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Formatting camera memory chip

Question: Have you any info on formatting the memory chip for a camera after deleting all the photos? I tried to make an 8x10 enlargement of our family photo.

The film developer recommended using a higher resolution. I figure it doesn't get much better than a D50 so I asked the clerk what to do. She said that if a memory chip is emptied but not reformatted, the photo (that was deleted) is actually still there and can bleed onto the new photo taking it's space.

Do you have any input on this? The photo is great but if you look close, it definitely could use better resolution.

Answer: This question has been heroically rescued from the Open Questions forum by Greg Woosley. You can view his reply below, and stop by his website at http://codenoter.blogspot.com/ for some useful tips on "tricky geek things he's figured out once and doesn't want to figure out again later".

Sounds like the clerk was confusing technologies. Digital files can't "bleed" together - a bit is either one or zero. So the resolution problem is probably:

1) a camera setting
2) dirty lens (we have lots of kids, fingers and food get everywhere)
3) poor optics (HP digital cameras suck, for example)

Deleting a picture (or any file) off a card formatted for cameras (usually FAT32), does leave the actual file - standard disk recovery tools can find it, until another file is written to the same physical location on the card. Just like hard drives or old floppies. Most cameras have an option to do a "quick" vs. "complete" or "deep" format of a card - this second option writes all zeros to the card, overwriting any previously deleted but not yet overwritten files. But you don't have to do that to prevent deleted pictures from affecting new ones - that doesn't happen with digital photography.

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