View Full Version : handling a shipload of digital pictures

09-13-2007, 02:29 AM
I'm back from a whirlwind tour through bc, alberta, montana, idaho, and washington. What an awesome part of the world to live in! I took 436 pictures- that's going to be one long download- unless there's a way to speed it up. I don't like the way the software displays the preview pics, so I'll be using a different program to generate a layout of thumbnails to use as a reference. It seems I can't directly access the sd card through the camera and its software, so I'm wondering if an sd card reader would make sense to use. Could I expect the computer to see the card as just another folder with contents so that my preferred program can use it to make the thumbnails- and further to this, will it work, and is it safe, to try transferring directly from the card to a cd ? I don't know, maybe I'm better off to just let the camera and its software do its thing- I'd have to start it off, then go to work for the day. (I'm not willing to listen to the drive chop away all night doing the deed). With luck, there would be no crash or failures during the day and I'd come home to find a folder full of pictures, and no melted blob of what once was a camera oozing off the desk.

This is an older computer, and I'm sure the usb transfer rate is not the quickest. But, I'm ready to clear a gig or so of space on the drive and push the button. Do I have any better options?

09-13-2007, 02:36 AM
I took 436 pictures- that's going to be one long download- unless there's a way to speed it up.

Are you sure you have 436 keepers? You might try deleting before downloading. I always delete in-camera, usually at the end of each day's shooting. Though some say this is courting trouble, I've never had any.

Your Old Dog
09-13-2007, 07:05 AM
I do this all the time and it's never taken me more than 15 minutes. What kind of files are they? JPEG are normal unless you are shooting a more sophisticated camera allowing you to shoot in the larger "RAW" format. I doubt they are TIFF as you'd not likely get over 400 shots on a card.

I write all mine to my hard drive and then to CD. Once I see that I have them for sure, I then reformat my cards -in camera- and NOT erase them after uploading. Formatting the card after each use erases the images of course AND replaces/refreshes the FAT file on the card. When this file is healthy you won't be prone to getting bad images.

Aostling, deleting in camera does not seem to cause problems other than numbering issues that I have heard of if you are simply culling out bad stuff. My two digi's allow me to zoom in before deleting to see which images are sharp. If you don't have that feature I wouldn't weed out anything that you aren't sure of till you get home. Most problems associated with deleting in camera are from folks doing it all the time and never reformatting their card in the camera. This can and has caused some heartache. Some upload software ask you if you want to delete after uploading and you should always say "no" and then later eliminate the images in the camera by doing an in-camera reformat.

09-13-2007, 07:16 AM

I use a card reader on my desktop and a USB card reader on my laptop. Both add a "drive" to windows explorer and you can copy or cut and paste as if it's a folder on your computer. One thing to watch, get the pictures only, there may be other files for the camara on the card. My old Kodal DC290 kept macro files on the card.


09-13-2007, 08:08 AM
I do this all the time and it's never taken me more than 15 minutes. What kind of files are they? JPEG are normal unless you are shooting a more sophisticated camera allowing you to shoot in the larger "RAW" format. I doubt they are TIFF as you'd not likely get over 400 shots on a card.

It sounds like Darryl is using an old system with USB 1.1 only. The USB 1.1 protocol is about 40 times slower than the USB 2.0 protocol currently the standard. Your 15 minutes would become 10 hours.

Speeding it up will depend on the operating system. If it is XP SP1 or later then it will support an add on USB 2.0 adapter providing that there is a free PCI slot to plug it into.

A USB 2.0 adapter will allow downloads as fast as the computer can process them. With an appropriate new card reader the memory card will show up as another drive letter.

09-13-2007, 09:38 PM
I was lucky to get a motherboard that had usb on it when I got the computer many years ago. It is not usb 2- and molasses flows quicker than my pictures download.

It doesn't sound like I'd be getting any speed increase with a card reader in this case, so I'm about to hook up and let it go. It should be done by about 4 am. I can't wait to find the pic I shot of a grizzly- through one side of the binoculars.

09-13-2007, 09:49 PM
For $20 to 50 depending on features you can buy a plugin card for the
computer that will give you USB 2.0 with 2-4 connex, and at the higher
end of the price range Fire Wire connex will be on the card as well.
Download speed will be at the scrolling rate of the computer ie as fast as
the thumbnails appear on the screen the pix will be downloaded.
Purely as an example: http://www.buy.com/prod/startech-com-4-port-ultra-fast-usb-2-0-pci-card-adapter-pc-mac-plug/q/loc/101/10340989.html

09-14-2007, 03:23 AM
Well, somehow the download completed within two hours. I totally hadn't thought about the sd memory card itself- is it possible that this newer card is that much faster to read than the older card? (new one is 1 gig bought last week, old one is 256 meg bought some years ago). It seems to me now that the usb port isn't the limiting factor in this case.

At any rate, I got a ton of pics to look through.

Doc Nickel
09-14-2007, 04:11 AM
400 isn't a "ton". :D

I shot two weddings this summer, taking some 2,500 at one and close to 1,700 at the other. Shot a paintball game last weekend and took- let me check- 1,675. Shot a tournament back in June and took almost 3,200.

Now, like the others have noted, if your machine is fairly old, then yes, think about picking up a PCI USB 2.0 board. They're cheap these days, I bought one for my last box- local, retail- for $35.

Grab yourself a USB 2.0 compatible card reader- make sure it says USB 2.0 compatible, and stick with a good brand name like Kingston, Lexar or Sandisk- and use it.

Open the card up as if it's just another hard drive- XP does this automatically, older OS's need a little encouragement.

For browsing, slideshows and bulk manipulation, download the free program "Irfanview" if you don't have an app for fiddling with photos.

For large batches, I'll dump 'em all to my desktop (copying off the cards- the good, the bad and the ugly) all into one folder. (My camera numbers sequentially- not all do when you swap cards.) Then I'll burn 'em to DVD- or usually, a couple of DVDs, it's an 8.2MP SLR- and archive them appropriately. (Stacked at random on the shelf with a vague label.)

Then I'll look at them in a "thumbnail" view- IrfanView does this, XP's built-in viewer is a little faster and easier. I have a dual monitor setup with a 24" and 19", I can see over a hundred thumbnails per screen on the 24", and view selected enlargments in the 19".

I'll go roughly through the thumbnails first, deleting the obviously bad shots- badly blurred, heavily over-or-under-exposed, etc.- and then go through a second time, checking the larger version in the other window. This time I cull out the less-obviously-bad ones- blurry, but not obvious until seen larger, the useless duplicates (my SLR can take up to 8.5 frames per second) and all those wonderful, well-composed, crisply-focused and perfectly-exposed shots where the subject moved, ducked or passed out of the frame before the shutter tripped. :D

And last, I'll take what's left and use the XP viewer's "slideshow" feature (IrfanView again has it too) to flip through them one by one, full-size on the big screen. Here I'll use a clipboard and manually jot down the frame number of the "keepers"- the slideshow shows about one every three to five seconds, pleny of time to jot four digits on a scratchpad.

After I have that set of numbers, I'll delete everything but- remember, I still have a full archive on the DVD's. I've now culled it down to the "pick of the litter", and can then move on from there, depending on if they're due to be printed, displayed on the web, blown up to a poster, or whatever.


Your Old Dog
09-14-2007, 07:54 AM
Doc, he's talking stills, not video frames! Your shooting ratio reminds me of the National Geographic guys who climb a mountain with knapsaks full of nothing but film. :D

Good thing you ain't shooting film or you'd be broke!

09-14-2007, 09:50 PM
In Montana where we encountered the grizzly, there was a guy who had already taken 250 shots of it, and by the time we left, he was up to about 350. He said 'one of these is a money picture'. Most of the time, the bear was not to be seen. I'm hoping to have a little higher ratio of 'money pictures' out of my batch. I figured maybe 10% might be worth looking at more than once. There are some nice pics in there.
The casio 4 meg camera I'm using does a respectable job of taking pictures, but I'd like to move up to a better one with a wider zoom range and higher resolution. Regardless of the camera I buy, I'll be making a viewscreen magnifier for it. My eyes aren't that good anymore (don't know what's happening wit dat, could it be age :)), so I'll still need that, and besides it keeps stray light away from the viewscreen, making it nicer to use. The only change I'd make is to have a shutter in the magnifier so it only opens when the thing is up against my head. Maybe this time I won't burn spots on the screen.