$1000 to Recover SD Card (Am I getting ripped off?)

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by fishniw, Sep 21, 2015.

  1. fishniw macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2008
    hello there,

    Recently did a shoot where a handful of photos were not captured properly on my SanDisk SD card.

    The thumbnails were intact but when the actual photo is viewed it is either discolored, missing, or fragmented (see example attached).

    I tried downloading RESCUEPro software and that recovered a few of the images but not all.

    So, I took it to a local camera shop and they recommended a shop in California that specializes in SD card recovery. They are 99% sure they can recover the images but they quoted me $1000 for the service. Am I getting ripped off or is that the going rate for such a task?

    Thumbnail: [​IMG]

    When Clicked: [​IMG]
  2. simonsi macrumors 601


    Jan 3, 2014
    Well he either doesn't want your business or its the going rate. Seems high but it will be time-related maybe, how big is the SD card? Looks like 1/2 the image is missing so it maybe irretrievable. When I've done this it has been either impossible or ridiculously simple with App Store SW - but that was for accidentally deleted images, it recovered those fine. You may not have any data there in the file to recover.
  3. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    £1000 sounds like a lot of money. How important are those images to you? It might be easier to cut your loses and reshoot if the recovery software route hasn't worked out for you.
    Both my cameras have duel SD slots which I set to back up. So both my cards are RAW files of the same images. Reminds me of a video I saw yesterday on froknows photo.
  4. CE3 macrumors 65816

    Nov 26, 2014
    Agree that it seems high..ridiculously high IMO. I'd say it's only worth it if you're going to make well over $1000 for those images, but I'd definitely consider getting another quote. If you decide take the offer, I would make it clear that you're only going to pay if the data is recovered.
  5. MiniD3, Sep 21, 2015
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2015

    MiniD3 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2013
    Sorry to hear your loss,
    If you have a corrupt card, some may be lost,
    As for the price, sounds like a rip off

    FWIW, Ive seen this problem a few times now and have noticed a common trend,
    I've recovered a lot of images for friends and found out all was due to bad practice,

    1.Cheap cards
    2.Not ejecting cards properly, you can get away with it most times but not always
    3.Doing hundreds of deletes to make space, a friend lost 1100 images doing this, got them all back fortunately
    4.Not formatting the card
    The most prevalent has been just ripping the card out of the laptop without ejecting first

    Some will disagree with what I have said but that is what I have seen over the many years of digital

    If the images are worth thousands of dollars to you, go for it, if not, just put it down as an annoying learning curve
    Forgot, also switching cards between cameras without formatting in the camera first
  6. kenoh macrumors demi-god


    Jul 18, 2008
    Glasgow, UK
    Boring IT guy time....

    The question is, what is he going to do differently to what you have done already using rescue software? All he can do is try to read off the raw data at the block level from the card and attempt to reconstruct it from the damaged partition and file pointer information on the card. This is basically what your software does. He may use different software that may get a better degree of success using a different algorithm but it isn't like he is going to be able to sprinkle pixie dust over it and magically recover them. It is basically a digital jigsaw puzzle.

    A quick google search corroborates my memory of us sending hard drives away to have "intentionally destroyed" data recovered and that cost about £100 a go so yes, $1,000 sounds a tad expensive. Remember on hard drives, that involved removing platters and reading off them directly. Not the case with an SD card, so ask about what he will be intending to do differently.

    As others have said, you need to decide if they are worth more than $1,000 to you to recover otherwise why would you?

    If the cost is so high because of Geography, then consider sending it to a penpal somewhere where it isn't so expensive. There is a lot of headroom for shipping costs between $1,000 and $200.... :)
  7. PfEMP1 macrumors newbie


    Sep 22, 2015
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    Hi there, I had a disaster a few months back stupidy reformating an SD card. I was able to recover the data (pictures and other files) using TestDisk (http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/TestDisk). The wiki talks you through what you need to do. It can take a while, but it does work and it only costs your time as the software is free.
  8. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    I wouldn't pay that.

    Just how "valuable" are those photos to you?

    But that begs the question:
    If they WERE "that valuable", why weren't they backed up?

    Again, I wouldn't pay that.
    My opinion only.
  9. sim667 macrumors 65816

    Dec 7, 2010
    I was just about to mentioned this too..... its a brilliant tool.

    Lets be honest, at $1000 I'd expect them to take 3.5" optical disk apart to recover data. They're not going to do that for an SD card..... So basically they're trying to rip you off.
  10. steveash macrumors 6502


    Aug 7, 2008
    I can highly recommend LC Technology. They are the company who make the Sandisk Recovery Pro software and also provide an excellent recovery service. I downloaded demo software from their site and a few minutes later an expert called me to ask if I needed any help. He wasn't a techy rather than a pushy salesperson and was genuinely helpful. With his guidance, the problem was sorted at low cost and I will certainly return if I every have a problem again.
  11. Padaung macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2007
    I had a card completely fail on me several years ago (before cameras had dual card slots). It was a wedding shoot so I HAD to recover the data. Regular recovery software did not work.

    I eventually sent the card to this company in Germany: http://recoverfab.com/
    They recovered every image. Obviously I had to pay, but it was no where close to $1000! It think I paid about £180.

    They told me a part of the controller circuitry had failed, meaning recovery software is useless. Imagine a memory card like an old vinyl record. If the vinyl is scratched the music skips. Data recovery software fixes the scratch to allow the info to be read properly again. This sort of error can be caused by pulling the card out of the camera/computer before ejecting or if data is still being written or read.

    Very rarely, the hardware controller in the card can fail - in the above analogy, the record player does not work but the viny disc is fine. However, if you take the vinyl and place it on another record player then you can listen to your music again...

    Recover Fab took the memory chip from my card and connected it to a working controller. They were then able to read the card and recover the data.

    Some one may well write back to say my above explanation is completely wrong in which case I bow to their greater knowledge. This is simply how I understood what had happened.

    Recover Fab provided a very good service.

    Hope that helps.
  12. 2457244 macrumors regular

    Jul 20, 2015
    If you pay me 250,- I'll tell you if you're getting ripped :rolleyes:
  13. fishniw thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2008
    First off, Thank you all! Lots of helpful suggestions here I'll be sure to report back on what the problem was and how I got it fixed as it seems like others in the future might have this problem.

    ^ it's very possible it was something I did to screw it up you are correct. I am guilty of doing hundreds of deletes and the card was on the cheaper side. It was properly formatted and ejected though. The issue was only with about 50 photos of the 1200 captured.

    Good idea. Maybe i'll upgrade from the 6d to the 5d to get another SD slot. It's a scary situation to lose someone's session.
  14. MiniD3 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2013
    For the future,
    Other than the handling cards correctly,
    I just use Sandisc or Lexar, you don't have to buy that fastest but perhaps the next in line
    Buying guide,
    Don't buy too larger card, (all eggs in one basket theory, any card can die!), and
    When looking at pricing, have a look at the $/GB ratio, sometimes the next bigger card is cheaper per GB, for example I recently decided to get 4 16GB cards, the price per GB for the 32 GB cards was way cheaper, so I got 2 32GB cards instead
  15. orph macrumors 68000


    Dec 12, 2005
    First don't use that card, it may be bad. mark it as bad and keep it in-case you can recover the data.
    was it a paid shoot? you need to keep the client happy so try to re-shoot maybe even do the job for free.
    got to keep happy clients.
    might be worth taking your camera in for a service to get checked.

    I rotate my cards and dump as often as possible.

    ps like Padaung mentioned, recovery services may transplant the memory chip on to a new card or test bed to recover the data like HD recovery it can cost a lot but when data can be worth a lot they can charge a lot.
  16. fishniw thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 29, 2008
    After trying all of the suggestions posted in this thread...I sent it off to recoverfab in Germany. They gave the most detailed explanation why a recovery wasn't possible:

    Unfortunately, it is not possible to rescue the data from your order # 9991. The controller on the memory device is broken-down and therefore no data transfer possible. In these cases, we unsoldering the memory chip from the printed circuit board and extract the raw data to our system. But your memory device has a special construction (see your dismantled device in the attachment), the memory chip is enclosed in thermoset material, therefore not separable and the data rescue no longer possible. Please bear in mind, this construction is used only in about 20% of all memory devices. Because manufacturers often changing the construction and even in the same enclosure are different components, is a prediction of the construction of memory devices not possible. The following causes for the failure of the storage medium come into question: a)A short-term voltage peak occurred from a connected device destroyed an electronic module in the memory device b)A previous production damage in the device, which has deteriorated by the continuous heating and cooling during the use and eventually lead to failure. c)An alpha particles, emitted by radioactive contamination of the storage medium materials, has struck an electronic component and destroyed them.

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