Corrupt digital files – what's the culprit? *Updated with answer

I spent the morning shooting a bunch of old gear that I’m preparing to sell. Imagine my dismay when I opened the CF card and saw every single file looking like this (see above). At first I thought the camera was defective, but some troubleshooting revealed that I could display the images fine on my camera’s playback. So that appears to rule out both the camera and the card being defective. That pretty much left the card reader as the prime suspect.

However, further testing reveals that files pulled directly off the camera via usb cable also are corrupt. So now I’m back to thinking the problem might lie with a defective cf card after all. Anyone ever seen anything like this before? I’m using Canon 5dmkiii with Lexar Professional UDMA7 (1000x) 32GB CF card.

Unfortunately I have only one CF card (typically I use SD cards, which are working fine) so I can’t test with another CF card immediately.

*** Update 11/26: I purchased a UDMA7 compliant card reader, the Lexar Professional USB 3 reader, and it reads the card fine. Images open normally. So apparently the culprit is the card reader, not the camera, or the cable, or the card. I had understood that USB 2 cf card readers could be used with UDMA 7 cards, but apparently that’s not the case. For me, at least, the 1000x cards require an updated card reader to function properly.

5 thoughts on “Corrupt digital files – what's the culprit? *Updated with answer

  1. Simon Clark

    Hey, I’ve had similar problems and have started think it may be the G-Tech raid.

    I found I could recopy the file and solve the issue. I also found that the issue wouldn’t always show up in Lightroom on the first pass.


    1. Dan McComb

      A Facebook friend who recently purchased a 5dmkiii says he had exact same problem and had to return his camera for replacement. His problem was with the CF card writing on the camera. I’m going to buy another CF card to rule that out before returning mine.

  2. Simon Clark

    Hi again,

    I am meeting with Canon on Monday (their request) to have another look at my 5d3 as it has been rejecting/corrupting CF cards. Different sizes and makes.

    I’ll let you know what happens.



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