Saturday, July 17, 2010

SanDisk Extreme PRO 16gb CF and issue with Nikon D700 on format

* While on the subject of "issues" ... here's is a small one I ran into just this week:

First, I want to note that I have been running Extreme PRO 16gb SanDisk CF since Nov. 2009 on my two(2) D700's without issue ... and they are FAST! reealy Fast!
IF, you have a need for speed ... THIS is it!

I have "still" about 8 old SanDisk CF going back to ExtremeII to 8gb IV ... but, they are now all backup to my 16gb Extreme PRO CF's. ZERO problems! all working, still. (but, in retirement lol)

Back on 6/28/10 there was a price drop on the SanDisk Extreme PRO 16gb CF at B&H so I bought another one.

Right out of the BOX something was strange ... in my D700 it would not format.
So, I loaded it on my SanDisk reader to a Win7 PC and formatted it (no problem).
Then, Formatted it on my D700 (no problem)
Shot a few test ... did a few small shoots , No problems

note: before any Paid shoot I always Format all my CF's in the D700 it will be used on.

Well, on this past weekend Wedding shoot ... after about 3-6 test shots I could not write to my Newest SanDisk Extreme PRO 16gb CF anymore. AND, I could not "just" Format it on my D700. So, it was basically dead!

Being that I have a lot of Backup CFs I just flipped to another one ... I was just reeealy, realy lucky that the "Black Pearl" from Pirates of the Carribian movie was off the coast and I took a few test shots of it. (when the CF failed). (just lost a few cool shots , guns blazing) ... because, it seems I cannot read from the CF now too ... and can only re-format on a PC. (which I don't care about, because I have lost confidence in this particular CF at this point)

The scary part was this card formated before the shoot ... and I was able to shoot to it ... for a while.
* BUT, it gave me "Signs" something was wrong. and Different from the other Extreme PRO CF cards.

Just was off a chat with SanDisk ... compatability with Extreme PRO 16gb and Nikon D700 with FW ver. 1.02 confirmed ... as well as this CF being BAD ... and this is an important point:

a New Extreme PRO CF "should" be able to FORMAT right out of the BOX on a D700. *

Which my other CF's was able to do ...

SO , "when" you cannot format on a D700, a Extreme PRO CF ... that is NOT a good sign! Be Afraid, very Afraid.
On a paid shoot this could be a killer! far more costly than the CF cost.

and don't think you are safe just because it formats via CF reader on PC and then on a D700. imho, if one of your CF's starts acting differently than the rest you need to watch it and have it identified.

7/17/2010 update: First I want to say I am impressed with Sandisk Support. Full stop.

The other day I went on the Sandisk site to Tech support. Did a Chat (this seems like it is 24/7)
... chatted on-line with Mark Sadsad (from PI) ... who was very nice and calm (because at that point I was not, lol ... have some specific long shoots at the end of the month I wanted this card for).
Well, long story short he told me to "try" to Return to B&H first (and if not , they would do it) ...
Tried at B&H via email , but they would not because I had "marked the back of it with my information and date bought" (always do this after , I think the CF works ... never had a CF issue before). And I thru alway ALL the packaging and other stuff. :)

Meanwhile Sandisk Support (Mark) emailed me a copy of the full text of the chat ... with his contact information.
So, it was easy to just "reply to the email" ... and tell him I could not do the return with B&H.

Within hours , he both emailed me AND called me! wow

Mark made the transaction of returning the CF for a new one ... very, very easy.
He emailed me instructions AND a UPS label to stick on my package. FREE shipping UPS. All I need to do is have them pick up or drop off at a UPS store.
It was kinda nice to only have to deal with one person at SanDisk, that already knew my story (from the start, on there web chat) ... so, I did not have to repeat the same story over and over again ... now how many times do you have to do that when going thru multi levels of tech support?
This was a welcome change.

Since Extreme II CF's and my first digital DSLRs I have been using SanDisk .. "this" will make me a Lifetime Customer.
imho, this is how companies can take a "problem or issue" with there product, and turn it into a opportunity to create something positive from it. and generate free advertising thru customer loyalty and word of mouth.

I am Using two(2) Extreme PRO 16gb CF's ... and SanDisk USB reader ... and will soon buy a SanDisk Express Card Reader. (the Express Card Reader they have been selling out at B&H, and there seems to be a small issue with a short guide track.
LINK to a reveiw (by Rob Galbraith) on the Speed and the New Extreme PRO Express Card Readers.

Just in case you are wondering what is that CF case that I am using ... It's the
Gepe Card Safe Extreme Watertight Case -
for Four Compact Flash (CF), Smart Media (SM), Memory Stick (MS), Multi Media (MMC) or Secure Digital Cards (Neon Green)
The Gepe Card Safe Extreme (Neon Green) is a watertight case made to store memory cards such as Compact Flash, Smart Media, Memory Stick, MMC or SD cards. Inside, the memory cards are protected against humidity and dust, as well as electrostatic charge. Four compartments offer space for several different memory cards, and grip each of them tightly.

The Card Safe Extreme uses insert material to protect the memory cards from being erased or damaged due to electrostatic effects. The card holder also has special viewing windows so you are able to see which space is taken by which card, even if the box is closed. This makes the organization of your cards easier. In addition, it is weatherproofed and it floats in water, and the design of the lock makes using the Card Safe a snap, even when wearing gloves.

The Card Safe Extreme has been tested and certified as European IPX-7, which means it is protected against immersion in water (immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter).

• Polycarbonate, anti-static inner material is used to manufacture this media case.
• Four multi-card compartments
• Shock resistant
• Dustproof
• Watertight rated as IPX-7, which means it is protected against immersion in water (immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter).
• Floats in water *** How cool is that!
• Clear viewing windows 1 close Please Note:Helpful hint: Put the unused memory cards face up and the used cards face down
• Eyelet connector for an accessory strap


Hope this helps someone,

Ross Hamamura

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