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Formatting Question
Do I have to format the CF card each time I remove it from the camera? For example; let's say I have 2 cards with different subject matter on them and I take one card out and then return it to the camera later. Does it then need to be formatted again?..

Comments (20)

Definitely not.Joel Orlinsky.

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Comment #1

When you want to completely erase the images from your card (alhough some software is supposed to recover these anyway)..

I think it works similar to the old 3 1/2 floppies. You can delete or cut and paste pics off the disks, however remnants may be left behind (stuff you wont see) but that which may make writing time longer (after much use of course). Solution would be to reformat which says, "I am completely clean and clear and the next thing you put on goes in at point 1, instead of say (random) point 27..

Correct me if I am wrong anyone ... but I think thats kinda how it works...

Comment #2

Buzzardbob wrote:.

Do I have to format the CF card each time I remove it from thecamera? For example; let's say I have 2 cards with different subjectmatter on them and I take one card out and then return it to thecamera later. Does it then need to be formatted again?.

NO..

I would format only if you are using the card in a different camera, unless you are having a problem with the card, then you could try reformatting it. But, under normal conditions, you should not have to reformat it in the same camera.Debbie..

Comment #3

I agree in principle with Solar and Debbie.(By the way, Solar; you and mixing up fragmenting and deleting a little bit.).

But..

Lately, in literature I have come across the use of Formatting synonymous to deleting..

This written by people who definitely know the diffrence. So if anyone has some info, I'd like to know as well!.

Anyway..

Formating is the 2. step in preparing a disk for data. (Fdisk is first) And Format will remove all "old" data on the disk..

Deleting only changes the first character of a file, does the same in the directory table and updates the FAT. All old data remains except the first character..

Tom..

Comment #4

Format the card after you have downloaded the shots on it to your PC or other storage device....Dennis..

Comment #5

Always format the CF in the camera a) when using a new CF, and B) when you move it from another application, and C) after you download files from the same camera..

The procedure is very quick and easy, it ensures the CF's internal controller and file structure is correctly configured for the camera files..

Best regards,Doughttp://pbase.com/dougj.

Http://thescambaiter.comFighting scammers WW for fun & justice..

Comment #6

Well, assuming you don't intend to keep the old images on the card, you have two alternatives:1. Delete all the images2. Format the card..

Since formatting is usually faster and more dependable, it is normally the best way to go. Do this in camera, not in a card-reader..

Why is it more dependable? The camera can only display images it recognises on the card. Sometimes there may be other files and folders on the card taking up space and these would not be removed by a simple image delete..

The only time that I don't reformat, is when there are one or two favourite images that I want to keep, perhaps to show to friends, or maybe to transfer to a different computer later. In that case, I lock (write-protect) the favourite images, then perform a "delete all" which gets rid of the remaining images. But this is the exception, not the rule - for me.Regards,Peter..

Comment #7

Sherwoodpete wrote:.

Well, assuming you don't intend to keep the old images on the card,you have two alternatives:1. Delete all the images2. Format the card.Since formatting is usually faster and more dependable, it isnormally the best way to go. Do this in camera, not in a card-reader..

Yes. .

The general rule that most of us abide by, is to make ALL deletes and ALL formats, in camera..

Doing so in computer or reader can sometimes cause problems, although it is computer formatting that can be more problematical than mere deletion, it seems..

So, with card in camera.........

A) Make deletes when you want to edit out a few duds and/or to create space on the card..

B) Format the card when you want to empty it and prepare it for new pictures..

C) Transfer card to a reader for image up-load to computer, then RETURN card to camera for any deletion/formatting operations..

{Sorry to restate what has already been said perfectly well... I just wanted to pull it together.} Regards,Baz..

Comment #8

First of all , you only format the card in your camera, the camera writes it's code on the card..

If you remove the card, and use another card, then replace the first card, your camera will read the card, and what was put on it , and work on from there..

Its all done by magic, all contributions to " children in need" thank you for lookinghttp://s185.photobucket.com/.../albums/x223/eirianfa2002/?mediafilter=imagesMichael Edward Rudge..

Comment #9

You do not have to format the card ever once it is formatted and operates correctly..

Formatting is the way the data on the card is organized ( computer stuff )..

When you erase ( delete ) images you do NOT have to format. Deleting simply marks the space used on the card by an image as free again to reuse. In principle you never need to do format if the card came formatted..

You might format a card if it was new and had not already been formatted or if the data on the card became corrupted ( which might happen if you pulled the card out of a reader or camera or computer before it had finished writing data to it )..

If you use a card reader do not let your computer format the card. It may format the card in a way the camera cannot use. If this happens simply let teh camera format the card..

StephenG.

Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #10

Sjgcit wrote:.

When you erase ( delete ) images you do NOT have to format. Deletingsimply marks the space used on the card by an image as free again toreuse. In principle you never need to do format if the card cameformatted..

Nevertheless, the time taken to delete a few hundred separate images from a card may be considerably longer than the time taken to format. So for practical, everyday purposes it may be more convenient..

It's certainly not the same sort of laborious and time-consuming task as formatting a magnetic hard drive or floppy disk..

One other advantage of formatting is that it also restores the correct directory structure. Flash memory cards can be used in many different devices, and each one may require it's own set of files and directories in order to function. Formatting has the benefit of removing any superfluous data which may accumulate on the card from such use..

Although it may not be "necessary" to format, generally there is no disadvantage in doing so, while there are advantages..

Regards,Peter..

Comment #11

Formatting is to be avoided with all computer media. That;s the general rule..

Using it as a quick fix sounds attractive until it goes wrong. Deleting file by file is not that slow, especially if you use a card reader and can leave you with the possibility of recovering lost images under some circumstances. Formatting usually prevents this..

In IT "format" is the kind of the equivalent of "nuke" - nasty and dirty, but great if you like wasteland. I prefer the "precision bombing" method myself. .

StephenG.

Pentax K100DFuji S5200Fuji E900PCLinuxOS..

Comment #12

Sjgcit wrote:.

Formatting is to be avoided with all computer media. That;s thegeneral rule..

In my understanding, there's no particular danger in formatting memory cards or USB pen drives..

If you know different, and can quote references specific to these kinds of dynamic memory devices, please be kind enough to post them..

Thanks.Regards,Baz..

Comment #13

My cameras owners manual and 2 digital reference books I have, one camera specific and one on dig photography in general sternly recomend a compact flash be formated in camera before each use unless you have not saved off the existing shots on the card..

I can't say for all forms of memory media and operating systems but contigious memory space is important and formating gives you that. If you delete a file you can recover it because it's not gone, just the record that says it's there is gone. This is what causes the need to defrag hard drives. Some portible HDD devices can't write to fragmented sections of a hard drive. A file written to a fragmented disk can become slow to access and my opinion is you'll run the risk of corrupted files if they are each scattered all over the device as opposed to being contigious..

Use a memory card for a dedicated photo event, off the shots to more permanant storage, put the card back in your bag and format it in camera next time you use it. Have more smaller size cards at your disposal and don't complicate the process by using half a card and coming back to it later. If you pull a card from your camera and use another, call the one you pulled done until it's files are saved off somewhere. That's the way I been doing it, you don't have to do it exactly my way but develope a system that is simple and works for you. Stick to it and you'll never go wrong......Dennis..

Comment #14

Sjgcit wrote:.

Formatting is to be avoided with all computer media. That;s thegeneral rule..

It's not a "general rule" at all. Formatting has it's place, and it is certainly not "to be avoided"..

Using it as a quick fix sounds attractive until it goes wrong..

It is not a "quick fix". It is a way of ensuring the integrity of the media after extended use (read/write/delete)..

What is it that could "go wrong"? I assume you're talking about the total loss of images that you didn't mean to delete, when with file by file delete you have a slightly greater chance of recovering - using special software and/or skills you may have? OK. Good technique (copy to your computer and make at least one backup before formatting the source) is the answer..

The alternative is to risk (it may be a small risk) the loss of images, BEFORE you have copied them to your computer, because the card has become corrupted - or to risk not being able to take more pictures because your card has been corrupted..

There are never any guarantees, and admittedly the risk is small, but reformatting the card (in the camera) is simple good practice..

It is not "a general rule" that it is "something to be avoided"..

Deleting file by file is not that slow, especially if you use a cardreader and can leave you with the possibility of recovering lostimages under some circumstances. Formatting usually prevents this..

Using your computer to delete the files is (admittedly marginally) more dangerous (to the usability of the card in your camera) than deleting in the camera..

It's not a matter of speed. That's not why you reformat. Speed is just a side benefit..

In IT "format" is the kind of the equivalent of "nuke" - nasty anddirty, but great if you like wasteland. I prefer the "precisionbombing" method myself. .

That's one (inaccurate and emotive) way of putting it..

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Comment #15

5D DjD wrote:.

If you delete a file you can recover it because it's not gone, justthe record that says it's there is gone..

And the same is true of formatting..

There is nothing powerful or special about formatting that wipes out all data on the card. It is may be considered as merely a more controlled form of delete..

Whereas "delete" updates individual entries in the directory listing, "format" writes out a fresh version of the directory list. In neither case are the original files destroyed or over-written..

It's not that Format is preferred always, there may be good reasons for a simple Delete. But the difference between the two is slight..

However "format" is controlled and predictable in a way that "delete" is not, since "delete" depends on an unknown previous sequence of events.Regards,Peter..

Comment #16

Found this on an other forum on Steves DigiCams. Dont know his name.http://www.stevesforums.com/..._topic.php?id=15443&forum_id=52&page=2.

Unlike magnetic devices which have unlimited write cycles, and limited only by the wear and tear of the mechanisms, flashes have fixed cycles. Erase/write in flash are done by tunneling at high voltage causing oxidation to occur which will eventually fail if repeated without limit. For example if frame#1, frame#2,...etc, are always at the same physical locations in flash when the pictures are taken, theses locations will eventually fail first since they are used the most and the end frames will last the longest since they are used the least (BTW... ditto with FAT tables)!.

What happen is : A logical cluster from FAT is not located at a fixed location in flash, but moved around so as to avoid exercising the same physical location twice,.

Tom..

Comment #17

An interesting post, thanks..

Because of this limitation, the controller in CFs keeps track of the physical memory location usage history. New data are written to the 'next' memory block(s) to minimize wear..

Http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wear_leveling.

There is no difference between formating versus file deletion and the ability to recover files, in my somewhat limited experience recovering files. Nor have I read anything to support one technique over another..

In-camera formatting is extremely fast, and ensures the CF is properly formatted for the camera's file structure. I just don't see how file deletion is an improvement, and I've tried both numerous times..

Concerning a related post in this thread, flash memory devices are quite different from HDDs and floppies. The stated pseudo 'golden rule' for magnetic media does not necessarily apply to non-magnetic media. Why should it? the controller logic is completely different as is the recording media..

Tnordahl wrote:.

Found this on an other forum on Steves DigiCams. Dont know his name.http://www.stevesforums.com/..._topic.php?id=15443&forum_id=52&page=2Unlike magnetic devices which have unlimited write cycles, andlimited only by the wear and tear of the mechanisms, flashes havefixed cycles. Erase/write in flash are done by tunneling at highvoltage causing oxidation to occur which will eventually fail ifrepeated without limit. For example if frame#1, frame#2,...etc, arealways at the same physical locations in flash when the pictures aretaken, theses locations will eventually fail first since they areused the most and the end frames will last the longest since they areused the least (BTW... ditto with FAT tables)!.

What happen is : A logical cluster from FAT is not located at a fixedlocation in flash, but moved around so as to avoid exercising thesame physical location twice,.

Tom.

Best regards,Doughttp://pbase.com/dougj.

Http://thescambaiter.comFighting scammers WW for fun & justice..

Comment #18

Sjgcit wrote:.

Formatting is to be avoided with all computer media. That;s thegeneral rule..

Using it as a quick fix sounds attractive until it goes wrong..

Complete rubbish...

Comment #19

A useful side-effect of wear levelling is that the space occupied by the first frame on the card is not re-used until the last space has been filled. So if you ever find yourself having to recover a deleted shot, there is a very much higher chance of success than with disk media...

Comment #20

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.

 

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