BOOT CAMP 505 (18/12/07)

Digicam to PC to TV part 2


I expect you are keen to get going and create some DVDs of your favourite digital snaps but I know a lot of you are new to both computers and digital photography so please be patient as I think it only fair we start at the beginning and deal with a major hurdle for a lot of users, getting images from a digital camera onto the computer’s hard disc drive -- and this is the really tricky part – once they are there getting them in some sort of order so you can quickly and easily find a particular picture, and make it easier to create your slideshow disc.


Essentially there are two ways to transfer and manage digital photographs, the camera manufacturer’s way, and my way. I make no extravagant claims for my method, it’s all bog-standard Windows, so there’s no faffing around with awkward or fussy software that will probably change the next time you replace your camera. These procedures work on any PC, there are no new tricks or techniques to learn and as an added bonus there’s no need to hunt down and mess around with fiddly camera cables.


If you are happy with the connection method and software that came with your camera, fine, otherwise my advice is to buy a little gadget called a memory card reader. These cost between £10 and £15 and plug into your PC’s USB socket. Better still, if you are handy with a screwdriver, fit a multi card reader into a spare drive ‘bay’ on the front of your PC. They also cost from £10 to £15 from online sellers, take around ten minutes to install and plug directly into USB ‘header’ sockets on the motherboard.


Whatever type of reader you get make sure it’s a multi-format type that accommodates all of the common memory card types (SD, MMC, XD, Memory Stick, Compact Flash, Smart Media etc. some models even have SIM card slots), so again you are covered if you change cameras and you’ll be able to copy pictures from friends and relative’s memory cards. A card reader also lets you use your memory cards to store other types of data and transfer files to other electronic devices like MP3 and multimedia players, pocket PCs, PDAs and organisers, mobile phones, LCD picture frames, GPS receivers, DAB radios and so on. 


When you want to download pictures to your PC remove the memory card from the camera, pop it into the reader and manually copy the images to a newly created and appropriately named sub folder on your PC. If you are not familiar with copying large numbers of files from one storage device to another see this week’s Top Tip.


File management is vitally important when dealing with digital photographs for the simple reason that very soon after acquiring your first digital camera you will have hundreds and possibly thousands of them on your hard disc drive and unless you set up a filing system early on you will end up with images all over the place. This makes it very difficult to find a particular picture in a hurry, and nigh-on impossible to back them all up. Windows tries to help with the ready-made My Pictures/Pictures system folders as a general repository for image files but that’s as far as it goes. The software that comes with digital cameras usually include some viewer and file management utilities but they can be unnecessarily complex and often create their own storage folders, so again you end up with collections of image files dotted around your hard drive.  


Organising your picture files is not rocket science. For example, I keep all of my images in a single folder on my C: drive called ‘Pix’. This contains a set of sub-folders for each year (i.e. 03, 04, 05, 06, 07…) and in each ‘year’ sub-folder are the specific topic folders where groups of images are stored (Cornish holiday, Jill’s wedding, Bill’s Birthday etc. etc.). This means that no image is more than three clicks away, and since they are all contained in one folder in the ‘root’ directory of my C: drive, it can be easily backed up on a second internal or external hard drive. If you enable the Thumbnail View in Windows Explorer you can see all of the images in a folder at a glance and you can instruct Windows to open them in the standard viewer program (Picture and Fax Viewer in XP or Photo Gallery in Vista), or the viewer program of your choice, and for what it’s worth I heartily recommend Picasa, which is free and packed with useful editing facilities.


Next Week – Digicam to PC to TV pt 3





Digital audio broadcasting, digital radio system used in the UK



Global Positioning by Satellite, satellite based navigation system originally developed by the US military



Personal Digital Assistant, pocket-size PC or organiser




Let us suppose that you want to transfer 50 digital photographs from your camera’s memory card to your PC, if you are new to computers it probably seems like quite a daunting task but with a few simple keyboard shortcuts it need only take a few seconds. Open Windows Explorer (XP) or Computer (Vista) and create your store folder and sub folders (or use the Windows presets) on your hard drive (XP: File > New > Folder, Vista: Organize > New Folder), now double click on the icon for your memory card. To select individual images click to highlight the file then press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + C (Copy), now open your store folder and click Ctrl + V (Paste) and the image will be copied. To select multiple images from the memory card hold down the Ctrl key whilst selecting images and repeat the process.


To highlight all of the images on a memory card press Ctrl + A. To highlight a number of contiguous files hold down the Shift key and use the cursor Down arrow to select files one at a time. To highlight blocks of files hold down Shift and press Page Down and to highlight all the files after a selected file hold down Shift and press End.


Don't forget, there's a full archive of previous Boot Camp Top Tips at



© R. Maybury 2007, 2811


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