5 Replies Latest reply on Apr 1, 2015 7:22 AM by ssprengel

    Why are my .NEFs corrupted?


      I have a problem related to importing NEF files - corruption.

      Last night I took 151 long exposure shots (ranging from 1sec up to 10 minute exposures...) on an empty SD card that I had deleted (in camera) prior to use.  During & after the shoot, the files displayed fine in camera (Nikon D5100).


      After the shoot, I tried to import using LR 5.7.1 (Yosemite 10.10.2). When I attempted to import using LR, the files seem to have became corrupted. It looks like LR was also attempting to import shots from a previous import - which are no longer on the SD card (about 50 images taken from the day before, which had already been deleted in LR and the trash emptied, and as mentioned, manually deleted in camera). The import was completed, a large percentage of images are missing, others are visually corrupt and they are all mixed up with the import from the day before. Previously deleted images (from the day before) have reappeared in LR. See screenshot for how the images look in LR:
      Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 12.24.41 pm.png


      I grabbed a disc image of the SD card, verified via disk utility. a number of errors appear, example: “/DCIM/100D5100/_DSC6725.NEF has too many clusters allocated ..”


      I clicked repair disk. Back to LR, I tried to reimport, I get the message "The files appear to be unsupported or damaged. (31)". No previews or NEFs from this shoot are visible in LR… When viewing the SD card in Finder, it shows 151 files most of which are now zero bytes and the filenames appear to be from the previous import (after disk utility repair).


      It now seems like a hardware issue but what did lightroom do to the files? did it somehow lose connection with the SD card during import and now my catalog/individual shots are messed up? Maybe my previous import didn’t completely finish and messed up when it couldn’t find the images on the card.. Is it metadata related? or have I simply lost the photos?


      So now I have a disk image of the 151 NEFs (before disk repaired) which all seem to have data, but I can’t preview or open the files in Finder/PS/LR etc.


      Any advice/suggestions?

        • 1. Re: Why are my .NEFs corrupted?
          ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          LR doesn’t do anything to the images on the SD card besides read them, assuming you did a Copy Import type.


          I would guess the file system on the card is corrupted, which can happen if you power-off the device or pull the card out as the computer or camera is writing to it so the information in the files doesn’t match the information about the files in the folder directory on the card.


          The images look that way in LR because the raw data isn’t what it’s supposed to be.  As to why, it is unlikely LR had anything to do with it, and we can’t really guess what you might have done with the card since taking the imgaes.  If the card is failing, perhaps it could cause the issues you’re seeing.

          • 2. Re: Why are my .NEFs corrupted?
            camerons16996914 Level 1

            Thanks for the quick response. Yes correct it was a copy import.


            Suspecting it is the card but no issues previously. I'm normally pretty good with removing the card safely etc.  and I used the same process as I always do for importing..


            New SD card for next time...


            On another note, is there a way to permanently delete the files off the camera after import in LR? I recall it could be done very easily in Bridge..


            Assuming this is out of the scope of this forum, but do you have any suggestions for potential tools to use that may help fix the corrupt files??



            • 3. Re: Why are my .NEFs corrupted?
              camerons16996914 Level 1

              OK, managed to recover all .NEFs from the SD card using http://www.cgsecurity.org/wiki/PhotoRec


              The filetype wasn't in the list of files to search/restore in that app but using TIFs as the filetype it managed to find the files.


              Chucked the dodgy SD card in the bin. Thanks ssprengel


              Imported the images back into Lightroom. The only minor issue is that the filenames are slightly different. All raw data, EXIF & metadata etc was restored.


              NOTE: ensure you always safely remove SD cards! This was a pain to fix.

              • 4. Re: Why are my .NEFs corrupted?
                JoeKostoss Adobe Community Professional

                camerons16996914 wrote:


                ...On another note, is there a way to permanently delete the files off the camera after import in LR? I recall it could be done very easily in Bridge..


                The only proper way to delete files off the camera is inside the camera itself.  Use the menu on the camera to find "Format memory card".  This will delete the files and properly reformat the card so that the camera will load new images correctly and LR will recognize it as a camera memory card.  If you have not been doing this, it may be the reason the card has become corrupted. Try this to test if the card might work properly again.

                • 5. Re: Why are my .NEFs corrupted?
                  ssprengel Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                  You would normally want to format (low level if you want) your card in your camera to erase everything.  The card isn’t where to store or backup images.