Single vs Dual card camera systems


Would you take advice from a cartoons stuffed toy?
Jan 29, 2011
I don't think it is necessarily wrong to shoot to two cards, but I think it is an entirely overblown concept that has been foist upon us by marketing departments and influencers, who have convinced far too many people it is essential, professional, irresponsible not to, etc etc.

I give no thought to the number of card slots a camera has and it isn't something I look for in a spec sheet. You can call me irresponsible, risk attractive, whatever you like, I have had minimal losses using single capture digital media, certainly far fewer than when I shot film. I accept there will always be a risk of loss or damage to the images however well you think you are doing, a dual card camera can get stolen from a wedding just as easily as a single card camera. I'm no actuary but I'd rate theft or catastrophic loss as more likely than card failure a lot of places I shoot (not many weddings though!).
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Jan 28, 2015
Irving, Texas
I've been using digital cameras, and other devices that use memory cards, since the 1990's and have never had a card fail on me.
I use a 5d3 for events and weddings and have never needed to use the second card.
Now also having an R, it doesn't bother me at all that it only has one card.
And it is the YMMV part that is the problem. I have used two kidneys and two eyes and two lungs and two testicles for 56 years. Never have had a problem. YMMV. There are plenty of stories here about cards failing in critical use cases, but YMMV. As we say in the gun world: Better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. A litigious Bridezilla is a, well, you know. Then again, people have to assess their own risks and make their own choices. There is no right or wrong, however, were I a wedding photographer two cards would be a must for me. Not being a professional, it doesn't bother me that my R has one slot. My next R will have two. I've not needed a spare tire for many years, but I am sure glad I have one.
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Sep 14, 2012
Maybe. So in the meantime, keep it simple and write to two cards if your work has any genuine value. Why is this even an argument?
When it comes to data reliability, the fewer points of failure between where data are generated and where data are stored the better. Evidently a dual card camera is the simplest and safest solution - wireless technologies imply more points and requires also a to understand well the weakest points and design accordingly. 5G is sold by too much interested parties as the solution to everything everywhere, but when there will be enough users, it will be clear it is an improvement but not the answer to life, the universe and everything (that's of course, 42G).
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Nov 8, 2011
I had a Sandisk SD card fail today. I lost the morning’s pictures.

There is no substitute for a second card.
I am sorry to read this. Can you recover at least some of your photos from the failed card? There are programs to do this and if there is hardware damage maybe a data recovery company could help.

EDIT: Can you please let us know which type of Sandisk SD card?


The dark side - I've been there
Nov 7, 2013
I use xD, CF and SD cards for more than 14 years, some of them are > 10 years old. No failure until today (knock on wood).
I have a dual slot cam. I think I used the two slots once to try it out, but I left it, seeing no advantage for me.
I shot several weddings with just one CF card in it. But I always wasn't the main photographer and I did it as guest, as a favour for the couple.

But if I was to make a living out of beeing an event / wedding shooter I never would have thought of leaving the second slot empty.
And I would very much think about buying a single slot cam as main body. Maybe for the backup.

Edit: Buy the way: I already had two HDD crashes. Luckily not much Data got lost. But I am aware.
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Canon 5DSR II
Aug 16, 2012
I'm paranoid and have at least one back up for critical items (2 each of cameras, chargers, lenses, cables, computer or iPad etc on a safari etc). Having said that, I don't bother with insurance for items I can afford to replace or cover myself. If I was a wedding photographer, I would have two card slots, two cameras AND insurance.
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Dec 20, 2012
Southeastern USA
I only use two cards when I'm on a paid job and when I'm on a very expensive vacation where I might not visit again. Otherwise for sports, nature, wildlife, etc I only use one.
I imagine many more of us do the same but won't admit it in public because we have to be outraged about a single slot.
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