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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

May 2004 HelpLine

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Friendly Skies For Memory Cards?

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Card Security

Q)  I've made the switch to using a digital camera on my travels. I read about preparing myself with batteries and media cards, but I haven't heard much about going through security with a digital camera. I remember the hoops I used to jump through with film. Is there the same problem with my media cards? Will I lose images, or will they get damaged?

Jed P.
Via e-mail



A)  I know the hoops you went through with film. It definitely could be damaged by airport security's X-ray machines, especially high-speed film. These hoops have certainly become more difficult in present-day airport security. Thankfully, those machines aren't causing problems with media cards. Every media card manufacturer that I've talked to has told me they haven't seen a problem when cards go through security.

I confirmed this myself on a recent trip to the East Coast. Before I left, I took two memory cards and stored on them several large test files that I created. The files were uncompressed TIFF files and took up a lot of space on the cards. I put one card in my carry-on camera bag and one in my checked bag. (Generally, I wouldn't recommend putting your cards in your checked luggage, not because of damage that may be caused by security scanning, but because of the possibility of lost luggage.)

After both outbound and inbound flights, I compared the two cards against the original files stored on my computer using a special program that compares every byte of data in each file stored on the card. The result? The files were exactly the same as when I first put them on the card-just as the card manufacturer told me.

 


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