Sunday, November 11, 2012

The Mystery of Disappearing Image Files

It has been quite a few weeks since I last used my Olympus gear for shutter therapy, making way for the new Sony (well, its not exactly new since the camera is a 4 year old model), which I did enjoy using tremendously and have fallen in love with. This glorious Sunday morning I decided to pick up the Olympus again, and attack my favourite street, Chow Kit with the E-5 and two wonderful lenses, Zuiko Digital 11-22mm F2.8-3.5 and 50mm F2 macro. It was great using Olympus again after all this time, I have spent about an hour plus shooting, and I knew I had some good shots which were sufficient for me to compose a blog entry. I did not quite sure how, or why I suddenly had the urge to pause for a bit, and review my images. Call it the photographer's six sense or something, I felt something was not right. To my horror..... almost ALL my image files taken in the morning, recorded into the Lexar 8GB SD card... VANISHED!! I remembered I had more than 100 photos taken already (could have been more, not sure really) but as I was reviewing the images, there was only 11 of the most recently taken shots !! Where the heck have the rest of the photos gone to???????

All images in this blog entry were taken with Olympus DSLR E-5 and Zuiko Digital lenses 11-22mm F2.8-3.5 and 50mm F2 macro

Gatekeeper



Paper-weight

Push

Hiding behind a small tree

Very small door


At that point of time, I could not figure out whether it was the camera or the memory card to be at fault. It cannot be the camera, because nothing like this has happened before. It sure did not seem like the memory card was acting up, because there was no error message, no corrupted files, and I never had problem with this SD card before, though I mostly use Sandisk as my main memory cards for serious shooting, eg paid assignment or photography jobs. Everything with the camera and memory card seemed to work perfectly fine, the only problem was the sudden, unexpected, disappearance of the image files. 

I was traumatized to say the least !! It was a good shooting session, and I mean it was a really good shooting session. I did have some very good photography subjects, and I managed to grab some very good shots, which was not a very frequent thing to happen. I think this is one of the horrors that many photographers would fear: sudden loss of files. The only consolation that I can give myself was that the shooting session was only my personal shutter therapy, not a paid assignment, and no one is expecting any files to be delivered. However, going out in the morning with high enthusiasm to shoot, and then coming home almost empty handed is not something I can be happy about. How can such a thing happen, it was beyond logic !! Image files just do not magically disappear !! When I click the shutter button on the camera, I expect the image to be automatically stored in the memory card, and nothing else should happen after that. 

The only other thing that I kept asking myself was.... did I accidentally format the card or deleted all files, without knowing? This seemed to be the only explanation logical enough in this case, but how or why would I do that? I only format my memory card before the start of any shooting session, but I never would touch the delete or format during shooting. Never. 

I could grumble on and on, but I knew the purpose of me being out there was to shoot some images. I can cry over the spilled milk (I did not cry, but I think I said F*** a few times out loud) or I can choose to continue shooting, and hope to grab some more images that I can use here on my blog update. 

Thankfully, the streets of Chow Kit never let me down. It never, never lacked any street photography subjects to shoot. 

Squeeze your cheeks

Crossing paths

Common Space

Back Street Activities

Backyard.
I miss Dramatic Tone Art Filter !

When I got home, the first thing I did was to run the card recovery software. The software managed to recover only some files from the vanished set of photographs, and I think I lost about 50% of the photos I took in the morning, not to be seen ever again. The fact that those files still exist in the card means I did not accidentally formatted the files. Something must have happened, and this may sound biased, but I am starting to have issues with trusting Lexar cards. After what happened few weeks ago with my other Lexar CF card which I used on the Sony DSLR, and this morning, the Lexar SD card on my trusty Olympus E-5, I am thinking, no way, I only bought two Lexar cards and both cards are giving me problems. Sorry Lexar, two different card failures in a span of a month is a very, very bad record. 

It feels great using Olympus again !! If only I had those earlier photos (which disappeared) to show you guys...

The lesson of the story? Chimping is important, VERY, VERY important. Reviewing your images can save lives.

25 comments:

  1. Hi Robin,
    download Sandisk Rescue Pro and give it a go and see if you get any more photos back. Unfortunately, all memory cards can have these problems on the odd occasion! It's time to replace the card when you have formatted the card prior to your photo session and it still gives you grief. I tend to over do it, I do a full format with my pc then reformat in the camera.

    Stephen Kaye

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    1. Hey Stephen,
      No worries, I think its best to just give up on the card. Those photos are not important, there is no need to recover them. I have enough photos for this blog so the objective was met.

      Delete
  2. Still lots of keepers and thankfully you could save the cats :)

    In your situation I would also distrust the card, but that you could recover images does not mean you didn't accidentally format the card. Formatting does not fill the card with zeros or so, it only deletes the references in the directories.

    The best thing to do after an accidental formatting is to immediately change cards. You always need to carry one more card than the number of accidents though :)

    Once a card is formatted, every new file may or may not overwrite a previous image.

    I suppose it's pretty impossible to accidentally format a card via the menus. Does the E5 have some shortcut like pressing a few buttons at once? Nikon has that. You'd likely still get one "Do you really want" but that is easier to skip accidentally than to accidentally maneuver the menu to an actual format. Finally it may also be connected to frequently changing cameras. Maybe there is a sequence of button presses on the Sony that you've internalized and that leads to or near formatting on the E5?

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    1. Hello Andreas,

      Thanks for the tips.

      But Sony and Olympus use different cards. The card that was corrupted on Sony was a cf card, the one on Olympus was sd. Sony was an older camera that does not take sd. The sd was only used in Olympus.

      I don't think there is any shortcut for formatting. You really do have to go through the menu and then the submenu to do it, and its understandable, to prevent accidents from happening.

      Delete
    2. Also, the buttons on the E-5 is not very sensitive, you need to press really hard to push them, due to the rubber sealing. There is almost no chance of accidentally touching the buttons. The only thing possible was me doing it intentionally, formatting the card without realizing, or remembering it.

      Delete
  3. The "Gatekeeper" has a lot of atmosphere and is cute, too.

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    1. Hugo,
      thats my favourite of the day, hence the opening photo !!

      Delete
  4. I'm sorry to hear about your bad luck -again!- with the memory card. But the pictures you managed to save and present here are real keepers - that wonderful Oly sharpness. I see detail within detail. The last one is a real stunner, very dramatic. As usual, terrific work!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Andre, I guess the incident was a strong reminder that things can go wrong and I do have to be extra cautious !

      Delete
  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  6. LOL at the importance of chimping... well... lol at the way you said it :)
    UGH! all these people recently having card issues!
    ive always used san disk and never had any problems, but then ive heard of people who are terrified to use them... shrug
    i think ill be avoiding lexar tho, ive heard 3 people this 1.5 ish months mention lexar issues...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Mr,
      I do believe anything can happen to any cards, but having so many issues with Lexar, its hard to trust them again.
      We do have to take extra care when using memory cards, or anything else, when doing something more serious.
      Yes, chimping is important !!

      Delete
  7. i think that "Very small door" is one of you best street photo I've seEn till now. GREAT!!! P.S. I only use and abuse Sandisk cards by years. All perfect.

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    1. Thanks Ugo !! That is a favourite shot too, not well executed, because I shot it wide open, would have been better if it was stopped down to F4 or even F8. I saw it happen and I had to react quick. Slightly wider angle to reveal more of the surrounding would be better too !! Nonetheless I do like that shot a lot.

      Delete
  8. Robin - there must be something in the soul of your Olympus gear that really pulls the artist out of you. I always enjoy your work, but there is a signature to your Oly work that is separate from the rest. Nice job on this set!

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    Replies
    1. Hey Phil,
      Thanks for the kind words. That Olympus DSLR E-5 has soul I tell you !!

      Delete
    2. I'm new to the Olympus family, but I'm starting to find my way. A few recent examples here... www.reeceimage.com

      Best,
      Phil

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  9. Robin, sorry to hear about your missing images. I can't think of any reason for that to happen, other than something is faulty (either the memory card, the camera, or the photographer). ;-) The photos that you did come back with are great, though!

    In the photo "Very Small Door", I keep going back to that spiral staircase on the left. I can't figure it out. It's almost like looking at an M. C. Escher illusionary drawings.

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    1. Thanks Gregg.
      The spiral staircase was an old design, it was used as fire escape, and not a very practical one. Imagine if really fire happens, such a staircase would slow the evacuation process. This design has been discarded. However very old shops have these spiral staircases, and the main reason is obvious !! The staircase took very little space from the building footprint.

      Delete
  10. Hey Robin, just thinking about your issue and I was wondering if you purchased the Lexar cards from somewhere online where they could be grey market or fake Lexar cards? I know any brand can be bad at times, but I've trusted Lexar for years with no problems. I'm wondering if you bought into a bad batch or rebranded lesser brand batch? At least I kind of selfishly hope so. :)

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    1. Hello Neil,
      I purchased the cards from Lexar directly, at a photography festival, Kuala Lumpur Photography Festival (KLPF) 2 years ago.

      Delete
  11. Hi, Robin.

    Im my experience Lexar is not a brand noted for quality or dependability. I would not use those cards for ANYTHING.

    I have had Lexar media fail on me before and I switched to SanDisk and never looked back. Never had another media related problem either.

    Bruce Foreman

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