Formatting CF card outside of camera

Discussion in 'Digital Point & Shoot Camera' started by Isaac Wingfield, May 25, 2005.

  1. I have an older SiPix camera, an SP1300. I'd like to use a CF card
    larger than 32 Meg in it, but I've seen a warning that trying to format
    a larger card in the camera may damage the card. That seems a bit odd;
    could it be true? I got the camera used and have no docs on it.

    I use a PCMCIA adapter for transferring the image files from the CF into
    my Mac; can I format a higher-capacity card with the computer using that?

    The 32 Meg card worked right off without formatting; do I even need to
    format a brand-new larger card?

    thanks, Isaac
    Isaac Wingfield, May 25, 2005
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  2. Isaac Wingfield

    ASAAR Guest

    I've never heard of any cards being damaged of any size being
    physically damaged if formatted in a camera. Very large cards, such
    as those with multi-GB capacity may be incompatible with older
    cameras. If you have one of those, it *might* be possible to use it
    in the camera by using a computer to create a "small" partition on
    the card (such as 1GB or less) and then formatting it. But normally
    most formatting problems are avoided by using the camera to format
    the cards.

    You can. And a PC can also be used to format the card. But
    again, the best, most compatible formatting will be done by the
    camera, unless the camera or it's software is defective.

    You may not have had to format the card, but you bought it used.
    I'm sure that the previous owner at some time must have formatted
    it. Nobody other than the manufacturer or someone that has
    experience using the same new cards will know for sure whether the
    cards are formatted at all. They probably will be, but the type of
    format used may not be compatible with your older camera.

    Not all cameras use the same formatting. Assuming that the size
    of the larger card that you buy will be compatible with your camera,
    if the manufacturer of the card preformats it for you, do you think
    it's more likely that it would be formatted to be compatible with
    newer cameras, many of which can utilize cards of 4GB or larger, or
    that it would be formatted for cameras not designed to use cards
    larger than, say, 128MB or 256MB?
    ASAAR, May 26, 2005
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  3. I understand that there are some oddballs, but I would think that any
    card that appears as a "normal" disk to a computer would have to use a
    standard format. I have read that ISO 9660 is used, and I know that a
    Mac can read that format without extra drivers. And I installed no
    drivers to read the 32 Meg card I have. It shows up and behaves just
    like a normal disk -- I can move files to and from it, and delete files,
    exactly as I would with a "standard" disk drive.
    Actually, IF the cards are formatted ito a standard (such as ISO 9660),
    I would assume that the formatting is in no way determined by size of
    the memory card, any more than it is with rotating memory. An ISO 9660
    drive can be almost any size.

    Isaac Wingfield, May 26, 2005
  4. Isaac Wingfield

    ASAAR Guest

    It depends entirely on the operating system, and what kind of file
    systems they understand. The problem doesn't lie with the computer,
    but with the camera. ISO 9660 is irrelevant for most cameras.
    Until recently, the only file system they understood was 16-bit FAT
    (file allocation tables). To be able to handle larger cards, they
    had to switch to 32-bit FAT. If you use your computer to format a
    card, you better be able to know what kind of file system needs to
    be created to be usable by the camera, and the formatting program
    must be able to allow you to specify not only the file system, but
    the sub-type as well. On one old computer that I still have running
    Windows95, it can't format a drive as large as some CF cards that
    are now used in cameras. And if you take large cards that are used
    in the latest Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Kodak, Olympus (etc.) cameras, the
    JPG files on them won't be seen if the cards are plugged into old
    models of the same brand, because the operating system used in the
    older cameras weren't designed to handle such "large drives".

    You have much to learn, grasshopper. :) Was your original
    question a troll? You now seem to have all the answers to your
    original questions! Your assumption(s) are wrong, btw.
    ASAAR, May 26, 2005
  5. Yup. Been learning for a long time. Still a few things I don't know.
    Nope. That's a stupid waste of newsgroups.
    Just trying to relate what I do know to what I don't.

    Your mention of FAT16 and FAT32 helped, though. Macs can handle those
    older formats just fine. I don't intend to buy a card large enough to
    require FAT32 anyhow.

    One answer I haven't gotten is whether an attempt to format a card
    larger than 32 Meg in my camera could damage the card. I have read that
    in a review of the camera.

    Thanks for your help.

    Isaac Wingfield, May 26, 2005
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