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Formatting the media card

From: Shooting with the Canon 5D Mark III

Video: Formatting the media card

Most media cards come from the factory already formatted, but it's a really good idea to format a new card with your specific camera. You'll use your camera's Format command any time that you want to erase the card. So, after you've pulled your images into your computer, you'll need to put the card back into your camera, and format it. It's very important that you choose Format to do this, rather than using the camera's Erase All function. Repeated use of Erase All can leave your card unreliable, and result in you being unable to get the images off your card.

Formatting the media card

Most media cards come from the factory already formatted, but it's a really good idea to format a new card with your specific camera. You'll use your camera's Format command any time that you want to erase the card. So, after you've pulled your images into your computer, you'll need to put the card back into your camera, and format it. It's very important that you choose Format to do this, rather than using the camera's Erase All function. Repeated use of Erase All can leave your card unreliable, and result in you being unable to get the images off your card.

Now, you can usually use special file recovery software to get to unreadable images, but it's a lot better to just avoid the problem in the first place. If a card does get messed up, then formatting it should put it back to normal. Since Format is a command that you're going to use very regularly, it's good learn exactly where it is. Format is located over here in the setup category, so I am going to use the Q button to get over there, and it's right here on the first page, there at the bottom: Format card. Scroll down. Hit Set. Now, the 5D Mark III can hold two different cards; it's got a CompactFlash, and an SD slot.

I have cards in both slots right now, so I can select either one of these. If I only had a card in one slot or the other, the missing slot would be grayed out, and so I wouldn't have a choice here. So, I am going to start with the CompactFlash card; I am just going to select that, and hit the Set button. It tells me how big the card is, how much is used right now, and asks me to confirm, so I am going to say OK. And this goes pretty quickly, because when it's formatting, all it's doing is wiping out the directory information on the card; it's not actually wiping out any of the data. That means that if you were to give the card to someone else, or sell the card, or something like that, it is possible for them to recover images from that card, so you want to be careful about that when you're giving a card away.

The good news is, that means if you accidentally erase a card, it is possible for you to recover lost images also, sometimes. That's not a guarantee, so you want to be careful with this command. Note that when I go over to the SD card, I get an additional option, Low level format, which I can activate by hitting the little trashcan button here, and that puts a checkmark right there. That actually does go through and wipe out every sector on the card, so it's a really thorough formatting. It takes longer, so you don't want to leave that on unless you have to.

This card is empty, so I'm not going to bother reformatting it right now. You want to reformat any time you need to erase all the images on the card; it's a much more reliable way of erasing images. You also want to do it if you've got a new card. It's best to use a card that's been formatted by the camera you're shooting with, so any time you get a new card, stick it in the camera, and format it right away. You might also sometimes get an error on your card, and that'll show up on the upper LCD display. If that happens, the first thing you should do is try formatting the card. It may be that you simply have a bad card; it could be that the formatting has simply gone wrong.

So very often, formatting will fix a card that you might be having trouble with. Formatting is an option you're going to use a lot. Later in the course, we're going to show you how to put it into a special custom menu,s so that you can have quick and easy access to it.

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This video is part of

Image for Shooting with the Canon 5D Mark III
Shooting with the Canon 5D Mark III

108 video lessons · 21143 viewers

Ben Long
Author

 
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  1. 10m 29s
    1. Welcome
      2m 16s
    2. What is an SLR?
      5m 28s
    3. A note for 5D Mark II users
      50s
    4. Using this course
      1m 55s
  2. 35m 44s
    1. Exploring basic camera anatomy
      5m 28s
    2. Attaching a lens to your camera
      4m 3s
    3. Examining batteries and media cards
      8m 35s
    4. Powering up
      1m 49s
    5. Exploring the menu system
      2m 53s
    6. Clearing all settings
      2m 5s
    7. Setting the date and time
      1m 55s
    8. Setting the language
      1m 42s
    9. Formatting the media card
      3m 4s
    10. Holding the camera
      4m 10s
  3. 25m 6s
    1. Setting Scene Intelligent Auto mode
      1m 28s
    2. Exploring the viewfinder display
      5m 51s
    3. Touring the LCD screen and the status display
      2m 22s
    4. Exploring the top-mounted control buttons
      1m 42s
    5. Autofocus basics
      5m 7s
    6. Metering basics
      1m 42s
    7. Reviewing images
      2m 59s
    8. Working with image playback
      3m 55s
  4. 39m 32s
    1. Exploring Program mode
      41s
    2. Working with exposure compensation
      5m 2s
    3. Using the lock switch
      1m 21s
    4. Revisiting metering
      1m 43s
    5. Changing the ISO
      2m 14s
    6. Looking at ISO speed settings
      4m 36s
    7. Exploring long exposure noise reduction
      2m 53s
    8. Exploring high ISO noise reduction
      1m 40s
    9. Using program shift
      2m 11s
    10. Exploring image format and size
      3m 59s
    11. Using the Info button
      2m 4s
    12. Examining level and grid display
      3m 45s
    13. Using the Quick Control screen
      1m 35s
    14. Setting the color space
      1m 25s
    15. Configuring multiple media cards
      3m 24s
    16. Using the feature guide
      59s
  5. 23m 15s
    1. Exploring focus modes
      2m 25s
    2. Selecting autofocus areas
      3m 54s
    3. Exploring other autofocus options
      3m 44s
    4. Customizing servo auto focus
      4m 49s
    5. Exploring autofocus custom functions
      4m 50s
    6. Using manual focus
      3m 33s
  6. 10m 31s
    1. Using auto white balance
      1m 48s
    2. Exploring white balance presets
      3m 7s
    3. Using manual white balance
      5m 36s
  7. 10m 47s
    1. Exploring Drive mode
      4m 52s
    2. Using the self-timer
      3m 38s
    3. Using remote controls
      2m 17s
  8. 52m 26s
    1. Exploring metering modes
      3m 26s
    2. Using exposure lock
      1m 22s
    3. Working with focus points and metering
      3m 47s
    4. Exploring Aperture Priority mode
      3m 0s
    5. Using the depth of field preview button
      2m 40s
    6. Using Shutter Priority mode
      3m 26s
    7. Using Manual mode
      3m 27s
    8. Using auto exposure bracketing
      6m 3s
    9. Exploring Bulb mode
      2m 34s
    10. Working with the Auto Lighting Optimizer
      1m 40s
    11. Correcting lens aberration
      2m 46s
    12. Exploring Highlight Tone Priority
      2m 25s
    13. Understanding high-dynamic range (HDR)
      7m 5s
    14. Creating multiple exposures
      6m 25s
    15. Using the mirror lockup feature
      2m 20s
  9. 27m 38s
    1. Modifying LCD brightness
      3m 27s
    2. Rotating images
      2m 36s
    3. Using the playback grid
      42s
    4. Enabling AF point display
      1m 18s
    5. Rating images
      3m 4s
    6. Protecting and deleting images
      4m 40s
    7. Using Quick Control during playback
      1m 17s
    8. Exploring file numbering options
      2m 43s
    9. Creating folders
      1m 10s
    10. Changing file names
      3m 12s
    11. Adding copyright information
      3m 29s
  10. 7m 57s
    1. Defining picture styles
      2m 0s
    2. Exploring predefined picture styles
      2m 1s
    3. Adjusting predefined picture styles
      1m 56s
    4. Working with the monochromatic picture style
      2m 0s
  11. 22m 28s
    1. Activating Live View
      7m 16s
    2. Focusing in Live View
      5m 32s
    3. Focus manually in Live View
      1m 25s
    4. Working with aspect ratio
      2m 33s
    5. Exploring other Live View options
      3m 36s
    6. Reviewing the drawbacks to using Live View
      2m 6s
  12. 12m 16s
    1. Shooting video in Auto and Program modes
      6m 39s
    2. Shooting video in Priority or Manual modes
      3m 35s
    3. Exploring movie playback
      2m 2s
  13. 13m 0s
    1. Exploring custom modes
      5m 38s
    2. Using the custom menu
      2m 56s
    3. Exploring custom controls
      4m 26s
  14. 8m 57s
    1. What are custom functions?
      35s
    2. Working with exposure level increments
      1m 34s
    3. Bracketing auto cancel
      53s
    4. Changing the number of bracketed shots
      1m 5s
    5. Changing ISO speed setting increments
      1m 34s
    6. Exploring the Live View shooting area display
      40s
    7. Enabling safety shift
      2m 6s
    8. Clearing all custom functions
      30s
  15. 8m 16s
    1. Camera and sensor cleaning
      3m 12s
    2. Using the Battery Info command
      1m 45s
    3. Looking at operating conditions and temperatures
      2m 3s
    4. Getting firmware updates
      1m 16s
  16. 15m 10s
    1. Exploring focus and composition
      5m 31s
    2. Using an exposure strategy
      5m 11s
    3. Controlling exposure through Program mode
      4m 28s
  17. 23s
    1. Goodbye
      23s

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