Sony Warns of File Loss Bug on a7R III and a7 III

Sony Warns of File Loss Bug on a7R III and a7 III

Sony has just released a notice that under certain circumstances, the a7R III and a7 III can stop functioning or corrupt the image database. An update is coming, but not yet available.

It seems the largest issues are related to reusing an SD card and even more critically, using the auto review functionality on the a7R III. Sony says the card should still preserve most of the data, as the corruption seems limited to the image database, although the data being written at the time of the interruption may be unrecoverable.

If the images are no longer displayed, they provide the following steps for recovery: Select MENU → (Setup) → [Recover Image DB] → desired memory card slot → [Enter]. Then, take a picture, back up your data on a PC or other device, and format the memory card on your camera.

For the a7R III, there is no solution offered for the auto review bug. The only option is to disable auto review, as the alternative of random lockups can cause data loss. Sony mentions that a software update will be available in mid-December and should definitely be something that Sony shooters are on the lookout for if traveling or using their camera over the holiday season. Before that update is available, Sony suggests formatting the memory cards in both slots before each shoot. Keep in mind that formatting the card will permanently delete all the files on the card. Additionally, a7R III users will need to turn off the auto review function.

For users of any camera, good memory card “hygiene” is important: some rules of thumb include not deleting images from a card from the computer, formatting the card outside the camera, or using the card in multiple cameras without formats in between.

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Scott Hussey's picture

If only it had two card slots... Oh wait...

Scott Hussey's picture

I still shoot on Jurassic era cameras (a couple 5D mkii's and 7D's). 11 years ago, I learned to always format the card when it goes into the body and to never delete files in camera. I haven't experienced any file corruption since 2007.

Xander Cesari's picture

I don't think Sony has a Delete All function so I reformat every time I copy the photos to my PC.

lol its ok PROs that actually take a lot of IMPORTANT photos do experience failures because we use our cameras daily not for weekend trips at the lake..good try though.

Scott Hussey's picture

Ummm... I think you've made a fundamental error in your assessment of me. I make my living with my cameras full time, every day - and I've been doing so for years.

Eric Salas's picture

You don’t actually lose the images, just the review functionality.
If someone is using two cards, the second card will have the review function available in camera.

No file loss, just chimping loss.

Scott Hussey's picture

"... the data being written at the time of the interruption may be unrecoverable." You might lose one image (or a series of you're firing on burst mode).

Eric Salas's picture

Key word is "may" and having experienced this on my A7ii before, I can tell you that the images you took prior to the interruption are completely safe. The glory of all of this and what is being left out is that when your preview function does not work, the cameras will not allow you to continue shooting unless it begins to write to an alternate card (like on the A7Riii which I have not experienced this problem with).

That's experience vs just reading an article and not understanding what is happening.

David Love's picture

Glad I saw this. Was worried until I realized I had a Canon.

Glad you’re enjoying that mirrorless life and some awesome new tech...oh wait you shoot canon my bad.

It’s all compensated by dynamic range.

David Love's picture

Yeah sounds like a blast. Pics getting deleted. If only I had one to make me a better photographer and all my images masterpieces. No wait. That has nothing to do with awesome new tech.

Have you recovered since you noticed the Canon?

David Love's picture

No need to recover, still going strong without having to stop for limitations. Gh5 working as well. Loving the way neither overheat and I get all of the data I record. Good times.

Daniel Lee's picture

I haven't had any issues on my A7III thankfully.

Xander Cesari's picture

Yeah me neither and I updated when it first came out in October. I haven't shot more than about 1000 shots on a memory card without offloading and reformatting though, maybe that makes a difference.

Daniel Lee's picture

It's just a wild guess for me but I'm thinking it may be more for bodies that ship with the new firmware. My friend got one a week ago with the new firmware and had the issue but everyone I know with older bodies that did the update had no issues.

michael andrew's picture

But canon has a crop in 4K and no IBiS... too bad they develop all their cameras to work like tanks

Fortunately, this issue was created by firmware, and will be solved by firmware. Unfortunately, Canon's issues were created by laziness, and won't be solved for another 10 years on the EOS R3.

It happened to me a couple of times, but fortunately what was gone from one card was still on the other.

michaeljin's picture

Haven't had to deal with this on my A7RIII (I'm guessing because I keep auto-review disabled as I find it annoying), but it's certainly a concerning issue for many people and I do hope that the fix comes out quickly.

Francisco Hernandez's picture

Been using my two A7RIIIs for over a year now without this issue happening at all thankfully. Didn't even know it was an issue. I use the auto review every time I shoot as well.

Eric Salas's picture

I never use the auto review but have seen this happen on my old A7ii but never on my A7Riii.

Oh well though, it’s just chimping functionality in camera that is affected, not actual file loss so it’s not that big of a deal.

Rodrigo Eick Moreira's picture

I got similar issues with my A7III when using the USB cable to download photos and disconnecting without unmount it. Twice already.

I had something like this happen on my X-Pro2 once. Wiped out both cards.

Rob Mitchell's picture

Sounds a bit yuk, plus basic stuff from the begin of digital, don't delete files via computer, always reformat in camera.

al juniarsam's picture

Got this issue a month ago when i was heavily shot using my a7riii.. My SD (slot 1) was corrupted and auto review was not displayed as usual for the entire images. Make me frustated coz i was shooting sunset moment in Moraine Lake :).. Tried to use another new formatted SD, and it worked. And fortunately, only 3 last images were "corrupted", most of images in "corrupted" SD could be recovered in my mac (lost 3 "longexposure images" during golden moment in Lake Moraine make me unhappy). At that time, I wondered that the issue was coming from the SD (Sandisk extreme pro) until i read this article. I tried to format the SD thru mac, and put it in camera, and it worked :). I hope sony can review the bug and release the updated software soon. Thanks ^_^

Good shot it was initially caused by trying to work around some of SanDisk's temperamental cards. No reason the SD card part of the firmware would be touched otherwise. Also, Sony said they'd have a firmware fix in the middle of this month.

Kudos to fstoppers for posting this, and correctly listing it can be mitigated by turning off image review and following proper card etiquette. I have not heard of any firsthand file loss on the a7(r) iii from the 10 or 15 friends that have one.

The one detail that was left out was before firmware 2.00 this didnt occur so those that havent updated need not worry.

For all the canon shooters and their smug responses if you think dynamic range is the only reason a serious photographer would benefit from sony tech you havent used one for more than 15 minutes. You'd gain much better AF, ability to track eyes without moving a joystick, playback through the VF, ability to simulate DOF, WB, exposure before you take the shot, you could lighten raw file shadows 3 or 4 stops without the horrible false color noise, you could shoot completely silently, and all of your lenses could be shot at 2-5 stops of shutter speed slower handheld because of IBIS.

David Pavlich's picture

Sony makes a terrific camera, no doubt, but until they make one that actually feels good in hand, I'll stick with my dinosaur. Thankfully, Canon and Nikon chose to keep their in hand feel with their new mirror less offerings instead of trying to emulate that little Sony body. Subjective for sure, but a deal breaker for me.

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