How to Recover Deleted Photos from a Canon Camera

Memory card in hand, you feel a sinking dread.

Maybe you pressed the “erase” button on your Canon EOS 80D, or formatted the camera card by accident, assuming the photos had been already transferred. Maybe your sd card became corrupted. Or maybe somebody else got their hands on your Canon camera.

Whatever your situation is, it might not take long for the panic to settle in: you have just deleted photos from your Canon. You may wonder: are the photos permanently deleted? Is there any possible way to retrieve them?

Luckily, there is an easy solution to getting back your lost photographs.

In this article, I’m going to show you the things and steps you’ll need to take in order to recover your photos with a Canon photo recovery software. The whole process can take as little as 5 minutes.

The guide below works well on all types of Canon cameras (EOS, Rebel, Powershot, etc) as long as your pictures are stored on a flash memory card.

First Things First

STOP using your Canon to take additional photos. If you can, carefully remove the SD or CF card from your camera and put it in a safe place. In doing so, you avoid any further data-writing that can reduce your chances of photo recovery.

Moving on… what’s next?

What You’ll Need to Prepare

Before you embark on the tutorial below, be sure you have the following items ready. They are:

  • Your Canon memory card
  • A memory card reader (or a cable that connects your camera via USB port)
  • A computer (either Windows PC or Mac is fine)
  • Access to the Internet (to get a photo recovery tool)
  • Canon Photo Recovery Software

There is a range of programs that claim to be able to support recovering lost data from a digital camera (or more specifically, the memory card), some of them are more capable than others, some are for PCs only while others are compatible with Macs as well.

We recommend is Stellar Photo Recovery — it doesn’t always work all the time, but it gives you a high recovery chance and Canon CR2/CRW raw images are supported. Best of all, you can run the program on Windows and macOS. Below is a step by step guide on how to use the program to restore your pics.

How to Recover Canon Pictures: A Step by Step Tutorial

In this tutorial, I use an SD camera card with my Windows PC. If you are using other Canon models, or on a Mac, the screenshots below may not exactly match those on your computer; that being said, the whole process should be no different.

Step 1: Download Stellar Photo Recovery and install it on your computer. You can simply open the link on your web browser and click the Download button (make sure you select the right version, i.e. Windows, Mac). Follow the instructions and launch the program.

Step 2: Connect your Canon camera memory card to your computer. Make sure your PC (or Mac) can detect the card. On the software, click on “Recover Photo, Audio & Video”. Select your Canon disk drive, and click “Scan Now” to continue.

(screenshot of the PC version, Mac version looks slightly different)

Note: as you may notice, there is also an “Advanced Scan” option which allows you to select the certain file format to recover. You can click this if you’d like.

Step 3: Now the program will scan your Canon card for recoverable items, such as pictures, videos, and even audio files. Depending on the size of your memory card, this may take a while — a 32 GB memory card, for instance, will take longer to scan than an 8GB. Wait for the software to finish scanning your card…

Step 4: And voila! You should see a list of items found and displayed in a tree-style panel that you can highlight and preview. You should see your erased Canon photos here. If you’d like to recover the images, simply select and click the “Recover” option to save them.

Pro Tips to Help Increase Chances of Canon Photo Recovery

It’s highly recommended that you:

  • Stop taking photos and videos with the same memory card once you realize that your photos have been deleted, as this may interfere with image recovery.
  • Save recovered pictures to your computer instead of on Canon memory cards. This ensures that the data you are trying to recover will not be overwritten.

Now that your photos are safe and sound. Hope this tutorial can be useful to you next time you (or somebody you know) encounter the same/similar situation with an empty Canon memory card and anxiety over your “lost” photos.

All in all, I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. Feel free to share this article with others! I’d also love to hear from you; you can comment below with any thoughts or suggestions.

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