I wanted to go over how to use the dual card slots since this is a very critical area that none of us can afford to not understand. If you don’t understand what I write here, or don’t want to learn… then DON’T USE TWO CARDS. Only use slot one and pretend the camera is just like any other one. However, if you want to take advantage of the features…pay attention to the following:
Your card slot settings are programmed into the custom sets! Repeat: Your card slot settings are programmed into the custom sets!
This means if you change to a different preset or switch to manual mode your save settings for your cards will go back to it’s set DEFAULT. You CANNOT assume your cards are saving the way you set them once. You must ensure you set them and then program that into your Custom Set. To ensure your settings stay as you expect, do the following:
- Custom Menu H1 – Card Slot Settings. This is where you adjust from.
- Go into either P, A, S, or M mode on the mode dial. Go to Custom H1 and set you card settings as you wish.
- If you have already saved your Custom Sets C1, C2, or C3, turn your mode dial to that setting. Adjust your card slot settings and resave that custom set.
- If you haven’t saved your custom sets, then make sure you set your card slot settings prior to saving the Custom Set.
This allows you to have different card slot settings for different modes. So maybe you have a custom set where you want video to one card and jpg to another. Or a set that has all images going to both cards as a backup. Regardless, be aware that if you program different behaviors into different settings, this will change as you change your sets. And the PASM mode retains the last one you set in that mode. Be aware of that. The last thing you want is to think you cards are saving a certain way and they aren’t. We don’t fool around with our data capture!
Personally I keep all my Custom Sets with the same card profile. I keep manual the same as those too. That way if I have an odd situation where I need to change, I can do so in manual mode for that shoot and then move back.
A quick overview of the settings you can pick from:
Menu H1 Card Slot Settings.
Standard: Exactly that…basically you pick one slot to use.
Autoswitch: When the slot you select becomes full, the second slot takes over recording. Overflow.
Dual Independent Down: Saves to both card slots. You can select what kind of files are saved to each card. So RAW to one card and Small JPG to the other for example. When one card becomes full, both cards stop and the camera says full regardless of card size.
Dual Independent Up: Same as above, but when one card becomes full, the other can continue. Be mindful…if you card one was set to raw and becomes full… then only card two will continue recording. If you only had small JPG going to card two…then all you will have is Small JPGs after the first card fills. Until card two fills then you are full.
Dual Same Down: This is mirroring. Whatever you save to the first card gets replicated on the second card. When one is full, the second stops recording too regardless of card size.
Dual Same Up: This is mirroring just as above…except if one card fills and you still have space on the other, you can continue shooting…but there is no more mirroring. And now you have one card that doesn’t match the other. Make sure you keep track if this happens so you don’t lose pictures that didn’t get mirrored!
My personal recommendation for dual data:
Just shooting normally, use standard and one card. If you do a lot of video and stills, use two cards and send video to one and stills to the other. Use a fast card in slot one and send video there. Keep slot two for your still images.
If you are on a critical shoot, or making work that really counts, and have the luxury of multiple cards…. then use two slots with Dual Same Down. This is straight mirroring. You have a backup no matter what happens. Just make sure you use two memory cards large enough for your shoot, or have a second “pair” of cards. Make sure you keep the cards organized. You can use a think tank card walletand place pairs of cards next to each other so you that pairs are together. Empty cards logo side out, and full cards rear side facing out.
If you are traveling this is my personal strategy for dual cards. Have one BIG card in the second slot. One that will cover your whole trip or most of it at least. Then have a bunch of smaller cards for each day. I change cards daily when I travel and lock the used ones in the hotel. If I have a laptop I also back them up…if I don’t…then I just hope nothing happens to them! With two slots, use Dual Same Down. Each day change only your first card. The smaller one. Leave the second card, the large one, in the camera as a long running backup. That way you have all your images on one huge card as a back up while all your smaller “day” cards are safe in the hotel or wherever your store them. The concept is to ensure you can’t lose them, and nothing will happen if the camera is lost, stolen, or destroyed. Either way you have the data somewhere.
FORMATTING CARDS: Just remember formatting is done separately on each card. Do NOT confuse which card needs to be formatted. In fact if you don’t trust yourself, remove both cards, format the correct one, and reinsert the other after. Just saying!
Any other data strategies you use with dual cards?