Monday, January 28, 2013

Using 2 high capacity memory cards in one camera: How about an in-camera SSD?

A couple of months ago, I decided to insert a 128GB Lexar Professional 1000x CF card in the second slot of my Canon 1DX and leave it there. Why would I leave the card in the slot for the last couple of months? Because I wanted to see what it was like shooting to two memory cards at the same time and have every image that I shot be backed up in camera. I was also curious to see how many events I could shoot before filling the card.

As it turned out, so far I have shot 2 Bar Mitzvahs and receptions, 5 family portrait sessions, and our vacation in Mammoth. For those of you who follow my blog regularly, you know that I shoot everything in RAW, which makes for some really big files. Each image averages to about 24MB in size. I just checked the card and so far I have used up 100GB of the 128GB with a total of 5256 RAW and MRAW images. (I usually shoot receptions and parties in MRAW mode, which on the Canon 1DX is a medium sized RAW file, since the files don't need to be as large and rarely need extensive cropping.)

Since both cards in my 1DX were 1000x speed, it did not appear to slow down the 1DX at all, writing to both card slots as opposed to just one.

What I love about this high capacity card, is that it is essentially like having a Solid State Drive (SSD) in my camera, giving me that extra piece of mind as I shoot. God forbid I drop a card and lose it, or something goes wrong with one card, I have another to fall back on. With that said, I am happy to say that I have never lost an image from any of my memory cards or lost one during a shoot. Phew!

I am going out shooting in San Francisco today (for fun) and plan on keeping that same card in the second slot. The fun continues!


Seen said...

This is a really interesting idea. I'm getting more and more paranoid about data loss everyday (I have my Drobo on order). I'm using a D600 which is my first camera to have a dual slot. I've been loading it with two 32 gig cards and just using the second card for spillover in case I don't have the chance mid-event to swap the 1 slot card. More and more I realize that I never even have to go near the 2 slot. Maybe taking the hit and getting a monster SD card, and leaving it in the 2 slot as a monthly backup would be an awesome idea. If the month goes by and I didn't "whoops" and delete anything before getting it backed up, I can just reformat the card and start again. Do you think using SD cards instead of the compact flash cards will impact the cameras write speed or buffer?

Jeff Cable Photography Blog said...

I think you would be fine using an SD card in the second slot, provided that you get a reasonably fast card. I would recommend a 600x SD card, unless you are using older CF that is much slower. I am doing exactly what you describe. Now that I have shot all these images and downloaded them all successfully, I could reformat the second CF card and start over. The only reason I have not done that, was to see how much I could fit on there.

Steven Murray said...

I wonder if you would feel any different if you had a one memory card camera. Would you still use a large capacity card?

Jeff Cable Photography Blog said...

Steven - Sure, I do that all the time with my other camera bodies. In my 5D Mark III cameras I use the large capacity CF cards and never use the SD slot. Too slow! You can see that explanation at:

Johnson said...

This is wonderful information regarding 2 high capacity memory card
in one camera..


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Types of Memory Cards

Unknown said...

Really such a nice information on memory card.Thank you very much for posting this info.

Unknown said...

it is better for me to keep sd card in the second slot
32gb memory card