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Back Up Strategies and SD Cards


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A little advice would be helpful.

 

My normal back-up workflow is to keep all of my images on a 64GB card, and when it is full, keep it in a drawer.  

 

After every shoot, I download to an external hard drive, and back that up with Time Machine.  Then once a month or so, the external drive is cloned to another drive which is normally kept off site.

 

This is all very safe, until human (me) error creeps in.

 

The other day my SD card got corrupted, and I lost a few days work, which hadn't been backed up - lesson learned, and I had a spare 8GB card with me.

 

My question is, is it really worth using such a large card?  My understanding is that the failure rate of cards is related to the number of times they are written to and read from.  So a card with over a thousand images will be more likely to fail than one with hundreds of images.

 

Do people generally use 8GB or 4GB cards?  And do you re-format them every once in a while?

 

Sorry this is so long, but it kind of freaked me out at the time.

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I use sets of two 32 GB cards in my Nikon, saving RAW (NEF) on one and JPG on the other. A couple of days ago I was debating whether I should get a 64 GB card for the compact flash slot, but decided against it, basically for the reasons you mentioned, Ian.

 

I have a slew of disorganized external hard drives, and apple time machine, but the backup I count most on is my photoshelter site, though I realize nothing is foolproof. When it's a particularly key shoot, I backup all JPG and NEF files, not just the best ones.

 

--> After getting files on computer/online, I reformat my cards after virtually each day's shoots - that's how I clear cards for their next use.

 

So my back up approach could/should be better, could be worse.

- Ann

Edited by ann
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I use 16gb cards (Canon and Fuji Cameras so I have both SD and CF cards).  I download from card to computer as soon as I am done shooting.  Edit on computer and once done editing, I transfer the images to an external drive (RAID 6 enabled) - I have one of these

 

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/980497-REG/synology_synology_ds1513_diskstation_5_bay.html

 

I am allowed two simultaneous hard drive failures before I have an issue.

 

I upload the jpg version of my marketable images to the Photoshelter website just as Ann.

 

I reformat my card after every shoot in camera when I'm done downloading to computer.  Knock/touch wood, I've not had a card failure in many years.

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Sorry about your lost images, Ian. But stuff happens. In fact stuff happens regardless of which set of safety rules you decide to follow. 

 

You sound as if you are shooting in London or a car ride away. Is that right? Flying off to faraway lands for long periods calls for a different sets of tricks. Personally, I can't see any real reason for using cards as large as 64GB. Have you ever used one up in a day of shooting? I use 16GB cards, all either SanDisk or Lexar. (Don't buy cheap cards!) Like Ann and Denver Ed, I download daily and reformat in the camera. I don't travel anymore, so I won't get into that here. When I go out the door, usually for a few hours, I have a 100% charged battery and another 100% charged battery in my shoulder bag. I have a clean, reformatted 16GB card in the camera and four more in a little card safe in my bag. So far I haven't had a card fail . . . but it will happen someday . . . even if my plan is to be very lucky. 

 

You be lucky too, Ian.

Edited by Ed Rooney
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I'm the same - 16GB cards.  The reformatting in the camera (or deleting in the camera), as I understand it, is important to limiting card issues.

 

Lucky those who have a camera that takes 2 cards.

 

I have a QNAP NAS that sits on my network and backs up my computer and external drives while I'm asleep at night.  I never reformat cards until I have at least a copy of a photograph on my external drive and on the NAS.  Not fool proof but it does mean that all I have to do is watch for any alerts of problems with my NAS.  The other critical consideration is to use server-type hard disks. The desktop ones are far more liable to failure (a fraction of the others' MTBF) and don't like being left running for ever.

 

I try to limit manual intervention as much as possible as I know that it takes a human to really screw things up... and that I'm extraordinarily well qualified!

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Eight and 16 GB cards work fine for me, but then I don't do videos. I also tend to shoot like I'm still using film, so I don't need a lot of memory. Have never had an SD or CF card fail, touch wood.

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I use 8, 16 or 32MB cards.  Shoot RAW+jpg.   When I get home the whole shoot is saved into a monthly file on my hard drive.   I keep last months and this months - previous months are deleted every new month.   I then save the days shoot (RAW only) separately to each of 2 x 1TB hard drives.  Then I save it to a DVD. So I have it all saved in four places. 

 

Two more 500MB hard drives each have copies of all of my stock images.

 

I reformat in camera and carry spare batteries and cards when out.   So far nothing bad happened.

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Two copies when I get home, one on an external drive, but I keep the images on the 16GB card until there's not enough space for a day's shooting. JPEG| only.

I haven't had a card go bad in 10 years of digital.

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For client work I used a 32GB (most of the time) which usually covers a day's shooting - each job can be as much as 17GB, as per yesterday, and I have spare 16GBs for overflow. Those cards have Magic Lantern software on board for expanding the camera's functions.

 

I download to an individual job folder on the computer each day and back up immediately to an external drive - rubbish and all. So for current work I have all the shoot on a backup drive and the working job folder on the desktop. As soon as signed off by client, the folder is duped to two external drives (one RAID) and deleted off computer.

 

The cards take a hammering and I've never had a card failure - a few days ago I would have said I've never had an external drive problem but a plug and play WD went south (only a few months old). Only USB drive I use but they would only replace like with like.

 

I have to reformat in camera with the ML software but periodically I format in the computer (for the sake of the camera - Fixation recommended) and reload the ML software.

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Thanks, everybody for the great replies.

 

I guess smaller cards are the way forward for me.And I will definitely investigate Photoshelter.

 

John, I, too, tend to shoot like every shot costs money - it is something I am struggling to get away from. Old habits die hard, I suppose.

 

Ed, I do shoot on trips occasionally.  On those occasions, I back up at the end of every day to an old Asus netbook, but I may investigate backing up to iPad, as I usually have one with me, anyway.

 

Most of you seem to re-format periodically.  That would have the advantage of having fewer images to scroll through in order to find the ones which haven't been downloaded.

 

Thanks, again to all of you for your help and support.  Alamy is worthwhile for these forums alone!

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I tend to use 8 and 16GB cards. Shoot in RAW only. Download to computer. Reformat cards in camera. Process RAWS via LR. Save tiff files. Further process tiffs in PSE. Save tiff and jpeg. Send tiffs and RAWs to WD My book duo (two mirrored hard drives). Auto backed up to another WD MBD with two mirrored HDs at end of day. Also backed up to another drive which is taken out of remote office to home.

 

I also use WiFi time machine to backup computer SSD, and carry out a once a week bootable clone of SSD to another drive which lives at home.

 

Even the above may not be sufficient but should cover most eventualities.

 

Allan

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I tend to use 8 and 16GB cards. Shoot in RAW only. Download to computer. Reformat cards in camera. Process RAWS via LR. Save tiff files. Further process tiffs in PSE. Save tiff and jpeg. Send tiffs and RAWs to WD My book duo (two mirrored hard drives). Auto backed up to another WD MBD with two mirrored HDs at end of day. Also backed up to another drive which is taken out of remote office to home.

 

I also use WiFi time machine to backup computer SSD, and carry out a once a week bootable clone of SSD to another drive which lives at home.

 

Even the above may not be sufficient but should cover most eventualities.

 

Allan

I think you should be safe, barring,a nuclear strike in Cambridge ;-)

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I only use SanDisk CF cards. Using a Nikon D800 a 32 GB card only holds 400 RAW images. Am now looking to buy Lexar pro 128 GB SD cards. SD being less expensive than CF. Always back up/download all cards on return to base on a Time Machine and a 2 TB WD Elements drive. Looking to buy a second 2 TB drive for off site storage as these are reasonably priced now.

 

dov

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16GB cards

Sandisk only

Never had a failure

 

Me too. And 4GB SD CF Extreme or Edxtreme Pro cards - again with no failures. I have decided I will probably not go bigger than 16Gb unless I get a high resolution camera (currently 16 and 21Mp) sometime in the future. Even a busy sports event rarely goes beyond 2 cards per day.

 

Did have the read lock tab drop out (physical damage) of a 4Gb Sandisk SD card but not while using it with a camera - it was lying around on my desk being used for transfer purposes. No data lost, still readable, but it is permanently write protected!

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Yes Sandisk and Lexar only - not yet had a failure except on a "cheap" CF card when I recovered most files with DataRescue [ Mac ]

Main storage Drobo 4 bay backed up to a second Drobo 4 Bay [ 8tb]

 

This thread reminds me I have neglected offsite storage...

 

max card size I have is 32gb and I don't really have enough. I do not reformat until they are imported into Aperture and backed up.

 

Data Rescue 3 by Prosoft may well find most of your files Ian but it takes time...It recovered files form a card I found soaking wet in a car park - all mp3s and no hint of the owner

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"John, I, too, tend to shoot like every shot costs money - it is something I am struggling to get away from. Old habits die hard, I suppose.

 

Most of you seem to re-format periodically.  That would have the advantage of having fewer images to scroll through in order to find the ones which haven't been downloaded."

 

I wouldn't let that old habit die at all, Ian. "Focusing" on your subject in a more deliberate way is far better than the shotgun approach. And maybe you feel you need a 64GB card to hold all the similar images that will end up being deleted anyway. 

 

Mostly I don't miss film, but the lessons I learned shooting it were invaluable. 

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Mostly I don't miss film, but the lessons I learned shooting it were invaluable. 

 

Too true. Have a greenie on me.

 

Allan

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16GB cards

Sandisk only

Never had a failure

 

Yes! Forgot to mention Sandisk only for me too, apart from one Fuji card. Don't know how that came about. Ah yes I remember twas a freebie when I bought the X-E1.

 

Allan

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I tend to use 8 and 16GB cards. Shoot in RAW only. Download to computer. Reformat cards in camera. Process RAWS via LR. Save tiff files. Further process tiffs in PSE. Save tiff and jpeg. Send tiffs and RAWs to WD My book duo (two mirrored hard drives). Auto backed up to another WD MBD with two mirrored HDs at end of day. Also backed up to another drive which is taken out of remote office to home.

 

I also use WiFi time machine to backup computer SSD, and carry out a once a week bootable clone of SSD to another drive which lives at home.

 

Even the above may not be sufficient but should cover most eventualities.

 

Allan

I think you should be safe, barring,a nuclear strike in Cambridge ;-)

 

 

Unfortunately if there is a nuclear strike on London I would still be fried in Cambridge.

 

Allan

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I think you should be safe, barring,a nuclear strike in Cambridge ;-)

 

 

Unfortunately if there is a nuclear strike on London I would still be fried in Cambridge.

 

Allan

 

Remember The Fourth Protocol?

Edited by spacecadet
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Know of it. Never read book or seen film though. Maybe a serious omission on my part.

 

Allan

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Took 2 x 16 GB cards away for 5 week trip through Spain/France and failed to fill them both. Another ex film shooter I tend to be conservative in my use of the shutter then typically delete the garbage on the spot or during an evening revue. It saves pain later on. Have been using an 8GB card since and not yet reformatted big cards. I always delete and reformat using camera.

 

Have two external drives but confess to using them too rarely, must do so before my next trip away. As a stock shooter only I don't have the necessity to back up client's work, so it's not that critical.

 

Not of the view that storage is cheap enough to forget about. My two 1 TB external drives are filling up and will have to be replaced shortly, would prefer to spend the money on glass (wine or lens).

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've had positive and negative experiences with internal and external hard drives. Currently I have a Transcend 500GB external drive in a foam-padded case, about the size of a pack of cigars, and it works (knock on wood). So I copy SD cards onto my laptop hard drive, the Transcend external drive, and use the laptop to burn DVDs. When in situations where I'm concerned about security, I mail those to myself taped between two pieces of cardboard in an A4/9x12 envelope. Having had problems with dedicated CD/DVD mailers, I prefer to disguise the package as ordinary documents. Goes through in a week, no customs delay and no damage.

 

Now I'm looking at M-disc for permanent storage. Looks like the answer. For a guy who measures his goals in terms of bucket lists, a thousand years seems like a long time.

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