Photo recovery software comparison

Typically, photo recovery includes data recovery cases from portable devices such as USB flash drives and memory cards usually no larger than 32GB in size. Or it can well be 64GB by the time you are reading this. Specific of such recovery is that you deal with relatively small number of files (no more than several thousands) which are stored on FAT filesystem – one of the oldest and best-studied filesystems. As for reasons due to which you may need to do photo recovery these are deletion of wrong file(s), accidental formatting, or filesystem failure (so called RAW filesystem case).

Testbed

I have a 32GB memory card, which I typically use in my Nikon camera. I have formatted the card by Windows and then tried to recover data from it using each software I have chosen for this category one-by-one. Most photo recovery tools retrieved almost the same number of files except GetDataBack and Recuva which recovered significantly fewer photos. The results of test are shown in the table below.


Parameter Card RecoveryA EaseUsB GetDataBackC ReclaiMeD RecoverMyFilesE R-studioF RecuvaG Stellar PhoenixH ZARI
User experience and price
Price 39.95 USD 69.95 USD 79 USD 79.95 USD 69.95 USD 79.99 USD Free 39 USD Free
Ease of use Complex Easy Easy Easy Average Complex Average Easy Average
Recovery speed Slow Fast1 Fast1 Fast Fast1 Slow Fast Slow Slow
Structured folder tree No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes
Preview Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Search No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
RAW (carving)2 Yes No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Movie files Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
A CardRecovery v6.10 build 1210, www.cardrecovery.com
B EaseUS Data Recovery Wizard 9.0, www.easeus.com
C GetDataBack Simple version 1.02, www.runtime.org
D ReclaiMe File Recovery Standard build 2715, www.reclaime.com
E RecoverMyFiles version 5.2.1 (1964), www.recovermyfiles.com
F R-Tools Technology R-Studio version 7.7.159562/11.08.2015, www.r-tt.com
G Recuva v1.52.1086 (64-bit), www.piriform.com
H Stellar Phoenix Photo Recovery version 6.0.0.1, www.stellarinfo.com
I ZAR X build 130, www.z-a-recovery.com

1 Fast for quick scan and slow for deep scan
2 Carving is the process of recovering files based on file header signatures rather than filesystem metadata.

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