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How many/type memory cards on a safari


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52 replies to this topic

#41 monalisa

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 02:02 AM

Just to offer another perspective, I personally prefer to take several lower capacity cards as opposed to fewer higher capacity. I do this mostly out of paranoia though. If your 64GB card gets lost or is corrupted, you will obviously lose more photos. Also as someone mentioned earlier, it's easier to manage. I organise mine into labelled ziploc baggies  :)


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#42 pomkiwi

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 10:26 AM

I take two camera bodies - a Nikon D7200 which gets most use and D7100 as backup and for wider angle / landscape shots. I don't need to remove lenses on the trip at all. Both cameras take SD cards and have 2 slots. I use high capacity Lexar (64 or 128GB) cards. In camera I set slot 2 as backup so I have 2 copies of each image (both RAW). Every evening I download images form the card in Slot 1 to a laptop, usually when I'm out having dinner. Other than a cursory glance I tend not to do anything with them until the way home.

I use the same cards until I have only 400 shots remaining and then swap both cards out for fresh ones. I only swap cards in camp - never on the vehicle. Cards are kept in labelled original plastic boxes and in a zip-up wallet.

Personally I have never had an SD card fail but did share a safari vehicle with a couple whose (cheap) card did fail and they lost 3 days worth of images....


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#43 Dave Williams

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 11:47 AM

I take two camera bodies - a Nikon D7200 which gets most use and D7100 as backup and for wider angle / landscape shots. I don't need to remove lenses on the trip at all. Both cameras take SD cards and have 2 slots. I use high capacity Lexar (64 or 128GB) cards. In camera I set slot 2 as backup so I have 2 copies of each image (both RAW). Every evening I download images form the card in Slot 1 to a laptop, usually when I'm out having dinner. Other than a cursory glance I tend not to do anything with them until the way home.

I use the same cards until I have only 400 shots remaining and then swap both cards out for fresh ones. I only swap cards in camp - never on the vehicle. Cards are kept in labelled original plastic boxes and in a zip-up wallet.

Personally I have never had an SD card fail but did share a safari vehicle with a couple whose (cheap) card did fail and they lost 3 days worth of images....

 

Doesn't backing up on a second card slow the camera down quite considerably, don't you have a problem with the buffer filling quickly ? 



#44 amybatt

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 01:27 PM

Similar to @pomkiwi I take lower capcacity cards but more of them.  I have 7 fresh 16-gig cards for the next safari, and will reformat 4 old ones as extras.  I do not download anything while I'm there, but when a card is taken out of rotation, I put it in a small case where I keep my passport.  If lose that, I have a lot bigger issues than just not having my photos...

 

My new camera is the first I've had that will let me shoot JPEG and RAW, which I'm debating, but there are limitations when it comes to continuous shooting and how quickly they save.  While it'd be nice to be able to dabble in some photo editing when I get home, I'm not sure my entire body of photos is worth it.  (And I will likely need more cards)



#45 pomkiwi

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 05:01 PM

@Dave Williams Thank-you. I hadn't considered this previously and as a result of your comment I have done some Google searching before some experimenting at home.

Saving as 12 bit RAW, lossless compressed files I shot some scenes using high speed continuous mode (6fps). The Nikon does not require the buffer to completely clear before allowing further shots. This was the D7200 - the 7100 performance would be much worse.

 

Slot 2 as backup: Buffer filled at 16 images, buffer cleared in 12 sec (or allowed just over 1 shot per second after it cleared).

Slot 2 as overflow: Buffer filled at 19 images, buffer cleared in 6 sec (allowing around 3 shots per second as it cleared).

 

There is a clear difference and now I need to ponder whether it is material enough for me to change my approach. In general I do not shoot in continuous mode but on the occasions I would want/need to it would be so frustrating to have the buffer fill.

 

Or maybe I should just buy a D500 and forget about the problem (it has a 200 RAW image buffer)  :)  :)


Edited by pomkiwi, 17 January 2017 - 05:04 PM.


#46 Dave Williams

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 06:21 PM

@ pomkiwi If I was a Nikon shooter I would be sorely tempted to get a D500, it appears to be a brilliant piece of kit with worthwhile feature improvements over the D7100 and 7200.  You loose on pixels and a built in flash but gain hugely on ISO. AF points  and frames per second. You also have features like touch screen and built in wifi, if the former is as good as my Canon 1DX2 for selection AF points in live view and video you'll love it.

I think frame rate is hugely important if you want to try and capture the action, it really does make a huge difference. 

 

The D500 is available from Hdew for £1399. They are a reliable UK based grey market outlet but don't worry about that, makes very little difference except you save a few hundred pounds.

 

One word of warning though. If you did buy one you wouldn't be able to use your CF cards in it as it only takes SD and XQD cards and to get the benefit of the buffer and to take 4K video you need to buy an XQD card and they are not cheap. I had the same problem as my No 1 Canon only takes Cf and Cfast cards so my SD cards became somewhat redundant. CFast are equally expensive to XQD.

 

Reverting back to your situation now as it stands, remember if you try wring to two cards at once it can only go at the speed of the slowest card. You need to check the speeds of the card in each slot and choose the faster one . Also note that the speed on the card is usually the read speed too, not the write speed which can be very misleading.

 

Recording on two devices during the day isn't necessary in my book but everyone to their own. I only have one copy to take home and then only one copy on disc then too which is probably a bit stupid.However I have my web site and Flickr so I can retrieve some from there should the need ever arise.



#47 pomkiwi

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 07:54 PM

@Dave Williams Thanks again. Overall I remain very happy with the D7200 and on my last trip to Africa managed some usable (at least for casual screen/web use) images using ISO12800.  The D7200 uses SD cards and I am currently using a pair of fast Lexar 128GB UHS-II cards (although the camera only writes at UHS-I).

 

I have looked fairly closely at the D500 and feel that at the moment I could not justify spending at least £1400 on the camera plus another £350 plus on a couple of high capacity XQD cards.  There is a lot I can do to improve my technique before I can honestly say it is the camera preventing me achieving what I want to. 

For the next year or two I think the funds are more likely to go towards some more trips to practice, starting with Kenya in two weeks time  :)

 

On a slightly different note I do keep backups of my home computer on at least 3 portable hard discs (which are now really cheap), one of which lives at work. This and Apples cloud storage should provide a way of getting most of my life back in the event of a burglary or fire.


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#48 Dave Williams

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 08:13 PM

@pomkiwi   Just realised  a mistake I made., the D7100 and D7200 don't take CF cards . The cards you are using a fast enough to capture most things you are likely to shoot. Enjoy your trip, you leave roughly the same time as I do!


Edited by Dave Williams, 17 January 2017 - 08:13 PM.


#49 xelas

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 09:02 PM

@pomkiwi

 

It looks like yours ways are almost identical to my ways, both about camera gear and about back-up strategies  :) . Main difference is that my in-camera back-up is made in JPEG as Zvezda likes to check the photos on her iPad every evening.

Have fun photographing in Kenya, should be on my to-go list for 2019.



#50 pomkiwi

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 09:53 PM

@Dave Williams and @xelas Thank-you both for your good wishes. Where are you off to Dave? From my brief research xelas I understand that saving the backup as a JPEG when the original is saved in RAW may delay the emptying of the buffer. However it doesn't appear to have caused any issues for your photography!
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#51 Dave Williams

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Posted 17 January 2017 - 10:27 PM

@pomkiwi  I'm heading to Namibia. 

Take a look at this chart , it shows what effect fps and size of RAW file have on how long the buffer can last before it fills up.

https://photographyl...city-comparison

It is just as critical as to how long a burst can continue as well as how many shots you take . If you are shooting RAW and Jpeg it must take longer to process both than one or the other alone. 



#52 COSMIC RHINO

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 08:02 AM

I use relatively small cards 8 GB and 16GB  then mark them on the blank line as to where they were used 


Wild Africa is in my blood. All life is sacred and interconnected. for the animals are fellow nations caught in the splendor and trevail of the earth.


#53 xelas

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Posted 18 January 2017 - 01:40 PM

@pomkiwi & @Dave Williams

 

Yes, I am aware of (slight) delay in burst rate. But me (or better, my wife) is coming from the old school of film days, when one has a roll of 36 frames and has to end with 38 excellent photos  ;) . Schnellfeier mode is just not in her blood system.

Plus, she prefer to see the results in her iPad, and if downloading RAW, the limited storage on this device would be full after two days  :( .

 

As we are still not much into BIF, and action scenes like big cats hunting are few and far apart, we will stay with the RAW+JPEG scenario for a while. That will change in a year or two, when next GAS will hit me.

 

 

Not asked, but we will follow in Dave's footsteps so in 2017, a couple of interesting TR from Namibia is to be expected  :D .


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