Cave Cardem

OK, that is rather a lame wordplay on the Latin “Cave Canem”, which means “beware of the dog”. So I mean “beware of the (wrong) memory cards”.

How so?

Bit of background. I always use only Sandisk or Lexar cards – they do work more reliably. And my images are important since I get paid for them, so why try to save? Better is, well, better. That does not mean I buy fast or large cards – but I buy brand names only.

So. My second shooter used an 8GB eye-fi card in her D90 camera the other day to shoot a wedding. This is a card that can connect to WiFi, but it also writes to local storage.


The moment I inserted this card into my card reader, my iMac crashed. Hard. Grey screen of death. That happened twice. And now the card is unreadable on any machine.

Or not?

Part of a wedding is something you must never lose. And yet this happened. Perhaps Eye Fi ( can help restore the images? Perhaps, but so far, over 24 hours later, they have not responded to my email support request.

And this, my friends, is why I use only Sandisk and Lexar cards. And cameras that write to two cards at once (my 1Ds Mk3 and 1D Mk4). Live and learn, never again will I allow anyone who shoots with me to use anything except a freshly formatted Lexar and Sandisk. If your images are of equal importance to you, you will do the same.

And the wedding? Well – that is why we have two shooters and four cameras (with another in the car as a backup). The wedding couple will be happy. But I am not.


7 thoughts on “Cave Cardem

  1. I saw those cards at the digital imaging show and was really skeptical on their performance and reliability. I’ve been a long time SanDisk user and never had an issue. Using the new Extreme Pro UHS1 cards and work awsome in my D90’s. Hope things work out for you!

  2. I have Lexar and Sandisk CF cards, and Class 10 Panasonic SDHC cards. So far, a couple of years on and after tens of thousands of photos, the Panasonic cards have also worked flawlessly in a G11, T2i and as second card in a 1D Mk III. They are all read with a Lexar reader or the little CDN$10 reader I picked up at a Kodak Express in HK.

    I also have a couple of foto source Hi-Performance CF cards that have been reliable the few times I have used them, but are so slow you have to wait 10 seconds or so after a burst of shots with a 1Ds Mk III. Too frustrating! They are not too bad in a 30D and thus far they are better than running out of space.

    Slow cards can make a good camera perform poorly.

  3. I agree with the importance of memory cards, however, while working at a camera store, ive seen many more of the lexar cards come back as duds then some non-brand names. Unfortunately, I don’t have exact figures but it has been something that has caught my eye.

    Personally, Sandisk or Transcend. Both are great cards.

    • FWIW, Sandisk invented the CF format and is behind many of the continuing innovations. I have read engineering papers (being an engineer) on how they work and yes, there is indeed a real difference in reliability engineering.

  4. Eye-Fi says, in their auto response:

    “We are currently experiencing an increase in volume that is unfortunately increasing our response times to customer emails. We apologize in advance that it may be several days before we can address your question or problem via email.”

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