Recovering photos from a formatted SD card

It was bound to happen sooner or later. I formatted an SD card full of photos before downloading to Lightroom. It was an easy mistake. I inserted the card into my iMac and got distracted doing something else in Lightroom. Thinking I had downloaded the files I inserted the SD card into my Nikon and formatted it.

After I got over that sinking feeling in my stomach I searched around the web for a solution. I tried an open source solution but it did not work. I got a mess of garbage files back. After a half hour I stumbled upon Wondershare's data recovery tool.

The software is $45. That seemed a bit steep and I wanted to be sure it would work. I installed the trial version of the Photo Recovery software and attempted to recover my images.

photo recovery

After setting the SD to read-only mode I mounted the card and launched the app. I selected "Raw Recovery" and was presented with a list of drives. It was easy to identify my SD card.


I selected my SD card from the list of drives and enabled the "Scan for deleted files". Then I clicked the big "Scan" button and crossed my fingers.


After about 10 minutes files started to appear. I waited until the scan was complete and selected the "nef" checkbox in the left hand pane. One click of the "Recover" button and my files were being saved to a destination folder of my choice. I was able to import these files completely into Lightroom.

When all else fails...

Last weekend, I attended a photo meetup in the Newport area of Jersey City hosted by John Bodensiek. The weather was cold but dry. We met outside at the Starbucks next to the Newport PATH station. I had everything all set - two SD cards, two tripods, zoom and prime lens, lens cleaner and... I forgot the battery for the Nikon D40 in the charger at home.  Argh! I used the only other camera I had with me - a Sony HDR-CX7.  The Sony is an HD video camera with a 6MP image sensor and VERY limited manual settings. Despite the cold, with John's excellent direction, I was still able to get some decent shots.  At least until the lights went down.

Midtown by Khürt, on Flickr