Tools to recover your precious pics.
It has happened to most of us. You merrily click away during a wedding or a party, and the next day after the hangover has subsided, you hook up the camera to the laptop – and the freaking card cannot be read anymore. Or you get a little too delete-happy and manage to delete an important photo.
There are both free and paid tools for recovering images even when they are deleted, sometimes even from unreadable cards.
Read the instructions and manual carefully – image recovery software is not to be taken lightly, use only when sober.
Free image recovery tools
Photorec is a pretty unpretentious piece of software that can help you recover your deleted or damaged images, or even video and archives. PhotoRec is a companion program to TestDisk, an app for recovering lost partitions. can recover some 180 file formats.
- Windows NT 4/2000/XP/2003
- FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD
- Sun Solaris
- Mac OS X
Zero Assumption Digital Image Recovery
This is part of the ZAR 8.3 data software software. The full program is not actually freeware, but you can download the trial version — and the image recovery functions of ZAR 8.3 are free. So in practice, you are using a full free software as far as image recovery is concerned. Most media types are supported.
Digital Photo Recovery 3
Focuses on image recovery from damaged or corrupted memory cards. They claim to be able to recover images from most types of memory cards in the market. It is even possible to recover images from cards that have been formatted. Some RAW formats are supported, though not all.
- All Windows
PC Inspector Smart image Recovery
PC Inspector Smart image Recovery is freeware that actually is a full-fledged data recovery software. All FAT 12/16/32 and NTFS file systems are supported. Most media types too can be read by the PC Inspector Smart image Recovery.
This is a Mac only software that promises to do what the above ones do on Windows. This image recovery tool will work only if your camera storage medium is mounted as a regular Mac storage volume. There are some cameras that do not allow this. An external reader might come in handy then. The latest version of this image recovery program does not run on Mac OS X versions 10.1 or 10.2, but you have the older version which does available from the site.
- Mac OS X
Paid image recovery tools
CardRecovery is an award-winning image recovery software from Primus. It is Windows only, and is specific to memory cards. So if you have to recover photos from hard disks or DC/DVD, you will have to look at other options. However, CardRecovery seems to do the one job it promises to do very well indeed.
Price: 39.95 USD
PhotoRescue image recovery software comes in three versions, for the beginner, power user and expert. The beginner version and the power user version cost $ 29, while the Expert version costs $ 99. I don’t get why the beginner and advanced versions are priced the same — they could have offered at least a low-frills, beginner version as freeware.
But this photo recovery program can access and recover images wven when the storage media is not visible as a drive letter anymore but is still electrically responsive. That is cool. Might be a lifesaver for some of us.
PhotoRescue focuses on cards. No hard drive image recovery with this. The good thing is, you have a Mac version too. And a trial version, so you can test it out.
Price: $ 29 (beginner and advanced), $ 99 (expert)
Digital Photo recovery 2.0.3
Pretty much does everything – even recoveres images from CD/DVD and hard disks, apart from the standard cards and memory sticks. There is a free trial version available for you to test before purchase. You cannot save the recovered images (don’t bother to download if you think the demo will be enough for you.)
Price: 29 $
Recovers all types of media. There is a test version available. Mediarecover Pro 4.0 is Windows only, but it can recover data from hard disks, iPods and removable media.
Mediarecover 4.0 for Windows is Windows only, and can be used to recover files only from removable media. MediaRecover 4.0 for OS X is for versions 10.3.9 and above. There are trial versions of all three available.
Price and paltform:
Pro Windows only — 49.95 $
4.0 Windows — 29.95
4.0 Mac — 29.95
Popularity: 31% [?]