Lexar Media has today announced the immediate availability of a fix for an incompatibility between certain Pro Series 32X and 40X CompactFlash cards and the Nikon D1X and D1H that could lead to the corruption of the file system on the card and possible loss of some photos. Users that first reported the incompatibility to Lexar indicated that the camera would spontaneously flash "CHA" on the top display, an error message indicating that the camera is no longer able to read or write to the card and should be removed.
Though the error does not result in the card being physically damaged, accessing the photos on the card may require the use of Lexar's Image Rescue software (which is bundled with all Lexar Pro Series CompactFlash) or an even more powerful recovery application like Photo Rescue.
Affected cards are the Lexar Media 256MB 40X WA, 512MB 40X WA and 1GB 32X WA CompactFlash produced before about the beginning of May. Approximately three weeks ago, Lexar rolled a version of firmware into cards on the production line that fixes the incompatibility. The company is also now offering a no-cost firmware update for owners of these cards, though the cards must be shipped to Lexar to have the update installed.
Only when these cards are used with the Nikon D1X and D1H can the problem occur, says Lexar's Director of Applications Engineering Dan Le. And while Lexar engineers were able to reproduce the problem, and develop a fix for it, Le says that the chance of an end user encountering an unexpected CHA error with one of these cards is small. We're inclined to agree: in reasonably extensive use of all three affected Lexar CompactFlash cards in the D1X and D1H we haven't yet encountered this error. This won't stop us from having the firmware update performed, however, to ensure that we aren't bitten by this in the future. The new firmware is not expected to impact compatibility with other cameras.
To determine whether your 256MB 40X WA, 512MB 40X WA or 1GB 32X WA cards contain the newer firmware, look at the last four digits of the code stamped on the edge of the card. If the last four digits are OE1B the card already contains the latest firmware. If the last four digits are 4D8D or 6DB4, new firmware is required.
For more information or to arrange to ship your Lexar CompactFlash cards to Lexar, contact Lexar tech support at +1 510-413-1233.