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Old 18-09-2013, 20:17   #1 (permalink)
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Corrupted CF or SD cards

Could be helpful information:-

I had been using one of my spare SD cards to load up a live Linux System for testing before I made a full commitment to upgrading the operating system. After I had finished with the card I put it back into my camera (the D800) and reformatted the card. To check everything was OK I fired off some shots, and after the 3rd shot the camera reported the card was faulty. The camera refused to use the card and refused to reformat it.

I then put the card back to in the computer and read it. There were 5 files - the 5 shots I took, but all files showed the same image - evidence that the file allocation table was corrupt. So I looked at the partition information using 'fdisk' - seemed OK but as I was not interested in the shots I just deleted the partition data and re-assigned the partition. It came out at a different size from that formatted by the camera - obviously a bug somewhere. The partition type was marked correctly by the camera as FAT32 (partition type 'C' as shown by fdisk).


The end result is that having repartitioned the SD card and set the partition type to C, I put the card back in the camera and it worked OK.

So if you have a card that plays up for any reason it might be worth going through the above process to recover the card.

WARNING: This process will not remove the photos from the card but it will make them very difficult to recover using specialist software like 'testdisk'. You have to be prepared to lose the photos if necessary, but you can at least have a chance to get the card back in use.

NOTE: I suspect that Nikon do not actually format the card but only write out the equivalent of the first non-data areas to the card, leaving the rest (the data area) in the state they expect i.e. preformatted FAT32.
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Old 18-09-2013, 20:48   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Corrupted CF or SD cards

I always understood that a card formatted in PC was not liked by the camera (no matter which brand). I always keep an SD card specifically and only for PC use. Thanks for the heads-up
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Old 19-09-2013, 08:16   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Corrupted CF or SD cards

That's interesting. I only use my CF cards for photographic use too and always format them in camera, but I'm sure there are lots of people who look at them as just another form of memory to be used for whatever purpose is needed at the time.
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Old 19-09-2013, 09:15   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Corrupted CF or SD cards

A useful tip. I recently bought a Raspberry Pi and you need an SD card for storage. I ordered a card just for this but was tempted to temporarily use one from my camera. I would have done much the same as you installing a Linux based O/S on the SD card and may well have had similar problems when trying to re-use later in my camera. However, it was recommended that one downloaded a small programme to a PC to format the SD before installing the Linux operating systems. This suggested to me that their might be an incompatibility issue so I was patient and waited for the new SD card to arrive; I am glad I waited now.

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Old 19-09-2013, 21:07   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Corrupted CF or SD cards

Quote:
Originally Posted by grease spot View Post
NOTE: I suspect that Nikon do not actually format the card but only write out the equivalent of the first non-data areas to the card, leaving the rest (the data area) in the state they expect i.e. preformatted FAT32.
I'm almost certain that cameras don't format a card but just initialise the index, so if it's formatted incorrectly (i.e. wrong file format) to what the camera expects (usually FAT32) you'll get problems
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Old 27-09-2013, 22:29   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Corrupted CF or SD cards

most cameras will format (/create a new filesystem),. very surprised if there was a camera that didn't create the filesystem,. is easy to test,. format the card on PC as fat16 or whatever and then format in camera and see if it's changed
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Old 27-09-2013, 22:50   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Corrupted CF or SD cards

Quote:
Originally Posted by Markulous View Post
I'm almost certain that cameras don't format a card but just initialise the index, so if it's formatted incorrectly (i.e. wrong file format) to what the camera expects (usually FAT32) you'll get problems
I think you're right Mark. Normal "quick format" performed by Windows only zeroes out the File Allocation Table and does not actually format the disk. It looks like the camera does the same. What surprised me though is the partition table was rebuilt by the camera with everything correct except for the partition size (a little too small).

Quote:
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most cameras will format (/create a new filesystem),. very surprised if there was a camera that didn't create the filesystem,. is easy to test,. format the card on PC as fat16 or whatever and then format in camera and see if it's changed
I must admit I did not do a partition dump to check the structure of the disk but as per the comment above, I think it just does an index refresh. What you are suggesting is effectively what happened - I had partitioned and formatted the disk for Linux using the ext4 file system so reformatting to FAT32 is in fact renewing the format of the SD card. In carrying out a full format on the card using the PC would suggest that Mark is correct as the camera could then write images to the card without failure.
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