Formatting SD card

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by mw_rip, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. Could someone please tell me if you are switching cards between a K100D and a
    K10D if the card has to be reformatted in each camera every time you switch,
    or if you can just format it in one camera and thereafter switch at will?
    Don't understand what 'formatting' technically does, just that it needs to be
    done. Friend bought the K10, I have the K100. Ran out of memory today while
    out and he offered me one of his cards to use, but then we realized it already
    had a few pics. on it and were afraid to either try to take pics. using the
    K100D or reformat for fear of messing up what was already on there. Would be
    good to know for the future. Thanks!
  2. Well, I don't have either camera, so take my words with caution. I really doubt there would be a problem sharing cards between two Pentax cameras. I have shared cards between a Kodak and a Canon without a problem, each camera puts its pics in its own folder on the card.

    To be sure, just copy the images from the cards and then try the experiment yourself.

    One last comment--don't format a storage card on a computer and then use it in a camera. Always format the media using the camera.
  3. mountainvisions

    mountainvisions Moderator

    Honestly, you could switch between Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, Pentax, and whatever and it doesn't NEED to be formatted.

    Sometimes I format, sometimes I don't. Never had a currupted card and some of them are still formatted to my old Kodak that took SD which I gave to my sister months ago. I've since switched them between my K10D, Panisonic FX01 and perhaps in my dell axim. With my CF cards I often switch between my Canon G3 and my ist D with no problems on either camera.

    These are usually formatted to a FAT or FAT32 file system that virtually everything can read and write to.

    Each distinct camera sets up it's own folder in the root directory and they don't conflict with each other. But I noticed the Panasonic will try to read/display the K10D jpegs and I find this funny since it blows it up and distorts it. But no harm to the camera or image.
  4. I just recently switched cards between my camera (Canon) and my brothers camera (not a Canon). After switching back, my camera could even display the images taken with my brothers camera.

    Usually, when you format a card, an empty /DCIM/ directory is created.

    In this directory another directory containing the cameraname or manufacturer name plus a number. /DCIM/101CANON/

    In this directory imagefiles are stored. If the camera feels the directory is populated with enough images, it creates another directory ... /DCIM/102CANON/ ... now, new images are stored into this directory.

    If you now put this card in a different camera, this camera will first of all create a new directory for itself ... /DCIM/100NIKON/ (just an example) and will store its images into this directory.

    The only thing that really can happen when exchanging cards, is that numbering gets confused ... if your camera has taken image5123.jpg as the last image, it might readjust the imagecounter when it finds images (from the other camera) on the newly inserted card ... and it might therefore continue with image8765.jpg as next image.
  5. Very helpful, thanks everyone. I did not realize that once formatted a card was basically universal. Knowing this will make my life easier in the future and save a bunch of time!
  6. Memory cards are like USB Flash drives, They work in everything you plug them into. The only thing Formatting does is wipe of the microscopic recovery information that is held on the card after you cut and paste or delete your photos from the card. Image recovery programs rely on this information if you ever need to find accidentally deleted photos. Once formatted that is all that's gone and your card is brand new again.

    I've taken cards out of one camera, put them into another, them put them into video cameras . . . and had all information from 4-5 machines all on the same card. Each device creates it's own folder on the card. No worries MW, cards won't become corrupt from anything other than heat, hammers, steamrollers or good old-fashioned aging. They are as reliable as your computer's hard drive, sooner or later they'll die.
  7. mountainvisions

    mountainvisions Moderator

    I'd say more reliable.

    you can run them over with a car, smash them on the ground, and wash them.

    try that with you hard drive!!!!
  8. -- "Once formatted that is all that's gone and your card is brand new again."

    No, that seems to be a common assumption, but it's wrong.

    From a formatted card usually EVERYTHING can be restored if no new information was recorded to it since formatting. If you usually delete some images in-camera, it's likely not all (but still most) images can be restored.

    So, this is good if we accidentially formatted a card and want the information back. It's bad, if we want to really wipe out information from a card. If you want to wipe a card, you should format, then fill it with junkfiles and then format again.
  9. I've never tried recovering images or data after formatting a card, Mine ar online, on 2 comps here and on 2 other backup drives. I'm not too concerned about getting data back from the sd's. Maybe we'll give that a whirl one day when I'm bored.

    True enough Justin , I have dropped the cards a few times, brush em off and their fine. My son dropped my old laptop and poof, it was done. Not sure it would survive the steamroller though : )
  10. mountainvisions

    mountainvisions Moderator

    steamroller? probably not but pop photo ran a test a year or two ago and the cards (including CF) were run over by cars in times square and washed...All worked, even the CF which was bent.

    When I sold cameras people used to get all brandy (like brand names) on me about the card. I carried around a Lexar that I'd smash on the ground and then jump on, load it in the kiosk and it still worked. did this hundreds of times.

    now, i'm not recommending this treatment but if it happens no need to panic.

    BTW, the biggest way to get a corrupt card is to take it out while in a write process, or let the power die during a write. Turning off the camera usually has no effect since most don't power down till the write completes but if the batteries go, they go.
  11. Formatting is not an issue in the situation, but be aware that the camera (either camera) will start auto-numbering the files from the highest numbered file it finds already on the card. Let's say Camera #1 has 5000 exposures under its belt, while Camera #2 has only 200. If you have images on the card that were shot with Camera #1, then put the card straight into Camera #2 and start shooting, the files will be numbered 5001, 5002 etc, and the camera will continue that sequence even with a different card.

    With the K10D at least there is a way to reset the count to zero.

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