With my latest shift from the Sony Alpha A99V to the 42megapixel Sony Alpha A99II came the need for more space. Until that point of change my 64GB cards had been more than sufficient, where should I go. Should i stay on the 64GB range or move up to 128 or even 256GB ? Should I use one large card or several smaller ones. I know this is by far a new discussion but here is my take.
High-end cards is always the more expensive option, no doubt on that. Cards evolve, what was crazy expensive yesterday might easily be the right price now. And as my camera cannot utilize the bandwidth of these new technologies (Thanks Sony, fairly disappointed on this) staying on 64 or 128 is for now the better deal.
I love using my camera for travelling, and with traveling the hazard of getting your gear stolen is always eminent, after all you are carrying more than a years pay in a number of countries. If having your camera stolen, isn’t bad enough, then do consider loosing all the captures you have taken on the entire trip, a horrible thought isn’t it. Using several memory cards, not storing them with your equipment will limit the damage should you be so unlucky to get your equipment nicked, or drop a camera in nasty elements like sea water.
We cannot make the argument that 512GB cards is twice as likely to fail as 256GB cards, while its simply not true. The typical memory card is rated for a Mean Time Between Failures of 1,000,000 hours of use. That is constant use 24/7 for more than 100 years.. on average, amount the billion of cards produced some of them did get made on a Monday. No matter how good they make our cards, they still fail, and they will fail at the most inconvenient time to my experience. Ask yourself, what would you rather, loose 512GB of wedding photos or 128GB given that you have to suffer that blow, my answer is that If all your images are important, is only loosing 50 percent of them what will make you happy?
When shooting moments, like wedding, scenarios where we just cant shoot them again, I often double write on two cards (love that feature Sony). Its not that I have lost wedding photos, but I feel a lot better by not putting all “Eggs in One Basket”. For the very same reason I do not exhaust my cards before exchanging them, I tend to change cards at less than 50 percent, by that I avoid having the change at that a crucial shot.
Stupidity is a factor, having many smaller cards will add to the frustration of safekeeping the cards. I think its fair to claim that many shooters has tried to misplace a card, or even put them through the washer. I think its fair to argue that smaller cards add to this risk scenario.
Shooting timelaps, Fireworks, Aurora or bird photography often means shooting a lot of photos. Small cards, many inconvenient breakoff to shift cards. A larger memory card does gives you greater flexibility for those times when you want to shoot more in one session and don’t want or don’t have time to swap cards.
The biggest danger
Lies in the time your image sits on the memory card, having a large memory cards doesn’t necessarily mean you will backup your photos less frequent, but to be honest I could easily fall into that trap, especially because I tend to like to shoot very few pictures on a photo excursion, I would easily have months of photo works on a 128GB card.
There is not one killer argument, that fits or even convinces everyone. I guess it comes down to the wallet or religion or perhaps both.
Personally I do not want to be a frontrunner and pay the hefty price having the latest, fastest and biggest cards on the marked. Personally I let quality and price decide on what I get, for now that right size for me is 128GB.. knowing that it will change tomorrow.