How to Format the Memory Cards in a Nikon D850, D810, D750 & D610

The Nikon D850, D810, D780, D750, and D610 have two methods for formatting the memory cards. One is obvious. The other is less obvious but is also quicker.

Nikon D810 Format Buttons
Text & Photos By David Coleman
Last Revised & Updated:
Filed Under: DSLRs

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This is part of a series focusing on less obvious features of some of Nikon’s DSLRs.

There are two ways to format memory cards in cameras like the Nikon D850, D810, D750, and D610. One is obvious. The other is a little less so.

Method #1: Using the Menu

First, the obvious one, using the menu:

  • Press the menu button on the back of the camera (top right)
  • Move the cursor down to the Setup menu item (the wrench icon)
  • Press the right side of the selector to Format Memory Card and then press right again.
  • You can then select whether to format the CompactFlash card or the SD card. You have to two one at a time—you can’t do both simultaneously.

Method #2: Using the Quick Format Buttons

These cameras also offer an even quicker option, although it’s not quite so obvious how to use it.

There are two buttons to look for: one on the top and another on the back. They have a red “Format” label next to them.

  • On the Nikon D810 and D800, it’s the MODE button.
  • On the D750 and D610, it’s the metering mode button.
Nikon D810 Format Buttons

On the back panel, to the left, it’s the delete button with the trash can icon.

Nikon D810 Format Buttons

There are two tricks to using these. The first is to use them together, simultaneously.

  • Press both of the red Format buttons together and hold them down for a couple of seconds until the top LCD screen shows a flashing ‘For’ (for format). The exposure count and memory card slot indicator will also be blinking.
  • Release the buttons.
  • If you only have one of the two memory card slots filled, it’ll automatically detect that. If you have cards in both slots, it’ll default whichever you’ve designated as the primary slot.
  • You can manually choose which card to format by rotating the main command dial on the back panel.

The second trick is that you need to press them together again. If you don’t, it won’t have formatted anything. You don’t need to hold them this time—it reacts immediately.

If you want to cancel without formatting, press any other button or the shutter. It will also cancel automatically if you haven’t selected anything within five seconds.

Things Worth Knowing

This works with all the memory card formats these cameras use, including CompactFlash, XQD, CFexpress B, and SD cards.

It’s best practice to format the memory cards in the camera, not in your computer. That’s true of any digital camera. It reduces the risk of file system corruption that can lead to memory card errors.

If you accidentally delete your photos and videos from the memory card, there’s still a good chance of recovering them. I have put together a general guide to recovering photos and videos from memory cards as well as more specific guides for various software options such as Stellar Photo Recovery, Disk Drill, Remo Recover, and Photorec.

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David Coleman

I'm a professional photographer based in Washington, DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and many places in between. I've been shooting for 30+ years, and my photos and time-lapse videos have appeared in a bunch of different publications, from major newspapers to magazines and books, billboards, TV shows, professional sports stadiums, museums, and even massive architectural scrims covering world-famous buildings while they're being renovated. You can see some of my travel photography here and here.


    • No. The manual [PDF] specifically mentions compatibility with SDXC cards (all 64GB cards are SDXC). If you haven’t already, the first thing I’d try is a different 64GB card from a different brand. It’s possible there’s a fault in a specific card that’s tripping it up, and it’s not unheard-of for compatibility issues between specific camera and card combinations.

  1. After I upgraded the firmware on my D750 the format option is missing in the Wrench (tools) menu. The red format buttons option worked fine. Thanks

  2. Formatting Memory cards
    I tried both methods.
    The light in camera came ne once but did not flash again. this is a rental camera for meThanks

  3. My D810, when using the quick format buttons, acts as though it is formatting the card (only one card in the camera to eliminate selection error) and displays the blinking “Formatting” message. However, files are not deleted. I have to go to the menu method which does format the card and deletes all images. What could be the error that is occurring?


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