The Best Photo Recovery Software to Rescue Photos from Memory Card
Utilities • Nov. 15, 2017
Those are probably the first two words you’ll utter when you realise your photos have disappeared.
Whether you accidentally deleted photos on the card, formatted the card in the camera, or there’s some error with the memory card so that it has become corrupted, you should be sure to avoid one important thing first:
“Do not use your drive from where you have lost data to avoid any writing process on the drive. This ensures that deleted or lost data is intact and is still recoverable.”
Then, for those, there are Photo Recovery Tools that can help you rescue your lost digital photos.
Pictures can be recovered because when a photo is deleted from a memory card, the link to the photo is removed, but not the actual data.
Of course, there are umpteen recovery software in the technological world. But the question is, to choose which diamond from the huge lot.
So, we’re here with the best photo recovery software that we have used and tested for recovering images from a memory card.
They usually work very well unless some serious damage has been done to your card.
To pick out the best photo recovery tool, we take following aspects that users concern the most into considerations, and carry out repeated tests to verify if our final pick is qualified.
It always comes as the top priority when we picking a software, with the purpose to protect our files and do no harm to our devices. Especially under the situation to deal with private photo files, we need to make sure there is no virus or malware contained in the program, or there is no possibility the installed program tries to write data on your disks.
Ability of Recovering
We all use different file formats to store and distribute information, programs that only designed to recover photos will positively lost its advantages in this recovery market. Media formats, such as audio and video, are frequently used formats for our work and entertainment. Therefore, being a qualified best photo recovery software, its recovering ability should not limited to photos, capability to restoring other frequently used files is imperative.
Nowadays, we are demanding high and high on portability, hard drives are not the only way to store our files. There is need to recover photos originally saved in different kinds of storage devices. A recovery software on any recommendation list should be able to support as many kinds of storage devices and file systems as possible, no matter it is external or internal.
Though the process speed greatly depends on how many files you are going to recover, the scanning speed, to some extent, will indicate how long it will take to restore lost or deleted files. We will evaluate process speed on 2 aspects: scanning speed and recovering speed. Each part of the processing will greatly impact on the efficiency of a photo recovery software.
Easy to Use
From the very first step to install such a photo recovery tool, to the process of scanning, recovering and exiting the work, each action involved in the software operation should be quite simple and easy. No learning curve is required, users just need to follow their instinct and everything will turn out the way as they expect.
The Winner: Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery (from $49.99)
Stellar Data Recovery has a range of different products for recovering data and corrupted files. The most relevant to recovering photos from a memory card are their Photo Recovery.
Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery, focuses on recovering media files, which in this case refers to photo, audio, and video files.
It’s possible that it looks familiar to you even if you haven’t used it before. That’s because it’s the app that Lexar includes with some of their higher-end memory cards. They just put the Lexar logo on it.
Now, download a free trial version and let’s take a deep dive into the popular app.
First of all, as a stand-alone software, it doesn’t bundle with other service or software. In addition, it requires no internet connection when launching the program to process recovery, which consequently highly secure your files from the very beginning.
Also, it won’t do any changes to your files. It has no way to delete files or edit your file system. The scanning process is the only situation the software need to interact with your file system. After scanning, there will be no more interactions involved to make any changes to your files.
After a quick and easy installation of Stellar, you will find Stellar Photo Recovery has an appealing and intuitive interface, helping users to recover photos within this program quite simply.
A nice feature is that before you start you can choose to make an exact backup of the problem media using the Create Image function.
Collaborate with various devices
Once you start a new recovery operation, it’ll scan for the various types of storage media you have connected.
No matter it is for hard drives, or for external cards in different models (SD card, SDHC, miniSD, MicroSD, SDXC, Memory Card, Memory Stick, CF card, Flash card, MicroDrive,Micro(M2) Card and XOD card) or for digital devices in dazzled brands(Sony, Nikon, Canon, Samsung, Pentax, Minolta, Kodak, Sigma, Fuji, Olympus, Epson, Mamiya and Panasonic), Stellar can collaborate with these devices smoothly.
Assuming there are a part of users prefer to store files with large-size storage devices, are you wondering if Stellar Photo Recovery still works properly? Positively. Unlike those free photo recovery software or other 3rd party ones, Stellar supports to collaborate with and recover lost photos from large-size storage media (2TB or more).
Note that if you’ve connected your camera to your computer and it’s not showing up as an available source in the source selection panel, try taking the card out, putting it in a card reader, and then connect the card reader to the computer.
That helps eliminate the camera itself or the connection between the computer and the camera as the problem.
Recover photo, video and audio
Yet, Stellar Photo Recovery Software does more than its name describes, it can also recover media (abundant audio and video files) and Unicode files stored on hard drives, memory cards or storage media.
The software supports following multimedia file types:
Photo Formats: BMP, GIF, JPEG, TIFF, PSP, PNG, MOS, MEF, DJVU, TGA, PGM, DNG, PSD, INDD, JP2, PCT, PBM Paint Shop Pro Image File (PSP), Picture File (PCT), Adobe EPS (Windows) and more Supported RAW Formats: Nikon(.NEF,.NRW), Kodak(.KDC, .DCS, DRF,.D25), Olympus(.ORF), Panasonic(.RAW, .RW2), Sony(.ARW,.SRF,.SR2), Fuji(.RAF), Sigma(.X3F), Pentax(.PEF), Minolta(.MRW), and Canon(.CRW)
Audio File Format: ACD, AMR, AT3, CAFF, DSS, IFF, AIFF, AU, M4A, M4P, MIDI, MP3, NRA, OGG, RA, RM, RPS,SND, WAV, WMA
Video File Format: 3GP, AJP, ASX, 3G2, AVCHD Video File (MTS), AVI, Divx Encoded Movie File (DIVX), F4V, HDMOV, M4R, Matroska Video File (MKV), MOI Video File, MP4, MPEG, MQV, OGG Media Player (OGM), SVI, TOD, VID, Video Object File (VOB), MXF movies
Therefore, if there is anything in Stellar Photo Recovery annoys you, this feature can be totally deemed as a redeeming quality of Stellar.
Recover whatever you see
Have no idea of which files are deleted or formatted? No worries by using Stellar. After scanning, Stellar Photo Recovery will list all founded files in selected formats or region, you can view these files in 4 modes :list view, icon view, column view and cover flow view. You can choose any file you see on these lists to recover, instead of putting stacks of files under time-consuming recovery process.
In addition, brief information about the founded files are displayed, you can pinpoint the exact file that need to be recovered according to creation date or modified date. By doing this, you will save the trouble of recovering duplicate files and eat up your device space.
According to my tests, I found Stellar did better on recovering deleted files than that on formatted files.
On the test of a hard drive with deleted files inside: there should be approx 800 pictures in the hard drive, Stellar found 796 pictures after the scanning, then recovered me all the pictures I once deleted. I opened these photos one by one and found only 8 were corrupted.
On the test of a memory card with formatted files inside: there should be 500+ files, Stellar found approx 780 files and finally recovered 487 files. I didn’t know how those extra 280 files came from. Still, the recovery results are quite satisfactory.
But here is a complaint about this program, it detected an untitled hard drive, even allowed me to scan this unknown drive. And surprisingly, I got several pictures displayed in the scan list. Quite weird.
Well, I have done several tests to evaluate the process speed of Stellar Photo Recovery. As we mentioned above, the speed depends on how fast Stellar processes scanning and recovering.
According to my tests, it takes 15 minutes to scan and another 32 minutes in average to recover files from my 16GB memory card(FAT32) connected to a USB. When doing this on my 500GB Kingston (NTFS), it takes 50 minutes to scan and another 1.5 hours to recover in average.
We can not tell if there is any functional relationship between scanning speed, recovering speed and amount of scanned data, but one thing for sure is, the less amount of data you are processing, the faster the process speed is; the faster the scanning process, the faster the recovery will be.
Suggest: Exit programs that don’t need to run when scanning large-size external or internal disks, release as much as CPU for your computer to run the task faster. If the scanning have already taken you a long time, try to resume the recovery next time you launch the program, otherwise, you will need to wait for a long time for the end of recovery.
Price and business model
There are three flavors of Photo Recovery app available for each of the Windows and Mac versions: SOHO, Platinum, and Titanium.
The SOHO version is the most basic, comes with the competitive price $49.99. The Platinum($59.99) and Titanium($79.99) versions add the ability to preview and repair corrupted JPGs, and the Titanium version adds the ability to preview and repair corrupted videos.
You may download a free trial of SOHO version to find it is quite cost-effective to get such recovery tool packing all most needed features in with just $49.99.
Other Apps We Considered
Remo Recover Media Edition, priced at $49.97, is a recovery program developed by Remo Software, which is desiccated to offer solutions in the field of recovery, backup and security.
This recovery tool is designed to recover photos, music and video files from FAT16, FAT32, NTFS5, ExtFAT partitions or drives, also from digital cameras, hard drives and external drives. It also offers features such as Recovery Resume (save the recovery task and continue next time when you feel convenient to recover lost files), Selective Recovery (Specify file types to recover files in fixed format).
It supports to recover files in lost of photo or media files, including but not limited to JPG, TIFF, PNG, BMP, GIF, PSD, CR2, RAW, AVI, MP4, MOV, MPEG, MP3, MPT, WAV and MIDI. Also works perfectly with camera or storage devices from popular brands, such as Canon, Sony, Olympus, Kodak, Samsung, etc.
MiniTool Photo Recovery, priced at $59.00, is specially designed to lost, deleted or formatted photos. Though also supports to recover some media files, it is skilled in recovering images and photos. It is easy to use and able to recover lost files in just 3 steps.
With a high compatibility, Remo Recovery Media Edition can be installed and launched on all Windows OS versions including Window 10.
Compared to above mentioned 2 photo recovery tools, MiniTool is much simper in interface, though not that user friendly as Stellar. Personally, I think its interface is too informative and hence becomes quite distractive. Similarly, it helps to recover photos from different internal and external storage devices, but focus more on recovering photos.
Therefore, users will find out that, in terms of media files recovery, MiniTool just supports those most popular ones, while in terms of storage devices, MiniTool also contribute all its efforts to work on most commonly used brands and models.
PhotoRec is a great free option to recover lost photos, video, documents and archives from hard disks or digital cameras. It is an open source to run across all operating systems, MacOS, Windows, Linux, etc.
When coming to free photo recovery programs, we are concerned about its security. Is PhotoRec safe to use? Is PhotoRec created for some hidden commercial purposes? No. PhotoRec is designed to recover data safely and for free. It applies read-only access to do the photo or data recovering.
However, this free program still comes with limited features, it supports less files format and storage devices than those dedicated ones. Even, its interface, the command line interface, undoubtedly, is the reason invite criticism from users. Anyway, it process photo recovery quickly and reliably.
There are a lot of file recovery options available, several of which focus on media files. Stellar Photo Recovery is one of the more established ones, and it’s the one that Lexar has rebranded for its own uses.
I’ve found it to work well, and its user interface is intuitive and functional.
Before diving in and buying a license, we’d recommend running a scan with the free trial version to see exactly what can be recovered. Then, once you’ve determined that you can, in fact, recover the files you want, buying a license will unlock the actual recovery functionality.
Good luck recovering your deleted photos!