If your camera asks anything about PAL format, choose Cancel! Expect DATALOSS otherwise.

Started Jul 1, 2017 | Discussions
Prognathous Veteran Member • Posts: 9,307
If your camera asks anything about PAL format, choose Cancel! Expect DATALOSS otherwise.
1

If you ever see this screen:

Choose Cancel.

This text does not mean "Change format to PAL?", but actually means "Format SD card? This will irreversibly erase all files and cannot be undone by any file recovery software."

Make sure to copy all files on the card to your PC before accepting, otherwise you'll never see the files again. For some reason the camera performs low level format that prevents any file recovery later on.

It's the second time this happens to me. This time with the A77-II, but previously it happened with the A6000. I think it happens when a card is moved from one camera to another, but there may be other scenarios. I'm cross-posting this to both forums to increase the chance that people who may encounter this message know about the risk and don't experience the same dataloss I did.

Good luck!

 Prognathous's gear list:Prognathous's gear list
Sony a77 II Tamron SP AF 60mm F2 Di II LD IF Macro Tamron 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 Di II PZD Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM Olympus Stylus 1s +13 more
sybersitizen Forum Pro • Posts: 15,549
Re: If your camera asks anything about PAL format, choose Cancel! Expect DATALOSS otherwise.

Yes, reports have appeared of a formatting process in newer Sony cameras that makes any later file recovery completely impossible; and for reasons unknown, that's what gets invoked with the NTSC/PAL thing. Interestingly, Canon cameras have had a separate but optional 'low level format' option for quite a while.

lhkjacky Senior Member • Posts: 2,900
Re: If your camera asks anything about PAL format, choose Cancel! Expect DATALOSS otherwise.

sybersitizen wrote:

Yes, reports have appeared of a formatting process in newer Sony cameras that makes any later file recovery completely impossible; and for reasons unknown, that's what gets invoked with the NTSC/PAL thing. Interestingly, Canon cameras have had a separate but optional 'low level format' option for quite a while.

If you quick format the card in computer, it only recreate the file system, therefore it have no damage to the original data. If you view the card in file explorer after format, the card is completely empty, therefore you can recover the original files using recovery software.

But format the card in camera is slightly difference, it quick format the card and immediately write a new database & a list of files & folder into the card. Therefore it overwrite the original data. Once the original data is overwrite by other data, it is not possible to recover it.

 lhkjacky's gear list:lhkjacky's gear list
Sony a77 II Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM Tamron SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD Ricoh GR +6 more
sybersitizen Forum Pro • Posts: 15,549
Re: If your camera asks anything about PAL format, choose Cancel! Expect DATALOSS otherwise.

lhkjacky wrote:

sybersitizen wrote:

Yes, reports have appeared of a formatting process in newer Sony cameras that makes any later file recovery completely impossible; and for reasons unknown, that's what gets invoked with the NTSC/PAL thing. Interestingly, Canon cameras have had a separate but optional 'low level format' option for quite a while.

If you quick format the card in computer, it only recreate the file system, therefore it have no damage to the original data. If you view the card in file explorer, the card is completely empty, therefore you can recover the original files using recovery software.

Yes.

But format the card in camera is slightly difference, it quick format the card and immediately write a new database & a list of files & folder into the card. Therefore it overwrite the original data. Once the original data is overwrite by other data, it is not possible to recover it.

No. That is the recent change I was talking about. None of my five Sony cameras (HX5v, HX9v, A55v, A77v, and A99v) act this way, ever. I can recover files from a card that was formatted in-camera.

What exact camera model(s) are you talking about where the 'Format' menu item always makes all files unrecoverable?

OP Prognathous Veteran Member • Posts: 9,307
Re: If your camera asks anything about PAL format, choose Cancel! Expect DATALOSS otherwise.

sybersitizen wrote:

What exact camera model(s) are you talking about where the 'Format' menu item always makes all files unrecoverable?

My (bad) experience is with the A77-II and A6000.

I'm going to report this to Sony. Hopefully they understand and accept the 3 severe bugs that this issue involves.

 Prognathous's gear list:Prognathous's gear list
Sony a77 II Tamron SP AF 60mm F2 Di II LD IF Macro Tamron 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 Di II PZD Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM Olympus Stylus 1s +13 more
tbcass
tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 45,553
Re: If your camera asks anything about PAL format, choose Cancel! Expect DATALOSS otherwise.
1

Prognathous wrote:

If you ever see this screen:

Choose Cancel.

This text does not mean "Change format to PAL?", but actually means "Format SD card? This will irreversibly erase all files and cannot be undone by any file recovery software."

I would assume that it meant format the card and would push cancel but it was good of you to post this as a warning.

-- hide signature --

Tom
Look at the picture, not the pixels

 tbcass's gear list:tbcass's gear list
Sony RX100 Sony RX10 IV Sony a99 II Tamron SP AF 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro Tamron SP 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di USD +7 more
sybersitizen Forum Pro • Posts: 15,549
Re: If your camera asks anything about PAL format, choose Cancel! Expect DATALOSS otherwise.
2

Prognathous wrote:

sybersitizen wrote:

What exact camera model(s) are you talking about where the 'Format' menu item always makes all files unrecoverable?

My (bad) experience is with the A77-II and A6000.

Yes, Sony made two undocumented changes around the time of the release of the A77II. There was a change to the image database behavior (we know this from comparing reports about what happens when image files are deleted using a computer), plus the change in formatting behavior.

I'm going to report this to Sony. Hopefully they understand and accept the 3 severe bugs that this issue involves.

They're not bugs. Both changes had to be intentional because they involve new algorithms. Sony wanted things that way ... although users probably don't. Also, I've never known Sony to issue any kind of warning when something is changed from what it was before.

OP Prognathous Veteran Member • Posts: 9,307
Summary of the three bugs
1

Bug #1 - Changing PAL/NTSC format should never result in formatting the memory card. It doesn't on any non-Sony camera. I wouldn't be surprised if this behavior is due to some miscommunication between Sony product management and R&D and is not the intended behavior. Something along the lines of:

- Product Manager: "If the video format is different from other files on the card, prompt user to change it."

- Engineer: "Got it! Format the memory card."

Bug #2 - If any dialog asks the user about formatting the memory card, mention the memory card. Mentioning that files will be erased is another common thing to include in such dialogs.

Bug #3 - If the camera formats the memory card, it should use quick format and not low level format. The latter prevents file recovery and is simply pointless on a camera. There's a reason all non-Sony cameras use quick format by default. It's quick and does not prevent recovery in case of a mistake.

tbcass wrote:

I would assume that it meant format the card and would push cancel but it was good of you to post this as a warning.

I'll bump this again, in case some people missed this warning...

 Prognathous's gear list:Prognathous's gear list
Sony a77 II Tamron SP AF 60mm F2 Di II LD IF Macro Tamron 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 Di II PZD Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM Olympus Stylus 1s +13 more
OP Prognathous Veteran Member • Posts: 9,307
Re: If your camera asks anything about PAL format, choose Cancel! Expect DATALOSS otherwise.

Bumping this thread in hope it'll help people who are unaware of these bugs avoid dataloss...

 Prognathous's gear list:Prognathous's gear list
Sony a77 II Tamron SP AF 60mm F2 Di II LD IF Macro Tamron 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 Di II PZD Sony DT 16-50mm F2.8 SSM Olympus Stylus 1s +13 more
Nathan Yan Veteran Member • Posts: 3,444
Re: Summary of the three bugs

I just wanted to say, thanks for digging into this and posting this. I just ran into the exact same problem for a friend, it's a freaking infuriating and inexcusable UI design on Sony's part. I'm just so frustrated that we can't even run a recovery for friends, like we can for pretty much any other manufacturer's camera, computer, or phone that runs a format operation. But at least knowing what is going on in the camera, it's saved me another entire wasted vacation day trying to salvage the photos.

I hope someday Google or the other phone manufacturers can get in on the ILC market with an open platform camera. Shity software just never flies when you're actually beholden to millions of users who can move to another device, or thousands of developers that can just write a better app or UI than you. Even though this is such a devastating bug I have no confidence that anyone in the Sony bureaucracy gives a crap about fixing it.

q5sys
q5sys Regular Member • Posts: 357
Re: If your camera asks anything about PAL format, choose Cancel! Expect DATALOSS otherwise.

Prognathous wrote:

sybersitizen wrote:

What exact camera model(s) are you talking about where the 'Format' menu item always makes all files unrecoverable?

My (bad) experience is with the A77-II and A6000.

I'm going to report this to Sony. Hopefully they understand and accept the 3 severe bugs that this issue involves.

This is demonstrably false. There is no way that my a77ii can preform a low level format of a 32Gb card in 5 seconds. The I/O bus that the storage adapter is hooked up to cannot operate at that bandwidth level. Furthermore there is no SD card on the market that can write data that fast. It is literally and I mean literally impossible to write data to an SD card  at ~6Gb/s

I just tested three different cards in my a77ii, my a99ii, and my a5100. In each case I was able to recover images using GDB ( https://www.runtime.org )

 q5sys's gear list:q5sys's gear list
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F828 Sony SLT-A65 Sony a77 II Sony a5100 Sony a99 II +33 more
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum MMy threads