Digital Photography Gear: The Care and Feeding Of Digital Memory Cards

February 05, 2013

Digital Photography Gear: The Care and Feeding Of Digital Memory Cards

Memory cards are easily the most important accessories that you’ll use with your digital camera. Memory cards are film for the digital age. In the days before digital, you couldn’t take a picture without film in your camera. In the same way, you can’t snap a digital image without a memory card.

So memory cards play an integral role in digital photography because they hold onto your images until you are able to move them to your computer.

Different cameras take different types of memory cards. But whatever type of card your camera uses, it’s important to keep in mind that these unassuming little cards are actually sophisticated solid state electronic storage devices. You’ll get the best performance from them if you handle them with some care:

  • Keep the card dry and away from areas of moisture and dust. Don’t leave the card in direct sunlight and avoid subjecting it to extreme temperatures. Avoid dropping the card and never bend it. When it’s not in your camera, keep the card in the plastic case that it came with.
  • When handling the card, avoid touching the contacts, the short gold strips on the back of the card.
  • When inserting the card in either your camera or a card reader, make sure that it’s facing the right direction and stop pushing if it fails to go into the slot easily. Don’t force it. If it’s not going into the slot easily, check again to make sure that it’s facing the right direction.
  • Format your card in the camera you’ll be using it in. If you’re using a card from another camera, be sure to reformat the card in the camera that you’re currently using. This makes sure that the card is set up and prepped specifically for that camera. Look in the manual to see how this is done. And, remember that formatting erases all of the card data so remove anything important beforehand.
  • Don’t erase photos with the camera. You’ll extend the life of your memory card if you erase all of your images from your memory card at once after moving them over to your PC, rather than erasing individual photos using the camera’s delete button. Erasing the files all at once means that you are moving data to and from the memory card fewer times and that’s better for the card.
  • Never remove the memory card while the camera is still transferring data. Most cameras have an indicator to let you know when the memory card is being accessed. And, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of waiting a few seconds before turning your camera off after shooting. This delay will give the camera time to finish transferring any images to the memory card.
  • Turn the camera off before removing or replacing the memory card.
  • Replace or recharge the camera batteries early. Allowing the camera batteries to run down completely increases the likelihood that the juice will run out while the camera is writing images to the memory card.
  • Re-format your card periodically. Reformatting the memory card clears out any residual data and digital debris, which improves performance. Some professionals format their card each time after downloading files to their PC.

If you are looking for more information on camera gear, be sure to check out The Digital Photography Gear Guide .

For Further Reading…

13 Tips On How To Care And Use Your Memory Cards!
Taking Care of Your Camera’s Memory Card

About Digital Camera Memory Cards

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