When I’ve got my camera and “came back” to photography, a fast 8GB SanDisk SD card (Extreme 30 MB/s) costed 50 so Euros and a 32GB was around 150 Euros. My option back then was to get the 8GB, together with camera, bag and tripod (some investment for a new toy).
Shooting raw in a Canon EOS 60D, 8GB allows me to take about 250 shots. Normally it used to be enough, but shooting children events or a long day in a city like Venice or Paris, specially after I started bracketing for HDR things … that number felt quite short.
2 years after, prices have dropped considerably and I decided to go for a new memory card.
1- Not much that 32GB (about 1000 pictures) is necessary. I won’t go more than a day shooting without backing up the shots, so no need for an expensive 64-128GB.
2- Not faster than 45 MB/s, since my camera won’t profit for that.
I would go for a Hoodman Steel (100% fail free card, but it’s too expensive for my needs), so I decided to keep SanDisk Extreme, not 45 MB/s.
Photo stores have it around 40 so Euros and I found it in Amazon for around 25 Euros, but on the “Market Place” (third party vendors that use the Amazon infrastructure and are somehow “certified” by Amazon). Amazon itself did not have the card, or I could not find it.
In percentage is quite a difference, so I went Amazon.
Got the card in a couple of days, opened and comparing with my old card it looked weird.
The box was right, the sticker was right, but the back of my old 8GB is “semi-transparent” and have “SanDisk” engraved (also all my other SanDisk cards for point and shoot and other usages), while this card had an opaque back. No “permanent” reference to SanDisk.
In pictures below we can see how the front of the card shows no difference (I know, pictures suck, phone camera, late at night … but trust me), but the back of the card is really different, and holds no evidence of being a SanDisk card.
Google has a lot about it, but no shots of the back of a SanDisk SD card (now it does, see above). Also a lot of information about fake cards on the market (usually on e-bay) and how to test them.
The box passed the bad fakery test.
A simple test code discarded the usual fakery, of getting a small card and making it look like a larger card, also to your device. This test gave me a normal 32GB card.
Speed and fail test also didn’t give me much to suspect, but still …
I contacted SanDisk with a simple question “do all your Extreme cards have “semi-transparent” backs with “SanDisk” engraved?” Their answer was fast (less than a day) but useless. They first warned me to buy ONLY from authorized dealers, then they wanted serial numbers, date of purchase, pictures … THIS WAS NOT WHAT I ASKED!!!!!!
Also checked comments. The SD cards in Amazon had some bad reviews (not many) as having failed after a short while, or being unreliable … while most of the forums put SanDisk as one of the most reliable cards you can get (on the humanly payable price range). This really got me even more suspicious.
My point was “is a fast 32GB card, but it’s not what I bought, what if is not a reliable card!”. Imagine I’m shooting my son’s school play, or some vacations or so and the card “fails” and I look all the images. I’d be very upset.
Solution. Got the card at my usual photo gear shop (almost twice the price) and this one looks like a the old one. Semi-transparent SanDisk engraved SD card! They are an official SanDisk dealer, so it’s really supposed to be SanDisk.
Sent the other one back to the vendor, German law assures me 14 days return with full refund, no questions asked (just have to swallow the shipping back and forth).
Happy with my new card … eventually the Amazon vendor doesn’t even know it’s a fake card. Not even I’m sure about it, but now I’m sure I have an original and reliable one.
Watch out for this kind of thing when buying gear!