Showing results for 
Show  only  | Search instead for 
Did you mean: 

Looking for some advice please... I've low level formatted my SD card in camera by mistake :(


Hello everyone.


I'm looking for some advice regarding low level formatting in the camera... although i believe i have researched enough to know the answer.


I photographed an event lastnight.. and one process i use is to use the protect option within the camera, and then use the erase card option.


This time however... being very tired, i formatted the card, and behold... the low level option was ticked.


Obviously i realised afterwards when looking for the protected files!


Any ideas guys? Paid or Free 🙂





If you performed a low level format, then the card has been completely wiped clean.  


Or, at least it should have been.  DSLRs seem to be able to perform a low level format 100 times faster than a PC.  So, I would question whether or not the data has actually been wiped away by the DSLR’s low level format function.

I suggest that you contact the card manufacturer for recovery tools.

"The right mouse button is your friend."

Try PhotoRec



Bay Area - CA

~R5 C ( ~RF Trinity, ~RF 100 Macro, ~RF 100~400, ~RF 100~500, +RF 1.4x TC, +Canon Control Ring, BG-R10

~DxO PhotoLab Elite ~DaVinci Resolve ~Windows11 Pro ~ImageClass MF644Cdw/MF656Cdw ~Pixel 8 ~CarePaks Are Worth It


This workflow is just begging for this kind of thing to happen.

@kvbarkley wrote:

This workflow is just begging for this kind of thing to happen.

Very true. No image file should ever be erased from a card until everything on the card has been through a full iteration of the user's backup cycle: Copy to a computer, then to a local detachable backup disk, then to at least one offsite backup medium. (And cloud storage services don't count; they're a convenience, not a safeguard.) If that makes you run out of card space, buy more cards.


And it's OK to use the protect option, but not to rely on it.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

Never got anything back after a low level format. Tried both Photorec and Recuva.

Standard format deletes the file allocation table. The images on the card can be recovered using a recovery tool. Let's say, you can usually recover the photos with a photo recovery program.  Unless you have used the SD card after format.

Low Level format supposedly fills all the space on the card with zeros.  This is a problem.  However, I understand a low level format on a SD card just checks sector status and marks each one as clear or damagaed but it only does so in the index.  The sector data, photos, may still be intact but recover is now much harder.


I would contact the SD card maker and ask if they can get something back.  

EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and less lenses then before!
click here to view the press release