Card management question?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by MiniD3, Mar 16, 2014.

  1. MiniD3 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2013
    Hi Guys,
    I'm aware of good card management to avoid cards corrupting or having errors,
    it was suggested on another Photography forum that cards should be formatted once a year on a computer, to do deep format tests and map out any bad sectors,
    apparently, memory sectors can go bad over time, just like a "normal" SSD in the computer

    Can this be done with an Apple?
    As Apple have a different system than Windows

    Most problems that I have seen over the years that have corrupted cards have been the following,
    1. Not safely removing or ejecting the card, (device)
    2. Deleting images on the card to save space
    3. Not formatting the card in the camera after images have been uploaded
    4. using cheap cards

  2. themumu macrumors 6502a


    Feb 13, 2011
    In my understanding, detection of bad sectors happens on modern storage media on the fly. For that reason I am doubtful that there are any detectable practical advantages to doing "deep formatting" once a year on a computer.

    At any rate, "once a year" seems like a very arbitrary length of time. If used regularly, a card's built in error detection and wear levelling mechanism would kick in much sooner than that. But if you insist...

    Deep formatting has a slightly different meaning for solid state media (SD cards, SSDs) than for spinning disks. For solid state media the action can also be referred to as "zero-filling". You can do that on a Mac by opening Disk Utility, selecting the card you want, navigating to the Erase tab, clicking on Security Options... and moving the slider one step to the right. It should at that point say that it will zero out data. Make sure to select the correct file system and hit Erase.

    For what it's worth, I've had little luck using cards formatted with Disk Utility in my cameras. Usually I just do a quick format in camera before actually shooting. This does not negate the previous zero-out operation.
  3. MiniD3 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2013
    Thank you,

    Much appreciated,
    Maybe only required if we have dodgy card
    Will certainly have a look at the disk utility
  4. rolsskk macrumors 6502

    Sep 1, 2008
    I've not had an issue with my cards from just formatting them in camera.
  5. ChrisA, Mar 18, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2014

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Yes you CAN format an SD card using "Disk Utility". But I'd use the camera. Simply remember that cards use the "FAT" or "PC DOS" file system. This file system was used by very old version of MS Windows and MS-DOS but not by current versions of Windows.

    The card itself may do wear leveling. The better cards do this. So sectors get swapped around at any time. Pulling a card out while it is doing this is not good. Need to eject it correctly.

    Don't buy cheap no-brand cards.
  6. MiniD3 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2013
    Tks Chris,

    Yes, I'll leave the external card formatting to the experts
    Tks for the heads-up
  7. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    You should always format in camera because you will be shooting the camera and not the computer. If you use your computer, at some point you will loose your photos or won't be able to transfer them. Your camera doesn't use your computer's Disk Utility.

    Cards - Buy the ones recommended by the manufacture. Cards are cheap now so you won't have a problem finding the ones that work best for your DSLR.

    Formatting - I format my cards after every other shoot. Remember you might delete 20 or more photos before you connect the camera to your PC. Formatting is good file management.
  8. MiniD3 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2013
    Thank you for the heads-up,

    Sounds like the only way to go

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