No Memory Card? No thanks!

Posted on 25 Sep, 2014 by Scott Jones
Photography Tips: Require a memory Card in your DSLR

Here’s another of my favorite photography tips: Have you ever forgotten to put a memory card back in the camera after taking it out to transfer image files to your computer? It’s not good.

Something interesting happens, you pick up the camera and start firing away, only to realize sometime later that there was no memory card inside and all the photos you took were never recorded. In the words of my worldly wise 4-year-old, “That’s lousy!”

Both Canon and Nikon DSLRs have settings to prevent this. You can Lock this feature to prevent the camera from seeming like it’s taking pictures if no memory card is installed. The Menu title has changed over the years for Nikon cameras. It used to be “No Memory Card?” in which case LOCK prevents exposures without a memory card installed. Now it’s called “Slot empty release lock” in which case ON accomplishes the same thing. Older Canon cameras called this feature “Shoot w/o card” in which case the serving should be Off. Reader Mike Evstog said via Twitter that it’s now called “Release shutter without card” on Canon.

Why does this feature exist? I’ve seen other photographers ‘clean’ the inside of a camera by firing a quick burst while blowing air at the moving shutter, so perhaps this saves them having to delete wasted images later. I’ve also heard that this is useful for in-shop camera demonstrations, and indeed on newer Nikon models a red DEMO icon is displayed in this instance. If tethering your camera to a computer for a studio shoot, you may also wish to use this setting.

But why the default is to shoot without a memory card… About that I have no idea.

Personally I want to know that if the camera is clicking away, I’m recording images on a memory card. So I have all three of my camera bodies LOCKED.

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  • Mikeevstog 2014-09-25

    It’s “Release shutter without card” on Canon camera’s

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