Insanity loves company - a long GH1 story

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by jimr.pdx, Mar 7, 2011.

  1. jimr.pdx

    jimr.pdx Mu-43 Veteran

    342
    Dec 5, 2010
    near Longview ~1hr from PDX
    Jim R
    Hey folks, my GH1 was telling me things today that made no sense - then later claimed it never said them!

    On my way in to the office today, I stopped and took several images of the twilight and lamplit local park. I tried to bracket a few of them but had set the lever to burst not bracket, silly boy. :rolleyes: Later I was trying to play back my images on the camera screen (of which the counter claimed to have about 25). I saw a black screen with some message about VIDEO FORMAT CANNOT BE DISPLAYED, or some such. Well, I had taken an AVCHD video among those 25 shots so I presumed that could be an issue with one image - but I could scroll and watch the counter change, yet none of the still images would show, each one claiming to be an unhappy video. Weird! :confused: So I changed setting to MJPG video and took another short video thru the office window, and a couple snapshots too. The camera now showed about 30 images on the chip - but none of them would play back, all claiming they were videos with issues. I reset all internal settings and went back to my real job. On the way home I tried to swap for a 16G chip, but the camera couldn't read it so I went back to the 4G Lexar.

    I pulled the camera out after dinner to check one more time - and there were my park and office images from earlier in the day, including the mjpg video. But wait: the counter is down to 25 again.. some earlier shots had gone missing! I've since taken more images (after formatting the card), and can not duplicate the earlier problem. I've shot stills, bracketed shots (successfully :rolleyes:), both types of video... with no playback issues at all. I cannot find my video-error message in the list of messages on pgs 170-72 of the manual (I just knew I should write the message down verbatim, but I was sure I'd keep seeing it!).

    However, once or twice I did see "Thumbnail dispayed" on an early-morning park shot.. that one's on page 178 and was shown with an image this camera definitely took. Now I see that one of the park shots claims to be 4000x3000 but it's more like 4000x2400 - the bottom of the image is missing, not dark just absent! I believe this is the image that showed the "Thumbnail displayed" message.

    During my coffee break at the office I had taken the snap/video/snap trio. At 8:13:19 I have a jpg taken at that time matching the video's 1st frame (it's even 16:9), but a video has the date stamp 12:13:19 (before the park images) - so it either jumped from Pacific to Greenwich time or simply lost its mind. And do mjpg movies take a still frame as a normal jpg at the beginning? That's news to me.

    Now this isn't the first time I've wondered about this GH1, but other times I was hasty and did not get to test for problems or put it down on (virtual) paper. I suppose that all this could be a sick SD card, but given that it also disliked the other chip (which is also happy again now) that seems less likely.

    This note will go to Panasonic techies soon, but I wanted to hear if others had Lumix issues similar to this.
    Or at least have some one tell me I'm not crazy - thanks? :rofl:

    Just for grins: a bit soft, sad to say.. not to mention truncated!!
    P1010027.JPG
     
    • Like Like x 3
  2. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Don
    Hey Jim... very interesting tale. I'm sorry to say I have no answers... have not experienced this with either my GF-1 nor my GH-2.

    But we sure had a gorgeous day for photography today in Portland, didn't we! I had a commercial shoot for an iPad cover/ear bud/speaker company today, with four models, on the waterfront and we were so thankful for this one great day for outdoor shooting. Got great results... won't post here because they were with the 5DMkII, but anyway... howdy neighbor! ;-) Hope your GH-1 issues disappear soon!
     
  3. jimr.pdx

    jimr.pdx Mu-43 Veteran

    342
    Dec 5, 2010
    near Longview ~1hr from PDX
    Jim R
    sequel, and a suspect

    I took a bunch of great waterfront images on its last use, but the last dozen are unreadable and one is a half-image similar to the one above. I believe my 16G Extreme III chip is to blame - but it's well and truly dead now, so I can't prove it now. :frown:

    My G1 refuses to see it as a memory card. Both times the GH1 failed me it was with this memory card, and now it's untestable. This GH1 needs more testing before I can trust it on a big event by itself - but I'm fairly comfortable that we have the culprit.
     
  4. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    You are not charge extra for that feature, BTW.
     
  5. walt_tbay

    walt_tbay Mu-43 Veteran

    322
    Aug 24, 2010
    Ontario, Canada
    Do you regularly reformat your memory cards? If so, you might want to cease using that card because it sounds like its acting a little dodgy.

    (To clarify: My understanding is that reformatting the card is a good maintenance thing to do. If you simply delete images and then overwrite them, you might end up having problems like the one you described. If you haven't reformatted the card frequently, try reformatting it and see if you encounter the same problem. If you're already reformatting the card frequently, I'd just replace the card).
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi Walt,

    Are you suggesting the occasional reformat of the card is good or bad, or just asking in general?

    I'm curious now.

    Alan
     
  7. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    Alan, I have found periodic formatting very healthy for a card. I get enough folks with cards that don't read because it has built up errors from saving and deleting files. Although I have never seen this behavior from a neglected card, more like a faulty one.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi Hikari,

    I format my cards as matter of course, every 4th or 5th import.

    I'm in agreement that file system structure isn't helped by the constant creation and overwriting of the image files.

    Walt's question made me curious as to the opinion of others....

    Alan
     
  9. walt_tbay

    walt_tbay Mu-43 Veteran

    322
    Aug 24, 2010
    Ontario, Canada

    Hi Alan:

    I reformat my card pretty much after every import. My understanding is that reformatting will generally be better for the card than simply deleting images and writing over them with new ones.

    Now that you ask, I don't know if frequent reformatting creates any problems. All I know is that I basically reformat my cards every week or two and have not had any issues with them.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. angloasturian

    angloasturian Mu-43 Veteran

    Card formatting

    I have an invariable habit. When I get back home and have taken photos (E-P1 or E-PL1) - whether just one or a hundred - I download them to my PC, check they're there and complete and then format the card. I've never had the slightest problem.
    I've just realized this is a Panasonic thread - but as the card formatting question came up I thought I'd chip in.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  11. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    I do the same, and always have done. Ever since I started with digital back in 2001, I've always formatted the cards, in the camera, every time I wanted a clean empty card. I've done this with CF and SD cards in every kind of camera.

    I've never once deleted an image on the card in the camera. In something like 200,000 images I've never once had a problem with either a corrupt card or file. This is with both cheap and expensive cards.

    My understanding is you treat it like a computer hard disk. The only way to completely erase everything is to format, by doing this you also create new directories and folders every time you do it. I believe there is a theoretical limit to the number of times you can do this, before the card is liable to fail, but that is into the 1000's I remember reading somewhere.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  12. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Formatting the card is actually quicker than the 'delete all' option.

    Just a bit of useless information.
     
  13. Alanroseman

    Alanroseman Super Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2010
    New England
    Hi David,

    This came to my attention early on. I noted that upon import, for a few seconds after mounting the card, past images appeared on the screen.

    I realized the directories were hanging around, and the software / card reader had to sort it out before deciding which were the new images. This despite always selecting, delete images and eject card.

    After that, I began formatting after every 4th - 5th import, I may be too lazy to do it each time...

    The card failure point is in the theoretical hundreds of thousands .... so they say. I've never lost one...Yet, which is the key word in any type of data storage.

    Cheers, Alan
     
  14. Howi

    Howi Mu-43 Veteran

    208
    Feb 23, 2011
    Sheffield
    Howard


    Format doesn't erase anything unfortunately, it only looks as though it has.

    erasing files doesn't do anything different than formating other than it's slower.

    Memory cards (and usb sticks) can go toes up at any time, it's sod's law.

    Like most others here, I format every so often (it's quicker after all) as it can't do any harm.

    I also use lots of small (4gb) cards rather than the larger 16/32gb as there is less to lose when it dies - eggs in one basket and all that.....

    I also like to stick with the better known memory names, again, more for peace of mind really, and price difference is not too great (i won't pay sillt prices though!!!)
     
  15. soundimageplus

    soundimageplus Mu-43 Top Veteran

    782
    Feb 2, 2010
    Worcestershire
    When you re-format, it does delete folders, directories and all other "bookeeping" and filing info. If it works like a computer hard drive then it will also mark out bad sectors and avoid them.

    All the above is what causes problems.
     
  16. Howi

    Howi Mu-43 Veteran

    208
    Feb 23, 2011
    Sheffield
    Howard
    It depends on what you mean, Reformatting can work in one of two ways - the quick way (I suspect the camera does it this way) and the long way.
    The quick way just resets the FAT, then adds the folders - there is no checking of sectors as there aren't any to check, this is memory, not HDD.
    The long way does a proper format, marking and checking all the sectors etc.
    Bad memory blocks can be marked out, but you will lose capacity.

    CF, SDHC and USB sticks should ONLY be used as a transport device - put files on from one device, camera, PC etc transport to new device and copy/move (I usually move as this deletes the original).
    You should NEVER use them as a working device.
    The number of times I have had a user asking why their device isn't working and can I recover all their work - I could be a rich man....
    They have usually been using the USB stick as a working device:-
    Open Word etc, make new doc, spend hours editing, save to USB stick, later reopen from USB stick, edit for next couple of hours, etc etc

    No! create doc on computer and save to HDD, copy to USB stick, go to another computer (at home usually), copy from USB stick to computer, do changes on computer and save to computer HDD, copy to USB drive etc etc.

    When this type of memory goes, there is little to nothing you can do about it to get your data back.
    The recovery programs you sometimes get with the better memory cards will only recover if something has been deleted (but not written over) or card has been reformated (because reformating doesn't overwrite you data usually,just resets the markers.)
     
  17. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    Northumberland
    Howi, what makes you say this? ;
    I don't think it's good advice to post misinformation when someone's having a camera/card problem. :mad: Of course, if you've got evidence, please post it and I'll be sure to apologise. :smile:

    To the OP : Simple problem to test for, just use a new card from a different manufacturer and see if the problem ever happens again.
     
  18. Howi

    Howi Mu-43 Veteran

    208
    Feb 23, 2011
    Sheffield
    Howard
    Why is what I have posted misinformation? where is you evidence???

    Originally Posted by Howi
    ...erasing files doesn't do anything different than formating other than it's slower....

    Deleting/erasing file - Memory cards use FAT16 and FAT32 (FAT = File allocation Table) FAT 32 allows larger capacity memory cards.
    To delete/erase a file the first memory location for that file in the FAT is set to E3 (if I remember correctly from my DOS days) AND THAT IS ALL.
    E3 is a hexadecimal, 16bit, two byte number.
    When the operating system sees this marker it knows that the space (still) occupied by the old deleted file is free to be re-used.
    Formatting can be done in a number of ways, going back to when we all used floppy disks, when you formatted the disk you were given a number of options, one being QUICK FORMAT. The normal (slower) format re wrote the sector information on the floppy and was thus much slower (but more reliable)
    The quick format (in essence) Just marks the FAT entries for re-use.
    As has been said by others, formatting can be quicker than erasing lots of files - nothing different to what I said.
    In camera, after the reformatting process has completed, rewrites the standard folders.

    ALL your original files are still there on the memory card because they have not yet been written over.

    Memory cards seldom give you any warning they are about to die, if you are lucky enough to get some inkling there may be problems - bit in, it just isn't worth it.