Search Engine

Use the below search engine to narrow your search within the blog.

And don't forget to also visit our YouTube channel!

Camera Repair Search Engine

Custom Search


Saturday, January 24, 2009

How Do I Download or Upload Pictures or Videos from my Camera?

This question comes up a lot. A new or used camera owner may run into camera software issues. They'll plug in their camera, but for some reason their computer fails to see or recognize the camera. Another problem is they may lose or may never have had the USB cable or needed software that came with the camera. Is there any other way to get the photos or videos off the camera and onto their computer?

First of all keep in mind IMO the only reason that the camera companies include a capability for cable download is to get you accustomed to using their bundled software that came with the camera. In most cases this software is rather pitiful, again IMO. If you absolutely must use photo organizing or editing software, there are much better freeware options available than what came with your camera (a future blog post is brewing).

But as a solution to downloading your photos, I highly recommend that you instead consider using a card reader to move the photos or videos to your computer. Card reader's do not require software (although Windows 98 and earlier may require drivers), are very inexpensive, are much faster downloading files from the camera, do not use the camera's batteries during the download, and are much less prone to file corruption of the photos during the download. Really, it would be better for the camera user if one of these was included with the camera instead of the cable and bundled software.

Portable SD Card Reader/Writer

"All in One" Multi-Card Reader/Writer

You place the camera's card in the reader, plug the reader into the USB port, and your computer sees it as a hard drive. You simply copy/paste or drag/drop your photos onto your hard drive. For this simplicity, most professional photographers utilize card readers exclusively. You'll save yourself a lot of heartache if you convert to using one of these.

Here are examples from Amazon. Don't be fooled by the cost. Some of the most inexpensive ones work just fine. But make sure that you do read the reviews first before purchasing. Also make sure that you get a reader that is clearly stated capable of reading your card, particularly if you use SDHC, XD, CF, or MS cards.

For international readers of this blog, and even those in the US, here's another source for card readers (free international shipping too :-). I use the $1.95 portable SD/SDHC card model (SKU7230), and it works great. Note that the free shipping can take up to three weeks though as they're located in Hong Kong.

Now go throw away that cable and go download your photos.