Why 32-gb Flash Cards? Why Delkin e-film Pro? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Why 32-gb Flash Cards? Why Delkin e-film Pro?

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This image was made near Homer, AK with the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens, the 1.4X III TC, and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering +1 stop off the blue sky: 1/1600 at f/5.6 set manually. Early morning (8:56am) light. I have utmost confidence in my 32gb Delkin e-film Pro Flash Cards. In fact, I never give them a second thought.

Why 32-gb Flash Cards?

For years the argument against large cards has been as follows: “If you use a very large capacity card and it fails or you lose it, you lose everything. It is wise not to put all of your eggs in one basket.”

Why then do I head afield with one 32-gb Delkin e-film Pro compact flash card in the Mark IV on the 800 and another 32-gb Delkin e-film Pro compact flash card in the Mark IV on my shoulder along with the 70-200mm f/2.8L IS lens?

  • In my nearly ten years of digital photography, I have never lost a single image to a failed card. I have had a few cards fail over the years (though none in the last four years knock on wood; I do not want to give myself a kinehora), but each time I was able to recover the images.
  • As long as I remember to format the cards at the start of a session, I never have to change cards in the field. A 32-gb card is large enough so that I never fill a 32-gb card with Mark IV RAW files even though I routinely photograph at many of the worlds premier photographic locations. (The latter is just one of the many blessings that I enjoy.) Thus, I never miss any action because I am changing cards; I am effectively working with an endless roll of film in each camera body.
  • If you use smaller cards, the odds of losing one of them or of having one of them fail increase greatly….. When photographing at locations where I bring my gear into the room each night, I simply leave my cards in the cameras until my two rigs are placed on my bed. Then I remove and re-charge each battery, remove each card, and place them on the desk next to my laptop. At some locations I opt to leave my gear in the trunk. When we get back to the motel I remove the batteries and the two cards, place the cards in my otherwise empty right hand pants pocket, get back to the room, and begin downloading. I always have a small tote bag with me so that I can conveniently transport small items to and from the room. The batteries go in the tote bag.
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This Brown Pelican image was created in La Jolla, CA with the Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS lens and the EOS-1D Mark IV. ISO 400. Evaluative metering at zero: 1/2000 sec. at f/8. Early morning (8:53am) light. Note that at f/8 I have brought up a pleasing amount of background detail, but nothing too sharply defined.

When I visit San Diego either for an IPT or for Photo Expo West I often wind up having dinner with Martin Wood and Alan Parry of Delkin.

Why Delkin e-film Pro?

At a NANPA Forum about a zillion years ago, probably in 2002 or so, I first met Alan Parry of Delkin Devices. In those days a 512 mb card was a big card and cost about $300! Delkin had a booth. In short order Alan offered to give me a few cards to test. (In those days I was too timid to ask. I have learned to ask and I almost always get what I ask for. Just another of the many great blessings in my life.) Anyway, I used the cards and loved them. I found them to be quite dependable, and though I never test anything, I found them to be fast. Soon we were up to 4gb cards, and then 8gb, and then 16 gb cards. Delkin always keeps up with the latest technology and the cards are always fast, especially with Canon cameras. I began using a variety of Delkin card readers with my various computers. All but one were very dependable. Right now I have the same Delkin Express Card 54 adapter (reader) in the PCMCIA slot of my laptop that I have used for about four years. On IPT, I am always the first one downloaded at lunch… The combination of Delkin UDMA 32 gb e-film Pro cards, the Express Card 54, and BreezeBrowser’s Downloader Pro is lighting fast. There have been times at Applebee’s when I have actually finished editing a good morning’s folder of images before the group has finished ordering!

At some point, probably about 2005 or so, I visited the Delkin plant in Poway, CA for a tour. It reminded me of being in the place where the shuttle is assembled–never been inside that of course but I have seen the images. There the cards are assembled from a good number of components and tested rigorously, all right here in the US of A. Part of the operation includes soldering tiny bits and pieces…. Amazing.

Over the years I had two 4-gb cards fail, and one 8-gb card fail. Each time I was able to grab the images using a recovery program and each time Delkin cheerfully replaced the card at no charge. No questions ask. We have been marketing the Delkin cards for about six years. On rare occasion folks have returned cards that failed to us. We send them a new the next day and Delkin replenishes our stock.

Now here’s the great news: I have used Delkin 16-gb e-film Pro cards for about three years, first the gray ones and then the 450X red, white and blue UDMA cards. Then about two years ago I graduated to the 32gb UDMA cards. I have never had either a 16gb or a 32 gb Delkin card fail. Does that mean that if you order at 32 gb card from us that it will never fail? No, of course not. Cards of all sizes from all manufacturers will fail on occasion; it’s those tiny soldering jobs that cause the rare problem. With Delkin cards you can be confident that you have the same dependable card in your camera that I use every day, and that if there is a problem that the card will be replaced promptly and without question even if the paint is worn off. Do know that if a card is going to fail it will most likely do so during the first few days of use–again, its those soldered connections. It is best therefore to use a new card for at least a week before taking it to Antarctica or the Galapagos….

That said I have had a Delkin card spend several hours in the garbage at a Chinese restaurant. When I finally got it back, it was lathered in grease. It worked perfectly for many years after a bit of clean-up. And on several occasions, I have put Delkin cards in the washing machine. All functioned perfectly after a session with a blow dryer. I use my 32-gb Delkin e-film Pro cards without ever giving them a second thought.

Delkin created the Sensor Scope that I use at least once a week to help me keep sensor dust under control. And in addition to the card readers they make a wide variety of photographic related products including replacement camera batteries, re-chargeable batteries and chargers, archival storage media, Fat Gecko Mounts, flash drives, and more than a few clever accessories. Though we only carry a few of them, we would be glad to have any Delkin items drop-shipped for you while you save a few bucks in the process.

You can visit the Delkin Devices web site here. I did this morning and learned of a variety of products including their new 625X waterproof, ruggedized Combat Flash cards designed for folks working in extreme conditions. Learn more about the Combat flash cards here. Delkin has just introduced the USB 3.0 Universal Memory Card Reader. We will have them in the store soon. Here is their blurb:

“Move video and image files from memory card to computer over ten times faster, with sustained transfer speeds up to 5Gbps. Transfer two hours of high definition 1080p video in 26 seconds, almost 10,000 images in less than a minute or 2000 MP3 files in less than 13 seconds. Complete backwards compatibility with USB2.0 and USB1.1 allows for seamless integration with portable and desktop computer systems, making this the ideal companion for your present and future data management needs.”

(Note from me: though this card reader will work with older USB, the fastest transfer speeds are available only with USB 3.0.)

Delkin is of course a BAA sponsor and I look forward to a long and continuing relationship with Martin and Alan and the rest of the gang at Delkin Devices. Again, we will be glad to save you a few bucks and have your order for any Delkin product drop-shipped to you same day. The new USB 3.0 Universal Memory Card Readers will be in stock and in the store in a day or two.

Shopper’s Guide

Below is a list of the gear (or the current replacement) that I used to create the images above. Thanks a stack to all who have used the Shopper’s Guide links to purchase their gear as a thank you for all the free information that we bring you on the Blog and in the Bulletins. Before you purchase anything be sure to check out the advice in our Shopper’s Guide.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II lens. Man, I am loving this lens on my shoulder with the 2X III teleconverter. I also use it a lot–depending on the situation–with the 1.4X III TC.
Canon 800mm f/5.L IS lens. Right now this is my all time favorite super-telephoto lens.
Canon EF 1.4X III TC. This new TC is designed to work best with the new Series II super-telephoto lenses.
Canon EOS-1D Mark IV professional digital camera body. The very best professional digital camera body that I have ever used.

And from the BAA On-line Store:

I pack my 800 and tons of other gear in my ThinkTank Airport SecurityTM V2.0 rolling bag for all of my air travel and recommend the slightly smaller Airport InternationalTM V2.0 for most folks. These high capacity bags are well constructed and protect my gear when I have to gate check it on short-hops and puddle jumpers. Each will protect your gear just as well. By clicking on either link you will receive a free gear bag with each order over $50.
Gitzo GT3530LS Tripod. This one will last you a lifetime.
Mongoose M3.6 Tripod Head. Right now this is the best tripod head around for use with lenses that weigh less than 9 pounds. For heavier lenses, check out the Wimberley V2 head.
Double Bubble Leve.l You will find one in my camera’s hot shoe whenever I am on a tripod and not using flash.
Delkin 32gb e-Film Pro Compact Flash Card. These high capacity cards are fast and dependable.

15 comments to Why 32-gb Flash Cards? Why Delkin e-film Pro?

  • avatar Arturo CM

    Hi Arthur!,
    First of all.. thanks for sharing…I have a big issue, I was copying from my CF Delkin 32Gb UDMA 6 a 10Gb “tif” photos with a plaing USB CF reader (now I know that’s not best way) to a Mackbook… but by accident I pulled the cable after couple seconds, I was no panic, but when I plugged again then message shows up with “this computer can read memory card”… I tried too many sofware to recover, but partition only shows up 33Mb and nothing else, I haven’t formatted the card……have you ever experiensed something similar?

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Have not. As a last resort, you can call Delkin and send them the card. They would likely be able to recover the images.

  • avatar Jim Kranick


    Thanks for the note on how you always handle batteries and CF cards after shooting for a day. Always using the same routine helps prevent getting out the next day with uncharged batteries or full cards with unsaved immages. It’s something else I will have to add to my routine.


  • Agree. KISS is usually the best approach. In my case I set the “Record func+Media folder” to “Rec to Multiple” so that both cards are treated the same and then I only use an SD card when shooting events for the extra peace of mind.
    — Colm.

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Colm, YAW. No need for two slots for me with my 32gb cards… I leave the SD slot empty. I have seen folks get totally confused when using a card in each slot: “I lost all of my images!” They would often get confused as to which card was active…. I am a one slot kind of guy…

  • Art,

    Thanks for the follow-up. Agree on the size of SD cards. Pity Canon don’t provide two CF slots in their cameras. I take it that you just leave the SD slot empty so?

    — Colm.

  • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

    Lynn, YAW and Bryan, Thanks! artie

  • Art,

    Appreciate your kinds words and your response. Enjoy your postings. Keep up the good work!


  • Artie,

    I LOVE the Pelican shot; one of my favorite ones I have seen from your trip. I don’t remember ever seeing a sitting pose quite like that and the sharpness of the 800 is awesome.

  • Finally! after years of envying your images, equipment and the great places you travel to I can finally one up you – I HAVE been in the building where they built the space shuttle – my wife used to work there! 🙂

    I’m coming to your way of thinking on the large cards, but I do like to keep images on the cards until I get home. I download every day in the field to my netbook and a portable hard drive – and upload really good images to our web server back home – but try to keep the images on the cards until I’m home, the files have been copied to the hard drive array, and I’m sure everything is there. The Delkin cards are great; I rarely buy any other brand anymore.

    Dave McShaffrey

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Come to think of it I may have seen it close-up. Do you get close on tours???

  • Great article as usual, I love these insights into your workflow and experiences.

    Just a quick question, I notice that you only mention CF cards here? Do you also use SD cards in your 1D’s ? If you do I wonder if you considered swapping to all SD cards (using SD->CF adaptor in the CF slot) especially since most laptops now come with a pretty good SD card reader built-in.

    — Colm.

  • Art,

    Without me presuming any answers, let me ask you: Why do you so regularly use 400 ISO when many of your photos could have been taken just as easily, albeit with some some minor depth of field loss, at, say, 200 ISO? You apparently find the subsequent increased “grain” negligible?

    Lynn Stone

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Lynn, It is an honor to have you stop by 🙂 (Lynn is a veteran professional nature photographer.) I have never been a big fan of depth of field but I do like the extra speed. I do not mind the noise at ISO 400 with my MIV bodies (and have not minded the noise at 400 on any of my Canon pro bodies). Plus, I think that if I dropped down to ISO 200 every once in a while that I would forget to go back to 400 at times…. I guess that that is mostly a mind set as I rarely forget to reset 400 when I work at 800 or 1600. Later and love, artie