It can be extremely distressing to accidentally delete or lose unique or important photos from a Canon digital camera. They represent memories of events and interactions that can never be recreated. The immediate reaction when losing a bunch of photos is often sheer panic.

Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem. If you act quickly, you may be able to recover photos from a Canon camera using file recovery software. Read on and we will demonstrate how to perform this recovery and get your valuable photos back.

canon crw cr2 cr3 raw photo recovery

Is It Possible to Recover Data from a Canon Digital Camera?

Yes, it is possible to recover lost data from a Canon digital camera. Through the use of Canon photo recovery software, you can recover photos that you thought were lost for good. The key is to act quickly before using the camera or its SD card to take more photographs.

In some cases, you may be able to recover photos from the camera’s internal storage or memory card directly from the device’s installed software. Many photo apps include a recently deleted folder that holds deleted images for a set amount of time, usually something like 30 days. If your camera’s software has this feature, you should look here first for deleted photos.

Even if the lost photos are no longer in the recently deleted folder, you can still restore them with data recovery software as long as they have not been overwritten. For this reason, it is very important to not use the SD card or camera until you have recovered the lost photos.

A reliable data recovery solution can restore lost photos from a wide variety of Canon cameras including these models:

  • 30D EOS;
  • EOS 5D Mark II;
  • EOS 5D Mark III;
  • EOS 5D Mark IV;
  • EOS 1200D Rebel;
  • EOS Rebel T3I;
  • Canon EOS 7D;
  • Canon EOS R5;
  • Canon EOS R6;
  • Canon EOS RP;
  • Canon EOS Rebel SL3;
  • Canon EOS Rebel T6;
  • Canon EOS 80D.

Scenarios that Result in Data Loss from a Canon Camera

Losing data from a Canon camera can occur for a variety of reasons. Here is an overview of the most common reasons and potential solutions that can recover your data.

Data loss reason Description Solution
Accidental deletion Someone mistakenly deleted important images Look in the recently deleted folder or use data recovery software.
Problem transferring photos from camera to computer Data transfer interrupted before completion Retry the operation. Photos should still be resident on the camera’s storage. This may indicate the SD card will soon fail Recommended action is to backup the SD card and use the backup to restore the data.
Formatting an SD card by mistake Accidentally formatting the wrong SD card Recover the lost photos with photo recovery software.
Canon firmware corruption Firmware corruption when updating your Canon camera Data recovery software can scan the SD card and recover missing photos.
Virus or malware infection Connecting the camera to an infected computer Virus deleted files can be retrieved by data recovery software.
Physical damage Broken camera or SD card You need to use a data recovery service to attempt the restore.
SD card become raw File system has become corrupted Data recovery software can recover the files in RAW format.
SD card not shown in explorer SD card not recognized when connected to the computer. Try to assign a drive letter or use SD card recovery software.
Files not visible in Explorer Files cannot be accessed from a recognized SD card. Try the attrib command or use data recovery software.

Canon Photo Recovery using a Data Recovery Software

As mentioned previously, data recovery software can be used to retrieve lost or deleted photos and videos from a Canon camera or external storage such as an SD card. Before we demonstrate the details of using recovery software, let’s take a look at the factors that go into choosing reliable file recovery software.

How to Choose Reliable Data Recovery Software

Several factors need to be considered when selecting the right data recovery software solution for your situation. Making the correct choice can make the difference between recovering your valuable photos or losing them forever.

  • ☑️ Operating system compatibility – The solution you select needs to be compatible with the operating system of the computer that will perform the recovery. Make sure the tool you choose will run on your machine or it won’t be able to recover anything.
  • 😊 Ease-of-use – Data recovery can be a stressful activity. A tool with a user-friendly interface can minimize the stress of recovering your valuable images. A tool with an intuitive interface and a simple recovery method will help you deal with the situation and give you a better chance of getting your photos back safely.
  • 🔥 Recovery capabilities – The most important factor to consider is the capability of the chosen software to recover your photos. Make sure the solution you choose can recover the type of data you need (for example RAW file formats) to retrieve and is compatible with the device from which data will be retrieved. In this specific case, you want a product that will work with a digital camera and the SD cards used for additional storage. You also want to make sure it can recover the file formats used to save your photos.
  • Extra features – Some data recovery tools offer extra features that can make them a more appealing choice over their competitors. As long as the solution can recover your data, you might want to look at the free tools available. Some of them may make a big difference in keeping your data safe.
  • 💰 Price – The price of photo recovery solutions ranges from free software to expensive commercial products. Many paid recovery tools offer free trial versions that scan your storage device and report on the data it can recover. In most cases, a paid tool will offer better recovery capabilities and a nicer user interface.
  • 📷 Recovery-specific considerations – In this case, where you are attempting to recover lost photos from a Canon camera, you want to ensure that the software works with all possible file formats. This includes the CRW Canon RAW format as well as CR2 and CR3. Not all recovery solutions support recovering RAW photos in this file format, but you may need that capability to successfully restore your deleted photos.

How to Recover Canon Photos: Step-by-Step Tutorial

Now we will demonstrate how to use Disk Drill data recovery software to recover deleted photos from a Canon camera. A Windows machine is being used for this demo, but Disk Drill has versions for both Windows and macOS. The recovery procedure is identical on each platform.

✅ Disk Drill is compatible with your Canon digital camera raw photo formats as well as any type of external storage device that you are using to store your photos. It offers a simple and effective recovery process that gets your lost photos back.

✅ Disk Drill can also recover data from any disk-based storage device such as internal hard drives, USB drives, and memory keys. The software is extremely flexible and can recover files in over 400 different file formats. It’s an all-purpose and comprehensive data recovery solution that also provides free data protection tools to help keep your files safe.

How to Improve Chances of Recovery from a Canon Camera

There are several steps you can take to improve your chances of successful recovery as well as measures to protect your important photos from being lost.

You should consider adopting the following best practices to protect your photos from accidental deletion.

  • 🖼️ Transfer photos promptly – Get your photos off the camera and safely save them as soon as possible. Avoid leaving the only copy of valuable images on the camera or its SD card.
  • ✏️ Label SD cards – Labeling your SD cards makes it less likely you will inadvertently format the wrong one.
  • 💽 Backup your photos – After transferring your photos to your computer, take the time to back them up for additional protection. You should be regularly backing up your computer anyway. If you’re not, we suggest you start today.
  • 🦠 Avoid unverified devices – Only connect your camera to computers that are verified to be free from viruses and malware. Make sure you are always running updated antivirus software on your machine to avoid infection.
  • 🛡️ Keep firmware updated – When offered firmware updates for your Canon camera, install them as soon as possible. Using obsolete firmware may lead to an unexpected data loss scenario that could have easily been avoided.


Using the information we have provided, you should be able to recover lost photos from a Canon camera as long as you act before they have been overwritten by new images. We hope you found this article informative and wish you the best of luck recovering your deleted files.


Robert Agar

Robert Agar, a dedicated data recovery writer, has been a pivotal part of the CleverFiles team for over 6 years. Before this, he enriched IBM for 13 years as a Backup and Recovery: TSM Subject Matter Expert. A proud alumn...

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Approved by
Brett Johnson

This article has been approved by Brett Johnson, Data Recovery Engineer at ACE Data Recovery. Brett has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Systems and Network, 12 years of experience.