Formatting Memory Cards

Chris Harvey - Tractor Sunset - A Grade Honour

Chris Harvey – Tractor Sunset – A Grade Honour

By Julie Hartwig, Tin Can Bay Camera Club

Last month, we looked at downloading photos from your camera. Once you have done this and saved a backup copy if possible, it’s important to FORMAT your memory card. Doing this after every download ensures your card is functioning at peak performance.

Card formatting should always be done in your camera. Cards should never be formatted in your computer as your computer may use a different formatting system to the one your camera uses and may result in a corrupted card. If this happens, your camera will display an error message advising that it cannot “read” the card. Even if the card appears to function normally, photo files may be corrupted when being “written” to the card and you will not know until you download that the photo files are damaged, often irretrievably.

In most cameras, the “Format” command is found in the Menu. Some cameras offer a few options, normal format or low level format. Where possible, a low level format should be performed. When images are deleted or downloaded from a card, digital artefacts always remain.  A “normal” format does not remove these artefacts, but a low level format will completely erase all data from the card, thereby ensuring the card will function at peak performance, ready for your next photo outing.

WARNING: Before formatting a memory card, ensure that all the photos have correctly downloaded and where possible, you have backup copies in a backup folder, on your computer or on an external storage device (external hard drive).

Happy snapping – more next month!

The Tin Can Bay Camera Club’s next meeting: Wednesday 18th April at TCB Library, commencing at 7.00pm. For more information about club activities and to view members’ images, visit

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