Can you provide some tips about memory card usage?
Olympus digital cameras use various types of memory cards that serve as removable memory -- SmartMedia cards, xD-Picture cards, CompactFlash cards, SD/SDHC cards and microSD cards. They are a renewable resource that can be used again and again. Unlike film, they are not susceptible to the effects of extreme weather or airport x-rays. People have even reported accidentally running their cards through the laundry with no adverse effects. Memory cards can be used thousands of times if you follow the following tips:
Keep the contacts clean
Avoid touching the metal contacts on memory cards that have exposed contacts - SmartMedia cards, xD-Picture cards, SD/SDHC cards and microSD cards. Skin oil on the contacts can reduce connectivity with the camera's memory card slot or a memory card reader. Contacts should be wiped clean with a dry soft cloth, such as a microfiber cloth. Do not use solvents.
Format the card occasionally Memory cards should be formatted to maintain top performance. They should only be formatted using the camera - never format using a computer as it may render the card unreadable by the camera. If a memory card is new or has been used in another camera, it is best to format the card in the camera that it will be used in. Formatting creates a directory called the File Allocation Table (FAT) in the camera and on the card that is used to manage and save the image files.
Formatting clears the directory structure of the card and removes any artifacts that may be left behind from erasing. Repeatedly using the ERASE and ERASE ALL camera options and not formatting can result in a buildup of file artifacts that may eventually cause the card to fail. Be sure to download and save any images on the memory card before formatting.
If the memory card is accidentally formatted in the camera, all is not lost - you may be able to recover your images. Formatting clears the directory from the card that is used to find and manage the image files and creates a new directory. The images are still there, but there is no way for the camera or the imaging software to find them.
Do not shoot any new images if the card is accidentally formatted - the new images will overwrite the old images. There is a very strong possibility of retrieving images from a formatted memory card using media recovery software, which can be purchased at a camera store or online. There are also free and trial versions of media recovery software that can be found on the Internet. The software can find the files and then the files can be saved to a folder.
Memory card corruption
If you get an error message on the camera LCD screen that says CARD ERROR or FORMAT CARD, or the computer says there are no images on the card, the card has probably become corrupted. Memory card corruption has many causes, but these are the most common:
- Returning an edited image to the memory card: If an edited image is returned to the memory card and the card is put back into the camera, the camera doesn't understand the modified file information and doesn't know how to deal with the file. The most common symptom is that the camera can read images in playback up to a point and no further. This is because it can't get past the modified data. Never return an edited image to a memory card. Become familiar with the procedures in the image editing software for saving files.
- Disconnecting the camera or removing the memory card from a computer while the computer is still communicating with the card. When a computer is aware of the presence of a memory card, it is continually in communication with the content of the card and the image file information - the file header on a Windows computer or the info fork on a Mac computer. If the camera's USB cable is pulled from the camera or computer, or the memory card is pulled from a memory card reader or printer while computer is reading the card, the header or info fork might become corrupted. The thumbnail file of the image may appear scrambled or there will part of the image with the rest of the area being gray. Here, again, the camera will be unable to read the corrupted data and may not be able to get past the corrupted image. Media recovery software may be able to save the card and the images, but the chances are less than if an edited image is returned to the card. To properly disconnect a USB cable or remove a memory card from a memory card reader or a printer, first close all image files and imaging applications to be sure the computer or printer is no longer communicating with the files. Then shut down the USB connection with the camera or card. Computers see cameras and memory cards as drives. On a Windows computer, use the Safely Remove Hardware function in the Taskbar on the Desktop screen before unplugging a camera or removing a memory card. On a Mac platform, either drag the drive icon on the Desktop screen to the Trash, or use the EJECT button before disconnecting the camera or removing the card from the card reader or printer.
Caring for and using a memory card properly can help avoid the calamity of losing precious memories which often far outweigh the monetary value of a memory card. Employing the methods above will give your memory cards a long and healthy life.
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