Importance of formatting your memory card

Why format your new memory card?

Well lets first ask, what is formatting a memory card?

The memory cards you can purchase for your cameras and other digital recording devices come blank and fit into numerous different recording devices including cameras, phones, video games, appliances and more. It is said you can use them right away there are some information that you should know.

Some people say to just put your new card into your camera and the camera will prompt you to format if needed, well I do not really want to take the chance with my image recording, so I automatically format any new cards I buy.

Camera memory cards explained

So each one of these divices speakes a slightly different language so the purpose of formating the memory card in the specific device makes the device to be able to talk to the memory card.

A drawback of not formatting your memory cards in a device can cause you to get corrupted files or to even loose data.

This may not always happen but if you do not regularly format your cards once you have downloaded your information this could happen.

Basically Canon, Nikon, Sony and other device brands have their own language and do not really speak to each other well. So if you put a card in your Nikon camera for instance, take a few images, then you buy a new Sony camera a few days later and decide to use the card that you have in your Nikon, you will have a really good chance of loosing or corrupting your images previously taken on you Nikon as well as the ones (if the Sony will add to the card) and not being able to view or download either of them.

So in essance by formatting the memory card the camera is basically cleaning it and adding its language to the card so the particular device can speak and record information properly on it.

If you have read this and have not formatted your new card you just put in your camera and have taken some photos, first put it into your computer card reader and download any images that you wish to save as formatting will totally wipe any data off your card before it formats the device information onto it.

Formatting vs deleting images

So you need to make room for additional images on your camera memory card? You think well I will just delete them in the camera and that will give me room for more.  Well yes it will but deleting only removes some of the data, and over time can cause issues as it does not fully clear all the data related to what was stored on there.  It is much better to format the card then you will be sure that you are starting off with a clear slate.

It is ok if you are in a pinch and need a bit of room for a few more images just delete a few to make room but once your images are transfered to your computer it is a good habit to re-format your cards, so you are ready to shoot again.

How do I format my memory card in camera?

Nikon menu                                          Canon menu

Generally it is pretty staightforward to format your card in camera.

Most cameras are basically set up very similarly.

Start by turning on your camera and pressing the review button (usually the button with a blue triangle on it) and make sure that there is nothing on the card that you want to keep or that you have not yet downloaded to your computer.

Once that is done you are ready to format your card.

So first find and press your menu button and scroll down through the menu until you find the “Format” tab

Now this is where I still get a bit nervous, expecially if it is a card I have been using and know there are great images on it. Just make 100% sure that there is nothing on the card that you want as after you press format everything on the card will be gone forever and not retreaivable.

So once you are totally sure press or activate the format tab, usually you will have a second chance incase you change your mind and want to check through your images again. But once you are totally sure you can go ahead and say yes to format card. This sometimes takes a few minutes depending on the size of your card and also on how much data you have on it. Your camera will prompt you when formatting is complete. You can press the playback button and you camera will now show no dat or not images available.

So now you are ready to go and shoot great images on a clean slate.