I thought I’d lost all the day’s photos: Sony “Unable to read memory card” fix

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photogopinion New Member • Posts: 24
I thought I’d lost all the day’s photos: Sony “Unable to read memory card” fix

Exactly what I did to provoke it, I don’t know, but out taking snaps yesterday (with two Sony’s, don’t think the particular models are relevant to this) I suddenly got “Writing to memory card was not completed. Recover data?”

Selecting OK didn’t recover anything, least of all my temper, just got me “Unable to read memory card. Reinsert memory card.” So I turn the camera off, take out the card, reinsert it, switch on. After all, we’re always told not to switch cards with the camera switched on, aren’t we? “Unable to read. . .” every time.

So I transfer the card to my other camera, hoping I might find out if I still had the day’s photos. “Unable to read. . .” and round and round we go again. I swap it for the second camera’s card, which had been working perfectly. Bad mistake. Same message. (I have a sneaky suspicion the same thing might happen if you exchanged cards between the two slots on a camera that takes two cards.) I abandon photography for the day (and wonder if it should be for good) and go home.

Home, and my Mac can’t recognise either card. Nor can Sandisk’s recovery software. (Both cards were Sandisk Extreme Pro.) As a last resort, still hoping my day’s photography can be rescued, I reset one camera to its factory state. Insert card. “Unable to. . .” Probably out of frustration, I remove the card and put it back in without turning the camera off. Surprise! We now have access to the menu the message blocked before.

Even better, pressing the playback button shows me my photos. . .Which I hurriedly download to my Mac, of course, not trusting this happy situation will last.

So, I return to my other camera, insert its card, get the same message, take it out and re-insert it without switching the camera off, and lo and behold the menu and my photos are accessible again.

No ‘factory reset’ on that one, though; whether it might be helpful on some cameras, but not needed on others, or not necessary at all, who knows? I was a bit too upset about my ‘lost’ photos to think scientifically and do any ‘blind tests’. So you might, or might not need a ‘factory reset’.

I’ve seen that the common advice is to reformat the card and resign yourself to losing the photos. Or try some recovery software. But I couldn’t, either on my Mac or in the camera. The next bit of advice seems usually to be to throw the card away , blame the make, swear never to buy it again, and lose all your photos. . .

But if this happens to you, try the above before despairing. And do not do what I did and transfer the card to a second camera. That way you have two cameras you can’t use instead of one, and it can really spoil your day.

(OK, my third ‘backup camera’ is an iPhone, but I hate taking photos with it. I never forked out for any of those ‘turn your iPhone into a pretend DSLR’ apps.)

As I said, I have no idea what I did to cause this in the first place. (People seem to use the catch all ‘corrupted card’ excuse, but I suspect I accidentally pressed a customised button the camera didn’t like and confused it as I pressed the shutter, as I was holding it vertically, and for complicated reasons, not the usual way up, so my fingers and thumbs were all over the place.) It had seemed logical to switch the camera off before taking the card out and replacing it too. Don’t people always tell you to do that? And, no, taking the battery out didn’t solve the problem, either.

And, if this fix is how it should always work, couldn’t Sony have just added ‘while the camera is turned on’ to that error message?

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