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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

When Do You Replace CF Cards?
Alan Herzberg, Photographer
Elm Grove | WI | USA | Posted: 8:27 AM on 03.31.10
->> Aside from replacing CF cards because something new and faster comes along, do you replace your CF cards at a certain age or after a certain amount of use because the cards may be less reliable than they were when you began using them?
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Martin McNeil, Photographer
East Kilbride | Lanarkshire | United Kingdom | Posted: 8:40 AM on 03.31.10
->> I'd probably replace them when I can a) have a need to and b) can afford to :)

I'm eyeing up the latest Sandisk 32GB and 64GB cards but the price point isn't there for me yet. I've got a pair of 16GB and a stack of 4GB and would love to switch.
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Randy Sartin, Photographer
Knoxville | TN | USA | Posted: 9:44 AM on 03.31.10
->> I always try to run mine through the washer and dryer every 6 months or so, keeps them happy and smelling good.

There's nothing to wear out, so what is the "life expectancy" of a CF card?
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 9:49 AM on 03.31.10
->> Alan I've replaced them as sizes grew. I think that right now at 8gb I have reached a happy place on the size scale. Not being a huge RAW shooter an 8gb card more is more than roomy for shooting jpgs of just about any event.
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John Cheng, Photographer
New Milford | CT | USA | Posted: 10:21 AM on 03.31.10
->> I have 4 4GB extreme IVs that I use exclusively to cover meets with. The 4 of them must have totaled 1,000,000+ images and still going strong. It's all solid state technology so I'm not so concern with the low failure rate. If they do I'll start rotate in the higher capacity cards I have for meets.
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Butch Miller, Photographer
Lock Haven | PA | USA | Posted: 10:42 AM on 03.31.10
->> Generally I replace cards at the first sign of a problem, which has been very rare ... or ... more likely when I have stepped up to a newer camera that needs larger capacity and faster cards ....
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Yamil Sued, Photographer, Photo Editor
Peoria | AZ | USA | Posted: 11:00 AM on 03.31.10
->> I replace them when the ones I have are too small or too slow!!

Right now I have enough Hoodman 300X 8G and 16G Cards to last me for a little while.

Could I use the Hoodman 32 GB 675 X Cards??? Yes!!, right now, I can't afford them, but soon!!

Y
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Bill Mitchell, Photographer
Tempe | AZ | USA | Posted: 11:25 AM on 03.31.10
->> I never replace them unless they fail (which I think has happened twice). I seldom use my 256k and 512k cards, but I've still got them around just in case I need them for something (i.e., testing a camera when I'm only going to take a few shots at a time).
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Brian Blanco, Photographer
Tampa / Sarasota | FL | USA | Posted: 11:52 AM on 03.31.10
->> I replace them as I lose them... so, on average, about one a week. On the bright side though, SanDisk has been able to employ about 3 people off what they make from me annually.
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Jeff Brehm, Photographer, Photo Editor
Charlotte | NC | USA | Posted: 12:57 PM on 03.31.10
->> I have mixed feelings every time I move up to a bigger capacity card. Both times I made quantum leaps -- from 1 GB to 4GB, then from 4 to 16, I only found out after a major failure that my camera software didn't support a card that size. Now I always check first, but I still have that bad flashback the first time I plug the new card in, and I don't feel comfortable until I've run the new card to near capacity that first time.

I know some shooters who refuse to use very large cards because they are afraid they would lose too much if it fails. They prefer to swap out the smaller cards more frequently.
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Lloyd Smith, Photographer
Poughkeepsie | NY | USA | Posted: 1:18 PM on 03.31.10
->> I don't replace them, but they eventually sunset naturally as the newer ones (faster and higher capacity) get used more and more. Then the smaller ones will end up being used less until i don't bother to take them to events anymore and they end up in the drawer.

Out of the 40 cards the only ones i've had fail on me are: 2 1gb microdrives (2001), 5 1gb lexar 40x (2004), 1 8gb 233x Ridata(2008). I've had a transcend card arrive DOA, but they sent me a replacement the next day.
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Bryon Houlgrave, Photographer
Mason City | Ia | USA | Posted: 1:40 PM on 03.31.10
->> I still have a 17 mb cf card in my bag somewhere.
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Mike Isler, Photographer, Assistant
New York | NY | US | Posted: 2:19 PM on 03.31.10
->> Randy,

"There's nothing to wear out, so what is the "life expectancy" of a CF card?"

Solid state media such as CF cards certainly do have parts that wear out, even though they're not typical moving parts. Individual blocks within flash memory can only be written a finite amount of times before that block will fail. The controller on most flash cards implements a "wear leveling" protocol to evenly use the memory blocks, increasing the MTBF of the card. Flash memory blocks can be written 100,000-300,000 times. While it's unlikely that you'll hit that number of cycles in a CF card, if you're using an SSD in a computer as a scratch disk it's quite possible.
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Phil Hawkins, Photographer
Fresno | ca | usa | Posted: 3:06 PM on 03.31.10
->> Mike, can you clarify >"Flash memory blocks can be written 100,000-300,000 times."<

If this is true, a CF card should last only about as long as the shutter on your camera. I've replaced my shutter twice in three years, and yet I still use 4gb SanDisk CF cards I've had for 6 or 7 years.

Clarify por-favor...
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Philip Johnson, Photographer
Garland | TX | USA | Posted: 3:40 PM on 03.31.10
->> Phil,

I think Mike is saying you can only fill up a CF card 100,000 - 300,000 times. So if you can get 400 images on a 4 GB card that would be 40,000,000 - 120,000,000 actuations on your camera.
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Alan Look, Photographer
Bloomington/Normal | IL | United States | Posted: 4:12 PM on 03.31.10
->> If they still work, keep using them. I still have a couple 340mb IBM microdisks. Hardly use them, but they still work.
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Eric Canha, Photographer
Brockton | MA | United States | Posted: 4:25 PM on 03.31.10
->> ......40,000,000 - 120,000,000 actuations on your camera.....

Phew that means I'm good for another couple years.... Maybe by then 1tb cards????
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Jason Zindroski, Photographer
Laguna Niguel | CA | USA | Posted: 3:39 PM on 04.06.10
->> I'm still using a bunch of 2GB cards I got when I bought my Mark2 years ago. Never had a problem with them and I like spreading out my images in multiple cards just in case something goes wrong with one. Don't want all my eggs in one basket.

I have a Canon FC-8M 8mb CF card in my desk, one shot per card :)
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Robert Scheer, Photographer
Indianapolis | IN | USA | Posted: 7:40 AM on 04.07.10
->> I don't chuck old ones, and as I add new, faster/bigger cards, I stash the older ones in strategic places. In the car, side pocket of fanny pack and backpack, wife's car, desk at work. Beats having to tell a photo subject you'll "er, uh, be right back," and make a mad dash to find a pharmacy for an overpriced 512M card. . .
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Steve Ueckert, Photographer
Houston | TX | | Posted: 8:31 AM on 04.07.10
->> "I like spreading out my images in multiple cards just in case something goes wrong with one. Don't want all my eggs in one basket."

My sentiment exactly.

Old cards are still useful for keeping older versions of firmware.
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Jon Wright, Photographer
Wayzata | MN | USA | Posted: 8:47 AM on 04.07.10
->> I have kept all my 512 and 256 cards because I shoot some portrait events where my crew creates dye sub prints on the spot and the small cards keep the printing rotation going. The rest of the time they just take up space in one of my cases.
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Thread Title: When Do You Replace CF Cards?
Thread Started By: Alan Herzberg
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