Should I Format or Just Erase? (What's That #4)

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Many digital camera owners have difficulty understanding the difference between formatting a memory card &  just erasing the images. Both methods of deleting an image (or images)  should be used. Erasing can be done whenever you wish, like when your card is at full capacity or when you need more space on the card. However, a  memory card should be formatted several times a year, particularly if  your camera's performance seems slow or sluggish. You should format more often if your camera is used frequently. When you erase a memory card, individual photos are deleted from their directories on the card. You can erase one image at a time, or erase all images. However, any images that have been designated as protected, won’t be removed during the erasure process ( Protected images are usually marked with a symbol resembling a lock). Formatting, on the other hand, deletes all images from a memory card, even the ones that may have been protected. It recreates the file system including new directories and folders where images are saved on the card. Unlike erasing, formatting improves the overall performance of a card.Some digital cameras offer a low level format in addition to the standard format option. With a low level format, all data on the card is deleted. New directories and folders are also recreated during this process. A low-level format of a high speed memory card would help in when you're shooting continuously at a constant interval. For optimal performance, it’s also recommended that a low level format be done prior to shooting any video. It’s best to erase and format memory cards in a digital camera, not via a computer. If you plan to use a memory card that was previously used in another camera, particularly if it was made by a different manufacturer, format the card in the new camera before taking any shots. As we covered in our last post, make sure you back up any important photo & video files prior to erasing or formatting a card. Formatting and erasing a memory card is done through the camera's Main Menu. The functions are usually accessed in Playback mode, though they can be accessed in other modes on some cameras.  Since the steps vary from camera to camera, check your manual for specific instructions. Even a brand new memory card should be formatted in-camera before using it for the first time. "When should I shoot a photo in RAW? What's RAW, anyway?"  That's next...

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