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Julian

How many/type memory cards on a safari

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Posted (edited)

With two cameras being used on our planned 15 day safari how many memory cards would it be sensible to take with us? ( on our previous safaris we were using 35mm film cameras so no previous experience of using digital on a safari)

 

Also any ideas on optimum size/ speed/ type of memory cards would be best ?

 

One camera will have a tele photo zoom lens, the other will have wide angle or 28 to 90. So likely to take far more photos with the telephoto zoom lens.

 

We are likely to take some video footage, but not a lot, and are only likely to use continuous-shoot mode occasionally.

Edited by Julian

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One can never have too many memory cards. The "problem" with digital vs film is that it is all too easy to press the shutter release. Go for the fastest you an afford. When they were very expensive I used to use small capacity cards and change them often, but now the larger cards are not prohibitively expensive, I just buy large ones. But given our recent experience of nearly running out of cards, I would say buy what you think you need and then add at least one!

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I tend to prefer 32Gb memory cards but have a few 64Gb ones. On our 2-week safari coming up, we will have three Canon cameras -- 7D Mk II (with the 100-400L lens), 60D (with the 24-105L lens), and the wife uses an SX10is. Total cards in the cameras include 1 CF and 3 SD; and the memory card case will have 2 additional CF cards and 6 SD cards. I also carry a 1Tb HyperDrive ColorSpace UDMA2 for daily backup. Their v35 firmware update appears to have fixed the exFAT issue with respect to SDXC cards.

 

I just picked up two 32Gb SanDisk Extreme 120Mb/sec CF cards and two 32Gb SanDisk Extreme 60Mb/sec SDHC cards for use with the 7DMkII camera specifically for continuous-shooting. I need throughput given the 7DMkII's 10 fps speed.

 

The 7DMkII and 60D will be recording BOTH jpeg and RAW files, so I factor that into my memory card plan. The wife will concentrate on taking movies with the SX10, something we didn't do enough of last time.

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The 7DMkII and 60D will be recording BOTH jpeg and RAW files, so I factor that into my memory card plan. The wife will concentrate on taking movies with the SX10, something we didn't do enough of last time.

 

@@Tango why do you bother recording both RAW & .jpeg? It seems like a waste of card space to me.

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@@Julian Difficult question to answer. It all depends on how keen you are with your photography.

 

I could suggest 200 images a day x 15 days = 3000 images. But I could be way off the mark.

 

To get a feel for how many images each card will hold, put each card into the cameras and format them and see how many shots displayed on the top screen. But as Tdgraves stated , it's better to have more than you need than not enough.

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1 you can get guides who inteprate someone not taking photos as a sign to move, so that can account for a whole lot of pics

 

2 I take a small plastic food storage cintainer to ensure that I do not loose my SD cards

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Posted (edited)

 

 

The 7DMkII and 60D will be recording BOTH jpeg and RAW files, so I factor that into my memory card plan. The wife will concentrate on taking movies with the SX10, something we didn't do enough of last time.

 

@@Tango why do you bother recording both RAW & .jpeg? It seems like a waste of card space to me.

 

On our last 2-week trip to Tanzania, we took in excess of 5,000 pictures. When we get back, I immediately download all the pictures to my network storage, but I can't get to working on the RAW file conversions for a while. With simultaneous .jpeg files, the wife can immediately start looking at and working with pictures for her scrapbook. This setup works for us.

 

Additionally, if something barfs with one of the two memory cards in the 7DMkII, I still have a picture.

 

I would plan on 400-500 pictures a day, depending on how much continuous shooting you do. Also factor in the max size (Mb) of each picture your camera(s) can take. I always max out the size of the pictures per each camera.

Edited by Tango
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I dislike taking my memory cards out of my camera, as I feel that might cause connection problems in the long term. So I just have just two memory cards, but take my laptop and 2-terrabyte external hard drive.

 

Get the best memory cards that you can afford, and if you shoot in continuous, you need the fastest cards your camera can handle.

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Thanks for all the responses so far - lots of useful/ helpful info - all suggestions/ comments welcome.

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Enough Gigabyte to last for expected # of shots (300 - 400 per day, depending on the destination).

 

I do shot RAW+JPEG so more cards are needed. I do not want anymore to format any card while travelling ... have made this mistake once, and have learned the hard way.

 

In addition to "how many cards" it is also important topic "how many back-ups". Personally I have 4 back ups / copies: original RAW, original JPEG, copy on external HD, copy on USB key.

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Enough Gigabyte to last for expected # of shots (300 - 400 per day, depending on the destination).

 

I do shot RAW+JPEG so more cards are needed. I do not want anymore to format any card while travelling ... have made this mistake once, and have learned the hard way.

 

In addition to "how many cards" it is also important topic "how many back-ups". Personally I have 4 back ups / copies: original RAW, original JPEG, copy on external HD, copy on USB key.

At this time I have no provision for backups.

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We received great advice on a different discussion thread last year. Advice was to Bring two cards for each camp, one for pictures and one as a back up. Found It much easier to manage the pictures by camp

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when making your estimate do not assume that you will be able to download your pics to your laptop

 

computer connection speeds can be very slow in the field

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when making your estimate do not assume that you will be able to download your pics to your laptop

 

computer connection speeds can be very slow in the field

 

@@COSMIC RHINO Huh? If I place a card in the computer's card reader slot or an external reader connected via USB it will not take any longer to download the images whether my computer is in my lounge room or a tent in the middle of nowhere. You don't need wifi to download your images.

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At Lewa conservancy they can be very slow, and sometimes work only on the seat outside the office

 

some other places where I have been the talk is of slow connection

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Are you down-loading your images through WiFi? If so, it would always be slow.

 

Personally, I hate removing my memory cards from my camera.

 

I down-load by cable from camera to laptop, and back-up to external hard drive immediately.

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Seems we all have our foibles Peter but I have never heard of anyone before who is reluctant to remove a memory card, not that it's a criticism, your choice of course. I would have thought there would be more chance of damage to the cable socket protection cover if you use it regularly as it's flimsy rubber on my Canon bodies. The other danger area is the card reader where the CF cards have a habit of bending the pins which would render that useless. SD cards are more flimsy but the latest Cfast cards are best in every way but are eye wateringly expensive and currently only used in the Canon 1DX2.

I am currently debating how much storage space I need too and it's difficult to imagine visiting a new country with huge photographic potential. The Norwegian took around 27,000 on his trip and that would require almost 1TB of storage just for the RAW files. I can understand how he manages it as I can use 10gb in an hour or so given the right subject matter. I think that I'm going to have to make some serious deleting decisions but as I don't have a laptop it's down to looking at the back of the camera and that often gives a misleading impression of what is good and what isn't.

I could buy a laptop but again, as an Apple user, MacBooks are very expensive and as it would have limited holiday only use I wonder if it's worth buying one. Decisions, decisions.

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I have bought a nonexpensive Asus notepad or whatever is the name of those tablets with attached keyboard. It is only marginally heavier than a tablet, has two USB ports, and is use both as an etertainement device and a copy machine to a separate 1TB hard disk.

My cameras are using SD cards only, and in past 10 years I have removed them xyz times, as my phobia is related to flimsy cable attachments on body. None of cards ever was showing any kind of problems.

When the card is full I remove it, lock it and copy it to external hard drive, then store it in a separate ziplock bag.

Number of cards needed is calculated based on historical data i.e. an average of 400 per day, RAW. With more birds recently, 500 is what we will probably need next trip.

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Posted (edited)

I have been contemplating further and decided that a Windows laptop is probably the best if not the perfect answer to my problems.

 

I could buy extra camera cards but my main camera only takes 1x CF and 1x Cfast card. The cost of a 64Gb card is approximately £50 and £160 respectively.

 

I could buy a compatible iMac Notebook 13" with 8gb memory and 128gb hard drive for £1250 less 10% off special cash back on offer from a local store at the moment ( cheaper than from Apple direct) but with so little hard drive storage I would still need an external hard drive although I do need to buy one anyway.

 

Alternatively I could by a Windows HP laptop with 8GB memory and 1TB of storage for £399.

 

The problem is that I would have to transfer the files back to my iMac desktop via the same camera card route which is a bit tedious but doable.

 

The advantage of a laptop is the ability to regularly check you are getting your images right, and if not have another go. The disadvantage is more luggage ! Also as I use Adobe CC I'm not sure I can download two different systems for my monthly subscription. Mind you I could use Canon's DPP to view the files.

 

Alternatively I could just settle for the camera card storage I have which is around 528GB's and delete as I go along if I need more space. Not ideal if I do need extra space.

 

The final solution is to buy cheaper SD cards for storage and use a back up camera with an SD slot to transfer from CF to SD. I can't see that as being the best way forward at all.

Edited by Dave Williams

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My issues come from CF cards and bent pins, but also I have a fear of losing them, forgetting to down-load them and then formatting them or otherwise buggering it up.

 

I have never had any issues with the cable, and the doors seem more robust than it would appear at first.

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I shouldn't have read this thread, I have now changed my mind and decided to buy a iMac notebook. It would be far less expensive to take less photos as at least half are destined for the recycle bin when I get home anyway.

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I could buy extra camera cards but my main camera only takes 1x CF and 1x Cfast card. The cost of a 64Gb card is approximately £50 and £160 respectively.

 

Alternatively I could just settle for the camera card storage I have which is around 528GB's and delete as I go along if I need more space. Not ideal if I do need extra space.

 

 

@@Dave Williams I use a 1D x ii and 7D ii as a backup camera. I decided to purchase enough CF cards (plus 1 Cfast card) for the trip (20,000+ images capacity so I didn't have to delete in camera) rather than take a macbook & external hard drive. I carried the cards in a wallet in the zip up top pocket of my shirts + cards in camera.

 

Advantages ~ travel lighter, don't worry about using computer whilst away and immerse yourself in your destination, less things that can be stolen.

Disadvantages ~ loose your cards, don't realise there is something wrong with your images until you get home.

 

All this stuff is risk mitigation, even when you travel with a computer/backup device you have to take enough cards incase there is an issue with them.

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@@Geoff You are probably right but the cost of buying the extra cards to cover the 500gb's of extra storage that I think I might need would be half as much as buying the MacBook and for the majority of the time they would be idle.

 

Advantages= Computer for general mobile use, ability to use external hard drive for storage, fast download and the ability to continually re-use the Cfast card especially if I want to take video, ability to check I'm doing the right thing.

 

Danger= Spending too much time using it instead of paying attention to my other half when away on a trip !

 

Self discipline a must!

 

The good news is it weighs 1.5kgs and lots of airlines allow a laptop in addition to your cabin luggage. You are right about the danger of getting it stolen though, fortunately as we are self drive on this trip it can come out in the car each day.

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@@Dave Williams

 

I can see the lure of iMac (having two desktops at home) but would never ever contemplate to buy an iMac notebook for only to transfer photos from camera to external harddisk. Way way too expensive gadget for such job. And you are not seriously thinking of tampering with the photos while on vacations?! Even Zvezda would kick me in the knee if I would attempt such sacrilege. Save your money, go the way of a cheap(er) Windows 10 Asus Transformer or whatever they name them.

Remember, redundacy is the key. Make not one but two backups. The USB drives/sticks are way cheaper then CF cards, and about the same weight. Keep one copy of photos on external hd, the other copy on USB stick. In such a scenario, two cards each camera should suffice. In backup mode, of course.

Transferring files each day is easy, the longest is the connection phase, after pushing the Copy button grab your drinks and join Claire for the sunset and sundowner.

I am lucky, my cameras using SD cards, so I don't need to format when they are full. But they are copied every two days or more often! And always keptin different locations. One can always buy new gear but newer can replicate that great shot.

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@xelas @Dave Williams

 

Does no one make something similar to this that works with CF cards?: https://www.kingston.com/us/wireless/wireless_readers/mlwg3

 

I use an earlier version of this (the G2) to back up my SD cards: plug an SD card and a thumb drive into the device, connect wirelessly from a phone or tablet, instruct the device to copy the content of the card to the thumb drive, done. (Okay, it takes a while, but done, nonetheless.)

 

My alternative to the above (in case the G2 were to die): Install an app called "USB Media Reader" on an Android phone or tablet, plug a hub into the phone/tablet (the hub having the connections one needs, in my case, an SD card reader and a thumb drive), instruct the app to copy the card content to the thumb drive, done. There are capacity restrictions with the app, but it's workable for small cards.

 

I haven't used CF cards in years, but maybe a quick inter web search would yield low-cost back-up options.

 

-tom a.

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