Bizarre import error into LR5 and how I recovered from it

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by kallisti, Oct 31, 2014.

  1. kallisti, Oct 31, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2014

    kallisti macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    I had something happen recently when importing pics into LR5. The import seemed to go okay, but happened much faster than I was expecting. There were 98 pics shot in RAW on the SD card and the process completed almost instantly. Reviewing the thumbnails in LR, several of them were extremely pixelated. So a red flag went off in my head, and I deleted the pics and used the CF card instead (Nikon D810 using both an SD and CF card). The CF card images looked good but also imported quickly.


    Made a big mistake here. Should have already been thinking that something wonky was happening. Since the preview pics looked good, I let things slide. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

    Since I thought the import was okay, I formatted both cards in the camera. My usual practice to prepare for the next shoot.

    When I went back to edit the pics in LR, I experienced a moment of panic--all of the editing options were greyed out. Oh no. When I tried to export the pics, I got a message that the original file couldn't be found.

    No, no, no.

    Okay, I screwed up. Both imports were borked. While I could still see all the pics in LR (and could even zoom in on them), the original files didn't get imported.

    Chalked it up to the "live and learn" pile of experiences--NEVER delete the originals until you are absolutely positive that the originals have been transferred successfully onto your hard drive. Started thinking of ways to recover the lost images since they were still showing up in LR (at least as previews).

    Displayed the pics full screen in LR on my rMBP and then took screenshots of them. Then imported the screenshots back into LR. I obviously lost all of the advantages of RAW, but was lucky in that most of them didn't require much tweaking.

    Not anywhere close to an ideal solution, but it let me salvage some pics that would have been lost otherwise. Needed to do some cropping to remove the black bars on the sides of the screenshots.

    1404 pixels by 1755 pixels

    2190 pixels by 1752 pixels

    Obviously less data to work with in post. And I learned my lesson about formatting data cards too soon. But it ended up being not as bitter of a pill to swallow as I initially thought.

    Not sure if something similar has happened to others. Also not sure if there are other/better solutions. Clearly the most important thing is to not let it happen in the first place....
  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Glad you managed to recover your photos. One of the things I like about my D7100 is the duel slots. If a card fails, I'm still ok.
    I usually delete my cards when I get to my next shoot. As that's typically a week later, I've always done my editing by then.
  3. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Glad you got what you needed, so it wasn't a total loss.

    I'm paranoid by nature. I only format my cards when I am putting them into the camera... first thing I do when inserting a new card is format it. Until that point the cards I've recently imported from sit on my desk, in used-date order, until I need them for a shoot. Most of my shooting lately is in the studio so they're handy. But if I'm doing a lot of location work, I just make sure to grab a couple extra cards off my desk - the oldest ones. This ensures that not only have I had time to make sure the import was OK (but having at least an early editing session with them) but that the images have been backed up to an external HD before the card is used in the camera and formatted. The only time there is only one copy of the image is when it is on the card between capture and import. After that there is always at least 2 copies - in theory. If the theory fails (bad import, for example) I still have that one original capture copy.
  4. Meister Suspended


    Oct 10, 2013
    I really like those images! Did you use a light-setup?
    Amazing quality for screenshots and no processing.
  5. kallisti thread starter macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    Thanks :)

    Didn't use strobes/flashes--overhead lights from my kitchen and outdoor light through windows and a door.
  6. pezdaddy macrumors member

    Oct 3, 2012
    Great looking images - the lighting is awesome!
  7. Small White Car macrumors G4

    Small White Car

    Aug 29, 2006
    Washington DC
    Google "recover photos from erased SD card" and see what you can find. There are lots of programs made to solve this. Formatting the card usually doesn't erase the files, it just marks them as being available for the camera to write over later.

    Not promising you'll be able to make it work (or that it can be done for free) but there are options out there. Worth looking into.

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