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  1. #1
    Liz
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    Formatting CF/SD cards, etc.

    Sorry if this is a stupid question, but I'm trying to help out a friend with her first digital P&S. I've dealt basically with Canon and CF cards.

    Do all cards/memory sticks, etc. have to be formatted before use and reformatted periodically? Michelle has a Panasonic that uses an SD card.

    Also (question for me also). How often do cards need to be reformatted? Can images be left on them without reformatting indefinitely?

    What happens if you don't format and/or reformat periodically?

    Thanks for any information.

    Liz

  2. #2
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    Re: Formatting CF/SD cards, etc.

    Hi Liz...I've made it a practice to reformat my card after each time I've transferred all of my files. I have both CF and SD cards. My oldest SD card has about 50000 pics taken with it and is 3 years old and still going strong. When I first bought it, the techs at Best Buy recommended that and I also did some research on the Web, can't remember which sites now, that also recommended frequent reformatting. They also recommended reformatting "in camera" only.
    As far as I know, this would hold true for all memory cards. In the beginning, I didn't format each time and I found that I had a lot of corrupted photos. I'm not sure if it was a bad card or not formatting, but I took that card back to Best Buy and exchanged it for the one that I've now had 3 years.
    Also, when I bought my CF card a few months ago, and my 2 new SD cards, they both recommended initially formatting them "in camera".
    Hope this helps a little.

    Ken
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  3. #3
    Senior Member OldSchool's Avatar
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    Like Ken....

    I always format my card after downloading. There are periodic horror stories of images getting "stuck" on the card. I've read that periodic reformatting keeps the card's directory structure "fresh".

    Tim
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  4. #4
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Formatting CF/SD cards, etc.

    I format cards every time I shoot and have never had a problem doing it this way. I shoot until I'm done or the card is full (if full, I put it in the wallet back side up so I know not to use it). Then I download and backup my images.

    Before I shoot on the card again, the first thing I do is to format it. I wait until I use it again because it's more convenient than popping all the cards into the camera just to do this - but more important than that, since the cards haven't been re-formatted yet, I have another backup copy until I use the card again. If there's a problem with a download or a CD doesn't burn correctly, I'll probably know it before I use the card again.

  5. #5
    Liz
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    Re: Formatting CF/SD cards, etc.

    Thank you everyone for all the information. I've had a few corrupted images on my cards - for no apparent reason. One of them I almost couldn't get off the card, but finally did manage to delete it. The reason might be because I don't always move my images off the card for long periods. I sometimes take some family pictures for a friend - and the kids (teenagers) take forever deciding how many they want of each one. So I just leave them on the card.

    After reading these posts, I decided to change my pattern - and give them one print of each - get a CD of their pictures - and let them decide.

    Liz

  6. #6
    Senior Member OldSchool's Avatar
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    Re: Formatting CF/SD cards, etc.

    A couple other suggestions I've read:

    (1) Don't completely stuff the card such that there is no room for an additional image.

    (2) Don't delete images from the card before downloading.

    I obey (1) but often delete in camera.
    Cheers,
    Tim
    Samurai #17 |;^\

  7. #7
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    Re: Formatting CF/SD cards, etc.

    I limit the number of pics I delete in camera, and format my cards (in camera, of course) after each download.

    The way I figure it, formatting a card is kinda like pulling a board across a sand tray; it wipes everything out and gives you a nice even medium for later images, whereas trying to wipe out just one part leaves the sand tray uneven. That's not a terribly good analogy, but you get the picture, as it were.

    I have only been shooting digital for about 3 years, and have only owned 4 CF cards in that time, so I can't speak from a lot of experience.

  8. #8
    Liz
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    Re: Formatting CF/SD cards, etc.

    Thank you everyone for all the good input and advice. I understand a bit more the importance of formatting.......I'll try not to keep the images on the cards for so long = probably why I got some corrupted pictures however few.

    Liz

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