Canon 30D Problem with Lexar CF Cards

Posted Apr 25, 2006
Last Updated Nov 9, 2011

This week I encountered my first problem with my Canon 30D Digital SLR camera. After my brief fiasco with the Err 99 issue on my Canon 10D, I had the urge to panic—my Canon 30D is less than a month old.

Since I did not do any real shoots last week (only a trip to the zoo and some leisure walks) I had kept most photos from the last week on my camera. When I went to download them I could not read from my memory card (a 512 MB 80x Lexar CF card). When I put the card back into the camera, I could view only some of the photos… the rest came out with the warning of corrupt data.

I assumed that I must have bumped the card on its way out of the camera, but I could not remember mishandling the card.

Using R-Studio I made an image of the disk in hopes that I may someday be able to salvage the photos, then formatted the card. The next day I went out on shoot at a local historical farm. There I ran into this same problem again. This time I could not even shoot on the card and a warning came up—"Err CF”.

I was getting concerned now since that same card had been used flawlessly on my Canon 10D for almost a year.

I went online and found a lot of information relating to this very issue—but the comments were not including the Canon 30D. After switching out cards back and forth from my two cameras, I have concluded that the issue with early Lexar 80x cards also affects stability in the 30D.

What is happening is that the card is using a speed technology that is not working in perfect harmony on most of the high-res Canon DSLR family. According to Lexar, you can get your CF card replaced, but you have to have your proof of purchase. Since I did not keep mine past a few months, I am out of luck in replacing it.

Lexar posted official information about this issue back in May and June of 2005.

I had never expected to have to research which card I should have bought. And because it had worked so well on the Canon 10D, I did not expect any problems. While the issue disturbed me, I am glad I discovered the problem before a wedding next week. (Still, my eyebrows are raising because I bought my Lexar 80x at a slightly reduced price last May from a photo retailer that had every reason to know about this issue.)

Most websites that discuss this topic suggest that you should refrain from reviewing images until the red access lamp is off, meaning that all writing to the card is finished. Apparently this will likely cause the problem on the Canon 20D, 30D and the more expensive Canon DSLRs.

It’s obvious that Lexar is trying to re-establish confidence in its cards with the Canon photographer community. In early April, 2006 Lexar announced a show in Las Vegas where top wedding and portrait photographers are demonstrating the Lexar products in use. Of interest is that the press release states, "All three professionals shoot with Canon digital cameras and Lexar professional flash memory cards.”

I guess this just means that I will pay some more attention to the memory cards I purchase for my cameras in the future. I never dreamed that there would be a disparity in the operation from one card to the next other than speed. It just figures that the speed difference is more complicated than I had assumed.

More Related Canon/Lexar Links

Digital Camera Troubleshooting

Some tips on fixing various problems with digital photography equipment and cameras.

  1. Canon 10D Err 99
  2. Canon 30D Problem with Lexar CF Cards
  3. Minolta Dimage 7 Power Problem Solved


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Dmitri Markine

Mar 1, 2008

I've had issues with a lexar card as well. I've emailed Lexar's customer support and apparently the card was fake. Another card had issues with lost data and was sent to Lexar for firmware update. Did not experience any issues since then

Harrison Clark

Mar 6, 2007

This article demonstrates that somethings never change, or at least change only slowly. Those of us that adopted digital photography back in the mid 90's are well aware of the vagaries of matching cameras and CF cards. Early on, some CF cards were inoperable in some cameras or were very slow while other combinations were just fine. I'm sure things are a lot better now, but to be sure, it's a good idea to dig for very helpful articles like this before buying a new CF card. It's not so much laying out cash for something that doesn't work, it's the hassle of diagnosing the problem or worse, learning about it well into or after a shoot. An hour or two on the web before the purchase could save your bacon.

S Rife

Nov 24, 2006

I have lost 2 CF card in the last day. I went on line today to see if anyone else had problems with the Lexar 80X cards. I was in fear it was my 30D. (I still fear it might be.)While I was unabe to recover any of the pictures I salvaged one (1GB) card by reformatting it. The 2GB was a loss showing an errer on the camera and an"I/O" error on the PC. I will try to get a replacement since I have my receipt but wonder how another 80X will be different. Its strange it worked fine for 5 months until I shot at high speed in the sports mode. The second failure was not at high speed just locked up in landscape mode after a single shot.

I find it strange both cards would fail the same day....(?)

Alan Frew

Jan 24, 2007

I too have just experienced a failure of a Lexar 2gb Professional CF card (80x). I have been using the card fine in my D70 for about 2 years. Came back from a holiday in Mexico and connected the card up to the PC and the pics were there. Tried again a week later and the PC would not recognise the card. Put the card back in the camera and camera said "card cannot be used". I sent the card to a data recovery company but they were unable to retrieve anything. A lesson learned is to get the data off the card asap and back it up, in hindsight something I should have done when I first connected to the PC. Having been led to believe CF cards were very reliable it never crossed my mind.

Anne de Haas

Aug 2, 2006

I'm having the exact same problem! My camera dealer replaced the original Lexar 2 Gig card for me and the new one (platinum 2Gig) just cacked out on me too. What the heck? Brand new camera, brand new card.

Tristan Shmedeke

Jun 30, 2006

Thanks for the article on the lexar cards. My 30D was having corrupt files and I couldn't figure out why. I was about to blame canon until I found that my sandisk card did not have the same problem. Thanks!
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