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Pictures disappeared from memory card! SOLVED (updated at bottom of thread)

jef3r
Contributor

Took a ton of pictures today on vacation.  I was able to view them on the camera itself after taking them.  Got home, put memory card in my computer, pictures weren't there.  Put memory card back in camera, pictures were gone from there too.  What the heck?!

 

I tried running a data recovery tool to no avail.  The files it found for me were all old pics.  Nothing from today's date so I did not pay the money to recover them.  All pictures from yesterday and before are still there.

 

There IS a .ctg file with today's date on it.  But the pics themselves are gone.  Is all hope lost?  Is there a better recovery tool to try (used Stellar data recovery tool).

 

ETA: Camera is a Canon EOS Rebel T3i and memory card is PNY Elite Performance 32GB SDHC.

1 ACCEPTED SOLUTION

jef3r
Contributor

UPDATE:

 

I was able to recover the pictures.  Thanks for all the suggestions.

 

Card was not locked.

 

Menu options weren't changed (aside from which I know the pics saved to the card b/c I'd gone back and reviewed them at multiple times throughout the day).

 

My brother tried multiple recovery programs and had success with ZAR v. 9.2 (they have newer versions...this is just the one he happened to have from a recovery attempt on his phone a year or so ago).  ZAR is the only one that was able to search deeper into the memory card and found all the pics.

 

Interestingly enough, there were 172 pics that were lost and when he checked them all for recovery and began the process, a progress bar showed on the screen.  The first 171 pictures took just a few minutes and only about 1/3 of the progress bar.  When it got to picture 172, it took another 10-15 minutes and the remaining 2/3 of the progress bar.  Things that make you go hmmm...right?

 

So, after having them all saved to a folder on his desktop he went to transfer them to a flash drive for me to move them over to my computer and when it got to picture 172, the flash drive balked and said "no room..."  This prompted him to investigate further and he discovered that that 172nd picture was 8 GIGS which explains why that last picture took so long during the recovery process!  Don't know if that weirdness happened when the recovery was being done or if the memory card is the one that did that and which caused this whole mess in the first place.

 

Either way, I can't trust the card anymore and now don't trust the brand either.  Without knowing what caused the problem in the first place, I'm going back to Transcend and hoping that sticking with a more well known brand will prevent this from happening again.

View solution in original post

26 REPLIES 26

ebiggs1
Legend

Try to recover again with Photorec. It is free is and it is the best recovery software

 

On the T3i press Menu. In the first Menu tab and look for release shutter without card.

You can set it to either enable or disable. When set to disable it will flash up a message when you try to release the shutter without a memory card. When set to enable it will take a picture and display it but it will not to be saved.  This setting is there for tethering to a computer.  If this scenario is true you have no photos to recover.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

+1 on PhotoRec...  it's the best!

 

And what Bob said about the lock button is correct. 

~Rick
Bay Area - CA
~6D2(v1.1.1) ~Many Lenses ~DxO PhotoLab Elite ~Windows10 Pro ~EVGA RTX 3080Ti FTW3 Ultra ~ImageClass MF644Cdw ~Pixel6 ~R5C On Order


@ebiggs1 wrote:

Try to recover again with Photorec. It is free is and it is the best recovery software

 

On the T3i press Menu. In the first Menu tab and look for release shutter without card.

You can set it to either enable or disable. When set to disable it will flash up a message when you try to release the shutter without a memory card. When set to enable it will take a picture and display it but it will not to be saved.  This setting is there for tethering to a computer.  If this scenario is true you have no photos to recover.


One minor clarification: When Ernie says that the camera will take and display a picture but not save it, I think he means that's what happens when there is (or the camera thinks  there is) no card in the camera. If there is a card in the camera, the setting of the "Release shutter without card" option shouldn't matter. (Unless maybe the card is full. I'm not sure what would happen in that case.)

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA

jef3r
Contributor

UPDATE:

 

I was able to recover the pictures.  Thanks for all the suggestions.

 

Card was not locked.

 

Menu options weren't changed (aside from which I know the pics saved to the card b/c I'd gone back and reviewed them at multiple times throughout the day).

 

My brother tried multiple recovery programs and had success with ZAR v. 9.2 (they have newer versions...this is just the one he happened to have from a recovery attempt on his phone a year or so ago).  ZAR is the only one that was able to search deeper into the memory card and found all the pics.

 

Interestingly enough, there were 172 pics that were lost and when he checked them all for recovery and began the process, a progress bar showed on the screen.  The first 171 pictures took just a few minutes and only about 1/3 of the progress bar.  When it got to picture 172, it took another 10-15 minutes and the remaining 2/3 of the progress bar.  Things that make you go hmmm...right?

 

So, after having them all saved to a folder on his desktop he went to transfer them to a flash drive for me to move them over to my computer and when it got to picture 172, the flash drive balked and said "no room..."  This prompted him to investigate further and he discovered that that 172nd picture was 8 GIGS which explains why that last picture took so long during the recovery process!  Don't know if that weirdness happened when the recovery was being done or if the memory card is the one that did that and which caused this whole mess in the first place.

 

Either way, I can't trust the card anymore and now don't trust the brand either.  Without knowing what caused the problem in the first place, I'm going back to Transcend and hoping that sticking with a more well known brand will prevent this from happening again.

First of all, congratulations on recovering your files.

 

I have had PNY thumb drives that have become unreliable.  I gave up on th brand over a decade ago.  Transcend is not to far behind PNY.  I recommend Lexar or Sandisk.  I use Sandisk Extreme [one word] 32GB SDHC cards without issue in my T5.

 

Remember to always perform a “low level format” in the camera with ALL memory cards prior to first use in the camera.  

--------------------------------------------------------
"The right mouse button is your friend."

Thanks for the recommendation.  I've used Transcend for years and haven't had a problem.  Sorry to hear that it's quality isn't so great either.  I have used Sandisk before and may just go back to them.

I don't know that specific bands make a big difference.  Just make sure you have a top brand which there are several.  Make sure you get it from a good retailer, too.  That is important.  I have used most of them without incident.  I also don't see that low level format is mandatory.  As, I don't see formatting the SD card on your computer hurts anything.  I might add if it is a Windows machine, however, Macs are funky.

You may have just got a bad card. It can happen with any brand and it will.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!

derekm851
Apprentice

i just had this problem happen to me. i viewed the pics multiple times on the camera so i know they were there. i had 4 diffrent dates i took pictures and only 2 of them i saved. i was going to download next 2 dates of pics after vacaion and i viewed them on vacation, got home put memory card in computer, nothing. put back in card to camera and all 4 pic dates where gone. im comletely lost and why they would vanish and these where important pics of friends baby 1 year pics. i couldnt have deleted them because i still have over 8k pics on the card. why would 3 months of pics just vanish? is all hope lost here? thanks

"i still have over 8k pics on the card."

 

I guess we have cell phones to blame for this but why do people think it is a good idea to store their photos on the cameras SD card.  IT IS NOT.  Photos should be imported to your computer as soon as you get home or access to your computer. The fact you saw a photo on the LCD screen of the camera does not mean it got saved. At this point all you can do is try one of the recovery programs and hope for the best.

 

BTW, get the remaining 8 thousand off the SD card ASAP.  A great way is the buy a portable HD. I have five 2TB portable HD's that I uses to store and back up important photos. I have three 3TB HD's in my Dell desktop where photos go as quickly as I get home. There is nothing on my camera's memory cards ever when I start a new shoot.

EB
EOS 1DX and 1D Mk IV and several lenses!


@ebiggs1 wrote:

"i still have over 8k pics on the card."

 

I guess we have cell phones to blame for this but why do people think it is a good idea to store their photos on the cameras SD card.  IT IS NOT.  Photos should be imported to your computer as soon as you get home or access to your computer. The fact you saw a photo on the LCD screen of the camera does not mean it got saved. At this point all you can do is try one of the recovery programs and hope for the best.

 

BTW, get the remaining 8 thousand off the SD card ASAP.  A great way is the buy a portable HD. I have five 2TB portable HD's that I uses to store and back up important photos. I have three 3TB HD's in my Dell desktop where photos go as quickly as I get home. There is nothing on my camera's memory cards ever when I start a new shoot.


Ernie's advice is absolutely correct, and he may even be understating what's available to you. The last time I bought hard drives (a couple of years ago, from B&H), an 8TB USB-3 drive was about $200 US. The per-TB cost may be even less now.

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
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