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Memory Card Tips and Best Practices

Memory cards are one thing that all digital cameras have in common. If you think about it, nothing happens if your photos don't get onto the card, and nothing happens if you can't copy them from the card to your computer.

As Chris Lee from pal2tech points out in this video, your memory card can be the single most important component of your photography gear. Your reputation can revolve around how you manage that little piece of plastic.

Lee starts by explaining how you should label your cards so that you don't mix them up, especially if you're using multiple cameras. I've used this technique for years to identify cards just in case I think I might have a problem with one. Labeling your cards also makes it much easier to ensure that the new card you are putting in the camera is empty when you're changing cards.

Lee points out that you should always format a card in the camera that will be using it. I'll also add that I make it a habit to always format cards ahead of time. Formatting a card at the last second during a shoot is the quickest way to accidentally delete photos that you haven't transferred yet.

Although you should never delete photos in-camera, Lee also shows how to recover photos that you may have accidentally deleted. This is a topic that is often debated, but I only delete photos in-camera if they are obviously really bad, but most of the time, I wait until I get them on the computer.

Be sure to check out all of the memory card tips that Lee points out in this short but valuable video.

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6 Comments

Willy Williams's picture

Good ideas all, BUT, on my Panasonic bodies, when I format a card in-body, the card gets renamed to "LUMIX". Can't speak to other bodies.

David B's picture

YES! Many cameras change the name. Sometimes I think it's better to just live with it than fuss

doug mcgoldrick's picture

an 8+ minute video that could have just been a list.

jai mohan's picture

very informative.

Kirk Darling's picture

"I'll also add that I make it a habit to always format cards ahead of time. Formatting a card at the last second during a shoot is the quickest way to accidentally delete photos that you haven't transferred yet."

Not for me. I always format the card in camera immediately before I start shooting with it. It's the last time before committing images to the card that I can give that card a test for proper functioning in that camera.

Accidentally deleting photos that haven't been transferred yet is a problem with basic card handling. A card from a previous job shouldn't even be on your person while you're doing the next job. A card from that session that hasn't been transferred yet should have been placed in a totally different location on your person or someplace more secure that isn't used for any other purpose, a different colored case or wallet, to absolutely preclude being re-used.

David B's picture

I used to have this issue, I've resorted to having a way I can ID cards that have been imported thus safe to delete. Much better than stressing and changing cards to be safe