When Should You Replace Your Memory Cards – CF / SD / XD

There’s really no right or wrong answer here. Up to now I still have working 256mb Compact Flash Cards, not one but a bunch of them. Do I still use them, no, simply because of it’s size. All I do is I replaced them when I upgrade to a bigger capacity cards, do I throw them? No, unless I know that they are not working. All these years that I’ve spent shooting digital, only two brands of cards has failed me. A PNY and Kingston. The PNY SD has some bad sectors, part of it was still usable, but I wouldn’t take a chance on using, so after i recovered my photos out of the bad sector, I threw it away, and the Kingston 4gb Compact flash, it was brand new, I formatted it on my 20d and while I was using it, I noticed that it took too long for the camera to write, and after that, all the photos are gone as if it was newly formatted, both two cards that I ordered are busted. Thanks to Amazon’s awesome return policy I was able to return it no questions ask and replace it with 2 Sandisk CF Cards.

Now a days, the smallest capacity cards that I used on my cameras are 8gb both in CF and SD formats. I still have 4gb and 2gb cards laying around which I really don’t use much anymore, except for some of the 4gb’s sd cards which I now use on my digital recorder, the Zoom H2.

I believe that most memory cards manufactured in last two years are pretty tough and will us longer life expectancy, like what I’ve mentioned I still have 6 256mb cf cards that I bought in 2001, which are all pretty much in good shape, most of this cards wouldn’t need replacing, in my case I only replace them because because I need higher capacity cards. These cards never grow old, they just get smaller and smaller as technology advances.

Having said all these, I follow some pattern every time I used my memory cards:

  • I always format my cards after I made sure that every contents have been downloaded and verified.
  • I only format them in camera. In the case of my audio recordings, I only format them in my Zoom H2.
  • I never use the largest capacity cards, I always go with the second largest, this way, in case the card fails, I don’t loose all my pictures. So now I’m using 8gbs and 16gb cards.
  • I only trust two brands of cards both in cf and sd, Sandisk and Transcend.

Here are the Cards that I trust and use.

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