Monday, December 22, 2008

The perils of CF card readers

A while back I posted about Photorec, file recovery software that I found to be stellar at recovering corrupted photo files from my CF card. Not only is it good, it's free. (Although, if you use it, and love it, the software author does accept donations.)

But, how do files on a CF card ever get corrupt anyway? Although my investigation didn't provide the exact answer, I did find enough info to be of help.

Why do files get corrupt?
The answer: card readers.

The two times I have experienced corrupt files on my CF card has been when I have used a card reader to try and upload photo files to my computer. Not all card reader use has turned my files unreadable, but two of the dozens of times that I have used the card reader, files have been corrupted. Not sure why, or how, but that was my experience, and in my brief investigation I found a few other people across the internet who had similar problems when using a card reader.

The solution: use the camera and it's USB cord to upload any irreplaceable photos.

I still use my card reader all the time. I use it to transfer files easily from one place to the next, or when I am uploading photos from a photo shoot where moving the camera would ruin my set up, and the photo is easily replaceable since I'm doing a studio photo shoot. But if I have wedding pics, or a location shoot to transfer to my computer, I ditch the card reader, and connect my camera to the computer using the USB cord. I have uploaded photo files using my camera's USB cord hundreds of times without a hitch.

If you're concerned about this sucking your camera's battery, consider buying a spare. A spare battery will give you extra juice for file uploads, while still having enough power for shooting Billy's birthday party.

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