Extremely odd camera/card failure. Need advice.

Took about 30 photos with Canon 5D2 tonight, put the 16GB Sandisk Ultra card in the reader and it didn’t auto-mount. Removed it, it mounted as empty volume. Put it in the camera, it came up empty. Put it back in the PC, it mounted with standard camera directory structure (DCIM and MISC) but no image files. Ran Recuva to look at erased images, found plenty of old photos and videos but nothing at all from earlier today. The same camera was successfully used earlier in the day (with another card). I’ve not had problems with this card before. I am very puzzled by the absence of any trace of the afternoon photo shoot.

Any suggestions on recovering the image files? More importantly, any ideas on what caused this and how to avoid it in the future?


Update: http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk_Download recovered the missing photos!

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13 Responses to Extremely odd camera/card failure. Need advice.

  1. "lee n. field" says:

    photorec is what you want.


  2. Dan O'Brien says:

    Straws. Is the card “fast enough”? Is the card new or has been written many times? (They can only write so many cycles.) The last time it was “erased” was it unmounted cleanly? Perhaps reformat cards in the camera before each photo session.

  3. Brian says:

    Sorry to hear this. This is why it can be nice to have two memory card slots, RAW on one and backing-up high quality JPGs to the other. Hope you’re able to recover! Let us know the solution.

    • Oleg Volk says:

      None of my four camera have dual slots. Might have to give that feature a higher priority next time around.

  4. Nik says:

    back when I was a newspaper photographer (shot full-time digitally from 2002-2006 when I was bought out) I never lost an image, but saw colleagues lose images. The differences between them and me? They switched cards mid day between camera bodies, and reformatted cards in the computer.

    My workflow was card is inserted into the camera, and then formatted. Proceed to shoot, half way through the job, pull the card, reinsert it in the card wallet flipped over, insert and format fresh card to finish the shoot. That way if I lose a card/lose the images on a card I haven’t lost the entire job.

    To insure against camera failure, shoot with two bodies and at least four cards. If you have the ability to set up a laptop and import during the shoot, take it. Ideally ingest to at least two hard drives.

    I’d rather have a greater number of smaller cards, than to have a few really big ones.

    Don’t know if that will help….

  5. Nik says:

    I forgot one thing: Don’t erase or format the cards until the job is delivered to the client and uploaded to your archive server.

    • Oleg Volk says:

      I already use two bodies and backup to three locations before erasing the card. I like the idea of writing partial cards.

      The problem this time was that the shoot was very shot, 30 or fewer images, and no trace of it remains. Old files from the card are coming up but NO TRACE of today’s. I am puzzled.

      • Nik says:

        That one could have gotten me too — because I might not have switched cards for something so short. But, I probably would have shot with two bodies — to get images with two different lenses….

        Even if I’m working with a zoom on one body, I’d typically have a prime lens on the other, or sometimes I’d be working with two zooms…

  6. Don Z says:

    Always format the memory card in the camera before starting any photo session. You’ll never have any problems.

    Also recommended is a fast enough card (1000X or higher). Toss out any older/slower cards.

  7. spike says:

    I’ve seen this issue before, and near as I can tell, the images are written to the card, but the table of contents is NOT written correctly, or is corrupted when the card is removed.

    Glad you were able to do a low-level search for them.

    Test disk is awesome.

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