Recover your digital cards quickly and easily. (January 3rd, 2008)
Product Manufacturer: Ecamm Network, LLC
Price: $19.95 US
- Simple to use. Effective. Flexible. Good value.
- Odd filenames when importing into iPhoto.
For years, I've known that there are software utilities out there that can recover lost photos from a digital camera or memory card, but thankfully I've never needed one - until Christmas day. If you use a digital camera, you may want to make sure your software arsenal includes digital card recovery software, so you do not become the victim of photo-loss panic.
Disaster strikesAfter a full day of shooting Christmas pictures, I sat down to complete my review of Shutterbug and post a quick photo album for family and friends of my newest treasures. For whatever reason, when iPhoto asked if I wanted to erase the camera after import, I pressed Yes when I always press No. Well, iPhoto froze during the import and I had to force quit out of the program. When I checked to make sure my pictures had imported to iPhoto correctly, I found, to my horror, only four of about 60 had properly imported. When I checked the camera, only the same four showed up on the memory card. My heart sank as approximately 56 photographs were now missing.
Recovery Software SearchI immediately did a Google search for recovery utilities and ended up trying Exif Untrasher . While it got some good reviews online, I followed the instructions to the letter and despite two attempts, the program crashed before I could recover any photos.
My search also turned up Ecamm Network's CardRaider, which ironically was updated to version 2.0 on Dec. 21. I tested it, and to my amazement, it immediately found every single photo I thought I might have lost. It also turned up what I think was every photo I've taken since August on my 4 GB Secure Digital memory card, despite the fact that I've reformatted the card with my Canon PowerShot G7 at least a dozen times.
User-friendly interfaceNo manual or instructions are necessary for recovery with CardRaider. For each photo detected on the card, you are shown a thumbnail picture, the file size, dimensions, shoot date, file format, and quality of the potential recovery, i.e. Fully Recoverable, Not Recoverable, Incomplete, or Unknown. The most obvious options for recovering the photos are Send to iPhoto and Save (to disk). In my first recovery attempt, I used the demo version of the program and selected the iPhoto option. As expected, the photos were immediately imported into iPhoto, but at a lower quality than the originals and with a watermark that clearly indicated that I had used a demonstration version of the program. Knowing that I could indeed recover my photos, I purchased the full version and repeated the process, this time recovering the full-size, original images in a matter of a few minutes.
The CardRaider Preferences are as simple as the rest of the program, with only three checkboxes. The first allows you to find only deleted images, the second tells CardRaider to ignore corrupted images, and the third is Use safe mode. Safe mode helps scan particularly corrupted cards that may cause CardRaider to crash. It only recovers JPEG files, not movies or RAW files, and it does not show previews.
File name peculiaritiesThe only thing that bothers me about this program is the way it handles file names. When selecting the Send to iPhoto option, the filenames assigned by CardRaider are extremely long and contain a cryptic string of numbers and letters, such as B001597A-79F2-4FA6-A7FB-9DAD5D84DE29-765-00000C74F0FEFE32.JPG. I am accustomed to the nice clean file names assigned by the camera, such as IMG_3121.JPG. The long file names really made a mess, especially when I tried to create a web photo gallery with ShutterBug.
I recovered my photos again using the Save file option, figuring that I would simply use Automator to rename them to something more to my liking. I was surprised to discover that the file names assigned when using the Save option looked like 20071225-110249.JPG, where the first set of numbers are obviously the date in year-month-day format and the second set of numbers are the time in hour-minutes-seconds format. This is a much more desirable file-naming scheme and probably comes from the files themselves. Unfortunately, I could not use this format within iPhoto. I had to use the Save files option and save the photos to a temporary folder, then import the saved files to iPhoto using the import option. It sure would be nice if the Send to iPhoto option simply followed this more desirable naming convention in the first place.
Overall Ecamm claims CardRaider works with all popular memory card types including CompactFlash (CF), XD Picture Card, SmartMedia, Secure Digital (SD), Mini Secure Digital (Mini SD), MultiMediaCard (MMC), IBM Microdrive, Memory Stick (MS), Memory Stick Duo, and Memory Stick Pro (MS-PRO). They further claim that it finds JPEG (JPG), Canon Raw, Canon Raw 2, Canon Raw TIFF, Nikon Raw, Konica Minolta Raw, Fuji Raw, Olympus Raw, Pentax Raw, Sony Alpha Raw 1 and 2, Sony Raw 2, Panasonic Raw, Kodak Raw, Leaf Raw, Sigma Raw, and Digital Negative (Adobe Raw) files. I can personally attest to the fact that it found what appeared to be every JPG and AVI file I had taken on my SD memory card with my Canon PowerShot G7. It's really quite amazing to discover that despite numerous reformats, everything is still there.
Should you encounter a memory card disaster as I did, I would strongly recommend trying the CardRaider demo version. If you can successfully recover preview-sized copies of your photos, you will then know that you can recover the original images with the full version. CardRaider is a bargain at $19.95 and simply a lifesaver when your storage card has problems.
Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor