View Full Version : Unidentified Image on two different memory cards

19th of April 2009 (Sun), 20:47
I recently bought an SD990 and have been extremely happy with it until recently. We went to Italy and suddenly I realized that after taking about a dozen photos, the 3rd one and 4th one both said "unidentified image." The 3rd one showed the photo image and said "unidentifed image," while the 4th one just showed a yellow question mark. I wasn't sure what this meant and I kept taking photos. A few days later, the photos it was showing as "unidentified" had jumped ahead to two other images taken days later....and the ones taken before it were GONE. I lost a whole day's worth of photos...about 60 or 70 photos!

I brought two memory cards with me on the trip, so I immediately swapped out the new one and formatted it in the camera. Again, after taking about a dozen photos, two were shown as "unidentified image." This time, I deleted the "unidentifed images." After deleting them, everything seemed OK, and the problem didn't occur again.

Fortunately we had our laptop with us and and had installed the Canon software before we left. So we downloaded our photos every night of our vacation from that point forward, just to be safe. I wish we'd done that from the beginning! :-(

Does anyone have any idea why this has happened? I am using two memory cards that are the same: Transcend 8GB SDHC. I formatted them in the camera before I used them, following the instructions in the Canon manual. Is the camera malfunctioning during the format? Or is it the memory card?

I called a high-end camera store in my area to ask about this. They blame the memory card. But after searching for "unidentified image" here on this forum and elsewhere on the Web, I see that others have had similar problems with other types of memory cards as well.

Now I'm worried that there may be something wrong with my camera.

I would appreciate any insight that anyone has into this.

My husband has a memory card reader at his office, so we will see if those 60-70 "lost" images show up on that later this week. They do not show up on the download to my PC (it's as if they never existed). The high-end camera store can try to recover them for me, but it will cost $50. :(

19th of April 2009 (Sun), 21:37
Try a different brand of card; it's possible you got a bad batch of cards. If the same thing happens then, there's a problem with the camera. But the cards are usually the first problem. And you can't test by taking 1 or 2 photos - you need to pretty well fill the card.

21st of April 2009 (Tue), 13:42
Does Canon recommend any specific brand of memory card? Or, from your experience, is there a brand that you recommend more highly than others? I thought that all memory cards were pretty much equal, but the camera store insists that Transcend is an "off brand." Not sure why they said this, or who to believe....and of course they charge triple the price for memory cards that Amazon does, and it's unclear to me why they are charging so much more for what seems to be essentially the same thing.

Another question....would it be better to get cards with less capacity? I've read a few posts on the web that suggest that there may be more problems with the higher capacity cards. My cards are 8GB. I bought that size because I wanted to have plenty of room for both short videos and photos during my vacation. Now I'm wondering if it might be better to get few smaller capacity cards instead.

21st of April 2009 (Tue), 13:50
Well, I use only SanDisk cards. I've used Lexar, Kingston and Simple in the past but now it's all SanDisk and nothing less than an Ultra II (and those are getting phased out). Others on here do speak well of Transcend though. There are differences among manufacturers, though, both in performance and in build quality. You probably wouldn't notice the performance differences in an SD990, but the type of solder and of the contacts, the source of the memory components and the rigidity of the boards all make a difference in cards' reliability and durability. And the warranty does make some differennce in price. However you can usually get cards from volume sellers like Amazon, NewEgg or B&H for much less than you can from small, local stores even where the brand's the same. And the less-advertised brands, while not necessarily "off-brands" will have a lower overhead even for the small-volume purchaser.

21st of April 2009 (Tue), 14:22
Make sure you try to use some picture recovery software, you might be able to save some of them.

I got some software bundled with my Paint Shop Pro purchase that I successfully used on a friends narfed up card. He ended up only losing about 2 pictures and got back about 45. I can't remember the name of it but there are lots of recovery options available. Some cards even come with software (Sandisk)

A quick search here will provide a few options also:

Check this one first:

And another:

23rd of April 2009 (Thu), 23:42
This has happened to me a few times as well.. seems to be no rhyme or reason. I would like to know why! So whenever it happens to me I just download a free recovery program and it gets all my pictures back. I wouldnt pay 50 bucks thats for sure:)

24th of April 2009 (Fri), 10:07
You may have a bad card. If it only happens on one card, scrap that one. If it happens with several cards your camera may have a problem.

29th of April 2009 (Wed), 15:06
I'm happy to report that I was able to recover ALL of the "lost" images with a memory card reader! YEA!!!!!!! There were more images than I'd estimated: 102 images! They came up immediately with no problem and display properly! There were several really nice photos of my kids there, so needless to say I'm extremely happy! :D:D:D

I will probably get a third memory card (different brand, maybe SanDisk) to see if the problem is the camera or the memory card. As I stated in my initial post, I have two Transcend SDHC 8GB cards, and the "unidentified image" problem happened on both of them after formatting the cards properly in the camera. However, when this problem happened on the second card, I deleted the two unidentified images. After that, everything seemed to be OK. I have taken many more photos on that card but I'm not even close to maxing it out, and so far the problem has not returned.

I think the scariest thing about this problem is the 102 images that seemed to disappear. I'm grateful to realize that as long as the card has not been re-formatted, the images are still on it somewhere. Perhaps the camera's index got messed up so the camera couldn't see them.

Anyway, needless to say I've been taught a valuable lesson by this incident. First of all, if I have a laptop with me, it's a good idea to transfer the camera's images at the end of every day. Secondly, since the memory card reader is a very small device, I will take it with me on vacation just in case. And thirdly, if I see "unidentified image" I should take immediate action, change the card, and not take any more photos on the affected card until the photos are downloaded from it and the "unidentified images" are deleted.

29th of April 2009 (Wed), 21:27
so happy to hear that you got them back :D

2nd of May 2009 (Sat), 09:27
its a bad card probably