Memory cards are a vital component of most digital cameras and it is important to look after them properly to maximize results and prolong use. The following hints and tips will help with memory card care.
If a problem occurs stop using the card
If there is an error message or you accidentally delete photos don’t panic but do stop using the card. There are data recovery services available who can help if necessary. The danger of continuing to use the card is that existing images may be overwritten and become unrecoverable.
Don’t delete images with the camera
Deleting pictures directly from the camera can shorten the life of the memory card. It is better to delete images in bulk rather than individually, so downloading to a PC and deleting is a better option.
Remove cards safely from the computer
Always use the proper procedure to eject cards from a PC, for example by using the ‘safely remove hardware’ option in Windows.
Have more than one card
Having more than one card in use means that you always have a spare should you lose one. When photographing something important swapping between cards reduces the risk of losing all of the images.
Don’t fill cards with images
It is possible that having the card completely full may cause problems in some cases. Additionally, losing the card means you will lose more pictures.
Reformat cards regularly
Regularly reformatting memory cards will ensure that any data is wiped clean (after downloading images of course). This will return them to their original state, prolonging use.
Format the card in the camera
Cameras have a formatting command built in and using this occasionally will clear the card and improve performance.
Remove the card with the camera switched off
It is best to switch the camera off when removing the card to avoid damage.
Update cameras regularly
Check any updates released by the camera manufacturer. These will fix any errors identified, keeping both camera and memory card functioning effectively.
Change cards periodically
Memory cards have an increasingly long lifespan but won’t last forever. Make a note of when they are bought and then change them now and again to make sure they don’t let you down.
Replace batteries in plenty of time
Don’t wait until batteries have run out before replacing them. This avoids them running out in the middle of an important photo shoot and also prevents card errors.
Don’t switch the camera off too quickly
If you take a large number of photographs in a continuous burst it may take a short time for the memory card to fully update. Switching the camera off too soon can prevent images from being lost.
Keep cards maintained
Store cards carefully and keep them clean and dry, avoiding extremes of temperature.
And finally… storing a photograph of your contact details as the first image on your memory card will ensure that if you lose it anyone finding the card will have a means of returning it safely.