cards she already has. With the camera came a free 4GB card.

    I ordered two 16GB cards for my camera, so I'll have 2 x 16GB, 2 x 8GB and 1 x 4GB.

    As I'm taking my laptop and an external disk, and plan to offload and back up images daily, we probably won't need oodles of storage while we're in the field.

    We've decided to go diving with white pointer sharks in Cape Town. Unfortunately I don't have an underwater camera housing (they're hideously expensive). There'd be some amazing shots if I did, though!

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    I think it depends what type of shooting you're doing. If taking shots of game, you may be going trigger happy, and could easily go through 32gig if shooting raw. I'm travelling for a year with 3x36GB and 1x16gb card, and went for maybe two months before needing to clear them (I store them on computer and backup to ext. HD which i store sepearate to laptop incase one bag goes missing/stolen). But at times, i could go through all my memory in a few weeks - depending what i'm shooting. Generally if it's landscape, and i'm not doing timelapse, memory lasts a long time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pmack View Post
    I think it depends what type of shooting you're doing. If taking shots of game, you may be going trigger happy, and could easily go through 32gig if shooting raw.
    I'll probably shoot a lot, but I tend not to be trigger-happy. I'll have over 50GB of storage on me, and given that game drives last a few hours, I should be right, as I'll be offloading and backing up when we're back at the lodge.

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    btw, nice subtle "whaoo i'm goin on a safari" thread :P
    Make sure you post pics!

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    Quote Originally Posted by pmack View Post
    btw, nice subtle "whaoo i'm goin on a safari" thread :P
    I have no idea what you're talking about.

    Quote Originally Posted by pmack View Post
    Make sure you post pics!
    Absolutely.

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    during travels, I take about 40GB around with me using 4-8GB cards. I don't use anything larger as the cards do and will die when used often enough.
    keep in mind that I may not find electricity for several weeks. I take just the one spare camera battery - if that gets used up, I'll switch to a manual camera without electronics.
    if you're able to backup on a daily basis, 2x8GB and a spare battery (just in case) should be plenty.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunny6teen View Post
    4-8GB cards. I don't use anything larger as the cards do and will die when used often enough.
    I haven't heard about this.

    Can you explain a bit more about it?

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    I can't wait to see the wildlife when you get back!
    The kit MArianne and I work with is 2X16GB and 1X8GB cards each - we tend to back up religiously every day though - just in case - you never know! (on to laptop and external HDD 2.5")
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    they do have a limited life expectancy as far as how many times you can write/format on them but it's so high that no one really worries about it.
    I tend to get a failure every 1-2yrs or so but I figure that it's more to do with being outdoors. mine were just cases of failing to read but I know guys who've had corroded pins etc.
    I do know that replacing a card with the camera on will pretty much put you on the 'failure shortlist'. it's a big no-no. as is switching the camera off when it's still writing. it used to be a problem when cards were slower but maybe not such a big deal now. though I imagine if you have noise reduction switched on it would be easy to think that the camera had finished writing before switching it off.

    you'll be fine. if a card does fail, just don't use it again. chances of recovery are better than average. I've had images restored...interestingly, it also restored images from several shoots previous (despite me formatting each time).

    just remember to take everything with you. film is still popular in africa and buying digital stuff can be a problem. (south africa would be the exception).
    even in Egypt (world's tourist hot-spot) buying a CF card outside of Cairo was pretty difficult. I managed to track one down on a passing river cruise ship. considering its rarity I was bracing myself for the price...particularly as I'd been warned about how pricey it would probably be.
    turned out to be the same price as in Australia....but about 3wks salary for the guy who sold it. no one stocks digital slr stuff because no one can afford it.


    Quote Originally Posted by Xenedis View Post
    I haven't heard about this.

    Can you explain a bit more about it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by dtoh View Post
    I can't wait to see the wildlife when you get back!
    If all goes to plan, you'll see them while we're still there.

    Quote Originally Posted by dtoh View Post
    The kit MArianne and I work with is 2X16GB and 1X8GB cards each - we tend to back up religiously every day though - just in case - you never know! (on to laptop and external HDD 2.5")
    Interesting to hear that your approach is also fairly light-weight, and essentially mirrors what I'll be doing.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by sunny6teen View Post
    they do have a limited life expectancy as far as how many times you can write/format on them but it's so high that no one really worries about it.
    Yep, that's true of any solid-state storage.

    Quote Originally Posted by sunny6teen View Post
    I do know that replacing a card with the camera on will pretty much put you on the 'failure shortlist'. it's a big no-no. as is switching the camera off when it's still writing.
    I generally don't open the flash compartment with the camera on. Not a big concern for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by sunny6teen View Post
    though I imagine if you have noise reduction switched on it would be easy to think that the camera had finished writing before switching it off.
    I disabled long-exposure noise reduction. I'd rather do noise reduction (if necessary) in post, and when you're shooting a minutes-long exposure in the dawn light (which intensifies rapidly), dark frame subtraction is evil, as each exposure takes twice as long.

    Quote Originally Posted by sunny6teen View Post
    you'll be fine. if a card does fail, just don't use it again. chances of recovery are better than average. I've had images restored...interestingly, it also restored images from several shoots previous (despite me formatting each time).
    I'm not particularly worried, as I've never had a flash card fail, and the one I use all the time is one I've owned and used for over four years.

    Quote Originally Posted by sunny6teen View Post
    just remember to take everything with you. film is still popular in africa and buying digital stuff can be a problem. (south africa would be the exception).
    I have no film cameras any more. :-)

    South Africa is where we'll be.

    Getting back to your earlier post, I got the impression that you were saying there's an issue with failure of larger-capacity cards, which might be why you don't use them.

    The only issue of which I'm aware is the fact that all of your proverbial eggs are in one basket, so if a card does fail, you can lose a lot more than if you had images spread across a quantity of smaller cards.

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    no, I was only referring to the 'eggs in one basket' scenario. all cards have the potential to fail regardless of size.

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    For the last couple of weeks I've been shooting on 5D MK2's, and I absolutely CHEW through the memory cards! Which is strange, the RAW files from my 550D aren't all that smaller but it seems that I hammer through the cards much faster on this. However, I don't have a light foot when driving, and I don't have a light finger when shooting.

    I think it's good to just have spares of memory cards, you never know when a situation will change and you'll require them!

    It's a bit of money now, for being covered in the future.

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