View Full Version : Do memory cards wear out?

09-07-2006, 07:39 AM
I have been using the same SD card for several years. I upload my images to my PC and use it again and again.....do they wear out? or start recording poorer quality images? Just wondering...I feel like my camera does not take as nice a picture as it used to, and was wondering if it could be the SD card?

09-07-2006, 07:46 AM
SD cards can wear down because they have metalic contacts. They can also go "corrupt". When they go, they go, they don't render lower quality images first. For that, you may want to check the image quality setting on your camera.
Always a good idea to have an extra card.

09-07-2006, 09:49 AM
Thank you, damar. I will try a new card, to see if it helps. What I really need is a new camera! Saving my money for one!

09-07-2006, 09:52 AM
Your camera may have several quality settings and that may be why your photos don't look "like they used to". (settings got changed)
Camera may need cleaning too.
I hear ya about saving up for a new one! Best wishes!

09-07-2006, 10:54 AM
Damar is correct. All flash memory type cards wear out eventually, but it takes a LOT of normal use for that to happen. These are solid-state devices with memory locations that are written, erased, and written again. All this activity DOES eventually wear out the card but you will find that the rated life is usually a million read/write cycles or so. That's way more than most people will ever use a card. Of course, this assumes a card without any manufacturing defects.

Also, either a memory location is written to, or it is not - it's an all or nothing situation. If it can't write to a location, it finds another location to write to. It does not record poorer image quality - it either records or not - period.

Of course, flash memory cards are subject to wear and tear. As Damar said, it does have metal contacts of one kind or another that can wear out. Extreme environmental conditions and physical abuse of the card, such as flexing it, will cause it to fail, too. But again, if that's the case, usually the card works or it doesn't.


09-07-2006, 01:14 PM
Thanks, Ray. I am trying really hard to find a good quality used dslr, like the D70s or maybe a good point and shoot like the Sony DSC R1, have heard it has a very good lense on it. So it must just be my poor camera!! I may wait till late September to find a good deal.

09-07-2006, 01:17 PM
Oh, and thank you Damar. I don't think my camera has a lot of quality settings, just a HP 3.1 mp. The quality is one star, two stars, three stars..... :) I always shoot 3 stars!! Oh well, going to pawn something.....and counting my piggy bank change......

09-07-2006, 04:26 PM
Natalie do you reformat you card every time? Also do you think that your perception of poorer quality images may be your expectations now? Is your monitor calibrated?

09-08-2006, 10:05 AM
My memory card went totally blank when I put it into the computer. It had all my Alaskan images on it from a trip and I was just backing them up. This happens. BUT I bought a program called Rescue Pro and it brought back everything that had not been over written. I had taken more photos to test the card, unfortunaltely. If this happens to you, use a rescue program BEFORE reusing the card.

09-09-2006, 09:56 AM
Never had Sandisk or Lexar card fall over on me and the latest cards come with a rescue program hopefully intended to recover accidental erasions rather than a dead card. CF cards are certainly old technology now relying on multiple pins instead of the simple contacts on an SD card.
Natalie I use an R1 and it certainly gives good results and is far more user friendly to use than DSLR`s I possess and better glass than bottom end Nikon lenses. I`m using one in Berlin at the moment.


09-09-2006, 11:02 AM
Thanks for the info on the R1, Chris. I am seriously looking at that one. Do you think after the new cameras come out, there will be some good deals on the market, or does the R1 hold its value?

Thanks, Wendy and Caryl. I use SD, and the cards are by no means used to their limit.... certainly nowhere near the million mark yet! I will have to try to re format the card when I empty it again....and I need to calibrate my computer screen, although I have looked at the images I have sent printed on a friends printer, and the screen seems right on. please let me know if my images seem too dark or too light to anybody. You know, my perception IS changing, looking at these fabulous pictures here at WC, and looking at the images of all the different cameras at dpreview.....I want better!!!

09-09-2006, 05:01 PM
Natalie I have to admit you have got the bug (we tend to always want MORE lol)
Dont forget that when asking us to comment on whether your image is dark or light or off coloured is not a good criteria for judging as it depends on how well our individual monitors are calbrated. My own monitor is extremely sensitive and I see a lot of details in dark areas that others are commenting are too dark (be warned then that if anyone is fixing up messes in dark areas if you are not spot on I can see them lol).

09-15-2006, 05:01 AM
Natalie, Sorry for the delay in my response just back from Berlin. I cant speak for the US market but over here the R1 is selling for only about 40 cheaper than when I bought it in April which is pretty solid for a digital camera. But who really cares about obsolescence if a camera is capable of quality images it doesnt really matter for as with computers there's never a right time to buy one. I bought the R1 as I was tired of hauling SLR's around and as stated I've no interest in zoom lenses.

Just returning to flash cards I've had a few friends who've turned up with cards that have 'mysteriously' dumped their precious images. In most cases they finally admit to have hit the wrong buttons or a host of other reasons which mirror the old film camera trick of not engaging the film properly on the take up sprocket!!

09-15-2006, 07:26 AM
:thumbsup: Thank you Chris. The R1 is looking to me like the top of the line as far as non dslr. Image stabilization would be nice..... I agree with you. Unless I really was going to become a pro in zooming in on wildlife or scenes, I don't need the added burden of heavy lenses and lots of things to carry.......
I have heard that CD's won't last forever, either, and that if you have all your pictures on CD, they may go bad. Anybody ever heard of that? more than likely the CD will become obsolete, and then we will be scrambling to transfrer all those images (family moments!) onto another kind of media..... :wink2: maybe not in my lifetime....eh?:eek:

09-15-2006, 04:21 PM
Natalie I have had some CD's become unreadable, these have been cheap ones. However this is a very good reason to not just back up to one copy, have at least 2 backups.
I don't know about your lifetime, but we have gone from Box Brownies, to wonderful digital cameras in a short space and a lot of old film images have self destructed and I am in the process of rescuing slides that are slowly becoming unrecognisable. I am also in the process of recopying all my CDs of images onto newer media. All stuff like this is ephemeral. Some family archivists will make sure that images can be reproduced .