Fix Nikon Camera Not Reading SD Card

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Nikon cameras use SD cards to read and write clicked images. Sometimes the camera does not read the card. Several users have reported that the Nikon camera can no longer read the SD card.

The Nikon camera’s problem with the SD card appears to be a common problem. Several users have reported similar problems.

If you are also experiencing this problem, here are some troubleshooting steps to help you solve the problem of the Nikon camera not reading the SD card.

Perform Basic SD Cards Troubleshooting

If the error message on the camera screen is “This card cannot be used” or “This card cannot be played back”, try the following to solve the problem.

  1. Make sure the card is inserted correctly. Remove the memory card from the camera and reinsert it. On some cameras, you may hear a click when the memory card is correctly inserted (usually SD cards). The memory card can only be inserted into the camera in one direction – do not use force!
  2. Make sure you are using an approved memory card.
  3. Check the memory card contacts. Remove the card and carefully clean the contacts with a soft, dry cloth (not applicable to CF cards). Make sure that no dust remains on the cloth contacts. Reinsert the memory card.

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If the above steps do not solve the problem, please try another approved memory card. If the other approved memory card works, the original card may be defective.

Check and Reformat the Card.

  • Before formatting the card, check that it works properly with a computer. Insert the card into a card reader on your notebook or an external card reader and check if it is recognized.
  • Make a backup of the card data on your computer.
  • Right-click the SD card and select Format.
  • For File System, click the drop-down menu, select FAT and click the Start button.
  • When the format is finished, eject the SD card.
  • Insert it into your Nikon camera and check if the camera can read the SD card.

Formatting with your Nikon camera

  • If the problem persists, try formatting the card with the camera.
  • Insert the SD card into your camera.
  • Press the Menu button.
  • Scroll down and select the setup menu.
  • Select the “Format Memory Card” option.
  • Click Yes to confirm the action.
  • Once the card is formatted, make sure the camera can read the card.

Repairing a Damaged Memory Card with Chkdsk

chkdsk win10

Chkdsk, a system tool under DOS, OS/2 and Windows, checks the integrity of a volume’s file system and corrects logical file system errors.

Step 1 Open the command prompt and select “Run as administrator”.
Step 2: Type chkdsk /r [drive letter] and press Enter.
Step 3: Type Exit and press Enter.


If you cannot recover the images yourself and the photos are important, send the card to an image recovery lab. Many memory card manufacturers offer an image recovery service that can help you recover images … for a fee.

If you can part with your photos, it may be cheaper to buy a new memory card than to send the damaged one to a lab. If your card is still under warranty, the manufacturer may try to recover your photos for free.

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