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Article - Technical Tip

Hiding Images

Most of you will be aware of the two red symbols on two controls on your camera that when pressed together formats the card. The controls this is on differs between cameras, but are always easy controls to get to. The main use for this is not in formatting cards, most come formatted in any event and you have a menu command on the setup menu to do this,  it is a safety feature where you have taken a photo and now feel you may be in trouble, such as when visiting some third world place and took a photo of one of their military planes held together with string and tape, and are now being approached by someone in a uniform, the choice may be to have to call out the consul to get you out of jail or to loose a the images on the card. Similarly in Britain if the police feel you have something that is evidence, they will take your camera and card and the camera is likely to be obsolete before you get it back, if you ever do. You can in part get over this problem by taking the card out in which case they are supposed to take only the card and not the camera, but as they are a law unto themselves this may not happen.

If you have time you have two other choices, to delete just the images that you want to loose, or of course all the images on the card, or to selectively hide images.

In some countries and cultures, photographing people may not be allowed, and in Britain photographing children may get you into hot water. Where no officials are involved you may be able to just show them you are deleting the images or do it and show them the images on the camera no longer contain the images they are objecting to. 99% of officials would believe that if the image did not show it was no longer there. But perhaps you don’t want to delete the image, you would rather it just temporarily was not on view.

On Nikon DSLR cameras except the D40 and D50 models this is achieved from the playback menu, ‘hide image’.

Camera Instruction manual page

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You are able to hide individual images and also to make all images show again.

While an image is hidden it cannot be deleted without formatting the card. So for example if you hide an image and then deleted all,  the hidden image would remain on the card. If you look at the card in a PC the file is flagged hidden and read only, so unless you have set up explorer to display hidden files it does not show.

To delete the image you first need to make it visible, then you can delete it. If you previously had the lock on this image, hiding and displaying the image undoes the lock.

A second use for the 'hide image' is when using the camera to play a slide show, in that only visible images are played.  So if you go through your card making images that you don’t want to show hidden then the slide show will not show these.


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