A lot of anecdotes abound about SD or CF card filesystems being corrupted after either deleting junk files in-camera, modifying the card contents on a PC and returning it to the camera, or using an on-card filesystem created on a PC.

Discounting defective cards, damaged cameras, handling mistakes (pulling the card out of a camera that is still writing to it, pulling it out of a PC that has pending buffers to write, etc...), and performance problems due to absurd filesystem parameters (unusual block sizes etc.): Are there any actual past or present still camera models which are established, in all or any firmware version, to have (software or hardware) design defects resulting in such problems?

  • \$\begingroup\$ This is like the inverse of a shopping question – What cameras not to buy? \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Feb 15, 2019 at 15:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Or rather, what cameras, if you get to handle them, not to do certain things with :) Also, unlike a shopping question, availability of a camera not to buy becoming limited does not devaluate old answers - it is actually becoming easier not to buy that model! \$\endgroup\$ Feb 15, 2019 at 15:57
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ The box brownie was useless at deleting pictures already taken; avoid that one ;) \$\endgroup\$
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 15, 2019 at 16:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Doesn't constructively accept SD or CF cards. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 15, 2019 at 16:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ This is like asking if there are any photo films that don't react to light...Sure, I'm sure it's happened...but it'd be an anomaly, not a brand standard...A camera's primary function is to capture and record. If it can't do that...It's a paperweight with minor photographic abilities. I only shot the Fuji S3/S5...some early Nikons...and Canons from the 10D on up...haven't heard of this issue...but my anecdote is worth about as much as the above paperweight camera. \$\endgroup\$
    – OnBreak.
    Feb 15, 2019 at 16:54

1 Answer 1


The problem is usually not with the camera at all. It is with the way the file system created on another device does not comply with what the camera requires for the card to properly work in the camera.

That's why the best practice is to format the card in the camera in which it will be used. After it is formatted, the camera will create a file system that is compliant with the Design rule for Camera File System (DCF) Standard. If the identical file system is created using a PC (from a "disc image" copied from an identical card that has been formatted by the camera), there should be no problems.¹

The problem is that some computers, usually those loaded with "crapware" by the manufacturer or seller in exchange for payment from software companies who wish pieces of their software to be pre-installed on computers sold at retail, add things to file systems that are not compliant with the DCF standard to SD cards inserted into the computer's reader.

Here's an example using the Canon EOS 6D to work around an issue one user had with his customized image file naming convention when he imported them to this PC that was posed by Canon changing the way image folder numbers are automatically named in newer EOS cameras (always reset to folder # "100" after a format) compared to the way they were automatically named in older EOS cameras (continuing with the last used folder number on the card just before it was formatted) after an in-camera format in Canon 6D resetting folders on card format - a way to stop this?:

Page 135 of the EOS 6D Instruction Manual explains how to create the needed folder structure and how to name folders. All folders with images must be created inside a folder named "DCIM". Basically each folder name must have 8 digits consisting of three numerical digits from 100 to 999 and five alphabetic (or _) digits. There can only be one folder that begins with any unique 3 digit number between 100 and 999, regardless of the five alphabetic characters that follow. You can have both a folder "100AAAAA" and "101AAAAA", but not both a folder "100AAAAA" and "100AAAAB".

One easy way to do this would be to erase all images on the card (which would leave your folder structure with customized folder names intact), copy the card's disc image to your computer, format the card in camera, then copy the disk image back onto the card with your PC.

¹ Based on your assumption there are not defective cards, damaged cameras, etc. involved.

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    \$\begingroup\$ If a filesystem that would be perfectly in-spec to a modern computer with a driver for that filesystem causes trouble with a camera (ie isn't either handled well or rejected with an error message outright), I would call that camera bugged.... \$\endgroup\$ Feb 16, 2019 at 8:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @rackandboneman Who says that the computer's OS is working according to specs, though? It could be just as well that the camera only works properly with in-spec FS while the OS ignores one or more aspects of the FS's specification. \$\endgroup\$
    – flolilo
    Feb 16, 2019 at 13:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ Since we're talking about FAT, it's extremely unlikely that there's serious bugs; this is a simple filesystem that's been around for almost fifty years with some minor enhancements. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Feb 16, 2019 at 15:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ Michael, I think it might be more helpful here to make an upfront distinction between the file system (not a problem) and the automatically-created directory ("folder") structure (apparently a problem in the quoted situation) \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Feb 16, 2019 at 15:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm The quoted situation did not involve any conflict between the folder structure and the file system. Everything between the camera, card, and computer worked as it was supposed to. It involved working around a change in the way the camera started using folder number "100CANON" each time the card was formatted in the camera instead of continuing with folder "368CANON" if the last folder used before the format was "367CANON". This upset the OP's custom naming convention of images when they were imported to his PC. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Feb 17, 2019 at 1:48

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