Lightroom: Is Lightroom corrupting my files?

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I keep reading that LR cannot corrupt your files, but I am beginning to really think this is what is happening. Here is the situation...

I have the Canon 5D, and I always format my cards in-camera before shooting a new set. I shoot RAW. Additionally, this problem is happening no matter which memory card I use, and I use several. Just tonight it happened on 2 separate cards. I should also mention I just upgraded to LR 4.

I shoot a set of photos, and I can review them all just fine on my camera. My camera gives me previews of everything I've shot without issue.

I then import the files into LR using a USB card reader. Most of them import, but then I get several "The files are not recognized by the raw format support in Lightroom" errors. For example, I imported 50 images, and 4 had the error. This appears to be random. Those images are not imported at all.

Additionally, there are also a few (3 out of the 50) that import with a white box covering about 1/4 of the image, rendering those unusable as well.

So I put the card back into the camera to see if I can bring up the previews again, and the exact ones that would not import ("not recognized" by LR) are no longer viewable on my camera either. I get the message "cannot playback image" with a big yellow question mark. So originally the images played back fine in my camera, but after attempting to import them into LR they became corrupt somehow, not even available for playback on my camera.

The images that imported with the white boxes are still viewable on my camera with seemingly no corruption (at least the image preview).

Thinking perhaps it is my card reader doing the damage, I plug my camera in to the computer via USB and try to import, but I'm still getting the white box. This makes me think the file is corrupt on the card.

I would LOVE some suggestions on what might possibly be going on! It seems that the problem lies in the import process... either my card reader is corrupting random images, or LR is doing something I am unaware of to my memory card!

Thanks in advance. :)
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angelavaughters

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Posted 5 years ago

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Rob Cole

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Last case I heard of like this, the problem turned out to be the camera itself. I think Canon shipped a few bad 5Ds...

Lightroom can not, did not, will not corrupt raw files (well, actually, it's theoretically possible, but the odds are very small - essentially, virtually zero...).
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jdv, Champion

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Lr will certainly not be able to corrupt the images on the media during the simple scenario you give here. Generally, as Rob says, the chances of corruption approach zero. For the scenario given here, it /is/ zero.

You have bad camera firmware, or a bad media. Remember, bad media isn't always random; sometimes media from the same lots can fail at nearly the same time. There is a "bathtub curve" for media, too.
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Allan Olesen

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I agree with Rob and Verne. But even then, there is one thing I don't understand:

Why haven't you tried copying the files from the card without using Lightroom, and then import that copy into Lightroom?

If the files are still corrupt in both place you will know for certain that Lightroom is not causing the corruption.

And if they are not corrupt on the card, but only in Lightroom, you will have a backup on the card.
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angelavaughters

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Thank you all so much for your responses.

I am convinced the problem is not due to my memory cards, as they were purchased about 2 years apart, different brands, different speeds, etc.

It seems the problem can only lie with either my camera or my card reader.

Allan, to answer your question - by the time I recognized this problem happening, the files were already corrupt. If I try to move them over now, they are already corrupt files, so it doesn't matter how I move them (I tried!). What I need to do next time is try copying them over without the use of LR as you mentioned, and see if I get any corrupt files.

Has anyone ever heard of a card reader corrupting files?? If the card reader is not corrupting them, it has to be my camera.

The one nagging thing is that they originally display perfectly fine in playback mode on my camera, UNTIL I try to import them. Once I try to import and get the error message in LR, I stick the card back in my camera and those images are no longer readable and I get an error message on my camera as well. It's discouraging since I've had my camera 3 years and am only now experiencing this. I would think if it were a firmware issue I would have had this problem for much longer!

Thanks to all for helping me narrow this down. If you have any other advice/suggestions, I am open! Thanks again for your help!
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Rob Cole

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99.999% probability it's a hardware problem.

If files are getting corrupt on cards, and if cards are not faulty, then most likely, writer (camera) caused the problem, not reader (although not necessarily a bad idea to rule out reader before having camera serviced).

Probably not firmware, although consider upgrading firmware now if there is something newer.

Cables, ports, ... - also go bad, but these won't corrupt files on card (just by reading from them I mean). They may corrupt files upon transfer to computer though.

I'm about 99.999% confident in what I've written here - but as always: take with salt, and please keep us in the loop when you find out...

Cheers,
Rob
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angelavaughters

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Thanks, Rob. I will keep you posted. I'm going to do a little testing of my own, but I've already been in touch with Canon. They seem to think it sounds like it could be the camera as well. I will update once I know what's going on!!
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Joern Rohde

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I have something very similar and was blaming it on my camera (1D Mk lV) until today. Occasionally I'll import a set of images and the first image in the set will go all 'wonky'...3/4 of the image will go white/stripey/pink and you usually can still see a corner of the original image. I downloaded a set of portraits in December and edited the images and created low res jpg samples for my client. I went back to the set today and the first (RAW original) image I clicked on corrupted itself by going white. This is one of the images that I had already edited. If I bring up the image in my mac previewer it shows it as corrupted. If I duplicate the image, rename it and move it to a new folder (without the attached cache file), my mac previewer shows it as normal! But the second I open it in either LR 3 or 4 or Bridge (CS6) previewer it corrupts it again. The low res jpg created in December views normally in all programs. Freaking weird.
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Rob Cole

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Consider checking the health of your (ram and then) hard drive, immediately! - files that were good (on your hard disk) and then go bad are almost always the result of one of those 2 problems (more often the hard disk).

*** Reminder: a good preview does not indicate good raw data.
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Joern Rohde

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I just moved the original RAW CR2 file to a different drive (my system SSD drive) (without the attached cache for one image and I rebuilt the cache for the folder for the other image) and both of those images opened normally...so most likely it's the hard drive it's being saved on (in my case it's a 3 TB Seagate drive).
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Rob Cole

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Thanks for keeping us informed :-).
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angelavaughters

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Just wanted to post a quick update to this issue... I've transferred batches of files about 3 times since my original post, and I haven't had this issue at all. The only thing I've done differently is that I haven't used my card reader to transfer files. I've transferred them directly to Lightroom from my camera via its USB cable. I'm going to research card readers causing a problem, because it doesn't appear that this is an issue with my camera, memory cards, or Lightroom. If I have any more info, I will post it on this thread!
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Rob Cole

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Nikki Thapa

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I am getting similar problem lately. Its the same 5D mark II and Mark II  + compact disk Cards for the past 4 years, and same iMac for the past 2 years, my lightroom is 5. SD cards one corrupted but were fine when reloaded. And some of the files gives me "corrupted" or "cannot be loaded" message in next days, while they were fine while downloading and selecting.
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Steve Sprengel, Champion

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As far as looking ok, initially, then being corrupted once you're in LR, the Import panel is showing the camera-embedded JPG preview that is pretty small and near the beginning of the file.  The raw data is most of the file and the corruption is only apparent after the files are in LR and LR is rendering the image from the raw data using it's own defaults.  So the preview image is fine but the raw data isn't. 

If you remove the corrupted images from LR, then retry the import and recopying the exactly same images a second time yields ok files with no corruption then something happened during the file transfer or on the computer after transfer so the card-reader or camera-connecting cable may be loose or bad. 

If the corruption happens to the same photos the second time you try to copy and import them then the card is bad and you should discontinue use of that card. 

With a bad card, new photos might be ok the next day because a different part of the card is being used, but eventually the same, bad part of the card will be used and some of the photos will be corrupted, again.

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Didier

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Hello,

I have this DNG corrupting mostly when I add the geolocation.
The files were on my HD for a while and I was able to watch them and correct them without problems , but suddenly some of the pictures were corrupted. When I took a closer look , it was on all the ones that had a geotag.

This week I had again two corrupted photo's from a set of 60. All pictures were perfectly imported from my 7D via USB to my laptop, when I deleted the unwanted , the other photo's were still ok.
When I did a select all and rename my pictures , the first picture from the set was corrupted and kept the original name. The 2nd pictures that was corrupted was a over exposed picture that I kept, hoping to be able rework it later, but this kept also the original name and was corrupted.

I use LR cc , it is a perfect program ,I do not think we can find any better. But since I have this issue I always do a backup of all my raw files before I convert them to DNG.

I have 3 Canon products (100 D ; 7D MK1 ; 5 D MK3) with all of them I have this random issue.
When I put back my RAW (CR2) files in Canon DPP , I have never an issue. But this program is useless compared to LR.

I really hope that Adobe can take a deeper look in this bug, I do not think it is HW , I have this on a PC and MacBook Pro.

Thank you in advance for your help and Please always back-up your backups ;)

Best regards,
Didier
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Didier

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I am just back from a small trip to copenhagen , i had 352 pictures , copy them to my NAS in original CR2 , import them to DPP, all pictures are perfect.

Import them from the NAS to LR cc, convert them to DNG , no problem.
I adjusted some too dark pictures, on some of them I had a white picture covering what I want to adjust , but when I go over with the mouse it was OK. Converting the pictures to JPG for my client I had a disappointing surprise that all adjust pictures were corrupted. Also the DNG are now also corrupted .

When I look to the corrupted files it was the files that show a white cover on top of the pictures I was adjusting.

I deleted the corrupted DNG files import them again , convert the CR2 to DNG in LR cc, did not touch them , export them to jpg , no problem .
Adjusted again some pictures , no problem ....

I have no clue why the first time my picture were corrupted ?!?
I like LR cc but I do not trust the program , it is really not reliable even if some people tell us that LR does not touch the RAW file. It look like some parts of the pictures get out of sync , I never had the top left corner corrupted ?!?

Any advice is welcome.

Best Regards,
Didier
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Luca Paparusso

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i had issues with my sd after importing data in LR. I selected eject drive after import and as soon as the pics were imported the driver was ejected. so far so good.
i pulled back the sd to rename some files, and it asked to format the drive. I plugged and unplugged several times the sd before, as i had shot in jpg, without involving LR.

so i think that the ejection after import has something to do with it.. i'm the only one?
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Catherine Singer

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I had the same problem when using Lightroom.  It was only my RAW files that were getting corrupted.  I looked at them in Bridge and Finder preview and they were corrupted.  I opened them on a PC with the same reader and they are fine.  Very confusing.
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DeAnna Jones

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled LR import problem.

What is LR Classic doing to my photos on import?