Corrupt Files - Lessons Learned

July 11, 2016

When michaels Managing Director Peter Michael started using a brand-new digital SLR, he found that Adobe Lightroom would occasionally produce a file error that could lead to the photograph corrupting as he was viewing it. Was it the camera causing the problems, or the software? Or was it something entirely different?

I started using a Nikon D800E about 6 months ago. Around the same time I noticed that occasionally Adobe Lightroom would give a file error and would significantly corrupt my image. The preview would be good, however as soon as I took a closer look, the image would corrupt right in front of my eyes. I took a lot of shots an Olive farm last weekend which I was very pleased with, however, approximately half the shots were corrupt - very frustrating.  Previously I had a minor problem with the odd file being corrupt, suddenly this turned into a significant problem.

I searched for solutions to the problem with little success. I planned to speak to Nikon to see whether there was a bug with how the D800 writes to files. In researching the problem and getting together the problem files (including sample files copied again from the SD card to the computer), I discovered that different files were corrupting and those that were corrupt previously were no longer corrupt. At that time, I then deduced that Adobe Lightroom must have issues with D800E file compatibility and was planning to write to Adobe. I had also opened these files in Infanview and also found them reported as faulty. Logically, it seemed as if Lightroom had corrupted the files.


I had also shot on several brands amd speeds of memory card - the corrupt files were evident on them all.  I then re-copied the files from the memory card to the computer, opened a couple with Infranview - no problems.  I thought the problem was solved.

A day later I loaded the re-copied files into Infranview and found again that many were corrupt - I was simply lucky the earlier day. Rather frustrating.  Finally, a bright idea …. about the same time as starting with the D800E, I also commenced transferring files from SD card to computer via the computer's in-built card reader. Logically, this could be corrupting my files. I hastily connected a separate card reader - problem solved. No more file corruptions!


Corrupt files can ruin months of happy photos. This is why it is important to regularly backup your images on computer, but more importantly, to make wonderful prints of your photographs! While a physical print can survive many decades inside a cardboard box, a hard drive or memory card is unlikely to be the same! Ourphoto lab offers a wide variety of services and printing using all the best quality equipment.


To keep memory cards as glitch-free as possible, it's also recommended they be formatted inside the camera they are being used in. If you are unsure of how to accomplish this, check your camera's instruction manual or ask one of our photographic experts.



Should the worst case scenario occur and your images appear corrupted, michaels offers an expert memory card recovery service known as the Data Doctor that can recover lost and corrupted images from camera memory cards.




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