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sjde Oct 18, 2011 5:57 AM

Lost photos on Coolpix S8100
I had a weird thing happen on a trip. My camera is 6 months old and I love it. But I had about 900 photos left on a 4 GB card and the next morning after taking about 30 (I hadn't glanced to see how many I had left that morning) I run out of memory. Huh?! So I'm scrolling through and see only that day's photos. I take the SanDisk memory card out and put it back in and now it says I have about 900 photos left to take . When I review, this time I see all photos taken so far from every day EXCEPT that day's photos! Those appear to be gone. Was I in some weird mode on that day I ran out? I'm always switching from flash to no flash, from auto mode to others and wonder if I accidentally hit something else. I'm thinking of taking it to Wolf camera to see if they can recover that day's worth of lost pictures.


JimC Oct 18, 2011 6:04 AM


It sounds like your FAT (File Allocation Table) is corrupted. Do not try to take any more photos with it until you recover the ones you're already taken. In other words, don't write to the card (don't use any utilities that write to it, don't delete any photos, and don't take any more photos). Otherwise, you'll risk overwriting some of the images on it.

Here's a thread explaining how to recover any images that haven't been overwritten yet using free software for that purpose:

After you recover them (and make sure you can see the larger photos, not just the thumbnails), then reformat the card using your camera's menu choice for Format (not a PC). That insures you always start out with a fresh FAT (File Allocation Table), which acts as an index to let your camera know where photos are stored), just the way the camera wants it, since it's performing the Format. I do that every time I reuse a card (format it using the camera's menu choice for format) to reduce the chance of a corrupted FAT that may not be obvious until you start having issues.

sjde Oct 18, 2011 6:14 AM

Thanks Jim. Unfortunately I already took more and deleted some.

This is a problem with the card, not the camera?


JimC Oct 18, 2011 6:21 AM

Try to recover them anyway. You don't know if they were overwritten or not (they may be stored somewhere else on the card).

But, quit taking any more photos or deleting any photos until you get the photos you lost back if they're important to you. ;-)

It's probably just a corrupted FAT. That sometimes happens when users delete photos using a PC (and moving them does the same thing, since that copies and then deletes them) and don't use the "Safely Remove" choice in their system tray, or don't use the "Eject" choice for the card or camera under "My Computer". Making sure to "right click" on a camera or card under "Computer" and selecting Eject makes sure any pending writes are flushed to it so it can be safely removed.

It can happen for no reason at all sometimes, too.

Chances are, there's nothing wrong with it that a reformat in the camera won't fix (that creates a new File Allocation Table, which is the Index on the card used to keep track of where photos are). After a period of time, a single photo can be spread out over multiple areas of the card, with the FAT keeping track of where each "piece" of the image is. The recovery program mentioned in the thread I linked to ignores the FAT and tries to find the images on the card without using it.

So, reformatting your memory cards before each reuse using the camera's menu choice for Format is a good idea, so that the images are more contiguous on it and the FAT doesn't become very complex as the camera is used more (where a small problem with it can mess everything up).

I do that *every* time I reuse a memory card (Format it using the camera's menu choice for format). No Exceptions. That way, I always start out with a new FAT, just the way the camera expects it, since the camera is performing the format, reducing any possibility that I'll run into issues due to a corrupted file system. Reformatting a card that way is usually just as fast (or faster) than deleting images manually anyway (since in most cases, a Format is only overwriting the FAT, not overwriting the entire card).

JimC Oct 18, 2011 6:53 AM

Just to make sure I was clear...

Even if you don't care about the photos you don't see anymore, you'll still want to reformat that card using the camera's menu choice for format before using it again.

Otherwise, you're probably going to have corrupted and/or missing images for the new ones you're taking, too (where you'll end up with images that look like part of them are missing, etc.). It's obvious from your description that your file system is corrupted. Formatting the card using the camera's menu choice for format (and use the camera's menu choice for format, not a PC) will create a new File Allocation Table. But, recover any images you want from it first using the photorec tool mentioned in this link:

Recovering Images or Video from Memory Cards

Then, *after* you recover all of the images from it (and you'll probably see a lot of them if you've used it a lot, since it will recover deleted images from it, too) use your camera's menu choice for Format before you use it again. But, again, even if you don't care about the images you lost and don't want to bother recovering them, reformat it using the camera's menu choice for Format before using it again anyway (and I do that *every* time I reuse a memory card, no exceptions). Otherwise, you'll continue to have problems with it.

sjde Oct 18, 2011 7:12 AM

I will now always take a 2nd memory card with me now when I travel.

You said not to delete or take any more--Is it okay to download to kodakgallery?

I'm a novice. When exactly do you reformat? With a new card? After you delete? It sounds like you don't need to delete if you reformat? How I use it is to generally take a 100+ photos, put them on kodakgallery and/or save on a CD, delete the images and reuse the card.

JimC Oct 18, 2011 7:26 AM

You can copy photos from it. But, I would not try to delete any photos from it (and if you move them with a PC, that does the same thing, since it copies and then writes to the card when it deletes them).

But, to be safer, recover any images on it using free software for that purpose first. The more you use it, the more risk you'll have of corrupting any photos still recoverable that haven't been overwritten yet; and you don't want to take new photos with it before you reformat it, otherwise you'll likely have problems with them, too; as your file system is corrupted.

I reformat *every* time I reuse a card. For example, after I finish a days shooting, I'll copy the photos from it to my hard drive using a card reader. Then, next time I get ready to use the camera with that card, I'll use the camera's menu choice for Format to format it again.

That creates a new FAT (File Allocation Table, which is the index the file system uses to keep track of the locations on the card that your image files are stored in), which has the same impact as deleting everything on it, reducing the chance that I have unnoticed file system corruption that may not be obvious until later.

There are just too many things that can go wrong anymore. You may have errors on the USB interface or cable that corrupted a file system on a card when you wrote to it from a PC (and a delete is a write) or other programs interfering with writes to one. Sometimes the file system becomes corrupted when users unplug a card or camera from their PC without using the "Safely Remove" choice in their system tray (and you can "right click" on the icon for it under "My Computer" and select the "Eject" choice, which does the same thing, flushing any pending writes back to the card so it can be safely removed).

If you don't use Safely Remove or Eject, and any writes to it were not completed at the time it was unplugged, you're going to end up with a corrupted file system. I've even seen file systems corrupted just by continuing to use a camera after a low battery warning, where a camera shut off when battery was depleted without flushing all pending writes in the camera's onboard cache memory first.

Some users never format one and don't have issues. But, I always reformat my cards prior to *every* reuse (using the camera's menu choice for Format, not a PC). No Exceptions.

sjde Oct 24, 2011 3:50 PM

This is strange. Apparently a camera has an internal memory for photos outside of the memory card? Because my "problem" memory card-with the lost pictures-- is at Wolf Camera where they tried to recover them. (They couldn't.) So I dug out an old card that I didn't have with me on my trip (the trip where I had lost a day's worth of photos) to take some pictures and when I scrolled back through, there were the missing 50 photos! And now all the other photos that were origionally on that card are missing. Is my camera messing up?


sjde Oct 30, 2011 7:10 PM


JimC Oct 30, 2011 7:36 PM

Checking your camera's manual, it does look like it also has internal memory in it.

You can copy photos from internal memory to a memory card. Look under the Playback section in your manual for how to do that. See page 119 of this manual (the .pdf page is 131):

The way your camera works is it will automatically store photos on a memory card when one is inserted, and use the internal memory if one is not inserted.

If you had a card in it at the time you took those photos, it either wasn't making a good enough connection, was full, or the FAT was corrupted.

I'd make sure to format it using the camera's menu choice for format before using it again. I do that *every* time I reuse a memory card, no exceptions.

See page 172 for how to format both memory cards and internal memory (and I wouldn't format the internal memory before copying the photos in it to a memory card and making sure they're copied to your PC).

Basically, you just press the Menu button, go into Setup, and use the Format choice without a memory card inserted to format the internal memory in the camera, and it will prompt you with a Yes/No choice asking if you want to format the Internal Memory.

To format a memory card, insert the card and when you use the same Format choice from your Setup menu, and it will prompt you for a Yes/No answer to format the card.

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