How Often Do SD Cards Really Fail?

There's been enough dissections on how Canon and Nikon shot themselves in their respective feet by releasing mirrorless systems with only single card slots. Trust Tony and Chelsea Northrup, though, to spice things up a bit with some scientific analysis.

I know that this has been debated ad-nauseam, but I haven't actually seen any proper data on just how often the unspeakable happens. If anyone is a little tight of purse or just on the fence about it all, it helps to have solid figures to guide one in the right direction.   

The Northrups conducted a poll among their followers asking them their experiences with memory card failure rates. The poll, consisting of 4,344 people, while not a giant sample size, still seems like a size which one can pull some relevant data out of. And that's one of the things that I think this channel is best at. I always enjoy the Northrup's videos, but I find the more analytical ones to be almost always enlightening with regard to the more technical aspects of photography.

The arguments have gone back and forth over this, even on this website, but it's this kind of analysis that might actually sway people instead of one-off horror stories. I won't spoil the results by repeating them here, so please watch the video and share your thoughts below.

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Mike Stern's picture

Here is some obvious precautions we all can take:
1) Do not take in and out your SD card often. Prefer to use usb cable and keep the card in as much as you can.
2) If you must take the card out, do not use it on multiple devices. Multiple laptops, iPads through adapters.
3) Dedicate SD card per camera. Try not to use the same card in multiple cameras. Especially multiple brands and type of cameras.
4) Do buy 2 card slot cameras. At least for the important shoots configure the slots so you have a back up.
5) Do demand the camera manufacturers to install inbody memory. Either to use for primery or secondary recording. Anybody has heard of a disk failure on iPhones? Less likely.