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Old Jul 24, 2005, 3:31 PM   #1
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I bought a brand new 512MB SanDisk SD card to use in my Kodak DX6490 to take pics at my cousin's wedding. The mother of the bride (my aunt) sort of designated me as an "unofficial" photographer. I was supposed to take lots and lots of pictures, lots of candid shots, etc., and that's why I bought the new 512 SD card, because I didn't think my 256 and128would be enough.

Anyway, to test the new 512 cardI took about 10 pics on itwhen I got home from buying it, and it worked fine. I wanted to be sure the card would work and I wouldn't have any problems with it, and that is why I tested it. I was satisfied that it worked fine.

This past weekend, I got to the wedding, and I pulled out my camera. I started taking pics left and right, of everybody and everything, just like I was supposed to. The card and camera were both working fine, nothing abnormal at all. I had taken about 100 pictures, and then I turned the camera off to go to a different room. I got there, and I turned the camera back on, took about 4 or 5 more pics, and there were still no problems.I turned the cameraoff again to walk down a hall to get to another room, and then when I got there, I turned the camera on again, butthis time I was greeted with a blue screen, saying thememory card was not formatted, and it asked if I would like to format it. I was devestated, but I did not format the card, in the hopes thatsomehow the picscould be recovered. After this happened, I put in my 256 card, and used it for the rest of the day, with no problems whatsoever.

I've tried to read the card with 2 different card readers, on 4 different computers, but the computers don't even seem to "see" the card, or detect it. In fact the computers seem to get on the verge of freezing up whenever I try to read the card. I have tried several programs to recover the pics, without success. The programs I've tried are "Digital Photo Recovery", "PhotoOne Recovery", "PhotoRescue 2.1", "Zero Assumption Digital Image Recovery", and "RescuePro", which is a program I found on SanDisk's website.

I emailed three of the programs above, asking for suggestions. Two of them wrote me back, and the first one said they thought the pics were probably unrecoverable. The second one said it was very likely that the root sector of the card was damaged, so the computer can't read it. They said the chance to recover it with software is slim, and they recommended I contact the manufacturer to see if they have a way to recover the pics.

So I wrote to SanDisk, and I told them the whole story, but they haven't written back yet. I wrote them late on Friday though, so they probably won't write back til Mon. or Tues.

I'm sorry for the long post, but I wanted to give all the information that I have.I'm really kind of at a loss, as I'm not sure what to do next. "RescuePro" (which is the software that SanDisk has on their website) has an "in-house" recovery service, but that is $125, and I don't know if that would even do any good. I guess all I can doat this pointis wait to see what SanDisk says.

Has anyone here ever had anything like this, or something similar happen?


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Old Jul 24, 2005, 7:01 PM   #2
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OK...

Your camera does recognize that you have a card in it, right (but, it thinks it needs formatting)?

Do you see a card show up under "My Computer" when the card is plugged into a card reader (even though it may not be readable)? If so, what does it tell you when you "right click" on it and choose properties?

I just want to see what can and can't see the card. Chances are, you can format the card and recover the images if we can get something to recognize that you have a formattable card. But, I need to know what can and cannot see it first.

If it turns out that this is only the camera, then we'll want to see if the camera is only recreating a FAT (File Allocation Table) during an in camera format, versus overwriting the data on the card (and we can check that by formatting a different card with the camera, then seeing if any images are recoverable, before doing anything to the "problem" card).

Most of the time, this kind of a problem is only a corrupted File Allocation Table (versus a totally dead card).

Let me know the answers to the above questions, and I'll make some suggestions on how I'd proceed if it were me.

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Old Jul 25, 2005, 12:53 AM   #3
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Yes, the camera does recognize that there is a card in it.When Iput the card in the cameraand turn the camera on, it comes up to a blue screen that says "Memory card requires formatting" and it gives me the option to Continue orCancel. (I haven't done either one though, I just turn it off whenthis screen comes up.)

And as to the computer recognizing it...Just now, I put the card into my cardreader and plugged it in, just to be completely sure of what it does. I looked under My Computer,and itdoes notshow the removable drive, which should be G:/.

Thanks so much for responding, I really appreciate it!

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Old Jul 25, 2005, 6:58 AM   #4
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You've got another card you can test with, right?

With an operating system (i.e., Windows) format, the data on the cards is usuallynot overwritten (still recoverable after a Windows format, provided you select FAT as the file system type for formatting).

But, with an in camera format, the results vary between camera models.

In your case, it sounds like only the camera is aware of the card.

What I'd suggest istaking some photos using another card. Then, format the card using the camera menus. After a format, see if you can recover the images on the card using one of the popular utilities (photorescue, etc.).

That will let you know if the camera is only recreating a new FAT after a format (which means images are recoverable).

If so (able to recover files after format with the camera with another card), if it were my card, after reinserting the "problem card" into the camera, I'd tell it to continue after being prompted that the card needs formatting. Then, I'd use one of the utilities to recover the images on it.

I suspect that your camera will only attempt to recreate the File Allocation Table (FAT) versus overwriting the images on the card. But, I don't know for sure (which is why you should test it's behavior with another card first). Some models will overwrite the entire card. For example, Olympus models using SmartMedia appear to overwrite the images during a format. But, most models won't (and you can still recover images after a format).

Now, that the operating system isn't recognizing the card in a reader is not a good sign. But, since the camera can still see it, I wouldn't give up on it just yet. :-)

I've seen more than one user with this problem that was able to recover images after deliberately formatting a card so that recovery utilities could be used.

Try this at your own risk, and make sure to test your camera's behavior using a different card first.

BTW, use the demo versions of image recovery tools first before buying one. If they work, chances are, this free one (Digital Image Recovery) will also. Here is the download link:

http://www.foto-erhardt.de/foto-forum/download.php?id=2

Note: in the event your Kodak is overwriting more than just the FAT (and you'll be able to determine it's behavior by testing with another card first), I still wouldn't give up on it. You may be able to find another camera that can both see the card and format it, without overwriting anything except for the FAT.

Test another card first, then let us know if you were able to recover images from it after an in camera format.

If the problem card is not totally "dead" (i.e, a camera can still recognize it as being there and formattable), it's probably just a corrupted FAT (the most common problem of this type) versus a bad card.
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Old Jul 25, 2005, 8:54 PM   #5
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Thanks for the reply! I was kind of busy today, so I didn't get a chance to try what you suggested, but I'm planning to try it tomorrow.(I do have a couple extra cards, so I'll just try it with one of those first, like you suggested.)

I'll post back with my results tomorrow...
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Old Jul 26, 2005, 1:19 PM   #6
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Ok, I did a test with an extra 128MB card. I took about 40 pictures, and then I formatted the card with the camera. The format only took about 3 seconds. I was able to recover all of the pictures on the "test" card, using the free program you suggested.

So, I guess I should just go ahead and insert the "problem" card into my camera and let it format it, right? I'll probably do it sometime today, I just have to get up the nerve to do it. At this point, I think it's the only option I have.
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Old Jul 26, 2005, 1:58 PM   #7
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gilmoregirlz wrote:
Quote:
Ok, I did a test with an extra 128MB card. I took about 40 pictures, and then I formatted the card with the camera. The format only took about 3 seconds. I was able to recover all of the pictures on the "test" card, using the free program you suggested.

So, I guess I should just go ahead and insert the "problem" card into my camera and let it format it, right? I'll probably do it sometime today, I just have to get up the nerve to do it. At this point, I think it's the only option I have.
Well, there is no guarantee that the camera will be able to format it (especially, if it's not being recognized by your PC when using a card reader). There is always a risk involved when performing this kind of operation, too.

But, if it were mine, I'd try it. The most common type of problem is a corrupted FAT, and formatting it may let recovery utilities work (I've seen users do this in the past and recover their images with memory cards).
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Old Jul 26, 2005, 7:16 PM   #8
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I think it's a lost cause.....

I finally got up the nerve to do it. So I put the card in the camera, and turned the camera on.It came up to the blue screen that says "Memory card requires formatting",so I hit "Continue". It asked me if I was sure, and I said yes.Then it went to a blue screen that said "formatting" for about 3 seconds, then itwent right back to the screenthat says"Memory card requires formatting". Not good.

I turned off the camera and put the card in my card reader, and plugged it into the computer. It didn'tshow up under My Computer. I put the card back in the camera and formatted it again, butonce again itcame up to the "Memory card requires formatting" screen when it got done, and it still does not show up under My Computer when I put it in my card reader.

I guess that's it. I'll just have to see if I can get SanDisk to replace the card, although I'd rather not even have any more of their products. I just hope they don't need the original package, because I don't think I have it anymore....
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Old Jul 26, 2005, 7:27 PM   #9
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Well, when you said your card reader couldn't see it, that was a red flag.

But, you may still want to try a few more things before totally giving up on it. If you have access to another camera, you may want to see if a different one can format the card and be able to act as a card reader to recover the images (unlikely, but I'd give it a shot if the pics are important).

If the card is malfunctioning in a way that it's drawing too much current, one camera or reader might work when another doesn't.

I'd also make sure to try sliding the unlock/lock switch back and forth a few times, just in case a dirty switch contact isn't causing a problem.

Finally (and this is going to sound a bit strange), if it were my card, I'd put in in the freezer for a while if nothing else worked and see if it was readable after it was cold. Sometimes, loweringtemperature can cause malfunctioning components to work long enough to get what you want from them (a long shot). ;-)
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Old Jul 29, 2005, 9:12 AM   #10
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hmm, try it in a commertial card reader system, like those in a drug store, try some different models, like a kodak system and a fuji system, maybe a pro system has better error correction.



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