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Old Oct 16, 2003, 4:41 PM   #1
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Default Deleting vs. Formatting

I know this has been asked here before because I read it here...somewhere. Can't find it, now.

Apparently there is a problem deleting images in the middle of a group of images. Something about this corrupting the card if more images are recorded. Can someone please elaborate on this and advise me the best practice to follow in handling deleted images. Should I wait and delete after downloading to the computer. If I have transferred all the images to the computer, is it better to delete all or to format the card--in the camera, of course.

In other words, I need some tips on the care and feeding of a CF card.
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Old Oct 16, 2003, 8:43 PM   #2
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The problem with deleting in the middle is fragmentation - same thing as in your PC's hard drive.

My experience with deleting is that there is nothing wrong with deleting from the computer vs deleting or formatting in the camera. I always download pictures to the hard disk and after I have glanced quickly through them to ensure they are all right, then I delete ALL pictures in the card while still in the card reader. I have never formatted my memory cards.

Been doing this for almost a year now without a single problem. My camera uses SD memory card if card format matters.
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Old Oct 16, 2003, 8:53 PM   #3
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Without question the safest way to deal with that issue is to never delete an image and do an in-camera format of the memory.

Haven't heard of anybody having problems with in-camera deleting, but do you really want to do that? I don't want to spend my time with the camera squinting at a little LCD trying to figure out what should be deleted. Much easier to look at them on your monitor at home. That is a good reason to have lots of memory - life is simpler with it.
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Old Oct 16, 2003, 10:07 PM   #4
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Default My experience

I've used a 1Gig IBM Microdrive for over 2yrs. I do delete some images in-camera (like test images for lighting). I then take my card out & put it in my reader & "move" my images to my hardrive. I've then put the card back into the camera & never had any problems.

After reading this thread, I will start defragging my microdrive before placing it back into the camera & then formatting it with the camera before use (it makes sense to me).
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Old Oct 16, 2003, 10:10 PM   #5
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It also depends on what you are taking pictures of. I don't delete while I'm out in the field because there is usually something else I want to take a picture of. I don't want to spend the time going through the picutres while I'm out and about.

Of course, that means I spent the big bucks and got a really large CF card. So I traded time vs. money. Not an uncommon thing, actually.

I also haven't heard of people trouble which they could explicitly says was due to deleting pictures individually. But I have heard of reformatting the card making it faster (removed fragmentation) and even revived a card which was having more serious troubles.

I never delete a picture (unless I run out of space) and I always download and then reformat in camera. I read that over and over in posts by Pros. For them, their equipment an pictures are money. If that many people who have a vested interest in "finding out what is the best way to do something" say to do it a certain way... I do it that way. Plus its really easy to do it.

I believe there have been posts in the past which pointed out that some USB readers have written stuff to their cards (it might have been with memory sticks, not CF, don't recall) but the blamed their troubles on what the computer did to the card. So I do nothing other than copy it off.

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Old Oct 17, 2003, 5:37 AM   #6
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Formatting in the camera is the best way... Beside "squinting' like the wise BillDrew has described, you're also robbing your camera of valuable battery power that you can use for taking picture instead... and formatting @ the PC open the chance of the wrong FAT-32 in.

Also like Kalypso, I've format the microdrives for several years in the camera with no problem. On some 1G flash cards however the frame counts vary after you format (ie sometime it show less than what you can actually shoot).
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Old Oct 17, 2003, 9:42 AM   #7
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I COPY (Not Move) all pics to HD, batch rename, check each pic can be opened without corruption, batch lock read only access to each file through 'file properties', then delete all off the card with the reader, leaving the original directory structure on the card intact (never partial delete).

Every now and again I do an in camera reformat and never use my camera cards or format them in my MP3 player!

PS ever tried de-fragging a 1Gb MD over USB1? Takes a l-o-o-o-ng time! Better not to frag it with cam random deletes in the first place. Don't forget with the large cluster sizes of a MD it will likely get fragged up with slack space pretty easily. Keep to sequential file writes as much as possible - keeps speed up. VOX
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Old Oct 17, 2003, 10:18 AM   #8
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Deleting the file does not really removed the file from the memory card or hard drive. Deleting removes the pointer from allocation table so that you can look at the file. The file is not really removed until the another file is written to the that location. Formatting is the better method for the media card.
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Old Oct 17, 2003, 12:19 PM   #9
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Excellent discussion, but let's not confuse the original poster!!! Here's my input. There are lots of posts regarding using caution when deleting images in a card reader, but as I understand your question, you are concerned that you might damage the card by deleting images while still in the camera.

Yes, it is true that you will create "holes" in your memory, which your camera will backfill in the same order as they were deleted. I haven't had any problems with this (aka fragmentation). Adding on to luisr's explanation, the only problem I know of with deleting images in camera is that if you delete pictures in a series of chronological events, the next recorded image will be stored in the first available deleted location on the card. As long as you know this and the order of the pics doesn't matter, I wouldn't worry about it.

As for fragmentation being a problem on any drive, the problem is that the read and write access times increases when it is necessary to retrieve or store data in non-contiguous blocks. The larger the drive, the greater the problem. I've never had any problems with 128MB SmartMedia cards, but you may want to consider this if you are using a 1GB MicroDrive or other large card.
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Old Oct 17, 2003, 12:49 PM   #10
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Now the question about contiguous vs non-contiguous file space usage. This IS an issue with hard drives becuase there is actually a mechanical component that has to move further or more often with fragemented files than if all files were stored contiguously. Memory cards have no moving parts at all. Is fragmentation really an issue with memory cards? I now think it is not. Files should not be corrupted even if their blocks are thrown all over the place.

Anyway, deleting ALL files after downloading the pictures will create a new contiguous file space for the next session.
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