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New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎07-14-2018

CR2 files suddenly "empty"

I have a raw file archive of full resolution CR2's, roughly 350GB worth in over 18k files. Last night I was going through culling some old stuff in PhotoMechanic and came to some CR2 files it could not read.  I explored the folder with said files and they were radically smaller in size than the rest of the shots in that group, around 2 MB at the largest many at under 500K.  They still have the thumbnail picture, and can be edited in LR but are obviously hideously low-res.  Photoshop doesn't even recognize the files anymore.  They all still have the .cr2 extension, but all meteadata has been stripped from file. Some of these are files that I've edited at full quality no less than a month ago with no problems. 

 

I have a couple theories as to what may have caused it, but nothing  that feels really likely

#1 Google photo backup (no synch) - I have set to "high quality" rather than original so they don't affect my storage total there. Could google have downsized and replaced ny originals somehow? (Although GoogPhoto filesizes differ from my local "corrupted" files.

#2 Lightroom decided to delete the full resolution pic and metadata and only left the preview portion of the file. (Don't think LR ever modifies actual image files, just stores changes in catalogue(.lrcat) and .xmp sidecars)

3# Virus - Found 1 questionable file, but no active threats (yet, running another full scan with other AV softwr)

4# HDD - newish 4TB hdd, makes strange noises sometimes but nothing else on drive has issues, none of the JPG's in my archive are affected.

#5 Windows - Because Windows...   (Always a possibility, but I just reinstalled windows 10 fresh about a month ago so...)

 

Kind of at my wits end.  I have a second backup on a disconnected drive, hopefully my damaged files are safe there, not sure if I had recently backed up some of the affected files so that sucks. Don't want to hook it up untill I'm sure it  isn't a virus.

 

Anyone else run in to this or have any helpful suggestions I'm all ears.

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 4,918
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: CR2 files suddenly "empty"

Take your backup drive to your local library, and connect it to a computer there. If your computer does indeed have a virus, that may reassure you that your backup files are safe.

 

Your experience is a reminder that there's no such thing as too many independent backups. And that the "cloud" should never be relied on as a first-level or even second-level backup. Removable hard drives have become very affordable; the last time I bought one, an 8TB drive was about $200 at B&H. In addition to your main backup, keep one removable drive at home and one at work (or in your car, if you're retired like I am). As a further precaution, I keep a drive at my daughter's house in Philadelphia and refresh it from the drive in my car every time I'm down there. That kind of thing isn't perfect, but it greatly increases your odds.

 

 

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎07-14-2018

Re: CR2 files suddenly "empty"

This has at least convinced the wife that I really do need some more "diverse" backup options. I've got an old, non networked laptop somewhere in my garage.  I'll give it a check out.  No real virus indications otherwise, going to check for bad sectors on that hdd but not expecting much.  At this point I'm mostly concerned because I have no idea how this happened and don't want to unknowingly cause it to happen again.

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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 4,918
Registered: ‎06-25-2014

Re: CR2 files suddenly "empty"


@BenMellin wrote:

This has at least convinced the wife that I really do need some more "diverse" backup options. I've got an old, non networked laptop somewhere in my garage.  I'll give it a check out.  No real virus indications otherwise, going to check for bad sectors on that hdd but not expecting much.  At this point I'm mostly concerned because I have no idea how this happened and don't want to unknowingly cause it to happen again.


I think I've said this before, but it probably bears repeating. The way to get one's wife willing to spend money on photographic equipment is to get her interested in photography herself. If she turns out to be good at it, so much the better.

 

When we got married, my wife had a cheap Sears rangefinder 35mm camera, which crapped out a few months later. When I asked her what kind of camera she wanted to replace it, her reply was immediate: "One that can use your lenses."  Smiley Wink

Bob
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA
Reputable Contributor
Posts: 814
Registered: ‎11-19-2017

Re: CR2 files suddenly "empty"

[ Edited ]

BenMellin,

I'm leaning towards option 5 or some sort of user error.

 

~Google's High vs Original is still 16MP

 

High quality:

Unlimited free storage
Photos are compressed to save space. If a photo is larger than 16 MP, it will be resized to 16 MP.
Videos higher than 1080p will be resized to high-definition 1080p. A video with 1080p or less will look close to the original.

 

Original quality:

Limited free storage (15GB)
All photos and videos are stored in the same resolution that you took them.
Recommended for photos that have more than 16MP and videos with more than 1080p.

 

~LR and photoshop do exactly what your describe

 

~A virus wouldn't usually selectively attack only some files in one folder

 

~HDD issues.  Again unlikely, but you can test it.  chkdsk /r , test the integrity of your OS files sfc /scannow, review event viewer and/or use the disk manufacturers non destructive health utility. 

 

~#5 - We've all seen windows do funny things..  but not usually to some files only in on directory.  Maybe you did something differently that caused this, but your'll probably go crazy trying to figure it out.

 

The best advice and something I always do as well is from Bob.  Back ups, Back ups, Back ups.  Important data should always be protected 3 ways.  Mine is NAS, External disk and Cloud.  Invest and implement a back up solution and you'll never have to worry about this again. 

 

I keep trying to get my wife interested in photography.  But she won't carry a camera when we travel...  "thats your job"...  Bob, you are a lucky man.  Smiley Happy 

 

Rick
Bay Area - CA
~6D2 (f/w 1.0.4) ~16-35mm f2.8L II, 50 f1.8 STM, 85 prime USM, 70-200 f2.8L IS II ~70-300 USM II ~Sigma 24-70 f2.8 Art (f/w 2.02)
~Sigma 150-600 C + TC1401 1.4x (f/w 2.00) ~Speedlite 430 EX II ~DxO PhotoLab Elite ~Windows10 Pro1903 ~EVGA RTX 2080 FTW3 Ultra
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 3,805
Registered: ‎06-11-2013

Re: CR2 files suddenly "empty"

I have had damaged images due to a failing hard drive.

 

If you have a mechanical hard drive, it's possible that the drive can fail slowly so you don't necessarily notice any sudden problem... just lots of little problems.

 

In my case, I had all of my images (I was using Aperture to manage my photos at the time) on the drive.  I needed to find some photos that I had shot about 6 months prior.  These are photos that I had imported, performed all my adjustments & edits, etc.  I do shoot RAW and there had been no problems with them.

 

But when I searched for those images, I noticed they were damaged.   Some could only partly be displayed and had strange graphical artifacts, etc.  but these were images I had previously used and were always fine.

 

I use a Mac.  I ran Disk Utility (Apple's utility to check for filesystem integrity) to check for drive errors ... it found lots of issues with the drive.  I performed a drive repair.  I also maintain two different sets of backups (one is a bootable mirror of the drive, the other is an incremental backup that will let me recover from any point in time.)   The "mirror" version of the backup showed thsoe files were also damaged.  But after searching my incremental backup library... though the files from the most recent backups were damaged... backups that were about 1 month old had copies of the files and they were fine.

 

So I ran the disk repair, restored the photos and thought it was fixed.

 

Within hours... I started to notice more isssues.

 

I re-ran the disk utility and sure enough... more corruption issues.

 

SO... I ordered a replacement disk (this was a mechanical hard drive... not a solid state drive) and replaced the original (failing) disk, restored my backups, and never had a problem again.

 

 

Mechanical hard drives have an access arm that positions the heads over the requested track to access data.  If that head doesn't align precisely, then while it's writing files that are supposed to be on one track, it can overlap and damage data on blocks from the adjacent track.  

 

Once I replaced the drive, all was well.  I was really glad I had incremental backups that let me go back far enough in history to find undamaged versions of the files.

 

 

Tim Campbell
5D III, 5D IV, 60Da
New Contributor
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎07-14-2018

Re: CR2 files suddenly "empty"

Figured out the solution. It was a software issue.  Near as I can tell at some point (possibly multiple times)  Google Photos, through Backup and Sync,  either synced deleted photos back to my archive or replaced the full cr2 files with cr2's only containig the jpg preview. The file metadata shows Picasa as being the editing software, even on pictures taken 2 months ago. Many of these CR2 files were less than 500K and would still work when renamed .JPG (and these sizes reflect same size in GPhoto), which I assume means Google photos strips the raw information and just leaves a higly compressed but full MP jpg preview for its "High Resolution" compression - not impressed.

 

 So looks like a Google Photos sync issue, which I never use but have used Goog Drive sync for non-photo stuff before so maybe there was a screwup there.  Lightroom just happily swept them in to my catalogue and covered all the tracks. Possibly a buiit of user error in there as well...  =P

 

The problem had apparently been happening at times in the past as my "hot" backup had correct versions of my recent files within about 1yr, but still had much older photos that were affected. Luckily I had redundant cold storage backup so I lost nothing but a couple days time hunting all the bad files.

Reputable Contributor
Posts: 814
Registered: ‎11-19-2017

Re: CR2 files suddenly "empty"

Good News then!  Glad you figured it out.   

Rick
Bay Area - CA
~6D2 (f/w 1.0.4) ~16-35mm f2.8L II, 50 f1.8 STM, 85 prime USM, 70-200 f2.8L IS II ~70-300 USM II ~Sigma 24-70 f2.8 Art (f/w 2.02)
~Sigma 150-600 C + TC1401 1.4x (f/w 2.00) ~Speedlite 430 EX II ~DxO PhotoLab Elite ~Windows10 Pro1903 ~EVGA RTX 2080 FTW3 Ultra
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