Microdrive, CompactFlash - digital camera problems?

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Decided to upgrade your Microdrive or CompactFlash card to a bigger one only to find it doesn't work?

Recently, I decided to upgrade my cards to 4GB from the 1GB cards I had always used. Having searched around for the best deals on eBay I found a seller who had some Hitachi ones for a good price so decided to go for them.. Just before I bid on one I noticed at the bottom of his description a note that referred to the Fat32 file system used in Windows and a warning to check your camera can actually use Fat32..

Having searched through my manuals (I have two cameras; a Fuji S602 Pro and a Fuji S2 Pro) I finally managed to find some info relating to the file system.. as it turned out both cameras can only use Fat16 and not Fat32.

This sounds complicated but its not really, basically it means the camera can not use Fat32 which in turn means it can only use up to 2GB cards (which use Fat16).. anything above 2GB will cause an error message to be shown and the card will not work. The manual actually states you can use up to a 1GB card but I found out by accident you can get away with the 2GB card.

So, is there any way around it? Well there is but its a pain. You can split any card by partioning it in to 2GB chunks then formatting the partions in Fat16 or just Fat using Windows (which I have read about but not tried), or you can resell it on eBay... There is no other way around it.

One other problem I have noticed is that if you try to format a card on your PC using Windows XP you may find your camera will not be able to use it and you will get an error message appearing "Not initialized".. (see my other guide for more info). I use Windows XP so I'm guessing the operating system is defaulting to Fat32 and causing the problem. I have been told you can get around this if you have a system using Windows 98 but I haven't tried it. The simplest and quickest way though is to format it "in camera". If you don't know how to do that try looking under the picture preview settings...

You may see cards that are listed as type 1 or type 2. As far as I can tell they refer to type 1 being for Fat16 and Type 2 being for Fat32, also type 2 is supposed to be faster than a type 1 for read write. If your camera has been designed for the earlier type of card buying a type 2 card may not increase the read write speed as the camera itself may be limited in read write speed, again, I think this goes back to the problem with the Windows Fat file system... If there's anyone out there who can shed further light on this subject I would appreciate it if you can let me know so I can pass it on.

Lastly, if you are thinking of upgrading your cards check your manual first.. if it recommends a card size stick to it as you may find you have invested in something you can't use. If it had not been for the eBay seller mentioning it on his listing I guess I would have made the same mistake, so a big thank you to him. If I can locate his listings again I will give him a mention on this guide as a thank you.

Hope this helps someone out there...   

Your vote really would be appreciated as the more I get the more people will see the guide. Thank you...

P.s. Just found out who the eBayer was who supplied the information: GIZMO-DEALS

Look out for them as they are top eBayers who know their stuff...

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