How to avoid fake (counterfeit) memory cards

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How to check if your SanDisk, Lexar, Transcend memory card is fake (counterfeit) or not? If you are reading this, you are probably well aware of the many fake memory cards out there. Fake memory cards used to be a problem only with some of the top brands like Sandisk and Lexar, but even Transcend is having fakes now since Transcend is becoming a more popular and reputable brand. There are many ways to spot a fake, usually from the mismatch and print quality on the boxes or the card labels (some tips here , here and here), but fake memory cards are always changing so the only protection you have is to avoid them rather than trying to spot them.

Over the years, I have established some useful tips when it comes to buying memory cards.

  • Always buy from a reputable retailer. If possible, always get your memory cards from physical shop retailers, they are genuine sellers that usually source their supply from official distributors.  Most retailers are bound to some sort of consumer acts which guarantee a refund if you are not happy with your purchase.
  • If you are buying from online sellers, make sure they have lots of good feedbacks  and when I mean lots I mean over 10,000+ not just a few hundreds. A good online seller would have accumulated tens of thousands of good feedbacks. Also make sure they have a good refund policy in place.
  • If you are buying from eBay, make sure the seller is backed up by ebay’s money back guarantee . If the item is not exactly what you have ordered, eBay covers your purchase price plus original shipping on virtually all items. Nothing is 100% guaranteed, so make sure you understand the money back guarantee term and conditions.
  • Know your memory cards and how much they sell for, if something is too good to be true, there is always a catch.

I purchase all my memory cards from B&H (SanDisk | Lexar | Transcend). I use mostly SanDisk and I never had one failed on me. Memory cards come in a variety of speed and sizes so make sure get the ones fit for your purposes. There is no point to get the fastest card on the market when you don’t need it.

My memory card recommendation:-

Sandisk Extreme Compact Flash (16Gb | 32GB | 64GB)

Sandisk Extreme SD (16GB | 32GB | 64GB)

If you want to check whether your cards are fakes, the best way is to to get in touch with the manufacturer with the card’s serial number and do a speed test. I have done a speed test with my Sandisk Extreme 32GB CF using a 1000MB load. I know I should have used a bigger load and run a few more passes to make sure but I didn’t have the time. So here it is, it reads 128MB/s and writes 107.6MB/s on the sequential test. This version of Sandisk Extreme CF is rated at 120Mb/s read and 85MB/s write, so the test result is as expected.



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About Kent Yu

Kent is a professional wedding and portrait photographer based in Wellington, New Zealand. He and his team specialise in modern and contemporary weddings. Kent has his work published in international magazines and is a regular author to a number of photographic publication. He is fascinated by photographic equipment and enjoys showcasing the gear used in creating his images. You can find him on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Google+
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