Nikon d300 Memory card full after taking 1 photo

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by charles_dillon, Apr 14, 2010.

  1. When I put an empty 4 gig memory card into my d300 it now says there are only 60 open slots left, then after I shoot 60 will still allow photos to be taken and counts past 60 allowing the usual 120 or so photos to be taken(NEF uncompressed) Other times, after I put a blank card in it will take 1 photo then say it's full, I then have to reformat the card to get it to allow more than one photos. Does anyone know a fix for this?
  2. My first thought is that you're maybe deleting images off of the card with it in a card-reader hooked up to your computer. If so, that is a no-no. Folder structures and such get corrupted in this manner. You ONLY format the memory card when it is in the camera.
    If after you format the card in-camera, is it giving you proper image counts?
  3. Yes, I have been deleting them from the card holder, odd...I did that without this issue for years....
  4. Always format the card when you put it back in the camera - there is no reason and no excuse not to.
  5. It only takes an improper dismount of the card's file system - just once - to mess up the format, and convince the camera that there's no room to work. Any time you clean off the card, take the five seconds it takes to get a fresh format courtesy of the camera's native formatting tool.
  6. Not to steal from the question, but can a card be "over-formatted?"
  7. Charles, the newer cameras are a bit more finicky, and NEF are large files. Make sure that the application you're transferring to does NOT delete images. After you transfer your images from the card to your computer, put the card that has all the images back in the camera, and format it. You shouldn't have any more problems.
  8. Steven: no, not in any practical terms.
  9. Wait, I forgot...I bought a brand new card and had the same problem when I put it into the camera for the 1st time
  10. Did you format the brand new card in camera? I have learned that you MUST format the card in camera (easy and quick) for most consistent results. True on every DSLR I've used. In fact, in the early days, if we didn't format the card in the Nikon D1, we sometimes lost the ability to ever use it again in that camera. No lie.
    It's not that bad these days, but formatting in camera is easy. Do it.
  11. +1 to formatting and reformatting in your camera. I've had a D300 since they first came out, always did this and never a problem.
  12. Charles,
    I'll add one more thing to the discussion - although it may not relate directly to your diagnosis - but something I've done stupidly a couple of times. I've created separate directories on a card, delete the contents of the working directory, then proceed as if I had a fresh, empty card ready to use. A few captures in and the camera indicates the card is full. Of course most of the memory is taken-up by the other photos in other directories. Not your issue perhaps but something for another time. (And always remedied by formatting the card but then someone would never figure out their error.)
  13. Not to steal from the question, but can a card be "over-formatted?"​
    Well, yes and no. The number of read/writes operations on solid state storage devices is limited. Eventually they will fail but the limit's so high you'll first run out of camera, computer and card reader.
    And it's good practice to format the card on the camera frequently. I didn't used to do it and went years without a problem but then I realized that operating systems such as Windows tend to be lazy on this matters and can corrupt the file system structure. Not to mention Windows can be easily bypassed by malicious software that put malware/spyware/viruses in your cards. This just happened to me one of my cards a few months back.
  14. I reformat my cards in the camera as soon as I transfer the photos to a hard drive, and back that up to another hard drive. I've never had a problem in four years with either the Adata or Patriot 'cheap' cards I bought at Fry's.
  15. Unlike the previous poster, I do NOT format my cards until just before I use them, then I do so 'in camera'.
    I want my cards on download to reflect the camera they were taken with, so if I take a bunch of cards, format them, say, on a D300, then happen to stick some in a D700, it will accept the photos, but download (to my best recollection) will reveal the photos as taken with a D300 (at least on Adobe Photoshop CS4, downloader) which is a minor inconvenience, but might someday attach info to the photo I don't like or if I'm selling something to someone (I don't currently sell) might fool them wrongly into thinking I used equipment less than what I told them I am using. [D300 instead of D700 -- EXIF info would tell the truth but not all are capable or willing to look before drawing adverse conclusions]
    Also, once I downloaded 16 cards to a hard drive, and for each download promptly backed them up. It was a Seagate hard drive, with an optional 'stand' to hold it upright. The backup drive had such a stand too, and as I downloaded cards, some were reformatted; some not.
    Well, one day, as I lifted my foot over a hard drive in a rented apartment with a hardwood floor (but over a Ukrainian cement underflooring -- very solid and hard), the hard drive just barely tipped over and crashed, losing my data.
    Aha, I said to myself, proudly, I'm backed up, and so figurtively I 'stuck in my thumb and pulled out a plumb' Jack Horner style.
    Well, I was getting ready to hook up a new drive to the backup the next day, to backup the backup (which now was the primary drive) lifted my foot over the second drive - again uprigt -- and just barely tipped it with the tip of my toe and CRASH over it went, just gently, and lost all my data again including thsoe 16 downloads, this time no longer backed up.
    Some of those downloads were still on the cards, and later I was able to redownload them as I found them. In fact some of them had been reformatted even, but I was able to use recovery software to recover the images on those on which I had not overwritten with new photos . . . so the net loss was not 16 downloads but more like eight or ten. Still for me a loss, but I had culled out the best in the interim for post-processing and saved them in a file elsewhere as copies.
    I still lament my lost photos.
    Now i make a minimum of four copies of every download. There is one way with Adobe Downloader you can make a dupe copy simultaneously as you download the original (but it does not work properly in ALL instances so examine your output and the way you name your files to see if it works properly for you. An issue is whether or not the second file results in one file for NEF files or bears 'sidecar' 'XMF' files raw captures while the main download dow not. This is a major problem when comparing 'properties' to see if files sizes and file numbers 'match' exactly.
    Occasionally, I find myself in a different country than the original download, but if it's download copy is with me on a card ready to shoot but unformatted, and I cannot find a downloaded copy quickly I just take the card in my pocket, examine its contents, and redownload it (quick and dirty, but it gets me an image to work on without hassle).
    I large number of pros do not erase or format cards until just before they shoot for just such reasons.
    A drawback is forgetting to format, then sticking an old, previously shot card into your body, continuing to shoot, then having to stop 5 to 150 photos later as you run out of space left from the unformatted previously downloaded photos. You then must delete those photos one by one (remember they were previously downloaded) or pocket the chip and insert a new one, depending on the time available to you (and other factors).
    How you handle it is largely personal, but if you value your photos and expect to hold onto them for a lifetime (or longer as I do) then major redundancy is extremely important.
    (I did not back up certain nature photos and when hard drives were stolen, I suffered a major loss -- i figured 'I am not a nature photographer -- bird photographer - so why back up EVERYTHING' but I learned a lesson when someone broke into my car and stole hard drives full of captures . . . . with my superteles that never were to be exhibited or shown.
    John (Crosley)
  16. I have a different experience. I shoot and on return to my desktop I cut and paste files to a desktop folder. The cards are then empty and I cant recall ever having had a problem. Occasionally and certainly before an important shoot I will go through all my cards and format them in camera. Occasionally my wife will borrow an empty (sometimes not) card and use it in her Fuji camera. This just creates another folder which will remain (even if empty) until I next format the card.
    I understand the point of formatting in camera - just Ive never had an issue.
    Strangely I have one 2Gb card which behaves strangely. It appears chipped round the plastic edges - either the dog has found it and chewed a bit or it has been handled badly somehwere along the lines. The point is the contacts on this card are fine and it reads perfectly in my Laptop but refuses to read in my desktop. It is the same kind of card as the rest and was working perfectly in both when new. I have tried reformatting in camera and on PC and on laptop but nothing changes. Other than not readable on my desktop it functions perfectly - although I have to a degree quarantined it and never use for paid gigs.
    Any explanations for this ?
  17. i'm not as meticulous about reformatting my cards as many of the respondents on this thread. my practice is to MOVE files from the card -- using a card reader -- to the computer, and then returning the card to the camera. although i have numerous cards, i continue to use the same card in each camera for many months, reformatting in-camera every week or so -- or whenever i'm taking a few minutes to clean lenses, sensors, etc.
    i use good quality cards from either PNY or Sandisk, and none of my cards has ever given me any trouble whatsoever. my only data loss has been the result of disconnecting my portable HDD from my netbook without powering down the netbook completely first. this is something i no longer ever do, by the way. when i've lost data, it's actually the case that the windows file system became discombobulated, and my files retreated to an inaccessible folder (usually to reappear magically at a later time!).
    in this event, a "file undeleter" program i downloaded from the web allowed me to recover the files from the CF card -- which remain for the most part intact, until the card is formatted in-camera. happily, this has meant that i've lost probably no more than a half-dozen images in total, out of some 150,000 shot with my two cameras.
    now, what was the question?
  18. I do what John does, copy to computer, back up, leave the files on CF cards until I need to use the card at which point I reformat in camera. Since I rotate through 6x 32GB CF cards depending on my shooting history files may be backed up for a little bit on the cards as well.
    Well, yes and no. The number of read/writes operations on solid state storage devices is limited. Eventually they will fail but the limit's so high you'll first run out of camera, computer and card reader.​
    Emilio, actually formatting these days are typically quick format as opposed to low level formats. Quick formats essentially only erase the "table of contents" of where files are located on the drive and leave the files themselves untouched. Therefore there is no limit to how many times you can format a CF card.
    Because quick formats do not actually delete files, undelete programs can scan each sector on the disk and try to piece together files. Any format that takes ~1 minute or less is a quick format.
    Also, flash based storage devices will fail gracefully by not using blocks that are unable to be read / write and storage will decrease over time vs a traditional hard drive dying with no warning.
  19. Emilio, actually formatting these days are typically quick format as opposed to low level formats. Quick formats essentially only erase the "table of contents" of where files are located on the drive and leave the files themselves untouched. Therefore there is no limit to how many times you can format a CF card.​
    Okay, but erasing the table of contents still counts as a read/write operation, it's not like the TOC is on a different bank. In fact, CF cards use an internal algorithm to evenly wear out the memory locations, so even with quick formatting you are still evenly wearing out the memory banks. And it takes only one of them to fail to render the memory useless.
    But like I said, it's more probable that you'll mistreat them and/or loose them before they actually fail due to usage.
  20. I agree with many of the others - once I download images onto my computer (with a card reader), I plop the card back into the camera and reformat. I will add that 2 or 3 years ago I actually had a card that was defective. Though not as bad as the case the OP has described, the card did appear to fill up prematurely. After multiple reformatting attempts and tests failed to correct the problem, I simply had to contact the manufacturer (SanDisk) who gladly replaced it.
  21. I agree...reformatting should be part of your process. Another process that I have gotten used to is soft-resetting my camera (hold the 2 buttons with green dots next to them)...The one time I didn't, I had my camera set to VIVID +2 and was shooting portraits...after a half dozen shot I figured out what was wrong and no harm was done. But little things like soft-resetting before a shoot and formatting a card when it gets inserted into a camera are good habits to get into.
  22. I had a similar problem. CF 8GB would only get formatted to 2GB in D3 camera.
    I had to reformat the CF card in windows. Then reformat in my Camera.
    I haven't had that problem again.

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