NEX 5N Image Numbering Problem? Urgent!

Started May 1, 2012 | Discussions
lolamoth
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NEX 5N Image Numbering Problem? Urgent!
May 1, 2012

I've owned my NEX 5N for three weeks now and have spent the last week doing some heavy shooting, bracketing RAWs + JPGs. I use an Eye-Fi Mobile Wireless card to send the JPGs (wirelessly) to my Dropbox account, and keep the RAW (actually, .AWR format) files on the card until day's end. Each day of shooting, a dated folder is automatically created and files are numbered in ascending order. I've shot 1365 images so far this week, so the last shot was DSC1365.AWR and DSC1365.JPG.

Once a day I move my JPG folder to my desktop, and remove the RAWs from the card (and onto my desktop). According to EYe-Fi, that Mobile card only moves JPGs, not RAWs (I'd have to get the Pro card to get that feature). Last night I noticed in addition to my Dropbox folder of JPGs, copies of those same JPGs were also on the card, alongside their RAW counterparts. Curious, but not a big problem.

Today, I needed to do a simple single-shot (with two brackets) color test. The RAWs were numbered DSC1342, 43, 44—numbers already assigned to images I'd shot the day before. I called Sony; they couldn't duplicate my issue but suggested my camera might need service. I started shooting some more on a totally empty card. After 1.5 GB of images, I got a "full card" message. I moved those to my desktop, as before. Put the card back in camera. Zero space on card, even though it's supposedly empty.

I thought the problem might be the card, so I returned it and got the Pro version. I was surprised to see that the file numbers picked right up where I'd left off. So that means it's the camera that's numbering the images. Has anyone else had this problem? If I'm going to return the camera I need to decide now.

Thanks, Suzanne

Chris_Downunder
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Re: NEX 5N Image Numbering Problem? Urgent!
In reply to lolamoth, May 2, 2012

I think it's a card issue Suzanne. I've never experienced this with my 5N, although I did mess with the numbering settings (in the Main Menu - Card Tool) and it started number the photos from 001 again - but it was easily changed. I wouldn't take the camera back just yet as the 5N has a good track record here on the forum. I'd try to duplicate the issue on a non-wifi card.
Chris

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lolamoth
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Re: NEX 5N Image Numbering Problem? Urgent!
In reply to Chris_Downunder, May 2, 2012

Thanks, Chris. That's just the thing. It took 1300 images for the problem to show. Might take a long time to recreate it. Thing is, I'm shooting a big job and can't be slowed down (or goofed up) by having files with duplicate numbers. But your message is encouraging.

Do you know of a way to actually set what my next number will be, so I can pick up at 1366 tomorrow?

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Chris_Downunder
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Re: NEX 5N Image Numbering Problem? Urgent!
In reply to lolamoth, May 2, 2012

I'm not sure that is possible. I think you can either reset the numbering to 001 or let it resume the sequence. Considering the wifi cards are a pretty new technology I'd look at the card before the camera. There's always going to be glitches with new technology when it first comes out. I've taken over 1300 photos (JPG+RAW) and not had any issues. I use a class 4 SD Card and so far no problems. I'd be willing to bet it was something to do with the wifi transfer of your images that has caused the problem. I'd start with a new card and reset the numbering to 001. Just make sure you return it to 'Series' in the card setup after you reset it. That's probably the best you can do. Good luck.
Chris

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lolamoth
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Re: NEX 5N Image Numbering Problem? Urgent!
In reply to Chris_Downunder, May 2, 2012

Chris, it is possible! See the JPG screen-grabs of the Info window for each image file. Both are named DSC1342 and as you can see one was shot yesterday and one today.

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Chris_Downunder
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Re: NEX 5N Image Numbering Problem? Urgent!
In reply to lolamoth, May 2, 2012

That was lucky then. Are you relieved?
Chris

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J_Carter
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Re: NEX 5N Image Numbering Problem? Urgent!
In reply to lolamoth, May 2, 2012

lolamoth wrote:

Chris, it is possible! See the JPG screen-grabs of the Info window for each image file. Both are named DSC1342 and as you can see one was shot yesterday and one today.

I'm not sure this is related, but the 5N has a bug syncing photo files over the USB. My symptom was that the identical image is sent as separate file names. If you remove the SD Card to copy the files (or use WiFi), then the renumbering issues you see are not related.

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John Bean (UK)
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Re: NEX 5N Image Numbering Problem? Urgent!
In reply to J_Carter, May 2, 2012

J_Carter wrote:

lolamoth wrote:

Chris, it is possible! See the JPG screen-grabs of the Info window for each image file. Both are named DSC1342 and as you can see one was shot yesterday and one today.

I'm not sure this is related, but the 5N has a bug syncing photo files over the USB. My symptom was that the identical image is sent as separate file names. If you remove the SD Card to copy the files (or use WiFi), then the renumbering issues you see are not related.

I'll just add that this isn't so much a USB issue but failure of the protocol used for USB transfers. Set the camera's "USB Connection" in the setup menu to "Mass Storage" instead of "PTP" and it will work perfectly.

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ProfHankD
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Image Numbering
In reply to lolamoth, May 2, 2012

I really don't like Sony's file naming conventions and options. The file structure has the info the camera knows, including timestamps, so you can make your own numbering scheme after getting the images off the camera. I'd like to be able to customize image tags in-camera to include the photographer's name, lens info for adapted lenses without electronics, etc., but no such support.

Some facts relevant to your problem:

1. DSCxxxx for each x in [0-9] only gives 10,000 unique names -- it will have repeats. It tries to avoid them within the same directory. You also get repeats across cameras , which isn't so great when shooting with multiple bodies. Without making filenames longer, it easily could have been a much longer sequence before repeating, e.g. x in [0-9a-z], and a user-set camera ID rather than DSC, but nope. I guess they were afraid of some four-letter words showing up in filenames.

2. The Sony cameras seem to write to _ prefixed names and then rename them after the file has been confirmed written... which doesn't always happen if there's an error or the camera is turned off quickly. This write & rename method is generally a good practice, but annoying in that those temporary names break the usual sequence in directory listings.

3. SD cards, and flash memories in general, have a very short life cycle for writes -- only about 10K writes max and often way fewer. Controllers do "wear leveling" that tries to move blocks around so that re-writing what the camera thinks is the same block doesn't wear-out that block's storage... which means faulty blocks can move around too. It is possible that your card has some unreliable spots, and the camera is not consistently seeing files.

Zero free space on a mostly empty card sounds like bad spots on the SD card or a failure in the controller in the SD card (yeah, there is actually a dumb little processor on each SD card that does the wear leveling, etc.). I would expect the camera's SD interface failing would be far less likely, but you can find out by seeing if that card behaves the same way on a computer or if other cards have the same problem in your camera.

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lolamoth
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Re: NEX 5N Image Numbering Problem? Urgent!
In reply to Chris_Downunder, May 2, 2012

How so, Chris? I'm shooting a long series and need unique numbers throughout. Eventually all will be pulled out of their date folders and presented together. Having a string of duped numbers would be a problem.

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lolamoth
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Re: NEX 5N Image Numbering Problem? Urgent!
In reply to J_Carter, May 2, 2012

Sounds just like my issue!

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lolamoth
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Re: Image Numbering
In reply to ProfHankD, May 2, 2012

All good info! Thank you so much!

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Chris_Downunder
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Re: NEX 5N Image Numbering Problem? Urgent!
In reply to lolamoth, May 2, 2012

Sorry, I misunderstood your last comment.

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ExNewt
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Re: Image Numbering
In reply to lolamoth, May 3, 2012

Sounds like a basic question, but you did format the card in the camera, right?

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J_Carter
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Re: NEX 5N Image Numbering Problem? Urgent!
In reply to John Bean (UK), May 3, 2012

John Bean (UK) wrote:

I'll just add that this isn't so much a USB issue but failure of the protocol used for USB transfers. Set the camera's "USB Connection" in the setup menu to "Mass Storage" instead of "PTP" and it will work perfectly.

I have always had mine set for "Mass Storage", and I still saw the problem frequently.

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lolamoth
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Re: NEX 5N Image Numbering Problem? Urgent!
In reply to John Bean (UK), May 4, 2012

And, John, before I do that, what changes will I be putting into effect, please?

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lolamoth
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Re: Image Numbering
In reply to ExNewt, May 4, 2012

You'd think I would know that, but I don't recall. My guess is, no, I just popped the new Eye-Fi card into the camera and hit Go.

Now I'm using a new Eye-Fi card. And I for sure didn't format it in the camera.

Also for sure: the numbering is done by the camera. I shot 1,364 images without a break in the numbering. Then the camera took a hiccup step back about 30 numbers, and is continuing on from there. So I have files with dupe numbers. :/

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John Bean (UK)
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Re: NEX 5N Image Numbering Problem? Urgent!
In reply to lolamoth, May 4, 2012

lolamoth wrote:

And, John, before I do that, what changes will I be putting into effect, please?

I don't really understand your question, sorry.

There's no harm in just doing it; if something (software on your computer, perhaps) needs to use PTP (unlikely) then just change it back, no harm done, you're no worse off than you are now.

It costs nothing to just try it for yourself and despite the reply I got in this thread every other person who has made the suggested change reported that the problem no longer existed.

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robert1955
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Re: Image Numbering
In reply to ProfHankD, May 4, 2012

As far as I can see what Sony does is conforming to a prescribed standard, at least it is virtually the same as Canon's: create a folder DCIM, within that create a folder with a name with a three digit number in it. I guess that will roll over when you reach 9999, 0000 is not used.

ProfHankD wrote:

I really don't like Sony's file naming conventions and options. The file structure has the info the camera knows, including timestamps, so you can make your own numbering scheme after getting the images off the camera. I'd like to be able to customize image tags in-camera to include the photographer's name, lens info for adapted lenses without electronics, etc., but no such support.

Some facts relevant to your problem:

1. DSCxxxx for each x in [0-9] only gives 10,000 unique names -- it will have repeats. It tries to avoid them within the same directory. You also get repeats across cameras , which isn't so great when shooting with multiple bodies. Without making filenames longer, it easily could have been a much longer sequence before repeating, e.g. x in [0-9a-z], and a user-set camera ID rather than DSC, but nope. I guess they were afraid of some four-letter words showing up in filenames.

That is indeed a problem. I intend to have a second, probably identical body. I use Downloader Pro for downmoading and renaming. It can create names that refer to the individual camera used if it can see an owner string or a serial number; unfortunateky these are not in Exif with the N7.

2. The Sony cameras seem to write to _ prefixed names and then rename them after the file has been confirmed written... which doesn't always happen if there's an error or the camera is turned off quickly. This write & rename method is generally a good practice, but annoying in that those temporary names break the usual sequence in directory listings.

The temp writing and renaming part I don't understand. But if you get files with a _ (underscore) prefixed, you have probably set the camera set to AdobeRGB colorspace. This is part of the JPG standard, and luckily also follwoed for RAW files.

3. SD cards, and flash memories in general, have a very short life cycle for writes -- only about 10K writes max and often way fewer. Controllers do "wear leveling" that tries to move blocks around so that re-writing what the camera thinks is the same block doesn't wear-out that block's storage... which means faulty blocks can move around too.

I'm not sure the 10K number is still correct, I think it is higher now. It is a number about individual cells anyway, not the card as such. So really, it is not small at all.

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ProfHankD
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Re: Image Numbering
In reply to robert1955, May 4, 2012

robert1955 wrote:

As far as I can see what Sony does is conforming to a prescribed standard, at least it is virtually the same as Canon's: create a folder DCIM, within that create a folder with a name with a three digit number in it. I guess that will roll over when you reach 9999, 0000 is not used.

I think the latest version of the standard you're talking about is:
http://www.cipa.jp/english/hyoujunka/kikaku/pdf/DC-009-2010_E.pdf

The naming convention dates from back when no memory card could hold that many "hi res" 640x480 JPEGs. It's fine to have it still be the default. It is less fine not to be able to override it.

Incidentally, that standard says the last four characters are digits not 0000, but the first four characters are "free" alphanumerics. It seems it would be compliant to have up to an 8-digit number or to have camera ID, etc., info in any of the first four character positions. DCF is the name of the file format, not a requirement in the file name.

ProfHankD wrote:

You also get repeats across cameras , which isn't so great when shooting with multiple bodies.

That is indeed a problem. I intend to have a second, probably identical body. I use Downloader Pro for downmoading and renaming. It can create names that refer to the individual camera used if it can see an owner string or a serial number; unfortunateky these are not in Exif with the N7.

Yes, the fact that exiftool doesn't see a camera ID is really shocking. EXIF camera IDs have become commonly used to find stolen cameras (by searching images on the internet), so even a single-camera owner could benefit from it.

The only reason I can think of is that Sony doesn't want a unique ID embedded in the firmware, but it's hard to believe that the processor chip doesn't have a unique ID firmware could use as the camera ID.

2. The Sony cameras seem to write to _ prefixed names and then rename them after the file has been confirmed written... which doesn't always happen if there's an error or the camera is turned off quickly.

The temp writing and renaming part I don't understand. But if you get files with a _ (underscore) prefixed, you have probably set the camera set to AdobeRGB colorspace. This is part of the JPG standard, and luckily also follwoed for RAW files.

From way back with the A100, if you turn a Sony camera off immediately after taking a bunch of photos you will see _ prefix names that don't get an _ prefix if you leave the camera on for a little while. I haven't seen anything about _ for AdobeRGB.

3. SD cards, and flash memories in general, have a very short life cycle for writes -- only about 10K writes max and often way fewer. Controllers do "wear leveling" that tries to move blocks around so that re-writing what the camera thinks is the same block doesn't wear-out that block's storage... which means faulty blocks can move around too.

I'm not sure the 10K number is still correct, I think it is higher now. It is a number about individual cells anyway, not the card as such. So really, it is not small at all.

Actually, that number was proudly quoted to me at the IEEE/ACM SC11 conference by a top vendor of SSD as the number of writes to first failure. In past years, I've been quoted such lovely specs as "up to 1,000,000 writes before 20% failure" -- which is utterly pointless, given that they were talking about literally 20% uncorrectable failures after their sophisticated custom ECC.

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