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Lightroom corrupting RAW images on Copy and Import

Engaged ,
Aug 22, 2017

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Nearly was dead in the water yesterday after going through my standard procedure of importing photos off my CF card into Lightroom – all raw files ended up corrupted.

I'm going to submit this as bug, but I wanted to start a discussion around this incase there have been any solutions that I may not be aware of. I ran into my first occurrence of this problem ever, yesterday, while importing images off a CF card from my Canon 60D. I'm using the latest version of Lightroom on a Mac Pro running Sierra.

Attempt 1:

Launched Lightroom and selected Import + Copy to the new catalog. During this process and copied and imported everything into the new directory. The JPG previews appear just fine, but as you click on each of the images and the (RAW) .CR2 files load into the cache, the corrupted content replaces the image and you get an unsalvageable photo. I exited and trashed this catalog.

Attempt 2:

Copied all the images from the CF card to my Desktop. I loaded up one of the .CR2 files into Photoshop and it displays OK. No data issues here at all. Launched Lightroom and created a new catalog. Followed the similar steps as above using the Import + Copy, into the new catalog directory. Same issues manifest. Manually reviewing these images from the new directory by bringing a .CR2 into Photoshop results in a corrupted file.

Attempt 3 (Solution/Workaround):

Start over with a fresh copy of images from the CF card, moving them into a new catalog directory. Launch Lightroom and only Add the images to the catalog. This results in usable RAW images that are not corrupted.

Hypothesis:

Lightroom is corrupting the images on copy, during the re-write to the new catalog directory. It's unclear if there are issues with the original data itself that are causing the images to corrupt. However, they copy off the CF card to the computer fine, which narrows down Lightroom as the culprit.

I've looked through the Lightroom prefs to ensure it is not able to write changes to the Raw files. A few related posts mentioned something about making sure this was disabled, however in all of those incidences the users indicated their original images were already corrupted off the card.

I'm curious to see if anyone else has experienced this.

-Stephen

P.S. If you are one of the unlucky souls who in fact have corrupted raw images and just want to at least salvage a lower quality version of them... these awesome guys at http://www.fsoft.it/ERawP/ created a free program that extracts preview JPGs from the CR2 files. This actually gives you a nice sized JPG, that you can at least work with vs nothing at all!!

This has all the symptoms of a hardware malfunction. Also, please keep in mind that Lightroom never writes to your original RAW images. The fact that the file displays properly in PS is because you are being shown the embedded JPG and not the RAW.

The problem could be any piece of hardware that touches the photo, including the camera card itself. You need to try to isolate the problem by trying different hardware.

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Lightroom corrupting RAW images on Copy and Import

Engaged ,
Aug 22, 2017

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Nearly was dead in the water yesterday after going through my standard procedure of importing photos off my CF card into Lightroom – all raw files ended up corrupted.

I'm going to submit this as bug, but I wanted to start a discussion around this incase there have been any solutions that I may not be aware of. I ran into my first occurrence of this problem ever, yesterday, while importing images off a CF card from my Canon 60D. I'm using the latest version of Lightroom on a Mac Pro running Sierra.

Attempt 1:

Launched Lightroom and selected Import + Copy to the new catalog. During this process and copied and imported everything into the new directory. The JPG previews appear just fine, but as you click on each of the images and the (RAW) .CR2 files load into the cache, the corrupted content replaces the image and you get an unsalvageable photo. I exited and trashed this catalog.

Attempt 2:

Copied all the images from the CF card to my Desktop. I loaded up one of the .CR2 files into Photoshop and it displays OK. No data issues here at all. Launched Lightroom and created a new catalog. Followed the similar steps as above using the Import + Copy, into the new catalog directory. Same issues manifest. Manually reviewing these images from the new directory by bringing a .CR2 into Photoshop results in a corrupted file.

Attempt 3 (Solution/Workaround):

Start over with a fresh copy of images from the CF card, moving them into a new catalog directory. Launch Lightroom and only Add the images to the catalog. This results in usable RAW images that are not corrupted.

Hypothesis:

Lightroom is corrupting the images on copy, during the re-write to the new catalog directory. It's unclear if there are issues with the original data itself that are causing the images to corrupt. However, they copy off the CF card to the computer fine, which narrows down Lightroom as the culprit.

I've looked through the Lightroom prefs to ensure it is not able to write changes to the Raw files. A few related posts mentioned something about making sure this was disabled, however in all of those incidences the users indicated their original images were already corrupted off the card.

I'm curious to see if anyone else has experienced this.

-Stephen

P.S. If you are one of the unlucky souls who in fact have corrupted raw images and just want to at least salvage a lower quality version of them... these awesome guys at http://www.fsoft.it/ERawP/ created a free program that extracts preview JPGs from the CR2 files. This actually gives you a nice sized JPG, that you can at least work with vs nothing at all!!

This has all the symptoms of a hardware malfunction. Also, please keep in mind that Lightroom never writes to your original RAW images. The fact that the file displays properly in PS is because you are being shown the embedded JPG and not the RAW.

The problem could be any piece of hardware that touches the photo, including the camera card itself. You need to try to isolate the problem by trying different hardware.

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Aug 22, 2017 0
LEGEND ,
Aug 22, 2017

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This has all the symptoms of a hardware malfunction. Also, please keep in mind that Lightroom never writes to your original RAW images. The fact that the file displays properly in PS is because you are being shown the embedded JPG and not the RAW.

The problem could be any piece of hardware that touches the photo, including the camera card itself. You need to try to isolate the problem by trying different hardware.

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Aug 22, 2017 1
Engaged ,
Aug 22, 2017

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Thanks DJ - the only thing I haven't tried was the import process on my laptop.

I use the MacPro extensively for other graphics work, GPU accelerated work, After Effects / Premiere, etc, etc... and everything is working just fine. If it's hardware on the machine, it's something that only Lightroom is tapping into and very obscure.

If it's Camera related, it's also a hidden bug that only manifests during the Lightroom COPY phase. As noted, my workaround allowed me to successfully work with the images. Not sure if there is a bit-to-bit check of the image during copy into Lightroom that is somehow causing the issue.

But yes, it's worth a check to see if it's the hardware. I also haven't uninstalled or reinstalled the application. I've never encountered this ever before after working with 100k+ images... but there is a first time for everything.

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Aug 22, 2017 0
LEGEND ,
Aug 22, 2017

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There is such a thing as intermittent bugs. There is such a thing as bad sectors on your hard disk so that files written to one location are fine while files written to another location are corrupted.

The possible culprits are camera card, USB Cable/USB Port or card reader, hard disk and computer memory.

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Aug 22, 2017 1
New Here ,
Feb 28, 2018

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Many "experts" claim Lightroom cannot, will not, it's impossible for Lightroom to corrupt files. It's the card, it's the hard drive, it's the ram, but it's not Lightroom. I'm no expert, but that is simply not what I experienced! Lightroom does and has corrupted files, well visually anyway. I switched to a new camera, and a new card and and Lightroom more often began to corrupt my raw files (with horizontal colored lines) but most of the previews were perfectly fine, well most of them anyway. This would occur as I was opening the files from the SD card into Lightroom from the SD card. I'd moved those same files from the card onto my hard drive, same issues, and it would corrupt more, now even with Camera Raw, the images were corrupt. I took the SD card out and placed it back in my camera, images were all fine. I then placed the SD card back into the card reader, copied (dragged) the entire folder to a different hard drive. This time I opened the files through Photoshops Camera Raw... and all files were perfect. So Lightroom is not technically corrupting the files, but once you attempt to open the files via Lightroom from the card, it did/does something to the images that makes them appear corrupt, I've read for others, it did actually corrupt and they were unable to retrieve their files. Now if you do an auto erase after import and don't have a backup, you may very well be screwed. I've read all these experts say it's not Lightroom, then saw a software developer who strongly disagreed, with good reason as to why, but it is my opinion.... Lightroom IS somehow corrupting these files, not the card, not the ram, not the drives! The problem existed on different cards and readers but only since Lightroom. I've not tested this extensively, but I had just taken photos of my family with my dying mother that I intended to share with them and was devastated to see what happened to the images upon import. I was bound and determined to fix this issue as I can't retake these photos. It didn't take long to see MANY have this issue but are being told it's their camera, card, drives, ram.... I'd have to disagree. I've used these two camera's and cards and always imported into Camera Raw in the past with zero issues and problems. The only thing new was Lightroom. My drives are working with all other software and files, so it seems logical to me, Lightroom is doing something. Maybe I was just lucky, but I would definitely copy all files to at least two drives before attempting to open in Lightroom, but I'll be using Camera Raw from here on out!

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Feb 28, 2018 3
Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 01, 2018

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Where are your images stored? What kind of drive, internal, external, a NAS?

What kind of computer are you using and the OS for that computer?

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Mar 01, 2018 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Mar 01, 2018

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Realize that Lightroom uses standard operating system calls to copy files of your card. It has no special code to do this. If the files get corrupted (and this is not the camera doing it, which happens not infrequently), this happens in the copy process and is due to problems with the card, the card reader, the USB cable, or the hard disk you are copying to. Lightroom simply does not write to the raw files anywhere else. The reason you see the image change is simply that it first shows you the embedded jpeg preview before it actually loads the raw file and shows you that the raw file itself was corrupted somewhere in the process. If this happens in the copy phase due to a bad reader, cable or other factor, you might be able to recover from this. If it is the card itself that is bad or the camera has an issue, it is unlikely that that is recoverable.

It's important to realize that Lightroom doesn't write to raw files except if you use dng and tell lightroom to write metadata back to the files (not the default). If your files get corrupted somewhere you have a hardware issue that need to be diagnosed. It is virtually impossible that it is Lightroom doing it.

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Mar 01, 2018 0
Community Beginner ,
Jul 12, 2018

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Sorry, but I must questions the assertions that Lightroom is not causing file corruption.

I can load files into Lightroom and they appear just fine. Then, one by one, as I view them in Lightroom, I see them being corrupted, until the entire upload is corrupted. If Lightroom is not doing it, what is doing it inside Lightroom?

Also, I can load them into Apple Photos and they appear just fine. I process them in Apple Photos, create an album and a slideshow and there is no problem.They do not become corrupted.

I am using the same hardware for both Lightroom and Photos.

It seems to me that leaves Lightroom as the cause of file corruption.

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Jul 12, 2018 1
LEGEND ,
Jul 12, 2018

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Many programs just show the embedded JPG which is often not corrupted when the RAW is corrupted. So you can't use other programs to determine where the corruption is happening.

Any solution must account for the fact that Lightroom NEVER (that's NEVER) changes the original image. This is a fundamental property of how Lightroom operates, and there is no code in the program to modify the original image in your original files. So, the problem cannot be Lightroom.

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Jul 12, 2018 1
Community Beginner ,
Jul 12, 2018

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Maybe LR does not change the original image but what I see is changed. LR is useless to me right now. I guess you are saying I should quit using LR and use what works with my hardware.

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Jul 12, 2018 1
LEGEND ,
Jul 12, 2018

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https://forums.adobe.com/people/wi+birchtree  wrote

Maybe LR does not change the original image but what I see is changed. LR is useless to me right now. I guess you are saying I should quit using LR and use what works with my hardware.

I'm pretty sure I didn't say that. The other programs that show the photos properly are showing the JPG preview; the RAW is still corrupted.

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Jul 12, 2018 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 12, 2018

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It is virtually impossible for Lightroom to corrupt your files. It just uses system standard APIs for file access and file copy operations. Lightroom does not write to your raw files. it just takes the data your operating system gives it. If your files are getting corrupted, it invariably is hard drives that are starting to fail, sd cards that are bad, USB cables that are bad, and other hardware issues such as bad memory sticks. Oftentimes the initial preview from the embedded jpeg will look normal as dj notes and then when the raw data (where the corruption is most likely to be as that is the bulk of the data in a raw file) is read you get craziness. This leads people to think that it is Lightroom but it is simply that it first reads the embedded preview and only then generates its own preview from the raw data. Most other programs including cameras reading from the sd card just read the embedded preview so they never show the actually present corruption but they also don't actually show you the raw file itself. Cameras never show you the actual raw data, they always just show the embedded jpeg.

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Jul 12, 2018 1
Community Beginner ,
Jul 12, 2018

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Sorry for what I said. It appeared I was being pushed off the LR platform because I could not get it to work with my camera.

I did an experiment with two cameras and two cards. My original card and camera and one more of each. I found that LR could read and process images from either card if taken on the second camera but not if they were taken on my regular camera. So, I wonder if there is something wrong in my regular camera. Is there another possible source for the problem?

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Jul 12, 2018 0
LEGEND ,
Jul 12, 2018

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Certainly if the camera writing the photo to the disk is malfunctioning, you've got a big problem. Other possible causes, which you may or may not have investigated, are the hardware used to transfer the photos; this includes card reader or USB cable/USB Port, and the hard disk used.

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Jul 12, 2018 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 12, 2018

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If you would like to post one of the raw files taken with the "regular" camera then others could try importing it and compare the results.

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Jul 12, 2018 0
Community Beginner ,
Jul 12, 2018

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I removed the memory card from the camera and inserted it into the computer. I tried with two memory cards and both worked with the alternate camera and did not work with my regular camera.

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Jul 12, 2018 0
Community Beginner ,
Jul 12, 2018

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OK. How do I post a file?

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Jul 12, 2018 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 12, 2018

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Dropbox or Google drive or similar.

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Jul 12, 2018 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jul 12, 2018

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Quote "two memory cards and both worked with the alternate camera and did not work with my regular camera."

? maybe a problem with the Camera, this is something that i remember being a problem in the past.

Regards, Denis: System iMac mid-2015, 5K 27” monitor, macOS10.15.7: LrC 10, Lr 4, Ps 22.0,; Camera OM-D E-M1.

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Jul 12, 2018 0
New Here ,
Jan 16, 2019

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Just researching this issue as I’m getting on average 3 in 300.

Images import fine and can be edited from raw to final jpeg without issue but it’s then the corruption manifests itself.  The Raws can be extracted once again from the sd card and re-edited - this time with no issue! How can the same file be corrupt one minute and when rerun through the same process be perfectly fine second time round.

Just wondered if there were any further developments on this as I’m only hearing hardware issues after import making files on editable in my case I have completed successfully the edits and then the corruption occurs  

Regards Mike

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Jan 16, 2019 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 16, 2019

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This sounds a lot like what happens when you have bad RAM memory. That will

lead to seemingly random corruption of images. Alternatively, a bad drive

controller would do stuff like this. Something hardware related is most

likely

On Wed, Jan 16, 2019 at 4:45 PM michaels32928629 <forums_noreply@adobe.com>

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Jan 16, 2019 0
New Here ,
Mar 06, 2020

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I completely agree. I went out and bought a brand new Macbook pro (even though my previous one was only a year old) because I thought it had something to do with the USB-C connections were defective and while tethering was causing the corruptions. Basically I've replaced all hardware and performed virus scans and replaced all my cables. It still is happening on import. I've done everything that Stephen has done, and that you have suggested. My next course of action will be to do a factory reset on the new computer and reinstall all the software. I'm not sure if this will work, but something has to fix this. I'll end up moving to Capture One to see if that has the same problems. What's funny is that my old computer (2013 macbook pro) works great with the older versions of everything. To this day it's performed way better than either of my new Macbook Pros. LOL

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Mar 06, 2020 1
LEGEND ,
Mar 07, 2020

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Well, Erbypants, have you considered that it might be a bad camera card or the camera is not writing the RAW files properly?

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Mar 07, 2020 0
New Here ,
Sep 24, 2018

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I have seen this same issue increasingly over the past 18 months.

These RE are not newMoy imported files or files that I have not successfully worked with (in Lightroom and PS) regularly.

The issue manifests itself when when I am sorting or editing files. Typically one (out of say 500 in a folder) looks fine in grid view, but when I switch to Develop, it suddenly is visually corruoted. Either dark grey horizontal bars or diagonal white blocks with thin color swipes through them.

If if I try to open in Ps or export to file, the visual corruption remains. As I continue to work in this Sakr file, I will see multiple images fall victim of the corruption.

The only work around I found (my assistant suggestion) was to transfer the original file out of the current drive and move it to a different one, effectively breaking the chain with Lr for those files. Then the file shows up in Grud as “unavailable “ abc using the normal relocate (to the “new” file in a different storage drive) seems to resolve and remove any corruption.

This solution would be fine, if my studio didn’t have 475,622 images under management in Lr. And yes, we do need to access a significant number of those Regularly. Our client pay us well for archiving services, and they expect to be able to get files from 2-10 years previous. 

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Sep 24, 2018 1
Adobe Community Professional ,
Sep 25, 2018

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You are working with NAS drives and OS X?

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Sep 25, 2018 0
Community Beginner ,
May 02, 2020

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Over the past month or so I have encountered identical problems with the RAW images from a Canon 6D. I have tried changing the card without any change in the number of corrupted images. I tried downloading RAW images from a different camera, a Panasonic Lumix. There were no problems, so I figure it is possibly a problem within the Canon 6D or its connecting wire to my p.c. I may try wireless transfer to the p.c. to check whether it is the connecting wire that is the issue...

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May 02, 2020 0
Adobe Community Professional ,
May 02, 2020

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BUY a CARD READER and STOP connecting the camera directly to the computer.

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May 02, 2020 0
Community Beginner ,
May 02, 2020

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I already had a card reader but thanks for that suggestion. No corruption transferring via card reader so either dodgy wire linking camera to PC or damaged socket on camera! 
some others on this thread may like to try out your solution - worked for me!

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May 02, 2020 0