Delete files on CF card from computer on format on camera?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Toomanyputters, Apr 3, 2005.

  1. Sometimes or always or what "should" be the method?
    Toomanyputters, Apr 3, 2005
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  2. Toomanyputters

    Tom Scales Guest

    I do both. Both work fine.

    Tom Scales, Apr 3, 2005
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  3. It doesn't matter much on any camera I've used. The Canon 20D tends
    to litter a card with empty directories, so every once in a while, I
    format the card to get rid of them.
    Ben Rosengart, Apr 3, 2005
  4. From: "Toomanyputters" <>

    | Sometimes or always or what "should" be the method?

    It doesn't matter. Both the PC and the camera use the same functions to perform the same
    thing. They just go about it deifferently.
    David H. Lipman, Apr 3, 2005
  5. Toomanyputters

    jfitz Guest

    Using the camera to delete or format is my practice. This way I am 100%
    assured of compatibility. A PC delete or format, especially with third
    party software, may leave the CF card in a state which the camera does not
    expect. Admittedly, this is a "belt and suspenders" approach. On the other
    hand, I haven't had the need for software to restore lost images from a
    trashed CF card. I do have such a program however, undershorts in case the
    belt and suspenders fail. ;) Your comfort level may vary.
    jfitz, Apr 4, 2005
  6. Can I sell you a jar of amazing tiger repellent cream? In 20 years
    of using it I haven't once been mauled by a tiger.

    Ben Rosengart, Apr 4, 2005
  7. Toomanyputters

    Crownfield Guest

    and just because I shave, I have never been mauled by a tiger.
    I even hand fed them.

    there were two siberians
    who were ready to try in spite of my shaving.
    Crownfield, Apr 4, 2005
  8. Toomanyputters

    Sheldon Guest

    If you're going to clear all the photos on the card use the camera and
    format. It's kinda like a reset and you're assured of compatibility. That
    said, it should work either way, although the PC may leave a few things
    Sheldon, Apr 4, 2005
  9. Toomanyputters

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    ("Subject: " header reinserted in the body for those whose newsreader
    may make it difficult to read the "Subject: " header while also reading
    the article.) Please -- always duplicate what is in the "Subject:"
    header, as otherwise, some people will only see the disconnected line in
    the body, as in this case. :)
    There may be reasons which vary from camera to camera to favor
    one over the other. The things which I consider to have an impact with
    my Nikon D70 are:

    1) Since the format of the cards is the MS-DOS "FAT" filesystem,
    there is a problem of filespace fragmentation when files are
    simply deleted as a matter of course. This will result in a
    loss of speed as files have to be broken up into multiple parts.
    This probably applies to all cameras which use a CF card or
    similar, so individually deleting files should be reserved for
    culling shots while in the field for whatever reason. A mass
    delete (e.g. "DEL *.*" in MS-DOS or the GUI equivalent in
    Windows), or "rm *" in unix is generally undesirable in the long
    term -- and may be slower than reformatting the whole drive.

    From this point of view, formatting, either in the camera or in
    the computer should be equivalent, as long as the computer can
    handle a FAT-64 filesystem (necessary for some of the larger CF

    2) Some cameras (e.g. the Nikon D70 and the CoolPix 950 -- the only
    two all Nikon digital cameras with which I have experience),
    both place a file at the root directory level, and create a
    fixed (or alterable) subdirectory into which the images are
    normally placed.

    From this point of view, if the CF card is formatted, it should
    be formatted in the camera, which knows what the camera expects,
    and supplies it. (It may be that some computer programs
    supplied with the cameras will supply this as well, but the
    native format utility probably will not.

    3) Probably not a problem with CF cards, but a possible problem
    with micro-drives, which fit in the same place. That is the
    problem of sectors going bad. Formatting on the computer should
    detect these bad sectors, and map them out of service, so they
    won't result in a damaged image. I don't know how smart the
    camera format programs are about this, and at least with
    Windows, apparently a surface analysis during formatting is not
    turned on by default -- you have to click an option box to
    select it, and this will take longer.

    This is an argument for formatting it in the computer, not in
    the camera -- at least occasionally.

    My own feeling is that, with micro-drives, you should
    occasionally do the full format on the computer, with testing for bad
    sectors enabled, and subsequently re-format it in the camera to
    re-install the desired files and subdirectories.

    My other digital was a Nikon N90s film camera converted by Kodak
    for the AP and re-labeled the "NC2000e". On that one, while it could
    format in the camera, if so commanded from the computer, you got better
    information from the computer's own format program if anything was
    wrong. If the drive was in the camera, you simply had a very long
    format time, with little clue what was wrong. This camera only used
    PCMCIA hard disk drives, and PCMCIA format Flash cards -- and it would
    not deal properly with a CF card in a PCMICA adaptor. But those hard
    disks were easy to damage with physical shocks, and I made it a practice
    to always format it the slow but complete way in the computer. but that
    did not use any special files or subdirectories, so that was a
    reasonable way to go -- and it sure beat having to connect the camera to
    the computer via a SCSI bus.

    If anyone else has knowledge about other cameras which suggest
    one way or the other would be preferred, please add in your information.

    DoN. Nichols, Apr 4, 2005
  10. Toomanyputters

    Paul Mitchum Guest

    I use a Mac, and Macs have this nifty piece of software called Image
    Capture. Image Capture takes the images from media cards and copies them
    to your hard drive, optionally doing things like embedding ICC profiles
    and so forth.

    I have it set to not delete the files from the card after downloading,
    because I *know* that at some time in the future I'll end up forgetting
    to tell it *not* to delete files I want to stay on the card. Formatting
    the card or deleting all the images is a task I've decided always
    happens in-camera, as a personal strategy. I know my limitations. :)
    Paul Mitchum, Apr 4, 2005
  11. Toomanyputters

    jfitz Guest

    Does this mean if I shave using the amazing tiger repellant cream, I can
    turn the tables and maul the tiger? ;)

    This will certainly be a once in a lifetime event, especially if it is not
    successful. My wife will be recording the event on a CF card erased and or
    formatted in the camera being used, no sense in taking chances. ;)
    jfitz, Apr 5, 2005
  12. Toomanyputters

    Crownfield Guest

    he is waiting...
    650 lbs, claws the length of my fingers, teeth even longer,
    more intelligent than you would believe,
    and can reach 10 feet above the ground,
    and can hit 35 mph.


    jfitz, meet squinty.
    squinty, meet jfitz.

    let the game begin.

    and she will want to protect herself and the camera against splatters.
    Crownfield, Apr 5, 2005
  13. Toomanyputters

    Alan Browne Guest

    I delete from the computer, but I also find that deleting from there is
    not much faster (if at all) than re-formatting the card in camera.
    Maybe when I upgrade my USB to 2.0 it will be a bit quicker. But that's
    very low on my list.

    -- r.p.e.35mm user resource:
    -- r.p.d.slr-systems:
    -- slr-systems FAQ project:
    -- [SI] gallery & rulz:
    -- e-meil: Remove FreeLunch.
    Alan Browne, Apr 5, 2005
  14. Toomanyputters

    Alan Browne Guest

    I'm not sure why this is pertinent? Under WinXP when you hook up the
    camera on USB the CF opens as a folder. A simple select-all and drag to
    a new folder copies the images to that location. Files on the camera
    are not deleted. From there, you can delete the camera files from the
    PC or the camera. Or reformat in camera.

    Most cameras come with their own custom s/w for loading the images from
    camera to PC, but I find the folder to folder copy paradigm to be wholly
    appropriate, and the design of the OEM s/w to be clunky (Minolta).
    You just need to develop a 'routine' that is relaiable.


    -- r.p.e.35mm user resource:
    -- r.p.d.slr-systems:
    -- slr-systems FAQ project:
    -- [SI] gallery & rulz:
    -- e-meil: Remove FreeLunch.
    Alan Browne, Apr 5, 2005
  15. Toomanyputters

    Paul Mitchum Guest

    This is true of the Mac, as well. You can just drag and drop a bunch of
    files from the mounted camera media volume to your hard drive. But Image
    Capture lets you easily do things like assign ICC profiles on all files
    per attached device, and so forth. It can also run scripts on all the
    files it downloads, so if you wanted to rename the files based on exif
    info, or sort them into folders, you could write a script for it and
    have Image Capture do it automatically.
    Image Capture is lean and clean. It's different in that it's actually
    useful. :) You can also use it to do things like TWAIN scanning without
    launching Photoshop, and share your attached camera over Rendezvous (for
    those moments when you can't be bothered to unplug your camera and
    re-plug it in another computer across the room).
    That's exactly what I've done. I was answering the OP's question: The
    way you 'should' do it is whatever works for you.
    Paul Mitchum, Apr 5, 2005
  16. I don't believe this is a problem if *all* files are deleted, though.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Apr 6, 2005
  17. Toomanyputters

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    [ ... ]

    [ ... ]
    I'm not sure of the details of the returning of file space with
    the FAT system. If it is just a set of bits flagging which sectors are
    in use, and which are not, then yes -- it should be clean for the next

    But with some file systems I have used, where there is a linked
    list of free sectors maintained by tagging on the linked list of sectors
    from a just deleted file to the end of the free sectors list, even
    deleting *all* files would not be sufficient. (This was in an old SSB
    DOS-68 for the Motorola 6800 CPU, not a unix system which has its own
    way of keeping the filesystem clean and quick.)

    However -- consider that there are two subdirectories kept when
    you delete everything else (at least on the filesystems used by the
    Nikon D70 (and the Coolpix 950).

    As seen by a unix system which is set to fold upper case to
    lower for a mounted flash card, I see:

    (From the D70)
    ../dcim <----- Directory
    ../dcim/100ncd70 <----- Directory
    ../dcim/100ncd70/dsc_1182.jpg <----- Files from here on down

    [ ... snipped out of the middle ... ]


    (From the CoolPix 950)
    ../dcim <----- Directory
    ../dcim/100nikon <----- Directory
    ../dcim/100nikon/dsc_0017.jpg <----- File (Actually from the D70, moved into the
    smaller FC for carrying to a printer)

    So the subdirectories have different names between the two, and thus
    would need to be formatted in the camera when moving from one to the

    It would be possible to put more than one directory on the same
    CF card, to allow both cameras to take turns using it. And if the
    second directory is put on while the card is partially full, it will
    cause at least some fragmentation. (And, other than a full format, I'm
    not sure that the cameras can actually *delete* unwanted

    And remember that Windows has a defragment tool, while unix
    filesystems don't need one, for what that may be worth. And, the
    filesystem on a CF card is a Windows (or at least a MS-DOS) filesystem,
    not a unix one.

    DoN. Nichols, Apr 6, 2005
  18. I *think* I remember that FAT filesystems will merge adjacent free
    blocks, or just flag the sectors as free, or whatever; but your point
    about leaving directories around etc. raises another valid issue. My
    personal practice is to format the cards in the camera I'm using them
    in immediately before each use; I just couldn't resist the technical
    filesystem discussion.
    David Dyer-Bennet, Apr 7, 2005
  19. Toomanyputters

    Roger Guest

    In general, I think it depends on the computer literacy of the user.
    With *most* cameras it makes no difference whether the card is
    formatted in the camera or a card reader. In *most* cameras It makes
    no difference if you delete the photos, or format as long as all the
    photos are deleted.

    You do have to use the same file system when formatting with the
    computer as is used by the camera. In most cameras this is FAT-16,
    but newer ones are going to FAT-32.

    In *most* cameras it makes no difference if you *move* the photos, or
    do a copy and then delete. OTOH it does make a difference if you make
    a mistake, OR something goes wrong. I copy from the card to one
    computer and then move from the card to a second computer.

    With both my D-70 and the Oly E-20N I can format using the
    computer/card reader. This leaves an empty card with no directories.
    Installing one of these formatted cards into either camera and turning
    on the camera will create the proper directories.

    I can switch cards between the two cameras and I end up with two
    directories. One for each camera. There after if I switch the cards
    back and forth each camera puts its images into the proper directory.

    I've only had one card that the computer could not read in the card
    reader. I put it back in the camera, found the bad image, deleted the
    image and all was fine in both the camera and card reader. I probably
    turned off the camera while it was still writing to the card.

    I purchased the E-20N when they first came out. I purchased the D-70
    within a week of them being released. Shooting 4,000 to 6,000 images
    a year, I have never had to format a card. Fragmentation has never
    been an issue.

    I did play around with formatting the cards and switching them back
    and forth between the two cameras, but that is the only time those
    cards have been formatted since I started shooting digital. I use a
    pair of 256 meg and a single one gig CF card.

    Neither way is going to hurt the cards, so I'd say to do what ever
    makes you the most comfortable. Some always copy, delete, and format.
    I copy and move as it's the most convenient and saves a step.

    BTW, the old E20-N still gets a lot of use where speed is not an
    issue. GAWD that thing is slow compared to the D-70.

    Roger Halstead (K8RI & ARRL life member)
    (N833R, S# CD-2 Worlds oldest Debonair)
    Roger, Apr 14, 2005
  20. Toomanyputters

    Alan Browne Guest

    My camera manual recomends formatting in-camera. That seems quite good
    advice to me as that is where the images will be made and stored. I
    delete from the computer or re-format (in camera) from time to time.

    -- r.p.e.35mm user resource:
    -- r.p.d.slr-systems:
    -- slr-systems FAQ project:
    -- [SI] gallery & rulz:
    -- e-meil: Remove FreeLunch.
    Alan Browne, Apr 14, 2005
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