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07-19-2011, 03:30 PM   #1
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Low batteries lead to corrupt SD card?

I had something weird happen to me while I was shooting some self portraits with my K-r. I was using a remote to shoot pictures of myself, then walking back around the camera to chimp the shots. I did notice the battery showed red, but I was shooting with 4 AA batteries. I know sometimes the K-r can last quite a few shots with the low battery warning, so I thought nothing of it.

I took several shots and reviewed them. Then I went to get another slave flash to set up. The camera had gone to sleep, so I half pressed the shutter to wake it. I took another shot and went to chimp it. It was then I noticed at all the shots I'd taken in this session were GONE. The couple I had just taken were there, but the ones I took earlier were missing. They were there earlier when I reviewed them. And pictures from previous days were there, but the new ones were gone. This had never happened to me before. I've owned a K-2000, K-x, and K-r.

I kept shooting, and eventually all the pictures I took after that point vanished as well. At this point, I put the SD card (8GB Transcend Class 10) into my computer and ran a disk check. It found 51 corrupt files. It could not recover any of them. They were throw away shots anyway, so no biggie about that part. I did a non-quick format and then re-checked the card. It now comes back clean.

I posted about this on facebook, and a friend admonished me for shooting with a low battery, saying that this was known to corrupt SD cards. I have never heard of this before. I've happily snapped until the camera shuts down many times without incident.

Has anyone seen this happen before? With a Pentax or other camera?

07-19-2011, 05:13 PM   #2
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I haven't seen your exact problem with the low battery but since the camera is a computer it's not beyond reason that the card could get corrupted if the camera shut down in the middle of writing something important to the card filesystem. In fact, the way you describe the problem it does sound like the directory or index was corrupted.

You ran a disk check on the card, did you also use any recovery software?

Twice (once with a Canon P & S and once with my K20d) I have had corrupted cards (not due to battery problems) and each time the data recovery software I ran recovered all but one or two of the photos.

It's good that your corrupt photos were throw aways but if that were a real shoot I wouldn't even do anything to the card in the computer until I'd let the recovery software have a go.

In previous times you may have just got lucky in that the camera shut down just before or after it had finished writing to the card.

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