Negatives vs. Compact Flash cards: What are we forgetting? Think back to a time when cameras used film. It seems like a long time ago right? Actually, most people were not on the digital bandwagon fully until recently. Unbelievably, I still observed customers turning in their yellow film canisters at photo labs pretty regularly until about a year or two ago. Now I watch in amazement as people line up with digital camera in hand, pop out the compact flash card and insert it into a machine to order prints. Kiosks equipped with compact flash card readers have made it very easy for the average consumer to crop, brighten, darken or even color correct their digital images prior to printing. An hour later out pop 4x6 prints of precious moments frozen in time. The consumer then formats the compact flash card and starts snapping away, capturing hundreds of new pixilated memories.
O.k. , let’s get back to film for a moment. Remember when you picked up your pictures a whole week after you dropped off the roll of film to be processed? Not only did you have fabulous prints of your vacation to Yellowstone, you had a back up of all those memories in the form of negatives! What happened to the back up? Most people don’t back up their compact flash cards on their computers, much less on a CD! Even when the photo lab offers to include a CD with the picture order, most consumers turn it down to save a buck. What happens when your prints get ruined? Even worse, what happens when you keep months or years of pictures on a compact flash card and it corrupts? Most consumers do not realize that compact flash cards and memory sticks can fail. They can and they do. Trust me. I once saw a grown man cry after losing ALL of his honeymoon pictures. Was he crying because the pictures were lost or because his brand new wife was going to kill him? Who knows? All I do know is the whole mess could have been avoided if he would have backed up his pictures! Invest in a card reader, put the images on your hard drive and then burn a CD or DVD for archival storage. Never keep months and years of pictures on the compact flash card sitting in your camera. Take a few minutes to back up your images regularly. You can still keep the images on your compact flash card until you want to print them, but now have the security of knowing you have a back up and your memories are safe.