What you need to do and what not. Recommendations from a man who knows all about memory cards.

The photographer from San Francisco, Jeff Cable ( by Jeff Cable ) for many years worked as the Director of Marketing at Lexar Media, so familiar with the advantages and disadvantages of memory. But he never even wrote. Now, not being an employee of the company, which produces flash memory cards, Cable decided to share useful information with other photographers. So, what to do with the memory card, and can not do.
First, some information about the file system architecture in the memory cards.

The memory cards have a File Allocation Table (File Allocation Table / FAT). If we imagine that the memory card – this is the book, the FAT table – is its contents. If you format the memory card, we do not erase the card and simply clear the FAT. That is only the table of contents is deleted, but the chapters still remain. That is why using a program such as Lexar Image Rescue or SanDisk Rescue Pro, you can restore the image on the memory card even after formatting it.

Now tips on using the memory card (in order of importance):
1. Do not delete the photos from the memory card in the camera

Many people often do – even professional photographers – but it’s a bad idea. The camera is excellent photographs, but you can not say that it is successfully coping with a data control on the memory card. Deleting single images from the card to the camera – a sure way will spam FAT. Do not do this.

Do not delete the images in order to save storage space. It is better to insert a new card and keep shooting. After downloading the pictures to your computer, format the card to use it again.

2. Format the memory card in the camera, not on the computer

On the set of information I have seen websites that you can format the memory card on your computer. This is a bad recommendation. If you want to format the card, do it in the camera, with which you are shooting. It is not necessary to rearrange the memory card from the camera of the brand in the camera of another brand and format are already there. If we ignore this rule, of course it will work, but may not function properly in the future.

I’ve seen other photographers shot on a Canon camera, then rearranged the memory card in Nikon camera, which ran formatting. But each manufacturer’s own formatting algorithm and should be considered.


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3. Format the card after each shooting

After downloading images from the card by copying them to be sure to format the memory card before the next use.

4. Use good card reader

How many times I have seen how professional photographers extract quality flash card from the camera for 10 000 dollars and put it into a cheap card reader. I cringe at the same time. When I worked in the Lexar and addressed me customers with damaged memory card, the first thing I asked: “how do you use a card reader?”.

The card reader has a smart controllers, as well as memory cards. I’ve seen a lot more cards, damaged in the card reader, than the camera.

5. Do not fill the card completely

Most memory cards are soundly structure, but completely fill its not worth it. Filling device is 90%, it is preferable to use a different card.

6. Do not remove the memory card from your camera or card reader in the process of reading or writing data

If the data is transmitted to the card or read from it, and this process is interrupted, it is likely that part of the image is lost or even all the files. And you can not always trust the red light on the camera, to determine whether the data transfer is completed. When the light goes out, I always wait a few more seconds, then remove the card only.
27. If your camera, two memory card slots, for greater reliability record images on two cards

If one card is damaged, it will be possible to remove the footage from the second. I always do.

8. Buy a quality memory card

As you may have guessed, I am using the Lexar memory card, but it is not only a good manufacturer. SanDisk also manufactures good products. There are other decent brand.

Always remember that you trust their images on a memory card. It is better to pay a little extra and buy the best product, which will last a long time.

Common misconceptions about memory cards:
If the memory card has fallen into the water, the data is lost forever

It is not true. Modern memory map after scrolling can survive in the washing machine after the dryer. I would not continue to use a memory card that has passed the test so extreme, but the data it is possible to restore.

Memory cards should be stored in their cases

I do not use those little plastic boxes in which buying a memory card. They lie in my bag without any packaging, and it has never caused problems.

I hope these tips will help you to properly handle memory cards and to avoid unpleasant situations in the future.