Don’t Turn Your Camera Off Too Fast


Yesterday I went to upload some recent pictures from my Canon XTi’s memory card into the Photoshop Elements 7’s Organizer. This is very routine for me having done it hundreds of times.  This time things did not go as expected.

To begin with, I had become lazy and had not emptied my card for some time, although I had previously uploaded all but the most recent batch of photos. In fact, my card had almost 600 images with about 2.5 Gb of its 4 Gb capacity was filed.

As I proceeded to upload the images using File > Get Photos and Videos > From Camera or Card Reader, things went smoothly at first. The memory card was quickly previewed but then I noticed that the actual preview thumbnails were not being generated at some point.  I had seen PSE slow down generating thumbnails in the past, especially if I had a lot of RAW files, but never this bad.

But, I proceeded to the next step, and clicked on the Get Photos button. Nothing happened. PSE 7 had stpped wotking. I had to exit PSE via the Task Manager. I tried multiple times using different card readers with the same results. I began to worry, and was thankful that I had previuosly uploaded the vast majority of the images. But I did not want to lose my recent batch.

At first I thought maybe I was trying to upload too many from the card. Since I had uploaded most of them already, I decided to erase a bunch of them manually from within my camera. I quickly abandoned that approach. I can only do one at a time, or erase them all  and it was going to take a lot of concentration and time to delete them without inadvertently clicking on the Erase All button in my camera.

I then used Windows Explorer to copy the pictures to a folder. I was able to do this. As I was randomly opening the images with Windows Explorer, I clicked on the last picture I had taken, and it had an error that prevented it from being opened. I also noticed, its file size was somewhat smaller.

I put the card back into my camera and deleted that image, the last one I had taken. I put the card back in the reader and proceeded to upload the images using the Get command of PSE 7’s Organizer without any problems. 

I then wondered why that last image was bad. It obviously brought PSE 7 to its knees. Then I remembered. I was shooting RAW,  and my camera takes a few seconds to transfer the RAW image to my memory card. I do not have a high speed memory card. I remember that after shooting the last image, I immediately turned my camera off. I suspect it was in the middle of closing the file and for whatever reason it did not properly complete that operation before shutting down.  

Just to be on the safe side, I reformatted my memory card in my camera rather than just erasing the images. Many people recommend doing this all of the time anyway,  rather than just erasing the images from the card.

So, don’t be in such a hurry to shut your camera off after taking that last shot. That may not have caused the problem, I am not going to take any chances in the future.

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Turn Your Camera Off Too Fast

  1. Thanks for the tip. I always shoot on RAW and will remember to not be in such a hurry to shut the camera off. I get some strange messages about not being able to download some files I’m not familliar with when downloading a chip. I get all the pictures but there are some file that didn’t get downloaded that don’t seem to matter if they got imported or not. Any thoughts. I didn’t record the file names at the time. Just finished editing my Central America pictures and now we are combining Claudia’s video. Hope to have a finished product soon. So far no plans to travel over the summer. A trip up 395 sound good as I have never been to Mono Lake.

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  2. Ed,

    The next time it happens, try to copydown one of the fle names, including its extension. We may be able to tell something from that.

    In a few days, I leave on a road trip to OR. I’m going up the 5, but will make a more leisurely drive down 101 on my return trip. I’ve previously done Highway 1.

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