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Photos were lost but not deleted


We took a bunch of photos yesterday of out-of-town guests touring our area, and when we came home to upload them to our computer they were all gone. Previous and subsequent photos are still there. It's like somehow the camera erased all of the photos we took on one single day. We are sure we did nothing to delete any photos we took yesterday, and have no idea how it's possible to do anything like this.

We're using a SanDisk Ultra 15MB/s 4GB SDHC card and never had any problems with it or the camera. The disc was unlocked.

We tried several methods of uploading. We put the disc into a USB reader, and the photos weren't there. We tried plugging the camera directly into the computer and using iPhoto to read the disc, but that didn't work either. (We're using a Mac, OS 10.7.something, if that helps.)

We've tried several unerase/data-recovery programs, including Disk Drill, Wondershare Photo Recovery, and PhotoRec. Each one found and recovered the same 8 GB± of photos that we had deleted, some from a few years back, but none of the photos from yesterday.

It's almost as if the camera saved the photos into RAM and not onto the drive, though I don't think cameras even have RAM.

The battery did run low. We came home and charged the battery, put it back in, then went out and took more photos. But at that time we could still view, with the camera, the photos from earlier in the day. Not today, though— we can't see them with the camera anymore.

(1) Does anyone have any idea where the photos are or how to recover them?

(2) Does anyone have any idea how this happened or how to ensure this doesn't happen again?


We'd sure appreciate the help! The photos are extremely valuable to us and we can't just reshoot them.



Which camera are you having the problem with? There are a few that have internal memory, and others that can store photos in multiple folders, so it's important to know about the camera as well.


Steve M.

Sorry— it's a Canon PowerShot Elph 300 HS. I entered that when I registered for the forum and thought that would automatically show up somehow.




Some of the data on the card may have become corrupted over time.  It is good practice to format the card in the camera regularly to reduce the chances of this ever happening.  Formatting will erase all data on the card, so when you do this, make sure you have downloaded everything you can from the card.


Corrupted data on a card is not something that can be predicted ahead of time so you can stop it from happening.  It can only be avoided by making sure you keep using good and regularly formatted cards.  If data is corrupted, the only way to recover images that were lost because of it is to use digital image recovery software.

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We do regularly reformat the cards we use in our cameras, including this one. That's why this is so baffling.


We bought SanDisk RescuePRO Deluxe, but couldn't get it to work— it showed the files we wanted to recover but the app won't work until you pay for it and register it. Fair enough, but the Activation Code the company sent us didn't work and the tech support we received was laughable. It was basically a form letter with instructions on how to register the product, steps we repeatedly tried to take to no avail. It was like the guy didn't read the letter in which we detailed our problems with his company's product. We're trying to get our money back.


For about half the price of SanDisk RescuePRO Deluxe, however, CardRescue recovered our files. And unlike SanDisk RescuePRO Deluxe, which only grants a one-year license (assuming you can get the damned program working in the first place), CardRescue doesn't expire. So we've had a deep sigh of relief— hopefully if this happens again we still have the tools to recover our photos.


Now it'd be nice to know how this happened— if it was something we did or something in the camera or card we can fix.

So glad to hear you recovered the lost files.


I would start by getting a new card since it is the weakest link so to speak. Make sure to ground yourself before handling any cards since there could have been even a very small static charge on you when you removed the card from the camera. I also regularly clean the contacts on the card and in the camera to keep everything working at peak levels. Other than that, you are already formatting regularly, so it may have been a freak thing that hopefully doesn't rear its' ugly head again.


Steve M.



You can take a look over the following tutorial for an overwall idea of recovering deleted of lost files over digital camera.



SanDisk has a recovery service for a minimal fee. If anyone can recover the files on your card they can and they can do it better than the software you can buy. I would contact them, see how much they charge and then decide if it is worth it.