I can kick myself right in the butt as I didn’t take my own advice and reformat before a paying shoot and ran it deep trouble with a corrupt card/image files. Spent about 8 hours trying to recover the files.
At first I tried my favorite image recovery software, RescuePro, as it has never let me down with helping others recover image files. Well this time it did let me down! What it recovered on my corrupted RiData 8GB CF card were two files for each raw file - one .CR2 and one .jpeg. The recovered jpeg was just the imbedded jpeg used in the camera preview. The confusing part was the jpg file size indicated 8.4 MB so my hopes were up at first but it was a false size. I could open the jpeg but it was only thumbnail size probably no more than 100 pixels across. The CR2 size was indicated at 80 KB. So I just thought RescuePro became confused and just switched extensions...so I changed the extensions and still could not open the CR2 in Lightroom, Camera Raw or Canon’s DPP.
I also opened healthy and corrupted CR2 files with the text editor BBEdit (Mac) to compare the file/header structures and tried to figure out if I could copy and paste or repair the missing file/header information in the corrupted CR2. I tried every conceivable way and still no luck. Yes some file/header info was missing or screwed-up in the corrupt CR2 files.
How did the card become corrupt? Well I have a few theories. There were a couple times during the shoot that I changed lens without turning off the camera. But I have done that before with no problems. Also I shot until the card was full and I think (not sure) turned off the camera (XTi/400D) while it was still writing to the card but I think writing just continues with the camera off. My most likely reason is before the shoot I imported a number of images to my computer using Lightroom and it displayed a warning mentioning there was a duplicate file so I did a Save As thinking it would write the CR2 to the folder I was downloading to. What Save As does is just write a text file of the duplicated file title. Also my assumption was wrong about writing to the download folder...Lightroom wrote back to the card and I believe that is the reason the card became corrupted.
Actually when I first began the Lightroom import Lightroom found the card fine and began downloading...I then went for dinner. Came back to find that Lightroom could not import the 300+ files as the warning mentioned they were the wrong format or corrupt. An interesting behavior happened when I ejected the card and tried to have Lightroom import again it did could not see the card. The card’s icon was up on the desktop but it read “EOW_DIGITAL”. I could open the icon but just had some strange symbols. Why could Lightroom see the card the first time but not after is my question?!
Thinking I could download from the camera I tried but the camera indicated there were no images on the card.
Also during the shoot I was checking images and all seemed OK.
After seven hours I was just about to give up and decided to search for a different file recovery program - as all this time I was thinking if RescuePro could not recover the card then nothing would. Some recommended PhotoRescue so I’d figured I'd give it a try. I tried the new demo version that was just released Oct. 1st. The demo seemed to recover all the CR2 files (no jpegs) but wasn’t totally sure as it was a demo. The demo builds a disk image of the recovered files so if you decide to buy just save the disk image for the full version to recover. To make a longer story short PhotoRescue did recover all CR2 files. I was up to about 3 AM but could at least sleep well.
I'm no way affiliated with PhotoRescue...just a very satisfied customer and hope this info will help others!