Avoiding Memory Card Problems

by | Sep 21, 2017

Today’s Post by Joe Farace

When testing the Leica Q I ran into a memory card problem that was solved by using the camera itself as a card reader and connecting it to my computer and copying the image files onto my hard drive. While card failures do occur, in all my years of using both CF and SD cards I’ve had few such occurrences and was sure each time it was caused by user error. At least that’s what I used to think as I mentioned in my post about photographing the Goodguys Colorado Nationals.

Mary and I were getting ready to attend the Colorado Conclave car show for English cars and motorcycles and I planned on taking my Panasonic Lumix GH4 and 14-45mm OIS lens that was used to make all of the photos shown in this post. Now it gets interesting: Not too long ago I started having problems with my GH4 giving me error messages and having to shut the camera down and restart to continue making photographs.

I asked my friend Mark Toal, who works for Panasonic, what he thought the problems was and he suggested updating the firmware to the latest version. I said I was sure I had the latest firmware installed, which I quickly found out I didn’t. I installed the latest firmware then told Mark about it, to which he replied, “it could be the memory card.” So while charging the GH4’s battery I took a look at the memory card inside the body and sonofagun, it was another 64GB Lexar Professional card. The same kind of card that ate my images at the Goodguys show. I removed it, then started looking at the cards in my other Panasonic and Olympus camera and found several other Lexar cards, all of which have since been quarantined.

Because of Mary’s yoga class, she and I arrived late in the Colorado Conclave show but we both made photographs using SanDisk SD cards and neither one of us experienced card problems. I wrote a post for my main blog called How Old Is Your Memory Card? in which I pass along some tips to avoid creating your own problems due to user error. If you have time give it a read.

Update: A lot has happened since I originally wrote this post: On June 27, 2017, Micron announced that Lexar’s entire portfolio would be discontinued, including memory cards. The brand was shortly after acquired by Chinese company Longsys and a group of former executives  teamed up to produce memory cards. If I get a chance to test the new cards, I write a review.