U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | RE: OT: corrupted .NEF files

RE: OT: corrupted .NEF files

> Thanks, Camden,  I downloaded the ufraw utility that Gordon recommended
> (Thanks, Gord!) and with it was able to open several of the EOF-designated
> images.  At least I was able to view what was there before the bad data
> and
> thus get an idea of which images I am missing.

That ufraw didn't let you save the raw files, did it?  If it will, there's
still hope for those .nefs.  Just open them with ufraw and save them.

> If you have any Linux recovery utilities you think might be
> helpful, drop me a line.  I'm not sure its worth installing Linux, but
> perhaps.

I no longer have your original post, so I don't remember exactly what you
said happened with the drive.  But quite often garbled file names (this
was one of the symtpoms, right?) are the result of incorrectly written
metadata or bad blocks.  If your problem is in fact software related and
not a hardware issue, there's a very good chance that the images are

Most of the time, fsck (the built-in filesystem checker) will do the
trick.  There are also some great how-tos to be found on Google, if fsck
doesn't work, not to mention most linux distributions now have their own
software packages for data recovery.  If not, I suggest heading over to
sourceforge.net and search for some data recovery utilities.

You don't necessarily need to install linux.  Many distributions now come
on what's called a livecd.  Essentially, the entire operating system is
burned to a cd, and all you have to do is boot from the cd.  I recommend
Ubuntu (http://www.ubuntu.com) or Knoppix (http://knoppix.org).

You'll probably still have to decide how much time you're willing to spend
on these images, as it could take quite a while.

> My Serious Photography friends heap scorn on me whenever I
> shoot .JPG instead of RAW.  The irony in this case is that had
> I done that I would have come home with very few useful images.
> Which is not to say "shoot JPG", but if you are using suspect
> equipment (or garbage in the case of the SmartDisk FotoChute),
> you may want to give it some thought.

In your case, it's been a trade-off between quality and reliability. 
While this can apply to some degree to everyone, .nef files are no more
likely to become corrupted than .jpgs.  So I wouldn't say this incident is
a good reason to stop shooting raw.

I wouldn't be so quick to judge the hardware.  I would say about 80% of
the corrupt data cases I've dealt with over the years had nothing to do
with hardware.  More often than not, the disk is "improperly ejected" (to
quote the manufacturers).  This can happen if the device is removed while
the operating system is writing (and in some rare cases reading) the
drive.  Problems especially arise when the drive is removed while the
metadata (information the drive stores about the data on the disk -- file
names, free space, etc.) is being modified.

> How do other digital photographers store images while on
> the road?  Is there really any other safe options other than burning CDs?

Backups!  I always keep 2 continuos backups (one off-site, and dvds) of my
images.  On the road, I always have my laptop, with a usb hard drive.  I
copy my .nefs to the laptop, and then back those up onto the usb disk.

I've learned the hard way that trusting any single storage device is a
sure way to end up in a mental hospital.  It's worth the extra weight in
luggage.  :)

Camden Hardy