CF configuration-looking for opinions
1. when the CF slots are set up for mirroring, does the camera do an actual write to each slot with the same information, or does it write to one slot which then copies it over to the other? I think it's the first since it does happen pretty fast I have noticed.
2 wondering how folks have their CF write options configured? I know Thom Hogan recommends overflow mode. working in the IT disaster recovery industry, I am intrigued with the mirroring option to ensure I have two copies of everything I shoot.
However, I will be going on a once in a lifetime vacation for two weeks soon(Maui), and shooting RAW on 8GB Lexar 300x UDMA cards all day in mirror mode(and, being the amateur I am, I bracket a LOT) could get expensive(several cards)
I have never had a CF card issue, but I am also considering that the shots I take each day will have to contain good data for download to a laptop-no chances to go back and get them again in some cases if I have some type of corruption problem.
does anyone out there shoot in CF "mirror" mode for critical outings, or am I just being paranoid?
#1. "RE: CF configuration-looking for opinions" | In response to Reply # 0TObject Registered since 12th Nov 2004Fri 26-Dec-08 03:55 AM
I shoot with mirroring to two compact flash cards. Works great.
I have never had a memory card failure, but I will eventually.
By the end of the day, where do you unload the images to? If it’s just a laptop hard drive, then perhaps you have a greater chance of losing the images there. I usually don’t erase pictures from the compact flash cards until I had a chance to make optical disk copies in addition to hard drive storage.
#2. "RE: CF configuration-looking for opinions" | In response to Reply # 1Fri 26-Dec-08 10:45 AM
I agree with your assessment that I would be more likely to lose or get corrupted data once transferred to spinning disk on a laptop.
My plan was to dump my CF's each evening of our trip onto my Mac laptop as well as an external fireware 800 attached drive. then format the CF's for the next day. so I would have my pix in two places for the trip back home.
burning onto optical may not be realistic in my case I don't think. I don't have a blu-ray burner, so I would be stuck with the ~700MB you can burn onto a disk, and I will be using 8GB CF's....
#3. "RE: CF configuration-looking for opinions" | In response to Reply # 0
I shoot mostly sports. I normally shoot in overflow mode, but for certain jobs I switch to mirrored mode. Those are the jobs where I have a paying client who expects delivery of a specific event.
I have lost a CF card to failure. I shot most of a youth football game on a SanDisk Ultra II 4 GB card a couple of years ago, only to have it fail just before the end of the game. No home remedy could recover the images. Fortunately, this was a shoot I could easily replicate at the next game of the team I was shooting, so all I lost was some time.
If I were shooting a wedding or a once-in-a-lifetime trip, mirror mode is definitely the way I would go.
Are you going to be shooting bursts that fill the buffer? If not, you could grab some non-UDMA CF cards. Those can be had in 8-GB size for under $50 each these days.
I also note that Lexar is offering a $40 rebate on the 8-GB 300x cards until mid-January, good on up to three such cards per address, in case you want to stick with the high-speed cards.
Wethersfield, CT, USA
Connecticut High School Sports Photos
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#4. "RE: CF configuration-looking for opinions" | In response to Reply # 0
I get around 350-400 RAW shots on a 4Gb card (lossless compressed). So that's 700-800 per 8 Gb card. Maybe 300, allowing for a lot of bracketing.
(1) The cost of an Hawaiian vacation is significant, so the cost of a couple of extra cards can be put into perspective (not to mention that it's a capital cost, not an operating cost).
(2) Set up the function button so you can use the wheel to change shooting banks and set one bank to overflow and one to backup. Then you can choose in real time whether this shot is important enough to backup or whether you can live with the single copy. When bracketing, you will have several copies (albeit at different exposures) so you can recover if one gets corrupted. I have bank A set to overflow. Bank B is set to backup and 14 bit. (The folder number is also different for the two banks).
#5. "RE: CF configuration-looking for opinions" | In response to Reply # 0
I shoot anything important in mirror mode. Once it is on a couple of HDs and other backup media, then I delete from the CF. In some instances I might even suggest keeping one of the mirrored CF cards with files intact for a while or the whole 2 weeks. It is a bit costly, but if you have several cards, then you store one, clear one, and put the cleared card plus another in the camera for the next period of shoot ing.
I agree with jbloom, it can be realtively cheap to buy and use slower non-UDMA CF cards for a lot of your shooting. I have a pair of 4Gb 266X UDMA cards, a pair of 4Gb 133X cards, and a pair of 2Gb Ultra II cards for all occasions.
Depending on your shooting style, you can save a lot of media space by shooting only raw or only jpeg. Every D3 raw file has a full size jpeg file embedded in it, so I never use raw+jpeg any more. I use Phil Harvey's ExifTool to extract the full size jpegs into a subdirectory and review them there. On the D3, I have found no significant difference between the extracted jpeg and the Large Fine jpeg created in-camera. I have a batch file that walks the directory, extracts the jpeg, and then inserts the EXIF data from the .nef files into the jpeg files. (The embedded jpegs don' have EXIF data since it is already stored in the nef.)
If you are going to Maui, then you should have internet connections available everywhere. I'd setup an on-line storage option and ftp/copy the images up during dinner each day. Then with the HD copies and the on-line copies, you should be covered enough to delete from the CF media every night.
When you get off the plane, there are a bunch of placess where you will see small free booklets that are titled "This week in Maui" or something similar. They are a great resource. Inside you will find a bunch of interesting info and up-to-date details on all the latest and coolest stuff going on locally that week on the island. Grab one and give it a quick read when you get settled.
Hawaii is a vacation paradise, but it is also a part of the real world. Be sure to secure your camera gear, laptop, and other easily stolen valuables, at all times. Things disappear from hotel rooms and out of locked and unlocked rental cars as easily, if not more easily than on the mainland. The 48 contiguous states are "the mainland" and not "the US", since Hawaii has been a state for 40+ years now. Mahalo means "Thank you". (ma Ha lo) Locals and knowledgable travelers use Mahalo. Aloha means both hello and good-bye. There is usually a light sprinkling of "liquid sunshine" every day. Some simple and light rain gear or even a plastic bag will usually protect your camera gear unless it is a real storm. It is a wonderful place, you should have a fantastic time.
"... you see, but you do not observe."
- Sherlock Holmes
#6. "RE: CF configuration-looking for opinions" | In response to Reply # 5Mon 29-Dec-08 12:28 PM
thanks 73, great info....
great idea regarding the online storage. I was planning to upload my pix daily to my home server for safekeeping, plus I will have them downloaded to my MAC laptop each night, and I will have a 1TB Lacie portable external drive i will also put them on....hopefully, I will have them in enough places.
sounds like I need to plan on getting additional CF cards for daily shoots, and shoot in mirror mode. It's normal for me to take 1000+ exposures during a given day/evening while on vacation to a place I may not be coming back to(Aruba, Cabo, etc). I shoot virtually everything I see(lot's of grab shots). a good bit of it is trash, but I come up with some very interesting keepers this way.
when I am set up on a tripod, shooting a landscape, i will shoot many expsoures using different filter/exposure/lens/compositions to see what works best. So I can burn through the CF's for sure.
I shoot 14-bit RAW only, no compression, and get about 302 exposures on a Lexar 8GB UDMA 300x with my D3.
#7. "RE: CF configuration-looking for opinions" | In response to Reply # 6Tue 30-Dec-08 01:33 PM
I can definitely understand shooting 14-bit raw, but do you not use the lossless compression? It is my understanding that the lossless option saves space without losing bits. It is a reoverable compression algorithm like ZIP archives.
"... you see, but you do not observe."
- Sherlock Holmes
#8. "RE: CF configuration-looking for opinions" | In response to Reply # 7Tue 30-Dec-08 02:32 PM
thanks for taking the time to post on this.
actually, when I set the NEF recording to "lossless compressed", my available exposure counter does not change with a fresh 8GB card: 302-same as the "non-compressed" NEF setting.
I know the counter is very close to being accurate, since, if I change the setting the "compressed", my counter goes to 446. i also ran through an 8GB card and got 304 actual exposures, when using the non-compressed setting, very close to the 302 it said I had available before I started shooting.
I figured since lossless compression didn't give me any more exposures, I would just leave it at non-compressed to keep the image as pure as possible.
#9. "RE: CF configuration-looking for opinions" | In response to Reply # 8Tue 06-Jan-09 09:48 PM
I think that Nikon handles lossless compressed NEFs like uncompressed NEFs in the initial count because the firmware cannot accurately predict in advance the amount of compression each NEF will allow. More complex scenes will compress less than simple ones. I ran a quick test indoors using my D3 on a tripod to keep the subject, light, and exposure (WB = pre-4), as close as possible without doing everything manually and here are my results of 6 shots. Sizes in bytes.
== 14 bit ====== size ====== colors ==
Uncompressed -- 25,459,008 - 302697
Lossless Comp.- 15,172,760 - 299995
Compressed ---- 12,662,513 - 302638
== 12 bit ====== size ====== colors ==
Uncompressed -- 19,365,536 - 298478
Lossless Comp.- 12,149,106 - 303221
Compressed ---- 10,146,962 - 301750
For this particular scene the lossless compressed 14 bit image used less media space than a 12 bit uncompressed image file. The savings from using Lossless compressed versus uncompressed is 10Mb for this simple image. The difference saved by going from Lossless compressed to compressed is not enough to warrant the loss in image quality when you get most of your savings with lossless to me. With an 8Gb card the savings in space would allow quite a few more images per CF card used with lossless compressed.
I extracted the embedded JPEG preview files and using Irfanview had it show the number of unique colors in the JPG files. Interesting that they differ by such a margin. Since a section of my monitor was in the scene it may be part or all of the difference. The image on the monitor was fixed, but there is the possibility that the refresh caused some image color differences. The differences do not match the compression levels involved, but this wasn't a rigidly controlled test. Would like to see a more controlled analysis using the NEFs and JPGs, but don't have the time.
"... you see, but you do not observe."
- Sherlock Holmes
#10. "RE: CF configuration-looking for opinions" | In response to Reply # 9Wed 07-Jan-09 04:04 AM
fantastic info! I never thought about it, but you are exactly right. the firmware could not know how many exposures you would get with lossless until the scenes were shot and computed....so, every 8GB card will likely yeild different exposure numbers with lossless, but it certainly appears the numbers are definintely higher than no compression.
thanks very much,....I have a new NEF shooting setting...