Sandisk CF cards might be fire-resistant, but the Canon 7D not

Petra Hall, a pretty awesome wedding photographer in Sweden, first posted this incredible story on the Digital Wedding Forum, and she kindly gave me permission to re-post it here.

the Canon 7D might be rugged, but it isn’t entirely fire-proof …

Petra’s fiance, Erkki, recently bought a new (used) car, just before a planned vacation. They had intended on cruising in the MG convertible and just enjoy the sports car in the summer. They were going to just drive around and take some photographs of the scenery.

The weekend before their vacation started, Erkki was on his way home from work when something in the car exploded and the car caught on fire. Huge flames engulfed the entire car. Erkki’s Canon 7D (with a 24-105L) was inside the car, as well his MacBook Air laptop. Everything went up in flames – the car; the camera & lens and the computer.  Luckily no-one was harmed.

Since the car was imported from the UK, the insurance for it hadn’t taken effect yet. Therefore nothing will be replaced that went up in flames.

Here’s how the camera looks like now.

It’s going to hurt.

You might want to look away in case you’re the sensitive type …

A computer techie managed to get the hard-drive safely out of the computer, so Erkki could copy all the images that he’d taken since he got the 7D last winter.

The best part of the story though is that the 7D did keep a secret inside its melted body …

The CF card was completely unharmed!

Not a blemish on it. It didn’t even have that smoky smell. Opening the CF card door was a bit tricky, and it doesn’t look like the CF card door is going back on again. But all the images were recovered, and Petra even thinks it might possible to use the memory card again!

Do you think though that Canon might accept this as a repair under warranty?

34 Comments, Add Your Own

  1. 1Mattes says

    Hi Niel.

    You wrote: >A computer techie managed to get the hard-drive safely out of the computer safe, so Erkki could copy all the images that he’d taken since he got the 7D last winter.<

    If he had never done any backup of his images, he's the lucky guy of the century. This article (I shoot Nikon, so a burnt Canon doesn't bother me) is a good reminder to keep backups.



  2. 2 says

    Oh my God! :)… but seems like the SanDisk Extreme III is fireproof not the body. The temperature inside were huge, if we look at the body & lens but i think that the CF card is well built to “accept” the high tempearture from inside the 7D body.

  3. 5Joost says

    She should contact SanDisk to see if they’ll run the story as an ad and in return receiving funds to replace her lost equipment :)

  4. 6Jim says

    I washed and dried a Sandisk in my shorts and all the shots were fine. It wasn’t a wedding, just some previous shots from around the house, but testament to the card for sure.

  5. 7 says

    I’ve also washed and dried a sandisk extreme card, and all shots were fine and the card continued to work and never fail.
    I take a lot of photos of beer, and have had beer spilled on my nikon and lenses as well. No problems.

  6. 8 says

    Reply to Matters: Erkki is living in Sweden, but working in Oslo, Norway. So he hadn’t had time to backup the images on the laptop to his external drive that was safely at home. So yeah, he was extremely lucky that the technician could salvage the hard drive. The Macbook Air was black, the heat had made keys on the keyboard pop off, the battery had exploded and the mouse pad was all bubbly from the heat. Amazingly enough the screen on the laptop was unharmed.

    The batteries in the battery grip on the 7D was unharmed (but I wouldn’t dare to use them), so I’m guessing that bottom and right hand side of the camera was furthest away from the fire and flames, hence being able to rescue.

  7. 9André Weigel says

    What we’ll learn from this “firetest”… the Canon EOS 7D is a very reliable “CF card holder”.

  8. 11 says

    It’s not often something in a car explodes. It’s a good thing the explosion was not near Erkki, allowing him time to escape.

    So the camera equipment and computer are not covered by other insurance, because they were present in the car?

  9. 13craig says

    Well my neighbors brand new Mercedes exploded and burned last week….he has the adjacent parking spot to me…had I been there at the time….I probably would have a similar 7D to show… I too have stupidly washed Sandisk cards and put them thru
    the dryer as well….never lost an image and they continued to work fine….but I still wouldnt use them again….

  10. 15 says

    Reply to Phill Price: The car was not insured. He was unaware of that when he drove it, as the Swedish registration plates had arrived back home, while he was at work in Oslo. We are now hoping that the home insurance can cover the camera and the computer, even if the car is a gonner (plus the lens that he bought used.)

    Reply to Stephen: See above. The home insurance should hopefully cover the content of the car, but not the actual car. The bummer is that nothing will cover the car, something he’s only owned for 1.5 weeks before it blew up.

    Reply to craig: Good thing you were ok! And your camera. :)

  11. 19Neil vN says

    Manual, if you’re hinting that this post is some kind of viral marketing campaign for Sandisk, then you are 100% wrong. Delve into the rest of this site and you will see a depth to what I write about. While this post isn’t of the usual educational nature of most of the material here, I did think that Petra’s post was of interest to everyone.

    If Sandisk does somehow pick up on this, then great. But that wasn’t my motive. As I said, familiarize yourself with the rest of the site. There’s a lot more to it than just being some elaborate marketing setup.

    Neil vN

  12. 21Gorka says

    Wow,it really hurts seeing a camera worth some thousand euros completely burnt.On the other hand,though,kudos for Sandisk and their technologies [I’ll buy one of these cards,for sure!].Best of all,no one – camera and car apart – was hurt,so welcome aboard Petra :)

  13. 22 says

    Reply to Stephanie: We don’t know the cause of the car explosion. But those with humor says that British cars are built to burn to the ground. Wish we had known that before we bought it. ;-)

    Reply to Manuel Campos: I wish Sandisk would contact us, as I’m not sure we want to use the card in the future, even if it looks pretty unharmed. I don’t think Sandisk cards can stand more than 85°C and it sure was hotter than that in the fire. (And if Sandisk reads this: Neil has my email address.)

    I personally think that Canon should have credit too, as nothing looks like it would have survived the heat, but something did, and it was the important part of the camera. The memories.

  14. 23John Riding says

    Surely Canon must take some of the credit here. Don’t you think that it was the card housing that has protected the card? What’s that made from? With regards to the fire itself, I assume that you have contacted the seller of the vehicle. Seems to me that the chances are fairly high that the car may have had a fault before you bought it or something has gone wrong in shipping? Pretty difficult to prove anything now I guess?

  15. 24 says

    I did receive a comment from the Support at Sandisk, when I asked if it was possible to replace the Sandisk card, in case it took some beating even if it’s not a visible one:
    “In this case we have to inform you that if the card is working fine there is no problem with it and it is covered by warranty.

  16. 25Erwin Lai says

    I think Canon should buy the body and the story back plus offering a brand-new replacement. Then it can put this on its commercial… “tough built body protects your pleasured not-backed-up images under extreme circumstances as a vault”, or something like “not only capture images, but also guard them”.

  17. 26Kerri Gates says

    That photo is sad to look at, I have a 7D and am still learning to use it, hopefully it will never catch on fire. sorry for the loss at least you are Ok. Good Luck.

  18. 28AW says

    First off, I would not call this fireproof.

    As you see in the picture the CF card is in a metal cage “inside” the camera, also hidden behind a lot of plastic.

    Still, it’s pretty cool that it didn’t burn or melt that far into the camera, but fireproof, no. You can easy burn that piece of plastic outside the camera, even melt it with a lighter :P

  19. 32 says

    The body looks had! But it protected the memory card which to most photographers is the most important factor in my opinion.
    Hopefully that camera was insured.

  20. 33Peter Kristensen says

    It’s not just the scandisk that can stand abuse. Many flash card are very sturdy, and i once saw a test of how much they could stand. They withstood freezing, washing, drying, even microwave for some secs., hot and cold water, being stomped on, driven over and much more. In some cases minor fixes to the cases or contacts were needed to read the data, but the first thing that gave unrecoverable data loss, was a nail hammered thru the chip.
    It impressed the testers and it surely impressed me.

    So when the harddrive of the computer was saveable, I’m not surprised that the flash drive could be saved.

  21. 34 says

    At least the card is intact. Hopefully there is some photos on it that may have been lost on the computer. At least you know the camera is well built.

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