[Updated] How to Format SD Card for Camera in 3 Ways

How to format SD card for camera? This post will share you 3 methods with tips on how to format SD card in camera.


By Irene / Updated on March 11, 2024

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Why do you need to format SD card for Camera?

When you're using a new camera, it's a good idea to format the SD card in it. This simple action can prevent file issues, make the camera run smoother, and keep it in good shape for longer. Formatting the SD card for camera can also bring these advantages: 

● Compatibility: Cameras require specific file systems to store photos and videos effectively. Formatting ensures the SD card uses the correct format supported by the camera, like FAT32 or exFAT.
● Performance: Formatting removes unnecessary files and fragmentation, ensuring optimal read/write speeds and fixing SD cards slow problem during operation.
● Error prevention: Formatting helps resolve errors and corruption that may occur over time, ensuring the SD card operates smoothly without SD card data loss or file errors.
● Compatibility with devices: Formatting ensures the SD card works seamlessly with other devices like computers and printers, enabling easy file transfer without compatibility issues.
● Fresh start: Formatting provides a clean slate, removing all previous data and settings associated with the card, making it ready for new photos and videos without any clutter.

If you're not sure how to format camera SD card, don't worry! We'll walk you through the steps.

How to format SD card for camera

Most SD cards have two formats: FAT32 and exFAT. FAT32 is more traditional and can't deal with cards over 4GB. So, it's not great for bigger SD cards.

exFAT is newer and works with larger cards without size limits, which is good for cameras to store a large amount of pictures or videos. But, not all devices can use exFAT. You need to confirm which type your camera needs before formatting. Afterward, it is time to format SD card for camera.

Method 1. Use a professional SD card format tool

To make formatting easy and effective, it is strongly to use a professional format tool like AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard. This is a completely free tool for you to easily format the SD card or drive into NTFS, FAT32, exFAT, Ext2 and Ext3.

This powerful tool allows you to overcome limitations by easily formatting a large SD card (up to 2TB) to FAT32. It also helps you avoid errors such as being unable to extend volume to unallocated space or encountering greyed-out options for formatting in Disk Management. Moreover, it even supports format RAW or write-protected SD cards.

You can download this free powerful software to effectively format SD card for camera.

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Before you do:
Connect your SD card to a functional computer and ensure that it's recognized.
Formatting will delete all data on the SD card partition, so be sure to back up your important data beforehand.

Step 1. Open AOMEI Partition Assistant, locate the partition on your SD card that requires formatting, right-click it, and select "Format Partition”.


Step 2. In the dialog box, choose the file system compatible with your camera, such as formatting to FAT32 or exFAT. (Here, select exFAT.)


Step 3. Review the pending operations. Once confirmed, click “Apply” > "Proceed” to start formatting.


In Step 2, you can assign a partition label to this partition, making it easy to distinguish from others if there are multiple partitions.
Cluster size denotes the smallest space on the disk used to store a file. In step 2, you have the option to adjust the cluster size of your partition according to your preferences.
Besides formatting SD cards, AOMEI Partition can also format external hard drives such as SSDs, USB flash drives, and other similar devices.

Method 2. Format SD card for camera with CMD

How to format a SD card for camera? You can also use a Windows built-in tools. Windows offers a command-line tool for formatting SD cards within the Windows environment. If you're comfortable with command input, this utility can be helpful.

Step 1. Press "Win + R" to open the Run dialogue box.

Step 2. Type "cmd" to launch the Command Prompt.

Step 3. After the Command Prompt appears, enter "diskpart" into the window and press Enter.

Step 4. Once diskpart.exe opens, input the following commands:

● list disk
● select disk 1
● list partition
● select partition 1
● format fs=exFAT quick (exFAT can be replaced with FAT32, or other file systems)


Method 3. Use File Explorer to format SD card for camera

Like CMD, you can also use File Explorer to format the SD card for camera.

Step 1. Connect your SD card to your computer using an SD card reader or slot, and ensure that it's recognized. Open Windows File Explorer by double-clicking on Computer, This PC, or My Computer.

Step 2. Locate your SD card, typically found under "Devices with Removable Storage." Right-click on it and choose "Format."

Step 3. In the pop-up window, you can choose "exFAT" from the list of file systems. Click on "Start" to initiate the formatting process on the SD card.


Please wait patiently, and your SD card will be formatted with the target file system. You can check the "Quick Format" option, as it helps expedite the process effectively.

Tips: How to format SD card in camera

If you want to know how to format SD card in camera, we also would like to share the guidance with you. We've compiled information on popular camera brands in the section for your reference. However, formatting SD card in camera has limited formatting options and error handling methods. For better results, it is suggested to format SD card with a professional tool.

1. Format SD card in Canon camera

Step 1. Turn on the camera and press the MENU button. Go to the wrench icon and select the specific card you wish to format.

Step 2. Choose Format and press the Set button.

Step 3. For a quick format, directly select OK and press Set. To perform a full format, press the INFO button, checkmark Low level format, then select OK and press Set.


Please note that a quick format will delete data, while a full format makes it unrecoverable. Click here to learn more about the differences between quick format and full format.

2. Format SD card in Sony camera

Step 1. Power on the camera and press the Menu button.

Step 2. Use the control wheel to navigate to Setup and then select Format. If the camera has 2 memory card slots, you'll need to choose between Slot 1 or Slot 2.

Step 3. A confirmation message appears to ensure you want to format all data. Use the control wheel to select Enter.


3. Format SD card in Nikon camera

Step 1. Power up the camera and press the Menu button located on the back.

Step 2. Scroll down to access the Setup Menu or locate the wrench icon.

Step 3. Select Format Memory Card and click OK to confirm.

Step 4. Choose Yes from the popup menu and then press OK to proceed.


4. Format SD card in Leica camera

Step 1. Turn on the camera and press the Menu button.

Step 2. Select Format SD card, then choose either Yes or Overwrite. The Overwrite option conducts a full format.


Please notice that in some models, the format function may be located under SETUP.


As you can see, if you want to know how to format SD card for camera, AOMEI Partition Assistant can be the most effective method. If you accidentally format an old SD card and lost important data, you can upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional and choose the Recover Data provided by this robust software can help you quickly do SD card format recovery.

It is also recommended to run this software to extend drive space, rebuild MBR, create bootable media, convert disk between MBR/GPT, etc. For Windows Server users who want to enjoy the benefits, it offers the Server Edition.

Irene · Staff Editor
Irene is an Editor of AOMEI Technology. She devotes herself in giving insightful thoughts on common computer problems with simple and clear guidance. Irene loves to help people solve problems and explore more solutions on relevant issues. She loves reading, singing and travelling.