Back to Courier Columns Page

by Phil Ball

Q. I've just returned from a summer overseas. I took lots of photos and have them all on one big memory card. My friend helped me download them and get them backed up but warned me that I had been flirting with disaster by trusting my whole summer's worth of photos on just one card. What do you think?

A. There are several schools of thought regarding the use of memory cards. The first group is made up of safety-conscious photographers who use multiple smaller memory cards so that if one gets damaged or lost, they have many other photos on the other cards which are okay. In other words, they lose only a few in case of disaster. The only problem with this approach is safely storing multiple small cards and running the risk of having to change cards just as the photo of a lifetime shows up.

Then there are the carefree photographers who gamble that since only rarely does a memory card get corrupted or lost, they can safely risk putting all their photos on a single large capacity card for the convenience. The third group is somewhere in between and most of us are here. We use more than one card and always carry a spare but we also like to use bigger cards to avoid frequent card changes.

The real issue here is the danger of having all your photos in one single place like your memory card and then having disaster strike. Such disasters may be rare but so are many of the things we ordinarily insure against and we protect ourselves from them. However you do it, back up your images so that they are backed up in more than one place. This can be done while traveling by using a laptop to download your images which puts them on the laptop while still keeping them on the memory card. With your photos in two locations, we have double the protection and can feel safe from most disasters. Avoid the heartbreak of lost images and back up your photos.

Published: Courier 9/1/13 - Page 3C