I use the following on ubuntu to get a raspbian image to an sd card:
sudo dd bs=4M if=2017-04-10-raspbian-jessie.img of=/dev/sdc
Works fine unless I'm using a new sd card. In that case, it works the second time.
After the first time there the usual 4G root partition with home, bin, etc, root, ... and a partition with the rest of the sd card, but no boot partition.
The second time there is a ~20M boot and a 4G root partition, and the rest of the drive is not partitioned until after raspbian boots and expands root.
What's up with the first dd command?