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Card formatting for better reliability
  • Hi everyone,
    it is my first post so be gentle.
    Ever since the hack came out, I have mostly been trying the highest bitrate settings and have spent most of my time with 65000 with no card read/write errors. This was really great since I only have 1 card.
    I have used my card for other things too (watch movies reformatting to NTFS etc) and have noticed the performance going down....
    To cut the long story short, if you need (and I know you do) your card to be as good as new or better, you need to do a THOROUGH format every now and then. Use the CCleaner's Drive Wiper option (takes about 25 minutes on my one and only great 16GB card) and it really will wipe the s**t out of it. Then you just pop it into your GH2 and format to it's heart's desires and it is fast as hell.
    CCleaner is free, you just need to go to the "drive wiper" section and format your card.
    Hope this helps, as many people have been complaining about the write/read errors and I have never had them. My card is the el cheapo Transcend 16GB 10 class BTW.
    QUESTION: Anyone has this card in the 32GB version? Please advise if the performance is the same.
    Thanks all and all the best!
  • 14 Replies sorted by
  • After formatting a card you should always format it again in the camera before use. Otherwise the FAT allocation size will be different than what the camera is designed to use - and performance will be devastated.

  • I wonder if I need to do this with 1 of my cards. I haven't thoroughly tested it yet....but a few weeks ago the power was pulled from my GH2 while recording. It was the 3rd file on the card. When I tried to copy it to a hard drive it said it was corrupt and I had to let windoze fix and repair it before it finally copied. Now when it goes to write file 3 it stops recording and throws up some message(which goes by so fast we haven't yet been able to see what it is.) It then skips file 3....writes to file 4 and we have to start recording again. I've formatted it several times in the camera....maybe there is something left over and I need to try CCleaner to really wipe it???

  • You can always give it a try, no harm will also get rid of any fragmentation etc...
    In any case, as Chris said, always do an in-camera format before trying to record video.
  • What's wrong with formating the card from within the camera?I know it sounds weird but I am paranoid about taking it out.
  • Nothing wrong with it, except it is not a "true" format, it is more like a "quick format" in windows. My main concern was fragmentation, so the CCleaner does a true wipe of all sectors. Again, you need to do a quick format in camera, always before recording to make sure that it has the optimal allocation unit size for the GH2. The camera will give you a message most times if the allocation unit size is not correct (This card is not optimized for video recording). The wipe technique became popular with early SSD drives that did not support automatic wiping of the deleted files, which resulted in fragmentation and a drastic loss of performance after a while.
  • SD cards contain microprocessors that control arrays of inherently unreliable flash memory. They do things like remapping bad areas, etc... Formatting in camera does not instruct the SD card to do a full format. It's kind of like doing a "quick" format on a computer instead of a full format - the device isn't fully examined for errors, etc... Doing a full format, like @allenswrench is suggesting will make the SD card fully re-configure itself and will improve performance and reliability. Even doing a full format on a computer using the built-in formatter won't do as good a job because it wont use multiple passes, test patterns etc...

  • Why not use SD- associations own formatter:
  • So it does low level formatting?
  • yes. That's the only thing it does.
  • How do you Format the SD card on the GH2? i don't see anywhere it can allow me to format the card within the camera..

  • @WRLEO You need to have the PASM dial off iA, and then Format is in the last page of the Menu Settings (the wrench icon)

  • One of my SanDisk HD Video 30 MB/s 16-GB cards, which I'd used for literally thousands of test recordings, started giving me consistent spanning failures. It took a series of full formattings with the SD Card Association Formatter utility to bring the card back to good health. (one formatting wasn't enough) The card has been fine ever since.

  • Most people don't know/understand how shabby Flash memory actually is. Especially MLC job used in SD-cards. It's all really held together with rope, chewing gum, error-correction algorithms, relocation/remapping algorithms and spare sectors. And the smaller the process the more errors/shorter lifetime you get.

    Sometime you need to fill the card to the brink just so it re-maps dodgy sectors then, and not when shooting.