Recover Deleted Photos From a Nikon Camera

How to Recover Deleted Photos from a Nikon Camera

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Written by Joshua Solomon Joshua Solomon Contributing Writer • 53 articles Joshua Solomon, formerly a staff writer and now a contributing writer for Handy Recovery, has authored numerous articles on our site about data loss and recovery concerning Windows and external devices. LinkedIn Approved by Andrey Vasilyev Andrey Vasilyev Editor Andrey Vasilyev is an Editorial Advisor for Handy Recovery. Andrey is a software engineer expert with extensive expertise in data recovery, computer forensics, and data litigation. Andrey brings over 12 years of experience in software development, database administration, and hardware repair to the team. LinkedIn

Have you lost photos from a Nikon Camera? There’s no need to panic. Losing photos and videos are pretty common. Fortunately, getting these files back is a simple process, and there are several solutions available to help you get back your precious digital memories.


Your essential photos or videos can often disappear due to accidental deletion, formatting, etc. This article will give you a comprehensive view of using professional recovery software to perform successful photo recovery.


Want to skip the introduction part and jump straight to the recovery guide? Click here.

Can I Recover Data from a Nikon Camera?

Yes, it is absolutely possible to recover photos from any DSLR camera like the Nikon.

You can lose data from your camera for several reasons, such as unexpected deletion, formatting, corruption, etc. But if you act promptly, you should be able to recover your photos in most data-loss scenarios, except in cases of physical damage. While it’s a simple enough process, keep in mind that you’ll need reliable data recovery software.

Nikon photo recovery can seem challenging if you don’t have the proper information regarding the exact cause of data loss or your camera’s specifications. To help ease this process, we’ve assembled a list of probable causes, popular camera models, and SD card types that could guide you through recovering photos from your camera.

Since the SD card stores your .NEF or .NRW raw image files, we can target data recovery from the SD card. By connecting the SD card to a computer installed with data recovery tools, we can perform data retrieval in a matter of clicks.

Common Data Loss Scenarios Related to Nikon Cameras

Losing data on your Nikon cameras is common, and it can occur for multiple reasons. Here’s a list of some of these reasons and their solutions:

Data Loss ReasonDescriptionSolution

Accidental deletion

If you delete your photos or videos by accident

You can check the recently deleted folder recover deleted files from an SD Card.

Error with file transfer

When the data transfer is interrupted in between

You can Retry the operation. If it still shows an error, backup the SD card data and restore your files.

Formatting the camera or SD card by mistake

Accidentally formatting the SD card or the camera settings

You can attempt to recover photos using available methods to recover data from formatted SD cards.

Virus or Malware Attack

If you connect the camera to an infected device

You can retrieve your files using data recovery software, then format the device.

Nikon firmware corruption

Firmware corruption while updating your Nikon camera

Use data recovery software to restore your data, then back it up, then try to fix the issue.

SD card isn’t showing up on File Explorer, becomes RAW, etc.

If your SD card has become corrupted or isn't recognized by the computer

You can turn to data recovery software if your SD card becomes RAW. If File Explorer cannot access the SD card data, you can try to fix it by: - Chkdsk (Command Prompt) - Attrib (Command Prompt) - Windows Error-checking tool

Physical Damage

Damage to the camera or SD card

You should use a professional data recovery service to attempt the restoration.

Popular Models of Nikon Cameras

A trustworthy data recovery solution can help restore lost photos or videos from a range of Nikon cameras. Some of the popular models used by professional photographers and videographers alike are:


  • Nikon Z5
  • Nikon ZfC
  • Nikon Z50
  • Nikon Z6 II
  • Nikon Z9


  • Nikon D5300
  • Nikon D3500
  • Nikon D3500
  • Nikon D7500
  • Nikon D780
  • Nikon D850


  • Coolpix B500
  • Coolpix P1000
  • Coolpix B700

Types of Cards that Work with Nikon Cameras

Memory cards store all your videos and photos in digital cameras. Since Nikon is one of the major players in the market today, the brand’s cameras are compatible with a majority of memory cards. You can use the methods listed in this article to recover disappeared files from your SD card.

Some standard memory cards used with Nikon digital cameras, DSLR cameras, and mirrorless cameras are listed below:

Card TypeStorage Size

SD (Secure Digital)

~ 2 GB

SDHC (Secure Digital High Capacity)

2 GB ~ 32 GB

SDXC (Secure Digital Extended Capacity)

32 GB ~ 2 TB

SDUC (Secure Digital Ultra Capacity)

2 TB ~ 128 TB


2 TB ~ 128 TB

CF (Compact Flash)

512 GB


512 GB


~ 2 TB


All the above SD card variants are typically used with DSLR, mirrorless, and older digital cameras. Some exceptions include the micro SD card which is a favorite for mobile devices. Additionally, the CFast is the ideal choice for older DSLR cameras.

How to Recover Deleted Photos from a Nikon Camera

We believe that the best way to recover files from a Nikon camera is to use reliable data recovery software. Sometimes, you might be able to restore your precious photos from the ‘Recently Deleted’ folder or other in-computer methods.

However, that won’t always be possible. In situations like these, you can trust professional data recovery software to retrieve files from your SD card.


Caution! In an unexpected data loss situation, remember to stop using your SD card immediately. If you keep using the SD card without attempting data recovery, your chances of getting the data back will reduce drastically.

We’ll demonstrate the data recovery process using Disk Drill and Recuva for this article. These tools are quite well-known and can work well for Nikon photo recovery.

Option A: Disk Drill

Disk Drill is industry-leading recovery software that can restore your data effectively. It supports Windows and macOS and comes loaded with premium features like data protection, byte-level backups, etc.

Note: You can use Disk Drill not only to retrieve deleted photos from SD cards but also in cases of file corruption, RAW recovery, etc. It’s a sophisticated tool with an intuitive interface that can assist you with photo recovery from your Nikon camera. Disk Drill even allows you a free trial with up to 500MB of free data recovery!

Disk Drill is an easy-to-use software, but we realize that data recovery with professional software can seem challenging to amateurs. So, follow these steps for a detailed guide on Nikon deleted photo recovery:

  1. Download and Install Disk Drill from the official website.
  2. Safely eject the SD card from your Nikon camera.
  3. Now, connect your SD card to the computer. You can either use a USB cable with the camera or an SD card reader.
  4. Launch Disk Drill. Now, select the SD card from the list of drives. You can choose your recovery method – Quick Scan or Deep Scan. selecting the SD Card on disk drill for data recovery
  5. Click Search for Lost Data. The advanced algorithm will scan through the data. It recognizes more than 400 different file types!
  6. Insight – You can pause, save or resume the scan whenever you want. Disk Drill even allows users to save search results for later.

  7. Once the scan is complete, click Review Found Files. scan window on disk drill
  8. Preview the files you wish to recover. You can do so by hovering over the eye button to the right of the file name. It will also indicate the success rate for recovery – low, average, or high.
  9. ⚠️

    🔎Pro Tip: Disk Drill also allows you to filter search results by file type. You can sort results by typing .nef or .nrw into the search bar.

  10. Select the files you wish to recover from the SD card and select the Recover button. selecting files for recovery from sd card
  11. Enter the recovery location and ensure that you’re restoring your photos to a different device or drive. Finally, click OK. selecting destination for data recovery

You can go through our full Disk Drill review to learn more about Disk Drill and its many fascinating features.

Option B: Recuva

Recuva is another trustworthy data recovery solution that has been around for years. Developed by Piriform, it is a fast, lightweight tool that can help with Nikon photo recovery. It is available for free download on Windows. While the unpaid version accommodates most additional features packed with Recuva, its Professional version is quite affordable.

You can follow these steps to perform Nikon deleted photo recovery from your SD card using Recuva:

  1. Download and Install Recuva, then launch it on your computer. recuva installation window
  2. Now, click Next from the initial window that’ll open. Here, you can select the specific type that you wish to recover. For example, if you choose pictures, Recuva will search for deleted photos on your memory card. You can also select All Files for a more exhaustive search. selecting file type for search
  3. In the next window, select the location from which you wish to discover. Then click Next again. selecting destination for saving the recovered data
  4. Tick the box beside Enable Deep Scan and hit Start.
  5. You can preview the files you wish to recover by clicking on them in the left window. Tick the checkboxes to select these files, then click Recover. Now, select a location where you wish to save the recovered files. Then, click OK. selecting files for data recovery

For a detailed breakdown of Recuva and all its features, take a look at our comprehensive review of file recovery with the Recuva software.

Can I Restore Data from a Nikon Camera Directly?

No, you cannot restore data from a Nikon camera directly.


Earlier, the USB mass storage system presented a camera’s storage to the computer as a removable drive. This meant that users had free access to the file system and could inadvertently re-format the filesystem while copying and transferring data. Such unrestricted access could have unpredictable consequences.

Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) is a new transfer protocol developed by Microsoft to connect portable devices. Most new cameras are only compatible with the MTP mode, so third-party data recovery software won’t be able to access the data in the camera’s file system.

Thus, we recommend that you use a memory card to restore data. Since they are flash storage devices, you can use an SD card to recover lost or deleted photos from your Nikon camera without any hassles.


How to recover deleted photos from a Nikon camera SD card?

You can effortlessly recover deleted photos from a Nikon camera SD card using data recovery software like Disk Drill. Just follow these steps:

  1. Download, install & launch Disk Drill.
  2. Connect your SD card to your computer & click “Search for Lost Data”.
  3. Select the photos you want to recover from your Nikon camera.
  4. Click Recover to restore your data.
  5. Choose a recovery location & click “OK”.

Is it possible to recover deleted photos from the Nikon camera's internal memory?

All newer Nikon camera models use memory cards to store photos and videos. However, if you have an older model, you can navigate to Connecting Settings and change USB Connection Mode to Disk (USB Mass Storage). Doing this will then mount your camera’s internal memory as a disk, and you can use professional data recovery software to recover your files.

What is the best Nikon photo recovery software?

To recover photos and videos efficiently from your Nikon camera or SD cards, you can use one of the following data recovery software:

  • Disk Drill
  • Recuva
  • Stellar Photo Recovery
  • TestDisk
  • EaseUS

Do Nikon cameras have a recycle bin?

While Nikon cameras do have a ‘Trash’ option, it doesn’t work like the computer’s Recycle Bin, from which you can restore deleted photos or videos. If you wish to recover these files, you can use data recovery software to retrieve deleted photos from the camera’s SD card.

Can I retrieve deleted photos from Nikon Coolpix?

Yes, you can retrieve deleted photos from Nikon Coolpix cameras. Just detach your memory card from the camera, connect it to your computer and recover the photos with reliable data recovery software like Disk Drill.

How to recover deleted videos from a Nikon camera?

With professional data recovery software like Disk Drill, you can easily recover deleted videos from a Nikon camera. Just follow these simple steps:

  1. Download and install Disk Drill on your computer.
  2. Connect the SD card to your computer and click Search for Lost Data.
  3. Scan through the results and Preview the videos you wish to recover.
  4. Click Recover to restore your deleted videos.


Several things can cause damage to your precious data. To prevent severe data loss in such situations, always remember to back up your data regularly and follow best practices while handling your camera and SD cards.

However, if nothing else seems to be working and you’ve lost critical data from your Nikon camera, you can turn to the methods mentioned in this article and use professional data recovery software to get back deleted or lost photos.

About article
Contributing Writer Joshua Solomon

This article was written by Joshua Solomon, a Contributing Writer at Handy Recovery Advisor. It was also verified for technical accuracy by Andrey Vasilyev, our editorial advisor.

Curious about our content creation process? Take a look at our Editor Guidelines.

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