The Fuji X-T1, a card, and a cautionary tale

A February trip to Iceland promised much winter weather and the possibility of Northern Lights and it duly delivered. But along the way there was a heart-stopping moment.

The Fuji performed almost flawlessly. Weather-sealing, no doubt, helps a bit (but my son’s X-T10 was fine too) until one day at 12:49 a messaged flashed on the screen as I tried to preview an image, "READ ERROR". Odd, I thought, I'd not seen a card problem on a camera since the days of my Canon D60 and 1GB IBM Microdrives.

As I was busy shooting in a snowstorm, I gave it no more thought; indeed I carried on shooting with the camera until late in the afternoon. During some downtime I checked again and received the same message. My son said he'd seen it too, but pressing the right command dial button would let you scroll through the images and sure enough there were some images on the card.

Again I carried on shooting for a bit longer.

When I returned to base and checked the card to my horror the images from 12:49 onwards were nowhere to be found. There is nothing like the cold sweat of realisation that you might have lost images. Certainly nothing I want repeated!

The card used was a San Disk 64GB Extreme Pro. Fortunately the card came with a free year's RescuePRO Deluxe. The two problems were I didn't have the serial number to hand and I was limited to a tethered 3G connection to download RescuePRO Deluxe.

An aside about data connections in Iceland - frankly they put the UK to shame. For a population of under 500,000; the smallest village and even wilderness generally has a 3G connection. In the UK you are lucky to have anything outside of a big city!

An hour or so later I had the software but oddly, even though the card mounted on the Mac, it wasn't being seen by the software. I resolved to leave it until I returned.

However some research suggested that there had been issues in the past with Fuji X-Series camera and Mac hidden files.

Mac OS X generally leaves some hidden files on media (they are named .DS_Store). It was alleged that they can interfere with the Fuji writing.
Alternatively it could be something to do with the size of the card. 

There were a couple of suggested remedies. Before inserting a card to grab the images, lock it. That way the Mac can only read the images and not write anything.
It seems that more regular formatting cards can help too - as that destroys the hidden files and means you don’t get a buildup of files and hidden files.

I kept the card locked for the remainder of the trip and then used RescuePro Deluxe in a Lexar Card reader on my return home.

Fortunately all the images were restored and apart from renaming them and removing files with the .tif or .pcx extension all was good.

Thanks need to go to Matthew Lee in Tech Support at LC Tech Support Services Ltd, who helped me through some worrying times!

Generally my card usage and backup regime is pretty good, but this has certainly given me cause for further thought.