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3 Quick Steps to Caring for Your Memory Cards

Memory cards aren’t typically the part of photography that we get most excited about.  However, they do hold our images for us, so the better we care for them the better they will care for our images and longer they will last.

  1. Format Your Memory Cards Often.  Formatting your memory card in the camera you are using freshens it up and prepares it to best capture the images on that camera. If you switch your memory cards between cameras make sure to format them in the camera each time you insert a memory card.
  2. Avoid Using Your Camera to Delete Images. You know the garbage can button on the back of the camera? Don’t play with it.  Deleting images using that button shortens the life of your memory card and can cause errors on the card.  The fewer times you erase data from your cards the better.
  3. Don’t Remove Your Card While it is Still Writing or While Your Camera is Still On. The easiest way to check this is to look for the little red light that says your camera is still writing to the card.  If it’s on, give the camera a minute to finish before you remove the card. Most cards are pretty fast so this shouldn’t be an issue unless your are shooting in burst mode (lots of images in a short period of time.)  Making sure your camera is off before you remove the card is best for the card.  I have forgotten to do this before and your card won’t become instantly corrupted if you do.  It is just a good practice.

If you take care of the little things, they will be ready for the big things!

Or If You Accidentally Format It Before You Download the Images?

  1. STOP! Don’t take one more photo with that card the second you even THINK there is a problem.  You should have several memory cards at your disposal so grab another and save that one.
  2. Check the Manufacturers Website.  Most memory card manufacturers offer software to help you recover images from a reformatted card or from a card that fails.  Sometimes they are free and other times you may have to pay a fee. I recently learned that Lexar provides the software free with their professional series of cards but it can be purchased separately as well for about $34. Kingston and Sony seem to offer it for free.  I can’t find anything from SanDisk.  That info might help you make future memory card decisions.

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