How reliable are digital cameras for professional use?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by avanti, Mar 16, 2004.

  1. avanti

    avanti TPF Noob!

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    I`ve just aquired a Fuji S2 for wedding photography and I`m having sleepless nights about going back to the studio after a shoot, plugging the microdrive into the PC and finding I`ve got nothing because of some mysterious software/hardware error.
    Can I have some reassurance please! Does this ever happen and how can you make SURE?
    At the moment two of us cover a wedding with the S2 doing the reportage, but the plan is to do separate weddings next year, and to tell the truth, I find the thought of all those priceless eggs in one basket ABSOLUTELY TERRIFYING.
     
  2. photogoddess

    photogoddess TPF Noob!

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    Chimp, look at your histogram and take a lap top. There is a software that can most times salvage photos off of a bad disc so that is a minor concern.

    I haven't shot a wedding on digital yet but I've shot everything else on digital with good results. Take a back up camera and film just in case you have major equipment failure. Shoot a wedding with one photog shooting with digital and one with film. You can compare how the results look on a single job and I bet you have trouble telling the difference.
     
  3. avanti

    avanti TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for that . . . . . yeah, we always carry loads of spare stuff anyway, camera breakdowns that I know about at the time are not really a worry
    I suppose the laptop is the way to go for peace of mind!
    What`s that software that can recover files from a bad disk? That would help me sleep better too.
     
  4. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I have heard a few negative reviews about microdrive cards, being mechanical drive if drop or exposed to dampness itÂ’s likely they may fail. It maybe better to go with a standard Compact Flash card
     
  5. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Yup. A Microdrive is just a miniture hard drive, while CF cards are solid-state. Luckily since all the components are super-small, they also have a lot less mass, making it harder for the head to damage the platter on a drop, but CF is still the way to go if you are worried about such things. I use a MD right now because I got it cheap off a friend, but once I have the cash I'll be upgrading to a large CF. I only have one small CF right now as a spare.

    If it makes you feel any better, a good number of the wedding photographers I know use digitals. A lot of photojournalists do also.
     
  6. doxx

    doxx TPF Noob!

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    I use Compact Flash only, they are extremely reliable...
    The first couple of times I always carried a laptop when I went
    to do 'professional' shoots out of my studio. I gave up - I don't
    like to haul all this stuff around, plus I never ever had problems
    in years of digital shooting.

    A digital wallet would be a nice alternative to a laptop- they go
    for about $300 also you can use the newer ipods with an adapter
    as a digital wallet.
     
  7. karissa

    karissa The Untitled

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    Other than hard drive failing (which you should back up anyway), I have never heard of anyone loosing pictures due to the storage device. I have never lost information with mine and I have taken a few thousand pictures. When I took my yearbook pictures this year at Bluncks they used a digital and I was able to pick the picture I wanted to go in the yearbook on the spot. Digital has its advantages.
     
  8. Harpper

    Harpper TPF Noob!

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    It sounds like you don't have a computer at home and if you don't want to get one you can get something like this. I don't know if that's what doxx was talking about when he said digital wallet, but basically if you are that paranoid a portable hard drive would probably calm your nerves.

    Although what's nice about the portable hard drive I linked you to is that it has a built in LCD screen so that you can preview your pictures. Some digital cameras have horrible LCD screens so getting a dedicated one might be worth it. Also some of them allow you to hook it up to your tv for a bigger preview.

    But you can save yourself the money because I haven't had any problems yet and it doesn't look like I'm alone. Just follow the basic rule for taking care of electronics....don't expose them to extreme hot and cold temperatures.
     
  9. photogoddess

    photogoddess TPF Noob!

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    I think the software that saves images off of bad disks is called Image Rescue.
     
  10. urameatball

    urameatball TPF Noob!

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    the way Sports Illustrated did it during superbowl...
    11 photographers all shooting digital
    each was handed 15-20 512MB-1GB compact flash cards
    16000+photographs and I heard none of them failed :)... I think compact flash cards are quite reliable... don't know about Microdrives though, but I think there's a reason SI doesn't use them.
    is that reassurance? :D
     
  11. avanti

    avanti TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for all the tips guys - I have now got a couple of 256mb CF cards to go with the two 128mb ones I`ve got already and I`mm going to use them.
    Guess what though? I`ve got a duff Fuji S2 . . . . it focuses on infinity when my two zoom lenses are set to their widest angle, even when the image looks PERFECTLY SHARP in the viewfinder. This should be impossible yeah? Surely I`m looking at the ttl image that I am going to get?
    Well, it`s taken 3 wedding reportage shoots (about 600 shots, with a lot of testing in between), to pin the problem down to the wide angle shots using a 19-35mm and a 28-100mm zoom. If they are zoomed in at all they are OK, but on the 19mm or 28mm setting, when I look at the files they are all focused on infinity.
    So it`s going back . . . . . . .
     

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