What do I need to move pictures from a digital camera to a CD

My girlfried is going to buy a digital camera and left it up to me to figure out how to use it so I have a few questions.

Her model will use compactflash memory. Can I just buy any memory labeled as compact flash and have it work or are there specific types for specific cameras?

What, besides size, is the different between typeI and typeII memory? Are the intechangable?

Are the terms ‘compact flash card’ and ‘compact flash digital film’ referring to the same thing. What is ultra compact flash and what is a compact flash reader?

How do the pictures get from the camera to the computer. I used to think you just plugged it in to your computer with a USB cable and you were set. Now I hear that there are compact flash drives and I am totally confused.

Please help me not look like a fool infront of my girlfriend.

Any card labelled “compact flash” will work in the camera. Brand doesn’t matter, “compact flash” refers to the way the memory works. On the other hand, “secure digital” and other types of memory cards will NOT work if it’s a “Compact Flash” card camera. A “compact flash reader” is a thing that hooks up to your computer and reads the card.

I do not know what “type I/II” memory is, nor do I know of “ultra compact flash,” sorry.

You can get the pictures from the camera into your computer either by plugging the camera in to the computer with the USB cable provided with the camera, or by purchasing a card reader and plugging the card into the reader and the reader into the computer. My digital camera uses Compact Flash and I just plug it straight into the computer - I have never bothered to get a reader.

Okay, I’ll take a crack at your questions. Has to your subject question, basically “a computer (with a CD burner)”.

Compact flash is compact flash. You can buy any maker’s compact flash and use it in the camera.
I used to know what the difference was between type I and II, but I forget. I think micro-drives (as opposed to actual memory) are type II, but I’m not sure.

I’ve not heard the term “compact flash film”, but I would imagine it is a “dumbed down” (marketting :wink: term for those confused on just how images (pictures) are stored in digital cameras. It is just another way of saying “compact flash card” or memory.

Don’t know what “ultra compact flash” is, but a compact flash reader is essentially what you describe: a device that is connected to your computer that you can insert a compact flash card into, and have accessible from your computer. This is one of the ways to get your pictures from your camera to your computer. The other is that the camera will likely come with a cable (camera to USB) that you can use to dump the images directly from the camera to the computer.

Hope this helps

Google wasn’t especially clear on the point, but Compact Flash types I and II refer to the physical specs of the memory card. Obviously, Type II is newer. If you happen to have a new camera and an older Type I card, check before assuming the card fits. If you buy a current card it will be Type II and there should be no issue.

You’ve probably already figured out that many cameras come with a memory card whose capacity is unacceptably small, which means that you must immediately buy one that’s big enough. In general, you won’t be happy with anything less than 64mb, and more is obviously better. The exact story here will of course depend on the camera’s resolution and the consequent size of an image (usually, a JPG file).

Essentially all camera manufacturers provide a way of getting your images from the camera to your PC. This will usually involve either connecting the camera to the PC with a cable (typically, USB) and running some software, or removing the compact flash card, connecting that to the computer (the compact flash “drive” is just a connector into which you plug the CF card), and running some software. (The software may “autorun” when the camera or card is connected). This process is usually just about idiot-proof.

The final step is copying files from the PC to a CD. You’ll need a CD drive capable of both reading and writing. You select image files to be copied to the CD; when you’re happy with your selections, you then “burn” them to a blank writable CD, which typically takes a couple of minutes and when complete usually precludes any additional files being written to that CD.

Great! That helps alot!! Now I have a few more.

What type of software is involved. If I use a USB cable, do I just plug it in and copy the files from the camera to the CD or do I need some sort of drivers or support software? The reason I ask is because we will be using the camera when we go to New York and I figured we could just run into a Kinko’s whenever the memory got full and copy the files to a CDRW. If I did this would I need to carry around a support CD for the digital camera and load onto their computer every single time we decide to do this? Is this a good idea, or even plausable?

How many pictures will the memory hold, I think her camera(Canon A80) is 4 or 5 mpx. We are trying to figure out how much memory we need to last about one full day. We will probably use the highest resolution on most of the shots and are looking at one extra 128MB card.

Finally, are there any name brands that are more reliable than others or should I just go for the cheapest memory?

There are two steps involved with getting images from the camera to a CD: 1. camera to computer 2. computer to CD.

For step 1 (camera to computer), if you’re running a PC with Windows 2000 or XP, you won’t need any special software (provided you are going the compact flash reader route over USB). There may be some special interface between the camera and the computer other than USB, but until you know about the camera, you won’t know what it is. If so, the camera should be supplied with drivers to handle this.

For step 2 (computer to CD), it’s not quite as simple as “drag and drop” from the USB drive to the CD. You need a CD burner, as mentioned above, and it will more than likely come accompanied with some burning software like Roxio or Nero. These applications will walk you through the burning process (which now becomes “drag and drop” and “go”).

I don’t know of Kinko’s offers such a service, but if they do, they will no doubt charge quite a bit for it. So you have a couple alternatives:

  • take enough memory (compact flash cards - or one big card) to cover the whole trip
  • also bring along a means to offload those memory cards (like a notebook)
  • find someplace that can offload the memory cards (like your Kinko’s idea).
    I, personally, would opt for the first option: bring enough memory. Compact flash cards are going down in price. I just bought a 1 gig card from Amazon that, after rebate, will be $150.

Which gets to the how many images per memory, or rather how big will each image be. My camera is a 3 megapixel, and at the highest resolution (compressed, not raw), each image is about 1.5MB. So for 4 megapixel, I would estimate that each image would be about 2MB, and about 2.5MB for a 5 megapixel camera. So if the camera is a 5 megapixel, and you have a 128MB card, you will be able to hold approximately 50 images.
For a 4 or 5 megapixel camera, I would go for 512MB cards or larger (1 gig). Shop around, and you can find them on sale at various places. 128MB is a bit small for those images (unless you opt for smaller image sizes).

I can only speak from my experience and I’ve had good luck with Kingston, Simpletech, and Viking brands. I tend to go with what I have found on sale, and these are what I ended up with. And have had no problems with any of them.

Speaking of travel, the other thing you might look into is a spare battery. You will definitely want to bring along your battery charger (if separate from the camera). But you may also want to look into one or two spare batteries. Having enough memory for lots of images won’t do you much good if your battery’s dead !

If the camera includes a USB cable (as most do) then camera-to-PC transfer software probably comes with it.

You’ll probably be happier taking a PC to which you can transfer images, or having a large amount of flash capacity. I suspect you won’t have a Kinko’s handy every time you need one, and that what they change and how long they take will make the other options attractive in the long haul. Having your PC along also allows you to e-mail “postcards” to friends and family (you’ll probably want to reduce the resolution of photos sent this way).

Kinko’s has machines called Sony Picture Stations which you can use to burn a CD full of images. The Picture Stations will be able to read your Compact Flash card - they have hookups for them. That is one solution for you to consider on your trip to NY.

Oh, the CDs cost $9.99.

The difference between Type I and Type II is physical size: Type I slot is 3.3mm thick, and Type II is 5mm. Almost all compact flash memory cards are Type I. Type II is usually used for I/O devices (modem, wireless network cards) as well as the MicroDrive, a miniature hard drive. Most cameras only support Type I, but some high-end cameras have Type II slots so you can use the MicroDrive. Type I devices work in Type II slots, but Type II devices obviously don’t fit into Type I slots.

If you’re using a Mac, it’s all included with the computer. Plug in the camera, iPhoto launches, then you click the “import” button to suck all the photos off the camera and into the computer.

You might want to consider just getting a big CompactFlash card. For my last vacation, I got a 256MB card for around $50, and it could store around 450+ photos on it. I didn’t even use half the storage, but it was nice to have that option.

If your Canon is anything like mine (PowerShot S40), it will show approximately how many more pictures it can store on your card based on what resolution and compression settings you use.

And personally, unless you’re taking pictures for posters and billboards, full resolution (4MB or 5MB) is probably overkill – I usually just use 1600 x 1200 for 6" x 4" prints, and they look great.