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Formatting Your Memory Card

Now that you have your card, let’s talk about formatting for a minute. When you purchase any new SD card, you can pop it into your camera and start shooting right away—and everything will probably work as it should. However, what you should do first is format the card in the camera. This process allows the camera to set up the card to record images from your camera. Just as a computer hard drive must be formatted, formatting your card ensures that it is properly initialized. The card may work in the camera without first being formatted, but chances of failure down the road are much higher.

As a general practice, I always format new cards or cards that have been used in different cameras. I also reformat cards after I have downloaded my images and want to start a new shooting session. Note that you should always format your card in the camera, not in your computer. Using the computer could render the card useless in your camera. You should also pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations with respect to moisture, humidity, and proper handling procedures. It sounds a little cliché, but when it comes to protecting your images, every little bit helps.

Most people are under the impression that formatting the memory card is equivalent to erasing it. Not so. The truth is that when you format the card, all you are doing is changing the file management information on the card. Think of it as removing the table of contents from a book and replacing it with a blank page. All of the contents are still there, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the empty table of contents. The camera will see the card as completely empty, so you won’t be losing any space, even if you have previously filled the card with images. Your camera will simply write the new image data over the previous data.

Formatting your memory card

  1. Press the Menu button, and rotate the Control wheel to highlight and select the Setup submenu.
  2. Using the Control wheel, navigate to Format under the Memory Card Tool section (A). Select it by pressing the middle of the Control wheel (soft key C).
  3. You’ll be prompted by another screen, letting you know that all of the data on your card will be deleted. This screen is a safety feature, ensuring that you want to format the card. Press soft key B to complete the formatting process (B). If you choose not to format, press soft key A.
  4. Once the formatting is complete, you’ll be directed back to the Setup submenu. Depress the shutter button halfway to begin shooting.
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