Transferring pics to puter: card, cord, doesn't matter?

I bought my Canon P/S in Dec 2007. I’ve taken a couple thousand pics since. I’ve always connected the camera via cord to USB to transfer them to my computer.

But tonight I was thinking, ‘Well, my puter has card slots…’ So I took a couple of sample shots and removed the card from the cam, inserted into one of the slots. It worked and seemed to be faster.

Does it make any difference? Any wear and tear issues WRT the card (removing, re-inserting, etc.)? When I go through the USB, I get prompted to find the software but there’s nothing like that when plugging in the card. Is this the done thing to do? Any inherent advantage(s) to the card or the cord?

Might be some increased wear on the card pins, but they’re pretty well designed to withstand many, many insert/remove cycles. Other than that, go with whichever you find easiest, fastest or most convenient.

Card readers, either internal or external USB, are generally faster and easier then connecting to the camera. I rarely if ever connect my camera directly to the computer. Yes, there is slight additional wear on the pins of the card, but I shoot with multiple cards anyways so I have to swap them all the time.

Card out of the camera and in the reader. Much faster. always copy and never move or delete with the computer. I have seen them mess with a card. You only want to make changes on the card with the camera.

SD card transfer faster than XD cards I don’t use the camera system for anything, I do all the work and massaging of pictures on the computer.

Also, you don’t have to have any of the camera software on the computer if you use a reader. Some of the older cameras needed the software on the target computer to work but now days, I don’t know, I never use the camera. Also this way you are not using the camera batteries while you are downloading.

While traveling, you don’t need all the camera cables and adapters, just a reader in case you get to a computer that does not have them.

YMMV

Thanks for the replies!

So I guess the end result—the image on computer—is no different (?). I mean, that software you encounter with a cord doesn’t change the images any; it simply transfers them without any compression or other alteration? I assume that many photogs do like me…shoot big image files and then manipulate a copy later. My biggest transfer might be 250 Mb, which seems to take a couple minutes via cord, though I haven’t timed it…that’s subjective and reflects my general impatience.

I do find the software irritating. It seems slow, especially if I have some larger video files. Also, it doesn’t want to go away quietly when I click “Finished.” That’s what made me assume it was doing something besides just the transfer.

I’ll have to experiment a bit further. One thing I liked about the software: it would name files. Like if I made a folder and called it “Christmas 2008” it would label the images “Christmas 001, Christmas 002,” etc. I have thousands on file so anything that helps me find what I’m looking for is a big help. But I think I can achieve the same by clicking “select all” and right click, then rename.

I shoot with multiple 8 Gig cards, transfers can take some time. These are all methods to move data from the camera to the computer - except for software that does auto rotate, nothing is changing the images during the transfer. The end result is the same.

I’ve always preferred the card reader, for the simple reason that I don’t want to waste the camera’s battery power on file transfers. Camera battery is for shootin’, not for sendin’!

I plug the camera in with a USB cable simply because I have no other option; my only computer (a laptop) has no card slot. I’m not sure the card has ever been removed from the camera since I bought it.

It’s not an optimized system, but despite the (relatively) slow transfer rate it works well enough. (i.e., I could do something about it, but am content not to.) I also don’t use the Canon software to interface with the camera - Windows XP does the job just fine. Better, IMO - that Canon software is utter shite.

I transfer the images via USB to my PC’s hard drive and re-orient them, delete the blurry ones, that sort of thing, there. I don’t delete them from the camera until I’ve backed them up to my external hard drive first.

I always use a card reader. In reading the discussion forums for various models of camera, I think I see more questions and problems about getting the camera to connect to the computer correctly and about using the camera’s bundled software than about any other topics. Moreover, if you use the camera’s software and have several different cameras the complexity goes up. Card readers are simple and generic compared to that mess.

Also, I use the PC and card reader to delete files from the camera card, and have not had a problem with it. But I think YMMV.

In my opinion it comes down to which door on the camera is flimsier - the card door or the USB port door. I connect using whichever one seems less likely to break.

It seems unanimous that the files on the card are already in a pc-friendly format.

Are there no exceptions to this? Are there any cameras which store the file on the card in some proprietary format, and then convert it when sending to the pc?

If the answer is No, that’s great. But if there are any exceptions, let’s inform the public!

Thanks again for the replies!

Up until now, batteries haven’t been an issue. I bought a 15 minute charger and 4 AAs—the Canon uses two. If I’m at an event I’ll shoot maybe 30, notice it’s taking too long to recycle, then change batteries.

I’m thinking that I’ve had these batts since Dec 2007 and maybe they aren’t taking the charge the way they used to. They’d be fine for a lot of things but as all photogs know, flash can really drain them.

I had hoped that the aux flash would help, so I ponied up $100 for that. Long story* but it has failed to help.

Anyway now I’m waiting on my second camera to arrive:

http://reviews.cnet.com/digital-cameras/olympus-fe-350-black/4505-6501_7-32822859.html?tag=mncol;lst

Pro: Covers out to 28mm. I always find myself cramped indoors. Flash is good to 9 feet only but I suspect that’s because it’s spreading it to cover 28mm. It has some other have some other niceties, e.g. macro focus, 3" viewing screen, and better pocketability for all of $100—but the wide angle was the justification.

Con: Battery is rechargeable but one designed to fit the camera, not a generic size like AA. Maybe I should have just ordered a second batt along with it, I don’t know. Anyway, the “don’t drain the batts transferring pics” may apply to the new Olympus.

On my Canon the card is in the battery chamber area, so I have to open it anyway. I’ll have to see how the Olympus is set up.

I’ll let you know if the Olympus is different but the cnet review says they’re stored as jpgs.

***The long story… Since the Canon only goes to something like 35 or 38mm (35mm film equivalent), I may be making a group shot with 40 people in it I squeeze the people together and get farther away, which taxes the flash’s range.

One feature I lurv about the Canon (and it may be common to lots of point-and-shoots for all I know) is the ability to take multiple shots on self-timer. With a group, someone may have his/her eyes closed if you’re taking just one. So I set up my mini tripod, set the camera to take three and run to get in the pic. But here again, recycle time presents problems.

This is where I hoped an aux flash would help. If the aux provided light and consequently the camera sensor shut down the onboard flash more quickly, the onboard flash should recycle faster and we wouldn’t be waiting 10 seconds for shots 2 and 3. Yeah, the aux basically gives me an f-stop of extra range so instead of 12 feet I’m good to about 17 feet and if more light meant stopping down the lens more I would gain depth of field and more apparent sharpness throughout. But really, I wanted faster recycle for the onboard.

The problem, for reasons I can’t fathom, is that the aux flash doesn’t seem to recycle fast enough to make the second and third shots. That’s uber goofy b/c the onboard flash might need 8 or 10 seconds to recycle and even if I set the aux on minimum output, I get nada on shots 2 and 3. If I got something on 3, I’d think the aux needed 20 seconds to recycle, but no. I can tell because I set the flash angled, off-camera, and the “45 degree” shadows are present in shot 1, but totally missing in 2 and 3.**

I’ve never heard of any, although there were early cheesball digital cameras that used some proprietary image format. These cameras didn’t convert the data when it was transferred to the computer, they just required their own software to manipulate the image.

Current cameras often have a “native” (raw) format that can only be decoded with special software, but the format is the same on both sides of the cable.

I don’t like to use software that comes with a camera. Every program is different, has different bugs and characteristics. If I use a card reader, it’s just like another drive and all the tools I use for file copying & moving are exactly the same as other drives. If I need to transfer files from the camera to someone else’s computer, I just stick a USB reader in my pocket and I know it will work fine in any computer with a USB port. No need to install any software.

JPG is JPG - if the camera is storing JPGs then everyone can read them the same (baring implementation issues).

RAW can be proprietary - you many need specific code that came with your camera to read and edit RAW files. Those are produced mostly by DSLRs but a few compact cameras still produce RAW files.

Movie formats can get tricky depending on the codecs installed on your computer.

But to reiterate - Data is Data. Copying data from one media (flash memory) to another (computer disk) doesn’t change the data. Pretty much all cameras produce JPGs which are the standard for image manipulation programs. In addition, some cameras produce RAW files in a variety of proprietary formats that require special software to manipulate.

Your new Olympus, being a simple P/S, won’t produce RAW files so you won’t have to worry about that. But it uses xD memory cards so you may not be able to read that with your internal card reader. The xD cards are (frankly) a pain in the ass. I much prefer the more popular, powerful, and cheaper SDHC cards.

For Chreesmoose I got my mom a digital photo frame that uses an SD card. Her desktop doesn’t have a card reader. So, I went to Wally and picked one up. IIRC it was maybe $15 and reads several types of cards. You just plug it into your USB. Here’s a 32 in 1 for $8:

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=9722059

Thought I’d mention that. At some point you may find such a device useful, e.g. if the USB is really slow and/or you have huge files; or if you end up using multiple cameras and don’t want to lug multiple cords; or if you end up getting something like a digital frame and want to transfer to an SD card instead of from one.

Yeah, enter my Olympus.

Can you tell I’m stoked? A new toy! :smiley:

ETA: A la “History of the World” and the “treasure bath.” CAMERA BATH!!!

The Canon software offers to copy to PC and delete from the camera in one fell swoop. I’m always nervy-ous that it will delete without transferring, though.

The Olympus has arrived. It does indeed store as jpgs. The card it uses, xD M+, is different from the Canon’s.

BTW the manual advises charging for 5 hours before using, but it must have been partially charged upon arrival and was done in less. I’ve made a couple test shots…not as sharp as the Canon. Also my beloved “multiple self-timer” is gone…only one at a time. The Olympus feels sturdier, though, and it’s definitely more pocketable. Bug me if you want to know more about the Olympus.

Olympus and Fuji were the only ones to embrace the xD format, and they’re both moving away from it to some degree. It’s a dying format, IMO, and as a result the cards are more expensive and haven’t been improved as much as the SD format.

But otherwise the camera is an average basic P/S and should serve you well.

Luckily my none-too-new puter has a built-in reader for the xD card. I’ll have to live with it of course but I’m surprised already by the drop in features from the Canon. I’m coming from 35mm (many moons ago) and if the Canon hasn’t impressed my eye in image quality, the Olympus seems a step down yet again.

But ah well, $100 for a wider angle and more portability. FWIW the Olympus uses a different (smaller connection at camera) USB cord. I’m estimating that it takes 10-20% longer to transfer files from the Olympus if you go the cord route instead of the card.

xD cards also have slower transfer speeds. :slight_smile: