Q) I recently talked my wife into converting from the conventional 35mm to a digital camera. Everything was going great with the camera; my wife was taking all kinds of pictures and having fun. Then we shot with a new memory card, but it wouldn't download to my laptop. We reviewed the pictures on the camera and noted 100-plus pictures on the memory card. I took it to Wal-Mart and they weren't able to view any pictures on the chip either. Do you have any ideas?
Steven A. Trainor
A) Before looking for solutions, let's look at the reasons for losing your images. I think there might be three possibilities. First, while rare, memory cards sometimes are defective, which is a good reason to always test new photo and digital products before using them for something significant. This is no different from film days—it always was best to test a film before using it for an important vacation, for example.
Another possibility is that the card has bad formatting. Formatting in the camera will give you the most reliable results. If the card was used and formatted elsewhere, such as a computer or media player, you can have problems. Finally, there could have been an interruption during the write cycle. This could be caused by removing the card before the camera finished writing or by letting the battery power get so low that the camera shut down during the write. This might be compared to opening the film back before the film was rewound.
Now, onto possible solutions:
1. Recovery of the data through software programs. Many memory card manufacturers offer them, so check out their Websites for a link to file recovery software you can purchase.
2. Recovery of the data by a third party. There are companies that will recover media cards for you. You can find them online by doing a search for "file recovery," "data recovery" or "SD recovery" (www.flashcardfix.com is an example). You simply mail your card to them and they will send you a CD with any files they were able to recover.