I have a Nikon d3100, a few weeks ago I had an issue where my files all got lost. I figured it was due to using an old memory card so I replaced my memory card. I have only used the new 32g card two times (formatting them in the camera each shoot). Yesterday I came home from a shoot and all but one of the photos are ‘corrupted’ I can see that there are NEF files but they wont’t open no matter how I try to download them. There is one photo (my first one) that is able to open and download but all of the others are unable to do anything with. They aren’t really lost because I can see them Any tips or tricks? Or ways to recover these photos? Is my camera the problem?
What you see are likely JPEG thumbnails that are embedded in the NEF file. They display fine if the first kilobytes of the file are readable, but that doesn't mean the rest of the file isn't corrupt.
A few things to check:
- the size of the files (in bytes, not in pixels) as reported by the camera (if the camera can display it) and is it compatible with the size of your NEF when the camera worked?
- the size of the files in your computer file explorer, and wether that look coherent with a NEF size.
- if the files are big enough to be NEFs, then ZIP some of them (ZIP of any other compression utility, such as WinRar). Compare the size of the ZIP with the size of the files. If you get better than a 5% compression, the file is likely damaged (NEF files likely do not compress well, while damaged files often have large blocks of data replaced by all zeroes or all ones and these areas compress very well). You can ZIP a few good NEFs to get a better estimation of the compression ratio of good NEFs (2% for my Canon CR2s...).
The tests above will only tell you if there is any hope to recover some of the files. As to why the files are damaged, as @flolilo says, too many variables... If the cards behave normally in another camera it could be the camera.
If it happens with several cards that work fine in other devices, then it is almost certainly the camera.
Yo may not have to buy a new camera though, I had the same problem some years ago. The problem was that I had used the camera in a too moist environment. After a few weeks it worked fine again. Putting it in a closed box with some silica bags may help to get it dry inside faster. If you are like most people and don't have a bunch of silica bags lying around, you could use rice. Put the rice in a closed paper bag to prevent dust in your camera.
Ouch. I have a similar issue with a D300, So now I have the policy that I only download the photos connecting the camera directly with a USB cable, not removing the card. I have no issues with moist, dirt or anything similar. I am extremely careful about that.
There is a chance you can still recover some images using some recovery software. See other posts on the forum regarding that.