My girlfriend Kayla and I both recently purchased new DSLR cameras – she owns the Nikon D5000 and I have a Canon T1i. Mine has mostly been used for macro photography and not anything too serious yet, but I quite enjoy it so far. I’m hoping it doesn’t end up like what Dave and Warren consider my most foolhardy purchase, a MIDI keyboard that I’ve allegedly never used. (They may not laugh as much when Rock Band 3 launches, since it should work with the game.)
One of the main issues I ran into was not wanting to purchase a SD card from Best Buy or another retailer, since places like Canada Computers and NCIX have the equivalents for significantly cheaper. Up until this point I’d just been using a 1GB PNY card, so I transferred it to the T1i and started taking shots. The 1GB size is good for about 200 to 250 pictures in JPEG format.
My issue and story really begins when I switched laptops and neglected to back up my iPhoto library or the original JPEG files. All of my media files are stored on a server, and the photos for one reason or another didn’t make the cut. Most of these photos weren’t a huge loss, but there were some shots of an Ottawa trip that I’d never really gotten around to categorizing.
Armed with the SD reader in my laptop, I used a command-line utility called PhotoRec to examine the contents of two SD cards. Both cards had been formatted multiple times: the first one displayed no files in Finder, and the second one had been wiped for Wii savegames.
Here’s the process that I found worked best on a Mac, after downloading and extracting photorec and testdisk to a temporary directory:
1. Insert the SD card into the onboard reader. (I didn’t have any luck with an attempt reading directly from the camera, so I’d suggest using a dedicated SD card reader if at all possible.) Ignore iPhoto if it comes up.
2. From the command line, change to the temporary directory and run:
and provide your account password.
3. Select the “Disk /dev/rdiskX”. It’s best to look by size – my “blank” 1GB SD card appeared as /dev/rdisk3 with 1030MB / 982MB sizes. Continue with selecting a Intel/PC partition table.
4. Choose “No partition [Whole disk]” when prompted, rather than the FAT32 partition. This ensures the entire SD card is searched and made a difference in the number of photos recovered from the Wii-formatted card. The filesystem will be Other (FAT).
5. Select the directory to extract to. PhotoRec will create a subdirectory whereever you select called recup_dir.N where N is a number.
6. Examine your photos once the process is complete. Certain photos may only have thumbnails (tNNNNNNN.jpg) available. You can remove these at the command line by changing to the recup_dir.N directory and running:
sudo rm -rf t*.jpg
7. Feel free to change ownership of the files if you would like to modify them. This can be done through Finder by selecting all of the photos (Cmd+A), choosing File > Get Info, unlocking the Sharing and Permissions panel and allowing your username or everyone read and write permissions. (The command line equivalent would be sudo chmod o+w *.jpg in the recup_dir.N directory.)
Of about 300 photos on each card, 244 were recovered successfully from the first card and 65 from the second card used for Wii savedata. PhotoRec worked as intended and now I have some additional files for my Flickr account! I leave you with a sample view from Parliament in Ottawa.