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When I insert my SD card into my laptop after shooting photos and videos, two folders show up: DCIM and MISC. I have heard people say you need to copy everything over when transferring, but the MISC folder is completely empty...

I have transferred files a few different ways in the past:

  1. Copying DCIM and MISC over.
  2. Copying just the DCIM folder over.
  3. Copying just the .CR2, .JPEG, and .MOV files over.

Each of these ways seems to have worked out the same way for me when editing, so I'm just trying to figure out why people say you should transfer all the folders over. Does it help for certain editing software? Are the folders just important for the camera? Any knowledge would be helpful. I'm just trying to make sense of it all.

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    Could you give some sources as to where people say you should copy the entire folder structure? – Philip Kendall Sep 20 '15 at 7:28
  • I've really only heard it conversationally. When I was in school, they stressed that point. More recently, on a video shoot I was called out for not copying everything over. Maybe it's just because they're used to working with other cameras that do require that kind of transferring... – steve_oh111 Sep 22 '15 at 8:13
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    I guess this recommendations comes from people used to video camcorders using AVCHD file systems, where you probably want to preserve everything under the PRIVATE folder. (That'd make sense, as you mentioned you were in a video shoot.) – Alberto Sep 25 '15 at 6:16
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I have no idea why someone would recommend this. I suspect it is just superstition. There generally isn't anything important or useful to you outside of the DCIM folder, and you certainly don't get any benefit in copying that folder vs. copying its contents — your computer does the exact same thing either way.

Canon's MISC folder is explained at What is the function of the MISC folder on my memory card?; my Fujifilm camera has a similar FFDB folder. So, even if yours wasn't empty, it's not something you need on import. You can just copy the image and movie files you actually need by whatever method you want.

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    Is it possible that what he read concerns copying from one card to another (e.g. larger) one to continue using in the camera? – Random832 Sep 20 '15 at 19:18
  • @Random832 Maybe? I don't know why you'd want to do that, though — you might as well just put in the new card fresh and tuck the old one somewhere safe. Unless your plan is to keep your SD card as your main photo storage, and that's a terrible plan. And even then, you don't generally need the stuff outside of DCIM. – mattdm Sep 20 '15 at 22:21
  • Maybe a custom WB setting or the like (when transferring to a different card for use in the camera)? – Michael C Sep 21 '15 at 0:19
  • Thanks, you've confirmed what I thought I knew...but someone called me out recently for not transferring EVERYTHING over before reformatting the card, so I just wanted to double check. – steve_oh111 Sep 21 '15 at 3:22
  • Within the DCIM folder, there's a EOSMISC folder that contains a .ctg file. Is this just info. for the camera as well? – steve_oh111 Sep 21 '15 at 3:24
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The misc folder is for storing in camera data for everything other than the image data itself.

IE, thumb nail metadata, temporary data and if you are printing directly from the camera, it stores the DPOF data( digital print order format).

I personally don't need to copy this info, so I import just the images in Lightroom.

  • So if you want to preserve a digital print order created in camera you would need to copy the other folder to your computer of you want to later print from the transferred files on the computer rather than printing from the SD card? – Michael C Sep 21 '15 at 0:21
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I think it's primarily related to copying video files, expecially long ones. Some cameras will split up video files if they are longer than a certain length. For example, my camcorder splits up the files into 45 minute chunks if they are over 45 minutes long. When copying over only the video files and not the whole file structure, I've had problems with the 2nd and subsequent files in the sequence where the audio and video get out of sync. When I copied over the entire file structure, the problem went away. For shorter clips that don't get split, I haven't noticed the problem, but better safe than sorry!

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