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01-30-2008, 12:12 PM   #1
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Delete vs. Format

Probably, a dumb question, but after you have transferred your images off the card do you delete them from the card using explorer or do you insert the card in the camaera and format it? ch

01-30-2008, 12:16 PM   #2
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Delete or Format?

Not a dumb question at all.

I usually format the card in the camera. No particular reason, though. I have done it both ways and never had a problem.

However, I have heard of some people who have apparently had Windoze screw up the card format. That, and the handbook says that its better to format in the camera, is why I usually format in the camera.

Paul Noble
01-30-2008, 12:25 PM   #3
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I always format in camera. It probably would take a lot of time for the file system to get so disorganized that you start losing the amount of pictures you could save, but I like things nice and clean, so a format works best for me.
01-30-2008, 12:25 PM   #4
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Thanks, I had always equated formatting with initial setup, not something that was done repeatedly. That why I asked. ch

01-30-2008, 12:28 PM   #5
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I've read that by formatting you may (and I repeat *may*) get the most out of your cards speed. I really don't remember what the exact reason was, but it had something to do with fragmentation, File allocation table being too crowded or something like that. Other than that your camera probably knows best how it likes the memory cards file-system to be, so let it have it's way
01-30-2008, 12:52 PM   #6
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Format in camera every time, if you delete a small part of the image deleted is kept, so over time, you will have a card which will hold less images. As for format, do it it camera, as this will always format for the camera type, and hence will work normally.

I hope this helps
01-30-2008, 01:40 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by procyon Quote
I've read that by formatting you may (and I repeat *may*) get the most out of your cards speed. I really don't remember what the exact reason was, but it had something to do with fragmentation, File allocation table being too crowded or something like that. Other than that your camera probably knows best how it likes the memory cards file-system to be, so let it have it's way
I don't think fragmentation is likely to be a significant issue, since generally the pattern is to add, add, add, add -- not add, modify, rewrite, delete, modify, add, modify, etc. as on a desktop computer.


QuoteOriginally posted by offertonhatter Quote
Format in camera every time, if you delete a small part of the image deleted is kept, so over time, you will have a card which will hold less images. As for format, do it it camera, as this will always format for the camera type, and hence will work normally.
I don't think this is correct, either.


The main reason to format over deleting (other than that it's faster) that I can see is that there's always the chance of some very obscure bug in the firmware's FAT filesystem implementation. If you regularly return the card to a known state, it's less likely you'll get into the complicated permutations which might, theoretically, expose such a bug.

It's definitely common received wisdom that one should always format rather than delete, but if the camera makers were really worried about this, it seems like they wouldn't even offer a "delete all" option and just make that be "format".
01-30-2008, 02:11 PM   #8
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I use ctrl-a ctrl-x ctrl-v (that is: mark all, cut all and paste all) I have only formatet the card once and haven’t had any problems yet, ( >5600 pics). It’s not like we are doing any complicated manoeuvres on the file system, it’s as basic as it gets and that should not be a problem.

01-30-2008, 03:03 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Gimbal Quote
I use ctrl-a ctrl-x ctrl-v (that is: mark all, cut all and paste all) I have only formatet the card once and havenít had any problems yet, ( >5600 pics). Itís not like we are doing any complicated manoeuvres on the file system, itís as basic as it gets and that should not be a problem.
I use the same process, copy past to hard disk and then delete not format.

I think a lot of people reformat each time so that if the card is damaged or file structure corrupted there is a better chance of recovering lost images because the format deletes all of the file not just the directory table/

in all my time shooting digital with both CF and SD cards plus using them as a jump drive between computers, I have never had a problem. Just lucky I guess.

Note there is a comment somewhere about leaving bits of files on the card that gradually reduce the drive size, this is incorrect.
01-30-2008, 03:50 PM   #10
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I think just deleting the files gives the chance to recover the files just in case.
01-30-2008, 04:01 PM   #11
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I never reformat. Never had a problem. Use Windows explorer to delete.
01-30-2008, 04:09 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Crescent City Quote
Thanks, I had always equated formatting with initial setup, not something that was done repeatedly. That why I asked. ch
That had been exactly, what I thought also. If it's just a few photos that I snapped off - and decide to do away with - I'll perform a "Delete All" procedure. For the most part, however, I "Format" the card - and I always format within the camera itself ('heard it was better to format it like that).

Oh...by the way (and in total agreement with Paul), There was absolutely nothing stupid about what you asked.
01-30-2008, 05:22 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Crescent City Quote
Probably, a dumb question, but after you have transferred your images off the card do you delete them from the card using explorer or do you insert the card in the camaera and format it? ch
I download via the USB cable and Picasa which can be set to delete the images when downloaded.

Why would I want to format the card each time?
01-30-2008, 05:42 PM   #14
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I don't have a reason, but I format every time. after I pop the card back in the camera I just reformat it.

Mostly because I have a 3 yr old running around all the time and I don't want to have my USB card reader snapped off if he bumps it. (so I remove it as soon as photoshop is done downloading the photos) He tends to run into things when he's being crazy.
01-30-2008, 05:43 PM   #15
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In reality it probably doesn't really matter. If you use Windows for formating just make sure it's VFAT (FAT 32) and not something else like NTFS.
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