Card cannot be accessed. Reinsert/change the card or format card with camera

Really this is The Worst Message any Photographer could Have ! First, I own Canon T4i/650D , I was photographing a concert and suddenly this message appear on the screen and memory card can not be read !

I Tried to insert my SDHC memory in the laptop to check the all day images I photographed , But I shocked that all my files are gone as it ask me to format the memory on the laptop too !

Imaging how all your daily photos can be deleted without any warnings !

I have this memory card : Dane-Elec Pro 8GB 200x Class 10 SDHC Memory Card Its Working well in most of times , but this message appear suddenly after long period of photographing ..

I really need your help , is it memory problem , or the card slot pins in my canon T4i . Share your experience :)

Sorry for my bad English .. Thanks in Advance, Amro.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Have you tried a different card? \$\endgroup\$
    – BobT
    Mar 13, 2013 at 11:27
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Do not reformat the card! photo.stackexchange.com/questions/35363/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Mar 13, 2013 at 11:55
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ See also How can I recover photo files from a CF memory card with a corrupt filesystem? \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Mar 13, 2013 at 13:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ Bobt Not Yet, I want to be sure first that it is memory problem for saving some $$ , but it seems that I have to buy new good one . @MichaelClark I forget to mention that I Tried to recover the deleted photos using recover software , but it recover older images and not the images that I lost the last time ! \$\endgroup\$ Mar 13, 2013 at 14:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The best assurance is to buy higher-quality brand name memory cards, but even those can (and do) go bad. Some higher-end cameras have dual card slots and can write to both at once as insurance. In general, don't let too many images accumulate on the card before saving them elsewhere, so all of your eggs aren't in the same basket. (Using multiple smaller cards instead of one big one is one approach; this may actually increase your chances of hitting some problem, but will hopefully make that less catastrophic.) In any case, once a card has issues, it's not worth trying to save it. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Mar 13, 2013 at 16:23

2 Answers 2


It sounds to me like your card is dead or damaged. I recommend that you follow the instructions in the comments to your question and try to recover what you can.

Memory cards fail, it does not happen very often for most people, but it does happen. I have had 3 die over the last 10 years.

You can check to see if your card has a warranty or guarantee of some kind that will get it replaced with a new or refurbished one, but for an 8GB card it may be cheaper to buy a new one.

Make sure you clearly mark that card so you never use it again.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for your comment, Some people tell me that maybe it is camera problem , as sometimes the card slot pins in bend or broken .. The Card is class 10 and 200x and still new , that's why I thought it might be a camera problem, Anyway am going to buy new memory , any recommendation ?? \$\endgroup\$ Mar 13, 2013 at 14:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ SDHC memory card slots do not contain "pins" the way a CompactFlash slot do, they are more like pads that rest against the memory card. A pad could be damaged. Here is a How Stuff Works article with a lot more information computer.howstuffworks.com/secure-digital-memory-cards.htm I recommend having a good camera repair place take a quick look at your camera. I prefer to use Lexar Pro memory cards that are as fast as I can afford at the time. I buy sizes that hold around 300 pictures each. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 13, 2013 at 20:26

How cards are working can help you to understand the issue you have. Every card has it's own file system management. For example there are NTFS, or FAT32.

For example, my card is using FAT32 system management to track everything I have on my card. You can imagine this as a table with for example 3 columns. In first column there is file name, and in the second column, there is pointer which tells where file starts, and at the third column there is file size. So our table can be represented as:

enter image description here

There are lot more information which is held in this table, but this is very simple example. When you delete one picture from your camera, picture is not physically (zeros and ones) erased on your card, it is only deleted from table above. If you want to recover your picture, you need to find suitable program for recovering, but, you should immediately stop shouting, case you can overwrite pictures you want to recover. This can help you in a case when you delete photo you didn't want to.

In your case, you have problems with this table itself, it is damaged, and because of that, your camera is having problems referencing pictures from your card. Do not format your card, because, when you do it, new table will be created, and you will lose your data.

There are lot's of recovery software which can help you. After you recover your photos, format your card.

This is the topic where you can find interesting answers too.


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