I have a problem just like the post with the link below (I'm having trouble loading any of mine). The way they look in LR is how it looks on the post below. They look perfect in Preview mode and then WHAMO ... They suck when opened up. I'm trouble shooting now per the answers at the below link on this site and the hero hubby is off picking up a new card reader to see if it can magically fix this. Prayers are being offered up too, because i may need a miracle. This client flew 5 hours for a beach photoshoot so I can't do a reshoot. Here's the problem seemingly different from below. I can't open the NEF files in Photoshop. When I open the JPG files it only shows the top strip. When I open in Lightroom I can see the photo, problems and all, but I can't export them. So I have no way of even trying to fix them since I can't even import them. You following me so far? So here's the Q's. Anyone know how to get these to photoshop so I can fix them? OR Does anyone know someone skilled in photoshop who I can send these to to fix. AND does anyone know anyone who can pull the corrupted files off the SD card in a way that will save them from ruin (it's a long shot for sure, but doesn't hurt to ask). I've been digital for 10 years and have never had this problem. ANY help is most GRATEFULLY appreciated!

Why do images get "corrupted"?

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Immediately write-protect your card, so you don't accidentally further damage what might be there. Then, try Photorec as recommended in Is there a way to read or recover corrupted/incomplete photos on CF card?. (CF and SD are the same, here.) \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 19:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ It is impossible to answer because we have no idea how corrupted the images are. I could try to convert them by a program line nconvert first to get a usable file. It has some chance of working on some of the files. As they say, it's worth a shot. \$\endgroup\$
    – Itai
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 19:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ How did you move the photos from your card to your Hard drive? \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 19:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Now the files aren't even showing up on the cards (this happened to two cards at the same time ... LAME! both Lexar pros). \$\endgroup\$
    – ashlee
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 20:24
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ The fact that it's both cards at once suggests that it may be the card reader, cable, or computer. \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Mar 22, 2013 at 20:49

2 Answers 2


You are experiencing a data communications issue at some point. When large files are transferred they are broken up into packets and then reassembled. When some of the data is corrupted then the packets don't get reassembled in the correct order, or some of the packets aren't the correct length and so the rendering program thinks bits that are supposed to be telling it one thing are telling it something else because they are the wrong number of positions from the header. I've experienced a couple of routers with memory that started going bad. The first evidence of a problem was when pictures in web pages started getting scrambled exactly the way the examples in the question you linked to were. Why pictures? Because they are often the largest files that make up part of a page. If any portion of the file lands on the bad memory, the whole photo gets corrupted.

In the case of your photos there are several points in the chain that may have caused your files to become corrupted.

  • The buffer to memory card transfer
  • The memory card to reader transfer
  • The reader to RAM transfer
  • the RAM to Hard Disk transfer

The further down the chain the problem occurred, the easier it will be to recover.

The first thing to do is to write-protect your memory card. The next thing to do is to take some test shots with a different memory card. Do everything else exactly the same to see if the problem reoccurs. If it does, try moving the photos of the test shots using a different method. Instead of a card reader, try to use the camera to do the transfer. Use a USB port that is on a different USB bus than the one your card reader is connected to. (Even internal card readers usually connect to the PCI bus via USB.) If there is one available, see if a different computer can read the card. Change one thing at a time so that you can isolate where the communications problem is.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you for explaining all of this. I'll try with the camera next and I'll look up what "write protecting" is. We are using two different computers with same results and are on card reader #2. Many THanks! \$\endgroup\$
    – ashlee
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 15:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you've changed everything except the card and camera then one of those is most likely where the problem lies. write protect is a tab on an SD card and was included before we knew your cards were CF. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 16:02
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thank you @Michael Clark. My husband has been able to recover 2 of the cards now. Still have one giving us problems :( \$\endgroup\$
    – ashlee
    Commented Mar 29, 2013 at 2:40

Photoshop nor LR can't fix your corrupted data files. They are image processing software. You should refer to this page, and contact page author, to try to help you (first read the post). Also, try to download JPEGSnoop (a JPEG analysis tool), and try to exam your jpeg pictures. JPEGSnoop will tell you what kind of deformation your JPEG files has, and with that information, we can try to find suitable software which is best in fixing your concrete JPEG file deformation.

If our suggestions do not succeed, you have to call your client, and tell him about your issues. Try to offer him two free photo shooting events, or something else, just to take back his trust.

We are photographers, our job depends on technology, but sometimes something went wrong, and we can't do nothing about it :(

  • \$\begingroup\$ So true @D4Am. I think they'll be reasonable about everything I just don't want to have conversations like these :( I'll look at this JpegSnoop and see it it has any answers. Many thanks to you! \$\endgroup\$
    – ashlee
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 15:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Don't let this problem demotivates you. If you were not in this situation these days, you would be once in your carrier. Be patient, we are people, and I'm 100% sure that client will understand your issues :) \$\endgroup\$
    – D4Am
    Commented Mar 23, 2013 at 18:01

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