It's an interesting phenomena. Those of us who shot film or the early DSLRs with one card slot had no backup. And once in a million there was a loss.
Fast forward to dual slots. Now that we can have backup, some of us want backup. I think there are two reasons: 1) Offering a backup mode implies that a single failure is more than a remote possibility. 2) Those of us with a heavy computer background know that, given enough time, electronics will fail.
I shoot in backup mode — with large enough cards that overflow is rarely an issue. And when I shoot — a job or just for myself — I sleep better knowing that I have two cards with the images. (Full disclosure: twice on a shoot I ran uncomfortably low on space and so blew away the backup card and turned on overflow. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do!)
And I know dozens of photogs who shoot in overflow and have never lost a frame…
Jon Kandel A New York City Nikonian and Team Member Please visit my website and critique the images!
If I shoot in places that I can get back to, I use overflow. If i am just shooting the family, I shoot overflow. When I shoot somewhere that I may not get to again (like my trip this summer to Az.), I shoot back-up.
I use the SD as primary and the CF as overflow. Main reason is the computer I use has a built in SD card reader.
Question: Which is actually faster? Why would I want to use the CF as primary or the SD a primary?
As for backups, yes, I have had cards fail but not so bad that I could not recover the card. I try to keep an eye on what is going on during a shoot so if there looks like an issue, I select the CF slot and/or insert a new card. Most of the failures I have had are due to the card not being inserted correctly or not powering the camera off before removing the card.
I've been shooting with CF as primary and SD overflow/video. I do take some family video from time to time and find it easier to off load it to the SD card so I know which to pull to transfer to computer.... I've never filled my 32gb CF card yet, I would have to take over 800 pics to fill one up.... But you never know I guess when you'll need the space.
I shoot RAW with the primary card being in the CF slot. I then send the jpgs to the SD card slot. At the end of the day I back up the CF's to my Nexto backup drive and then using an adapter I load the jpgs onto my ipad. That way I get to see what I shot that day and I don't have to carry my computer with me on a trip to do so.
Not saying this is the way to do it, but it seems to work well for me.
>I shoot RAW with the primary card being in the CF slot. I >then send the jpgs to the SD card slot. At the end of the day >I back up the CF's to my Nexto backup drive and then using an >adapter I load the jpgs onto my ipad. That way I get to see >what I shot that day and I don't have to carry my computer >with me on a trip to do so. > >Not saying this is the way to do it, but it seems to work well >for me.
I am also old school (film for years and years) Back then I shot 20 or 24 ex instead of 36 ex , because I felt better with my vacation or job on more rolls of film (just in case) . I also had processed the odd number of rolls one time and the even number rolls at another time. I did "lose" a few rolls over the years. So I guess I believe in some sort of back up. Now with the D800, I use CF card for RAW and the SD card for jpeg. I use the SD card for not only backup, but to view on my iPad.
I use CF for RAW and SD for large JPG. When I review my shots I find the JPGs are almost always excellent for what I wanted. If so I never use the RAW. The JPGS in the D800 are amazing. Also I can use the SD card directly in my laptop computer.
Over the years I always used RAW with the D100 but then with my D2Hs I found the JPGS were often great. Then with my D700 they kept improving. Now with the D800 and good settings on the camera the JPGS are great. So I find now I hardly ever look at the NEFS on the CF card. (they are just nice to have there in case).
I only use the CF slot. Even though I have not filled the buffer yet: since the maximum write speed is limited to the slowest card in the camera I just use fast CF cards. Good Luck and Enjoy your Nikons!