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Old Nov 20, 2005, 2:32 PM   #1
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With the Canon XT/350D, after I transfer all the pics onto my computer from the CF cards and then erase them (with the camera, not on the PC), all the old folders that used to hold the pics on the CF cards stay there. They're empty, but now on each CF card I have several old, empty folders (i.e. 100CANON, 101CANON, 109CANON, 110CANON, 111CANON, etc).

I haven't found a way in the manual or by fiddling around to stop the camera from saving the empty folders--did I miss it somewhere?

Otherwise, is there any reason at all to keep the empty folders there on the CF cards, or do all of you just delete them--using your computers, I guess, since they don't seem to go away when deleting pics thru the camera itself?

Thanks for any advice,
m


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Old Nov 20, 2005, 4:19 PM   #2
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What you descrive should not be happening.
I've only ever seen 1 empty folder and it goes away once you format the next time (maybe leaving an other empty folder or maybe not.... I haven't figured the pattern.)

What you are doing is exactly correct and I wouldn't change a thing. After downloading all your images you should reformat the card from the camera. Don't worry about the folders they aren't taking up any space. They are only notations in the fat table, and the fat table is already pre-allocated.

I find it odd (that you see multiple empty folders) but it doesn't sound "bad".

It should be noted that my experience is with the 20D, not the XT, but I see no reason to assume they would be different in this regard.


Eric
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Old Nov 20, 2005, 10:35 PM   #3
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thanks for the info--but i'm not reformatting each time, only erasing all pics on the camera.

i've been told and have read that it's not good to reformat each time--is that an urban myth?
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Old Nov 20, 2005, 11:54 PM   #4
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Yes, it is.
Reformatting is the best way to do it.
I know of absolutely no downside, I would be interested in what you've heard.

The upsides are this:
- it rebuild the fat table every time. flash cards (of all types) use FAT-12 or FAT-16. Yes, that old DOS disk format. It is very easy to get corruption in FAT disks because the format, while very simple, has no safeguards to detect/correct problems.
- reformatting moves the FAT table to a different place on the flash card. There is a translation layer in all flash cards that maps the disk struction to flash chips. They do things like rotate which chips are used when. This prevents any section of the flash chip from being used up (flash chips are written to in segements and each segment has a maximum number of times you can write to it.) If you don't reformat the card, the fat table stays in the same place. Every time you do anything to that card (create files, delete files) it changes the FAT table. But if you never reformat the card the FAT table stays in the same place, continuingly to be changed and updated. And you use up that portion of the flash card up faster.

The card can handle that, it's designed to handle flash sections that are used up. But why use them up faster? If you format the card then you get the benefits above... and you don't have those empty directories hanging around either.

Eric

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Old Nov 21, 2005, 1:12 AM   #5
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hey eric,

interesting. i've read (been awhile tho--one of the 100's of camera sites i've surfed somewhere!) and especially been told by several pro photograhers to just erase pics most of the time and only reformat every 10th or 15th time to prevent wear and tear on the cards. i assumed that implied that formatting is a more rough/serious thing to do to the card than erasing?? who to believe?

i understand what you wrote, tho, and it makes perfect sense --thanks again for the info. what do you think about the format every 10th time idea? do you still think it's better to format every time?

thanks again
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Old Nov 21, 2005, 2:52 AM   #6
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i usually format when i have a lot of pictures (+150) on my card, since it's faster than the, "erase all" option. I don't think there are any physical consequences of formatting... There might be an issue if you forcefully remove the power source while formatting... but i never really heard of anything like that...

And even though the pros can tell you something, you should consider what they're pros at: photography (or at least I'm assuming they are when you mentioned them). That doesn't necessarily mean they're pros when it comes to technical concepts.

And even if the "wear and tear" concept is true... how many pictures do pros take daily? probably a lot more than the average user. They're probably putting a lot more stress just by writing in pictures onto the disk whenever they take that 1092347321 shot... so maybe they think they can alleviate some stress by formatting only once in a while. Should a regular person have to worry about it?
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Old Nov 21, 2005, 11:01 AM   #7
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Interesting.
All that formatting does it rebuild the fat table from scratch. This causes it to be located in a different place on the flash chips. Deleting a file changes a piece of info in the FAT table - marking an area of the disk (the flash card looks like a disk to the camera) as unused. Both are fairly simple operations on the surface.

So sure... I guess if you only have a few pictures it might be more "work" to rebuild the fat table than mark a few places in the fat table as unused. But, to me, the benefits of having a freshly made FAT table every time way outweighs the minimal extra work that is being done. Of course, I take pictures in bunches. So I'm normally erasing 30-100 images. I bet at that number formatting is better.

I hadn't thought about opening the card door while formatting. It is probably worse to do that than opening it while its erasing. Good point... I've never done it, but I guess that is a potential problem. Seems low risk to me, but a risk none the less.

Eric
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Old Nov 21, 2005, 5:18 PM   #8
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Not only do I reformat but I will use CardWiper and wipe the card clean every once in a while. Especially when I sell a card.
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Old Jan 15, 2006, 12:50 PM   #9
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sorry for the long delay in replying--i've been travelling!

thanks again for all the ideas about this. i'm going to start reformatting each time i have more than a few pics on each card (=most of the time).

but my q now is: does reformatting reset the numbering system? i'd hate to start at 0 again after a few thousand consecutively numbered photos that are very easy to work with (no repeat #s). i'll search my manual, but you guys are faster than i'd be (gotta find the book first!).

thanks,
m
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Old Jan 15, 2006, 2:51 PM   #10
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I hope you've had fun traveling!

No, the numbering system is based on the camera not the flash card.
So it will be just fine.

Eric
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