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Old Feb 11, 2007, 2:07 PM   #1
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Hi, I just purchased a Canon S3 IS and am trying to be good and read my manual before I run out and start shooting. I got a 1GB memory card for it and was reading about formatting memory cards (pg 35). Do I do that everytime I put a new memory card in and why the low level format? Also, when I look at the format screen it says 968MB......shouldn't it say 1GB? Would greatly appreciate being enlightened about this.....thanks in advance!
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Old Feb 11, 2007, 2:39 PM   #2
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Just like your hard drive, the card has to have some room for internal tables, ie the file allocation table etc so its never the full size.

I never bother with a full format some people howeverafter downloading/deletingall the pictures on the card do a format, to totally reset all the tablesand to stop the card becoming fragmented just like a hard drive over time.

Does that actually make any difference ?

No idea, some people are hot on doing that though..


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Old Feb 11, 2007, 3:42 PM   #3
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gone2thedawgs wrote:
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I got a 1GB memory card for it and was reading about formatting memory cards (pg 35). Do I do that everytime I put a new memory card in and why the low level format?
You have the option of doing a low level format whenever you want, and it's not a bad idea the first time you use a new card, but all cards already come low level formatted. Also, a low level format is time consuming and involves repeated read-write cycles, and flash memory (the kind of memory in memory cards) will only perform a finite number of reads and writes. The actual number is quite large, but several low level formats will get you that much closer to the point where your card won't work anymore.

As Sintaressays, there's little reason to format a card, but doing a regular format is ok. A low level format clears the entire card, but a regular format just clears the file allocation table. It doesn't actually delete all the files on the card; it just forgets that they're there.

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Also, when I look at the format screen it says 968MB......shouldn't it say 1GB?
You've just stumbled onto the difference between "gigabytes" and "gigabytes".

The camera counts gigabytes by counting bytes, kilobytes (1024 bytes is a kilobyte), megabytes (1024 kilobytes is a megabyte), and gigabytes (1024 megabytes is a gigabyte.)

The manufacturers of storage media count gigabytes differently, however. They count gigabytes by counting bytes,kilobytes (1024 bytes is a kilobyte), megabytes (1000 kilobytes is a megabyte), and gigabytes (1000 megabytes is a gigabyte.)

So a 1 GB flash memory card actually contains only 1,024,000,000 bytes (instead of 1024[suP]3[/suP] or 1,073,741,824 bytes), but when your camera counts up those same bytes, it gets1,000,000 kilobytes but only 976 megabytes. (Another 8 MB is used by the operating system, as Sintaressays.)

This happens in all storage media for all devices, not just flash memory cards for cameras.
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