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Card error


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So a few weeks ago, I went to format a SD card and it came up reading “may be corrupt”, ok cool, I grabbed another card, formatted and shot not problem. I’ve been doing sessions since and not had any further problems with cards. Tonight, I was finishing up my session, and they wanted on last shot, when “pressing the button”, the camera would not fire and said “card error”. Obviously i panicked and pulled the card, put in another card and still same error. Luckily I always carry a back up camera so I started shooting with it. Finished up session, SPED home, and uploaded card and all the images are there. So my question is .... what is going on ??? any insight?

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This card issue seems to be a common Nikon D800 issue, with both the CF & SD Cards being used. SD media seems to suffer from this a bit more than CF. In fact, I've personally had a couple of SD Sandisk Cards go bad and only one or two CF Cards, also Sandisk Extreme cards. I still buy Sandisk Products, and Sony XQD Cards as well.

Here is what comes to mind:

  1. If you only have these two SD cards and use them over-and-over-and-over again, eventually they WILL wear out. I personally swap my cards that get heavy usage anywhere between 18-24 months. I also write the Month / Year on each card to let me know when they were first used, which makes rotating the older cards out easier. So if you are the type that shoots 100's of images with each session, and does a lot of sessions, then the cards just might be wearing out. Regardless of brand, Flash Media has a certain lifespan and it just goes bad when it does, usually without warning.
  2. Make sure the Nikon D800 Firmware is up to date. It seems the current version is 1.11, for both the A & B sides of the Firmware. That said, none of these updates seem to address any Media / Slot issues, but I'd still be current if it were me. The latest Firmware has been out for a few years, so it should be safe to install. Just make sure you do it with a Fully Charged Battery. It only takes a few minutes to do, but you want to be sure you are doing it with a known-good battery. 
  3. Contact Sandisk. You might have a warranty and they will ship you new cards if you do.
  4. From the many posts about the D800 on this subject, there is no "Fix" as it were; everything from taking out your cards and re-inserting them, to pulling out the battery and waiting a few seconds and powering on your camera, to format the card on your computer then format it in camera before use, has been suggested. All methods seem to work...Your Mileage May Vary.
  5. If you still keep getting error messages, your D800 might need a trip to Nikon Service to have the card slots replaced and / or cleaned.

Finally, if you are shooting professionally, buy more cards. Seriously. Each of my cameras has their own dedicated cards and I don't cross-pollinate. My D700 has its own, the D4s has its own (both XQD & CF) and my D850 has its own XQD cards. (I only have one SD card for the D850, and that's used for overflow. The main card is XQD on both the D4s and D850.) I'm thinking I have over 25+ cards floating around between all of my bags. If you only have 2 or 3 cards, buy more. Again, all Flash Media wears out eventually, without warning. Cards are cheap compared to the possible $1000's you will spend with professional extreme data recovery and possible legal fees. Something to ponder.

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