Media cards vulnerable to counterfeit
By James DeRuvo (doddleNEWS)
There’s two things that low budget shooters have to guard against when trying to score a quick deal on eBay or other film equipment sites. The first is counterfeit batteries, and the second are counterfeit media cards. Phony batteries that have a pseudo Canon logo can be dangerous because they lack the power cutoff circuitry that prevents overcharging. And they can also overheat and blow up or catch fire.
So shooters are mindful against a deal that seems too good to be true. But equal cause for concern could also be counterfeit SD media cards, which may look like the real deal, but don’t have the same price tag. And it could cost you on a professional shoot. So why is it that the SanDisk, gold standard of consumer media cards, seems to be loosening their protections against copycats?
This is the first time I’ve seen a gold colored Sandisk card and it got me thinking, is this a fake? – DeeJay Scharton, DSLR FilmNoob
The theory comes from DSLR FilmNoob, where DeeJay found a great deal on SanDisk SD cards… namely $23 for a 32GB SanDisk Extreme SD card. Now that’s a deal. But is it too good to be true? Could they be counterfeit?
DeeJay thought the same thing and proceeded to do the standard check … before the Gold SD Cards, users knew they had the real McCoy because the authentic SanDisk card had the logo on the back, as well as the D is Disk was missing the horizontal line. But those two features are missing. Instead, the card has a batch number printed in tiny print just over the “Made in China” moniker.
“Two out of the three indicators are missing from the card on the left,” write’s DeeJay. “Instead the Sandisk Extreme 32GB card has stenciled in a small group of numbers and letters (BM1329150121G). This number letter combo is the same on all 4 of the cards I ordered.”
Suspicious, DeeJay went to the SanDisk website and registered the four cards he had purchased online and was able to register them without incident. That gave him a sigh of relief as they seemed to be legit. “If they’re fake, they’ve done a pretty good job. I haven’t been able to find anything from Sandisk about the new gold logo.”
So, it seems that SanDisk has just decided that adding additional copy protections to give their clients peace of mind is now a bit less important than before. But since DeeJay’s tests indicated that the cards are just as fast, and that they registered online, he’s not all that worried about it. But it underscores the importance of due diligence.
Many low cost cards are cast offs from the major manufacturers because they failed to achieve the benchmark standards during testing. Rather than trash an inferior batch, the manufacturer often sells them to third parties for a song and the savings are passed along. And that’s where the counterfeiting comes into play.
So registering your cards with SanDisk is one way to be sure you’ve not only gotten a good deal, but a legitimate media card to shoot your project on. The other is to make sure you’re buying your media from a reputable source. Better to pay a little more for that insurance than get bit on a deal that’s too good to be true. The last thing you want is for a card to go south right in the middle of a paying gig.