I have always removed my SD card to load pics to my computer. Just had one go bad and It occurred to me start using the cable upload to just cut down ware and tare on the D90's SD card contacts. Or at least cut down on the frequency of card removal. When I shoot a bunch of pics for my wife for eBay the card gets a lot of action. What do most of you do? card or cable? JBD90
Always remove card and load to computer - replace camera card with one from the spare cards which I keep in order of use so that my "safety backup" is a few "cards" old. Only format card in camera when inserted.
Regards, Clive Liddell Pietermaritzburg South Africa
John, your post presents several good points. First, my basic response to your question, like the others who have replied I also just shuffle the SD card back and forth.
Clive makes excellent points especially regarding good practice with SD card use in general.
My thoughts are that "periodic" removal and replacement of the SD card is actually a good thing in keeping the contacts reliable. On the other hand, anything "over-used" can wear out.
I'm thinking what I may do in your situation is to use the "cable upload" as long as those connections remain reliable. And then when/or if those connections wear out, then revert back to the SD card shuffle.
Now, with all of that having been said, I suspect the contacts in the camera are high quality and may never fail through the life of the camera. (Personally, about once a year I uses a VERY THIN film of DeOxIT D100 on the SD contacts. NOTHING ELSE.) -but that's just me.
So, there's my thoughts. Good Luck with your continued use of your D90. It's certainly a great camera.
I note most of you format the card in the camera. I almost always do a quick format of the card while it is still plugged into the reader after having read it into the computer. This is on a Windows machine. This scheme has always worked well and it is very fast.
Is there some good reason why you all seem to avoid using the Windows format facility? Inquiring minds want to know.
Thu 15-Nov-12 03:47 AM | edited Thu 15-Nov-12 03:49 AM by JosephK
Doing a quick format in the camera makes sure that the formatting and directory layout is exactly what the camera wants. Might be more important when you have multiple cameras. I don't format the cards until the day before I need to use the cards. That way I still have the pics on the cards in case I need an extra backup of them.
Doing a deep format on the computer every now and then can help mark sectors that are going bad, just like a hard drive. Then afterwards do a quick format in the camera.
---------+---------+---------+---------+ Joseph K Seattle, WA, USA
"Doing a deep format on the computer every now and then can help mark sectors that are going bad, just like a hard drive"
I'm not a computer specialist, but from what I understand a flash card doesn't behave like a hard drive and it's not possible to mark bad "sectors" by formatting a SD card. On the other hand, modern SD cards should have a built in function that prevents using "bad sectors", which is a function unrelated to any formatting.
I believe a formatting in the camera is the only step needed in order to keep the SD card "fresh".
Charlie, I am sorry I do not recall the brand. It was not a bottom of the line card. It was the best one Wallmart sold on the day I found myself out in the field with the SD card home in the laptop.8<)
I will tell you it was not a Sandisk which is what I have replaced it with. I bought a pair of 8 gig pro series class 10 cards. I guess they must be the best as they offer a lifetime guarantee.
After looking at your variety of lenses on your equipment list, I find it difficult to imagine scrimping on the least expensive piece of the photographic system. I will spare you the rest of my memory card rant.
I always use card reader, as it is the fastest way of getting your photos to computer. By the way you also can charge the battery, so it's the best way. If you had a back-up SD-card the answer would be univocal.
Like most others here, I always move the card to a reader, and use cards in rotation, formatting just before use.
That said, I had one card that folded in half when I pushed it into the reader - I recovered the data, I was lucky. I am now much more careful when I push the card in. I also have one, name-brand, card type where the plastic bits between the contacts catch on things and bend and may break. I am discarding those -- I have 6 of them. So you do need to be careful.
I always remove the card from the camera and use a card reader to upload the images to my computer. Two reasons for this: - much faster; - no additional discharge of the battery of the camera.
For me, the speed is the most important factor because when using a camera like the D800E for instance you get enormous files and it takes time, lot of time to transfer... That’s why the choice made for the cards AND the card reader is very important, with my equipment I get the following results : http://www.geosolve.be/nikonians/Vit-Transf-SDXC.pdf
My ideal combo is SDXC class 10 (usb3 !) + Card reader Hama (usb3 !)
Admin Nikonians French language section Nikonians® - Worldwide Home for Nikon® Photographers "Share, Learn and Inspire..."
Admin Nikonians Section en Langue Française Nikonians® - L'endroit du monde où les photographes Nikon® sont chez eux "Partager, Apprendre et Inspirer..."
That said, there is a "wear and tear" issue with swapping the cards in and out of the camera. On my D7000, about six months after purchase one of the memory card slots failed. The card would not stay in the "in" position but popped out all the time. Luckily Nikon fixed it under the warranty, but it would have been very expensive (around 350 USD) to pay for as they had to replace the whole internal board of the camera (as the card holder seems to be soldered firmly to the board).
>I always use a card reader. I don't reuse the card, I store >the cards as a backup for the files I have in my computer. >That was not possible in the old days when a 16 mega card cost >about 50 euros.
I have never heard of anyone doing this. Looks to me like CDs or DVDs would be more durable and not subject to corruption by electromagnetic radiation fields from power supplies and other sources. Some people use secondary hard drives for backup - less expensive in the long run and easier to search.
Like most everyone above, I too use a card reader. Fast and efficient. But wait... not all card readers are created equal!
I had one, a "Pro Tama" multi card reader that cost $35 from a cam store, that stopped reading SD cards! Worked fine with my CF cards, but not SD.
So buying a better quality card reader like Sandisk or Western Digital can make a difference.
And forget about "high quality" cards sporting the Wallmart brand, which uses outside Chinese companies to make private label cards. Stick with name brands like Sandisk, Lexar, Western Digital for best results.
And buy the fastest media cards available that fits your cam, especially if you are doing bird or sport photography. The reason is the read/write speed is faster when shooting in burst mode with a motor drive - that is the transfer rate from your cams memory buffer to the memory card. The cheaper (and slower) the card, the more your cam will hesitate or just stop shooting during a fast burst sequence, while it "writes" and transfer the data to your card.
I personally use Sandisk Extreme UDMA 8gb cards with a transfer speed of 60mb (megabyte) per second. I'm not a fan of using bigger cards, in the event I loose or damage one, something that happened once when I dropped a card on a shoot in Mongolia. I had to travel back 20km to where I was shooting, when I discovered it was missing.
Formatting your cam
As others have said, format your card in camera. On Nikon's, you can usually accomplish this by pushing two buttons to quickly do this. Check your manual. Or format your card via the Setup menu. This will wipe the cards contents, resetting it to the format that your Nikon writes files too. Not all NEF files are the same - the formulas vary between models.
Your computer does not know your camera's formatting system, so doing this on your PC is a bad idea, as it may not eliminate all the subfolders. I've seen this when teaching photo workshops - I'll open a student's card with Photo Mechanic, and suddenly 20, 30 and even 40 folders or sub-directories open up!
TIP: Turn off the auto-delete function in your computer while downloading. If your images stop downloading, or you have some file corruption, you may still be able to recover the images. Sandisk has a file recovery system, but it usually can't recover files that have been wiped by your computer!
I'm surprised no one else mentioned it, however one way around having to transfer files from your camera to the computer with memory cards... is to shoot tethered!
If you are in a studio environment, with the Lightroom 4 software, you can hook up your cam direct to your computer or laptop via the USB port. As you take photos, the image pops up on the screen, allowing you to verify the sharpness and quality right away. Set up the file name and location before you start shooting, and they will be automatically filed to the right location on your hard drive!
The same facility is also available with Photo Mechanic. What could be easier?
SD cards can sometimes fail, not necessarily because they have gone bad, but because the copper strips on the card itself may have become corroded.
If you have ever seen a roof that is flashed with copper cladding, especially in France, you will probably notice that it turns green. That is corrosion which occurs when the copper comes in contact with water and the atmosphere. It's a gradual process, and happens more outdoors than say with the copper water pipes (if you have them) in your house.
So what has this got to do with SD flash cards you ask?
SD media cards have copper strips where the camera's tiny fingers touch to transfer data. These contacts will tarnish in time, especially in humid environments, reducing their electrical properties. A good practice is to take a pink eraser (like you used in school, or on the end of HB pencils) and rub it on the contacts, then brush away any remnants of the eraser. This will assure you of good contact when re-inserted in your camera! Note the contacts will be nice and shiny after this little cleanup!
This same eraser trick works on the copper and gold contacts of your camera lens. If your auto-focus starts acting up (when focusing on a subject with good contrast range or edges), remove the lens from your cam's body, and rub the eraser on the small, round, ball-type contacts protruding from the lens barrel by the bayonet mount.
I did this for a friend while on a damp Winter field trip in Northern Canada a few years back - it immediately fixed his intermittent lens focusing and ranging problems!
> A good practice is to take a pink >eraser (like you used in school, or on the end of HB pencils) >and rub it on the contacts, then brush away any remnants of >the eraser. This will assure you of good contact when >re-inserted in your camera! Note the contacts will be nice and >shiny after this little cleanup! > > >This same eraser trick works on the copper and gold contacts >of your camera lens.
Reminds me of when I used to work for some Evil Menacing Company. They used to make memory boards for all the mini computers in the 1990's. When customers opened tickets, we'd tell them the same thing...
How things from the past reappear in other situations...
I always use a card reader.
Anyone use any microSD cards in camera to success? I had an extra 64GB I got for a smartphone, was wondering if it would work in my D90...
Here I use SD card in my D90 and both SD and Compact Flash in my D300s. I never had any problems with any of them falling apart, but if the camera cannot access any of my cards, I clean the contacts with a rubber eraser. It works all the time.
My view is that if a SD card fails once then use another card in future. Cards are cheap and most of us have a number of cards we can use. Surely it is not worth losing pictures or using a card that might damage the camera.
The same....card reader. Mini-USB jacks are not strong and were not intended for daily use.
Regarding cleaning SD card. Seldom do that need it but DO NOT take the advice above about "cleaning copper" with an eraser. That is an old wive's tale that lowers the conductivity of the contacts. First fallacy is the "copper" is actually gold plating which is a very good conductor, and does not oxidize. Contacts seldom get dirty in any electrical circuit, they get oxidized of pitted. Oxidation is a natural process of oxygen chemically combining with the top layers of a metal which becomes an oxide of the metal, which is an insulator of remarkable properties. Oxide layers of non-conducting surfaces are exploited in all sorts of electronics from electrolytic capacitors to transistors and ICs. Using an eraser does two things that hinder your objective, it removes thin layers of the gold plating that leads to actual corrorion of the core metal that the gold has been plated on. Resistance of the contact increases which causes further corrossion. The second point is that the surface is scored, making it roughers so it wears the mating surface faster and there is less total contact area mating with it opposite conductor. Gold does not oxidate but pure gold is too soft to use in rubbing contacts like the SD finger sockets. So the gold is added to another metal that forms a tougher more durable alloy that still have a lot of resistance to corrosion and low electrical resistance. That metal does oxidize however so periodically, even gold electrical contacts benefit from chemical de-oxidizing. It is not a cleaner but a chemical agent that strips the oxygen from the surface metal returning the metal's low electrical resistance. There are a number of effective de-oxidizers, all basically the same formula licensed from Cramolin in Europe and sold under names like Caig Laboratories of the De-Oxit D-5 fame in the US, CRC 61 and Cramolin R-5. This oxide is the exact same cause of volume or tone controls on stereos sounding "scratchy" with noise when turned. It is not dirt but easily removed oxide that does not harm the metal like corrosion or wear, or abrasion does. About once a year, a light coat of D-5 or one of the other de-oxidizers on all connectors, lens connections and SD cards will keep them in good shape. Stan St Petersburg Russia