Nov 19 2008

Digital Camera Tips – Formatting Your Memory Card

Published by at 10:47 pm under General

Digital Camera Tips – Formatting Your Memory Card

The first time you use a new memory card with your digital camera you should always format it in the camera, or it may not record your images correctly.

Why should you format your memory card?
These cards are like mini computers and have file systems, folders etc.
Formatting in the camera sets the card up so that it functions properly for that particular camera.

Sometimes the camera will recognise a new card and sometimes you need to go into the MENU function of your digital camera.
It is usually found in SETUP however if in doubt check with your manual.

It takes no time at all to do this and you can carry on with the business of taking photos confident in the knowledge that your memory card is functioning correctly.

Please note: Never remove a memory card when the camera is still switched on, or switch the camera off while it is still writing to to the card after you have taken a picture, as in each case the memory card will be corrupted.

After recording images for some time onto a card you could also see error messages on your camera. Reformatting the card should fix this.

The final and most useful reason for formatting is that after successfully downloading your images to your computer (check first!), it is good practice to format your memory card each time you put it back into the camera, even if you have deleted the contents of the card using a computer.

This is a good habit to adopt as it minimizes the risk of communication falures between the card and the camera, especially if you use the card in different cameras.

It is also a quick way to delete your images as reformatting clears or overwrites the file directory.

The question is frequently asked “What if I have deleted all my images in error or my memory card is corrupted?”

Camera manufacturers usually state that formatting a memory card “permanently deletes all photographs and other data the card may contain”.

However, this is not strictly true as the formatting process only overwrites the file directory which contains your image files.The images are usually still there but you cannot access them.

All is not lost! A good photo recovery program can usually retrieve most images. You can download free software from the internet which will help you to recover your lost images.
Check through your search engine of choice for Memory Card Recovery or Disk Recovery.

Copyright 2008 David Whittle

David Whittle is a writer who writes about photography for the people just starting out in digital photography, in a way they can easily understand.

Further digital photo tips can be found at


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