Buy Cheap, Buy Twice. Memroy Card Trouble

As you might have noticed I haven’t posted up many photos lately. Just in case you were wondering why here’s my story and a bit of advice for you…

Memory cards are essential to digital photography (obviously) but I’ve never given them a second thought besides making sure I have some with me. Most people are the same I’d imagine. So when I saw that a well known discount store were selling memory cards at a very cheap price I decided to buy a few.
Before I did I posted a thread on photography forum asking if there’s any difference between cheap and more expensive memory cards (besides reading speed). A few people recommended to avoid the cheap ones but I ignored that.

About two months ago I began having some problems with my Pentax camera and memory cards. One of my cards was slightly cracked but it still worked. Next cards wouldn’t ‘pop’ in or out of my memory card slot. I had to use a pair of tweezers to ply it out. My laptop wouldn’t accept the card either so to transfer photos I had to use a cable to connect my camera to laptop.

On Guinness Arthurs Day I went to O Connell’s pub in Eyre Square, Galway to see and photograph Alabama 3. The weather was awful but they still kindly took time to pose for a group photo for me before the gig. As they were playing on a make shift stage with no security barriers I was as close as you could ever get (3 feet away) so captured loads of shots. However I noticed that when I tried to view some photos on my camera LCD screen that it gave me an error message.

At home that evening when I was trying to copy the photos to my laptop it said that the folder was empty. I tried everything but couldn’t retrieve them, much to my anger and frustration. So I decided to get my camera looked at. Surprisingly, that isn’t easy in Ireland, especially if you’re living in the West of Ireland. I phoned a few camera stores in Galway; they all said they wouldn’t repair it for me and that I’d have to post it to Pentax in the UK. I bought my camera 2nd hand from the USA so wasn’t sure would Pentax UK even look at it and even if they did the cost could be very high (like bringing a car to an official dealer for a service). So I hunted around and managed to find The Hamster Clinic, a camera repair advice thread on

Basically it’s a thread for camera repair advice and there’s a guy who gives advice and also does repairs. I ended up posting my camera to him and for the mere sum of €20 he fixed it for me. If I had sent my camera off to Pentax UK I’m sure it would have cost a multiple more. Bits of my cheap memory cards were flaking off and messing up the memory card slot. I don’t know if a more expensive memory card means it’s better built but I’m not going to risk it in future. As they say (who are ‘they’ anyway?) “buy cheap and buy twice”.

The other lesson I learnt is that if you’re doing a job MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A BACKUP CAMERA. Luckily for me the Alabama concert was just some hobby photography but I was scheduled to shoot a wedding. I managed to borrow a Pentax body from another amazingly generous and trusting stranger through the Photography forum. (This sounds like an ad for Photography forum but I haven’t received any financial gratitude for my opinions…).

For Christmas this year I’ll probably ask Santa Claus for a backup 2nd hand Pentax body (@mywife- I hope you’re reading this…) in case I get the opportunity to shoot any more weddings (2 under my belt so far, hopefully more in the future)

Now I have my camera back and hopefully will start posting up some photos shortly.

Postupdate: good article here at, entitled Raise your hand if you have ever lost digital image files.

1 Comment

  1. Brian
    October 30, 2012 at 19:43 — Reply

    Good advice & post – I will share with camera club as members were on about buying some in a discount store only 3 wks ago.

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