Friday, August 04, 2006

Recovering Lost or Corrupt Camera Images

Have you ever deleted some pictures from your camera by mistake or erased your camera's memory card and regretted it later? Just imagine, you've been on the holiday of a lifetime and you've taken hundreds of photographs over that time. They're all stored on one of those little flash memory cards and before you can get them downloaded into your computer, the gremlins strike. You either hit the Delete All button on on the camera or pull the card out mid-write and all your images are gone!

Don't despair! Here's a couple of free tools that may prove useful in trying to recover those images you've spent hours or even days or weeks collecting before you fork out any hard cash for a commercial solution or just drop to the ground in tears, thinking about that once in a lifetime shot you've lost…

PC Inspctor Smart Recovery PC Inspector Smart Recovery Windows Compatible

This is a data recovery application for Windows users. It supports Flash Card™, Smart Media™, SONY Memory Stick™, IBM™ Micro Drive, Multimedia Card, Secure Digital Card or any other data carrier for digital cameras.

As well as image files, the publishers claim that it can also recover sound and video files as well. It supports recovery of .jpg, .amr, .tif, .bmp, .gif, Canon .crw, Fuji .raf, RICOH .raw, Olympus .orf (E-XX), Olympus .orf (C5050), Nokia 3gp, Kodak .dcr, Minolta .mrw, Nikon .nef (D1H/D1X), Nikon .nef (D2H/D2X), Nikon .nef (E5000/E5700), Sigma - Foveon .x3f, mp4, .avi, .mov, .wav and .dss.

It appears to be a tuned version of the pretty well rated and also free, data recovery program PC Inspector File Recovery. It looks straightforward - you choose the card/drive and file type to scan for, pick a place to store the recovered data and away you go. There's even an intensive scan mode if you're unsatified with the results of the default scan. It doesn't write to your media at all, thus preventing any further damage or changes to deleted data and it claims to be completely Spyware free.

Exif Untrasher Exif Untrasher Apple Compatible

This is a very useful, free Mac OS X application that can basically search through removable media drives (or any other mounted storage device) and it'll attempt to recover any deleted JPEG image files, even from reformatted media.

It will only work if the images are saved in way that complies with the Exchangeable Image File Format (Exif) standard. That shouldn't be a problem as I suspect all modern digital cameras support it as standard. Only JPEG images can be recovered in the current release and other common file types such as TIFF or proprietary RAW formats are not supported.

Zero Assumption Digital Image Recovery Zero Assumption Digital Image Recovery Windows Compatible

This is now part of the commercial ZAR Tools recovery package but in digital image recovery mode the program operates as freeware with no functional limitations. Just download and install the evaluation version, connect your camera or plug the card into a reader then select the Recover images from camera memory card option and it'll run in fully activated mode.

It supports the recovery of ,gif, .jpg, .tif, Canon .crw, .mov, .wav and Canon .cr2 file types.

All of the above utilities are pretty straightforward and designed to do one thing, recover image files from removable media, so there's not a great deal more that I can say about them other than I'd probably try using Smart Recovery first as it'll handle more file types but ZAR is a pretty close second. User testimonials for Exif Untrasher would suggest that it does the job too so it's worth trying if you don't have access to a PC.

Hopefully you'll never need to use any of them but I feel a bit more comfortable knowing that I've got some of them installed on my systems, should the need ever arise.

1 comment:

jchaney74 said...

Holy COW!!! I wish I had known about this about a month or so ago. I never even thought about finding a recovery software for my digital camera cards. The very first set of pics I had on my new camera were corrupted when I took them into Walmart to get them developed. I thought they were all ruined and I probably could have recovered them. CRAP!! Oh well, at least now I have a bit of peace of mind in case I screw up again. THANKS!!!!