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7 Most Asked Questions about…

MEMORY CARDS FOR MY CAMERA

Question: What’s worse than a Lamborghini with an empty gas tank?

Answer: Your camera without a memory card.

Have you ever thought about how important the memory card is in your camera? Without it, your camera is useless. These tiny marvels of technology hold your precious memories and beautiful photos.
How much do you know about memory cards?  Do you just buy whatever is the least expensive?  Did you know that there are huge differences in the types of memory cards?  
Each memory card has information right on the label that can tell you a whole lot about it.  They apply to size, speed and durability.  All of these things are important when purchasing a memory card.
How many pictures do you shoot in one day or on a trip?  Do you shoot in RAW or JPEG?  Do you shoot video?  Are you a klutz?  All of these things matter when selecting a memory card.
Have you ever stuck your memory card in your pocket, forgotten about it, and put your pants in the washing machine, and dryer?  We have.  We highly recommend that you don’t.  But if you are prone to that type of potential disaster, the memory card that you choose can make a huge difference.
People ask us every day about what kind of memory cards they should get for their cameras.  We figured that it’s time we did a blog and video answering your most frequently asked questions about memory cards.
So please, sit back, relax and join us for another exciting episode in our continuing series:

You asked, We answered.

1. What brands of memory cards does Horn Photo carry?

We carry the highest quality of memory cards available: Promaster, Hoodman, Sony and Delkin.  Many of the cards we carry have a Limited Lifetime Warranty.  This means if you ever have an issue with a card you purchased from us, we will replace it with a new one.  If you are traveling, and you have an issue with a Promaster Rugged card, we can even ship you a replacement card.
SHOP NOW, if you want :)

2. How do I know what type of memory card my camera uses?

This is a very good question.  Just because a memory card fits in the slot of your camera does not mean that it will work in your camera.  Throughout the years, the physical dimensions of memory cards haven’t changed, but the internal components have drastically changed.  
For example, using an older memory card in a newer camera may not give you the best performance.  It may cause your camera to perform more slowly or not function properly, possibly stopping in the middle of buffering or recording video.
Older cameras require cards with smaller storage space.  We carry the smallest capacity cards available for the older digital cameras all the way up to the latest in performance grade cards. The most common type of memory card is SD.  In case you are curious, SD stands for Secure Digital.  
We will be happy to match up the proper memory card for your camera.  You can also find out what the camera manufacturer recommends by looking in the back of your camera’s instruction manual, but it’s more fun to come in and see us at Horn Photo.

3. What does all the lingo on the memory card labels mean?

The first thing you will notice on the label is the size of the card; how much data it will store.  It is measured in gigabytes (GB). Common sizes are 32GB, 64GB, 128GB, 256GB and 512GB.
Older cameras may restrict what size cards will work.  Many cameras that are over 10 years old will only take a 2GB.  
The next thing you may notice on the label is the speed rating:  Class4, Class6, Class10, UHSI and UHSII.   Some cameras will not shoot in certain video modes without the proper card speed rating.  Slower cards may also affect the quality of the image.  Here’s why:  The buffering process produces heat, and heat creates noise on the image.  So, the slower the card is, the longer it takes to buffer, the more heat it produces, and the more noise will appear on the image.
Horn photo recommends purchasing the fastest card your camera can use, along with what works with your budget.  

4. Do memory cards wear out or break?

Although it is possible for a memory card to break under extreme circumstances, the better the memory card, the less likely that will happen.   
Not all memory cards are built equal.  The ProMaster, Hoodman SD, and Sony Tough cards are built to be ruggedized and weather resistant.  They are built with a reinforced material that is made to withstand harsh weather conditions, your washing machine, and impacts from hard falls.  
Also a good quality memory card shouldn’t wear out and need to be replaced for years.  They are built to endure about  10,000 formatting cycles.  We will explain exactly what a cycle is in the answer to the next question.  
On average an active photographer or videographer should consider rotating out older memory cards every five years, or whenever you upgrade your camera.          

5. I have heard of cards failing or corrupting. How can I prevent this from happening?

Cycling your cards is the best way to keep your memory cards healthy.  

Here is what we mean by a cycle:  
You put your memory card in your camera and format it.
You take pictures.
You download your images onto your computer.
You put your memory card back into your camera and format it.
That is one cycle.
(Format - Shoot -Download images to computer - Format)  
It’s important to format your card.  Not just deleting the images, but formatting.  Deleting images from your card and not formatting can cause corruption and premature failure with image loss.  
Most cameras will have a light or a notification that will signal when information is being stored onto your card.  Turning off your camera or selecting the image playback can affect the quality of your files and possibly corrupt them.

6. Can I just keep the photos on my memory card?

You sure can, however we recommend that you back up your images.  The industry standard practice is that you have three copies of your images.  We refer to it as Rule 3-2-1.  
This rule recommends that you keep three copies of your data on two different devices with one off-site storage location.  
Here’s an example of this for those that like to have multiple memory cards:
Copy 1 is on the original Memory Card.
Copy 2 is on an external hard drive plugged into your computer.
Copy 3 is on a cloud storage service such as Dropbox, Back Blaze or Google Drive.

Here’s another example:

Copy 1 is on your external hard drive plugged into your computer.
Copy 2 are PRINTS!!! Photo books or Albums!
Copy 3 is on your cloud based hard drive that you control by plugging it into the internet at an office or the home of a trusted friend or family member.
Here’s the reason why there should always be a copy off-site.  God forbid your house gets burglarized or burns down. The most precious possessions for so many people are their pictures.  Don’t keep all your copies at your house.

7.  What should I do if I accidentally erase my memory card or have a card error?

Horn Photo has an in-house image recovery service. We will work hard to recover your images. It’s certainly worth a try.  
The moment something doesn’t work properly, such as the camera message indicating a “card error” follow these steps:
Allow the card to finish any tasks it is doing
Pull the card out of your camera
Bring it into Horn Photo
DO NOT FORMAT THE CARD!!!  This will make it harder to find the files you are looking for.
Let us know what your images are supposed to look like, and our specialists will try to bring back your pictures.  
If we are unable to recover your images, we won’t charge you for the service. There is a recovery service called Drive Savers. You mail your card to them, and they have specialized equipment to recover your images if at all possible. If you need to use their services, you will receive a discount if you use Horn Photo's discount code: DS23016.

We cannot…..

•  We cannot repair physical damage on cards or card readers in your camera
•  We cannot swap replacement cards that do not offer a lifetime warranty
•  We do not carry discontinued memory cards that were used by older cameras.  Some formats are no longer available such as XD cards.
Keep shooting, and thanks for reading!
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SHOP Memory Cards HERE