Stellar Photo Recovery works with a huge range of devices and file types, and its high-end features make it ideal for professional creatives – but it’s expensive and overkill for home users.
Huge device and file format support
Impressive repair features
Free version limited to 10 files for recovery
Doesn’t retain file names
Why you can trust TechRadar
There are lots of data recovery apps that will do a great job at hunting down lost photos, but Stellar Photo Recovery is one of the only tools on the market that’s specifically designed for photographers and creatives.
That more focused approach means that this data recovery software has loads of features that professionals and enthusiasts will appreciate, like support for popular camera brands, next-gen imaging hardware and drones.
You’ll certainly have to pay for the privilege of using this powerful, professional photo recovery app, but it might be worth shelling out some extra cash when the alternative is losing critical business imagery and data.
Stellar Photo Recovery: Plans & pricing
- A premium option, and with feature restrictions at different price levels
Because Stellar Photo Recovery is essentially a professional tool, there’s no free version available. And while it does have a free trial for you to test out its abilities, it’s restricted to recovery 1GB of data – scour your drives for RAW files or videos and you’ll soon hit that limit.
The free version of the tool allows up to 10 files to be recovered. So, you’ll have to pay to get the most out of this app. The Standard version ($49.99 / £44.18 / $79.07 AUD) is good, but you miss out on plenty of features with that product – it won’t work with partitions, unbootable systems, RAID arrays or optical media, and it doesn’t do any photo or video repair. You can’t repair photos in batches, either.
Opting for a two-year license isn’t a huge improvement in terms of value, especially when cheaper apps deliver better functionality.
You unlock more functionality and value with the Professional tier ($59.99 / £53.02 / $94.89 AUD), which comes with a one-year license – but at this level you still don’t get any file repair or RAID support.
If you opt for the Premium tier ($69.99 / £61.86 / $110.71 AUD) you add those repair features, but you still don’t get RAID abilities. That said, the Premium product will be ample for many photography professionals, especially sole traders.
If you do want RAID abilities alongside the option to install across multiple systems, the Technician level ($99.99 / £88.38 / $158.16 AUD) will get the job done – but with a one-year license, it’s the priciest option.
You do get decent technical support options, no matter what you buy: Stellar includes email, live chat and phone support.
- Plans & pricing: 3/5
Stellar Photo Recovery: Features
- A brilliant range of features with only minor issues
Stellar’s list of photo-based features is impressive. It can recover pictures from every kind of memory card, including common SD and microSD cards and older, more obscure formats like CF and xD, and it works with every major brand. It’s not just about memory cards, either; this product is future-proofed, with the ability to recover photos from drone, action and mirrorless cameras from companies like Garmin and GoPro and even from 8K, 360-degree and VR hardware.
Its file format support is geared towards photography, too. It will recover every mainstream imaging format alongside specific file types used by companies like Canon, Epson, Kodak and Sony, and it has no problems finding files used in macOS software and Adobe tools like Photoshop and Lightroom.
It also works with storage that’s up to 18TB in size, which outstrips the capacity limits of many other apps and means this software can work with lots of professional storage solutions.
Elsewhere, Stellar supports all popular video and audio formats, it scans devices encrypted with Microsoft BitLocker, and it can tackle volumes and partitions. It can also create images of drives or selected files and folders to protect your critical photography from accidentally getting lost in the future.
Beyond its photo-friendly features, Stellar also supplies some impressive everyday functionality. Its scans can be paused and resumed, it previews your images before they’re restored, and you can add your own file type to scans if it’s not already supported. It recovers data from RAID arrays and NAS drives, and works with Linux and Mac file systems.
Stellar’s interface is straightforward: select your storage volume, choose your scan type and off you go. And, like many other apps, your results are presented in a Windows Explorer-style interface that’s easily navigable. You’re also able to browse results by file type and use a search option.
There’s nothing about the interface that’s particularly innovative, though, and it’s here that Stellar encounters a couple of minor weaknesses. This app doesn’t always restore files using their original names, so tracking down your recovered photography can be tricky. And while scans are effective here, they’re not particularly fast.
- Features: 4/5
Stellar Photo Recovery: Final verdict
There’s no doubt that Stellar Photo Recovery is one of the best photo recovery products on the market right now. Its specialist design means that it can restore images from a wider variety of sources and in a broader variety of formats than virtually anything else, and at top levels you also get powerful additions like photo and video repair and support for more complex storage formats.
You’ll have to shell out plenty of money for those high-end features, though, and even the entry-level products aren’t particularly cheap. This isn’t the fastest scanning system, and the interface could be improved.
If you’re a home user who wants to restore photos from cameras, USB drives and hard drives, then Stellar Photo Recovery will arguably be overkill for your needs. But its impressive swathe of features make it a top choice for professionals, even if the price is a little steep.
Stellar Photo Recovery: Scorecard
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|Plans & pricing
|Different plans for different uses
|Good range of features, minor issues
|Excellent photo recovery tool with premium price tag for premium features
Mike has worked as a technology journalist for more than a decade and has written for most of the UK’s big technology titles alongside numerous global outlets. He loves PCs, laptops and any new hardware, and covers everything from the latest business trends to high-end gaming gear.