Whether you're a budding photographer or a seasoned pro, you probably use secure digital (SD) cards to store photos. While SD & other cards conveniently provide storage for a lot of images, they're not completely failproof. Here are a few potential problems that may require getting a new card.

Why Do Camera Memory Cards Usually Fail (SD CF XQD Express)?

1. Bad Sectors

All types of digital storage devices can fall victim to bad sectors, which are damaged spaces that no longer offer storage. Bad sectors can occur for many reasons, from too many read/write cycles to physical damage. Bad sectors may prevent your camera from recognizing the card, or it may read zero bytes even though you know there is data stored on it. Keep in mind most cards have a lifespan ranging from about one to five years, so be sure to purchase replacements as needed. Your data may be able to be recovered even if bad sectors stop the card from working correctly, so see a camera repair professional (K&R) to avoid losing those precious memories.


2. Interruptions During the Formatting Process

Formatting an SD or other Camera card involves completely clearing it of all existing files and information. Cards are usually formatted prior to first use, but you can also perform the function to clear out photos you've moved to another form of storage, such as a computer hard drive. Interrupting the formatting process can cause major faults in the card, which might make it unusable in the future. That's why you must always allow the in camera formatting process to continue uninterrupted until it's complete. K&R recommends formatting your card in your Camera (after safely saving your images) before each session. 

3. Viruses and Malware

If you use your Camera card on a computer infected by malware, the card can become infected as well. This will render the card unusable, which can result in any pictures stored on it being lost for good. Make sure any computers you use to edit or store photos are protected by anti-virus software. Also, be wary of unknown links or file attachments sent via email, as they may be part of a phishing scheme. A camera repair professional (K&R) may be able to recover your data from a corrupted card and place it on a new Card, Thumb Drive or Hard Drive.

4. Our Recommendations 

K&R has several useful recommendations from years of experience.

• While a card can last many years, the older the card the greater the danger of problems, we suggest you number and date your cards to better keep track.  If you are shooting professionally, you should think about replacing your card yearly, use or pass down your old cards for non-critical usage.

• If you ever have any problem with a card, don't trust it for critical work.  Is it worth losing a wedding or portrait or client?

• Format cards in Camera before 1st use and before each session, it usually checks the card, sets it up for the particular camera, creates a new index and file folder.  We see a problem with lots of cards that we (K&R) are asked to recover that were not formatted or formatted in another camera.

• Do not use a card with any physical damage, even if it seems to work OK.  Do not trust it.  Damage can make the card susceptible to all kind of problems like moisture, internal components like cracked solder or cards (SD's) getting stuck in the slot.

• Always keep cards in a case or holder (not loose in your pocket or bag).  Static & dust & moisture are your enemies.

• Use a high quality card and card reader

• Remove card only after camera is through writing to card or camera is turned off.

• Never shoot when your battery is low.

• Preferably do not delete images from the cards in the Camera, delete after all images are saved to at least 2 locations.

• Always use High Quality Camera cards, and if your Camera has 2 slots set them to Back-Up.

• While there is no guarantee that you won't experience a memory card issue, following these suggestions and guidelines will make issues less likely.

•If you have questions call K&R at 859-341-6986.


If you have a failed camera card and need help with recovery, K & R Photographics in Fort Mitchell, KY, has a very high success rate in data recovery for damaged or corrupted SD or any other Camera cards, thumb drives, and more. They also have an extensive and affordable selection of photography equipment and can help you find high-quality storage equipment to prevent future issues. To learn more about their services and products, visit their website or call (859) 341-6986 .