Monday, February 6, 2012

Improvements and Little Frustrations

Just when you have a good system setup something always seems to come up to throw a wrench into it. Before I get to that, I'll mention the lead up to this problem.

Just over a week ago I bought a new Sandisk Extreme 8GB CF card (60MB/s) and I went out to shoot with it for the day. I made sure I formatted the card in the camera before use it, just to be on the safe side. The card worked like a dream, the buffer of my D700 clears twice as fast as the Lexar 300x, Sandisk Extreme III 30MB/s and Sandisk 30MB/s "Ultra" CF cards cards I have. The 4GB 300x Lexar Professional, (actually a rebranded Sandisk Extreme IV, since the memory itself is made by Sandisk) would clear the buffer (16 14Bit RAW images) in 7 seconds. Not bad right? Hold onto your hat, because the Sandisk Extreme (60MB/s) clears the buffer in about 3 seconds, which is great, particularly when shooting birds in flight! The shoot went off without a hitch, no problems with the new card in the camera.

So after shooting for the afternoon I come home and put the card into my Sandisk ImageMate USB2 card reader to load the image into Aperture. Normally a little blue light comes on, indicating that the reader detects the card, but that didn't happen. Maybe the light isn't working, nope isn't showing up on the desktop. Pulled the card in and out a few times, nothing. Tried a different USB cable, nothing. Tried a different card, it worked. Interesting. Put the card back into the D700, and it worked just fine. Strange. Try the card reader again, it worked! Started to load the images from the shoot and walked away. Came back a few minutes later and images were loaded. All is well, but wait there was an error message on my desktop. You know, the one you get when you don't eject an external drive properly, oh and the blue light on the card reader was out. Not a good sign.

Today, before I went out for another shoot, I took the card back and got it swapped for another one, since the card didn't work in the shops readers either. I didn't shoot with the new card until after I got home this evening, so I didn't know if it would work or not. Anyway, I put the card from today's shoot in the reader, one that I've had for over a year now and I had the same problems as before. Okay, so this isn't the card anymore, it must be the reader. I can only wonder if the card I exchanged today damaged the reader. In any case I have to buy a new card reader, since the CF slot isn't working. I ended up loaded today's images via the USB2 cable for my D700, which is a slow process to say the least.

I don't feel too bad about the card reader, just a little frustrated. I've had the ImageMate for over 2 years now, and I've got a lot of use out of it for the $30 it cost me. So now I'm looking at options for a new card reader. I might go for the modern USB3 Sandisk reader  or the Lexar equivalent, which might be a little better, since it closes to keep dust out.