Few horror stories have a happy ending. What follows is my account of one of the worst experiences imaginable for a professional photographer… the loss of a set of irreplaceable digital images.
On September 21st, 2015 we photographed a wedding and like hundreds of other weddings before, came back to the studio to download the images and backup the files. As pioneers in the digital field, starting as advisors to many of the programs we use today and acting as National Spokesperson for the digital industry from the mid nineties, we are meticulous and extremely knowledgable about our equipment and our backup systems.
We shot the images on a one month old Lexar 16GB 800x formatted card that had been used for weeks in the studio with no issues. The camera was a Canon 5dII. To our shock, it showed only 65 files of the nearly 800 captured. We tried a range of programs from Canon and third parties but could not find any more than 65. We were in shock….
I visited our local camera retailer, Henrys, who had sold us the card and the card reader within three days of one another (LexarWO25UrevC). They failed to see any more than we did, even though they believed they had the top diagnostic software available. At this point, most photographers would have been in a panic. It called upon all my experience of the digital world and my assistant`s dogged labour, but after 16hours we recovered every last one of the 768 images…but the story does not end there.
We then contacted Lexar and told our story…leaving out the fact that we had found solutions.
To our surprise Lexar informed us that it would take 4 MONTHS to recover the images! We shipped the card on Oct 8,2015 and it was returned to us on Feb 22, 2016. What client would be happy to wait that long for their images…..?
Then came the shock. Lexar, one of the largest professional card makers in the world could only recover 97 images. They informed us that the card reader on the shelf at our local store Henrys was “not compatible” with their own UDMA 7 card even though on the “product page” it indicated that it was compatible. We had tried the card in three other readers to no avail prior to sending it to Lexar. They had no explanation as to why the card images were unreadable and made no comment on the fact that their own reader may have helped corrupt the card. In fact…there was not even an apology with the package…nothing…zip.
If there are lessons from this horror story, the first may well be that Lexar failed on so many levels of technology and customer service that I have no faith in the company whatsoever.
Relying on Lexar, the majority of photographers would have had to explain to a client that their assignment was ruined.
Luckily for my client….we were able to save the day and the image attached now holds the front page of my site for all to see…. http://www.couvrette-photography.on.ca/ottawa-wedding-photographers/