Digital camera

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Digital cameras allow you to make photographs and short video clips to be stored electronically on either internal memory, or removable media such as SD cards.

Most digital cameras connect to a computer system via FireWire or USB, allowing quick + easy transfering of photos onto the home computer for further editing. Graphic software such as The GIMP and digikam allows easy photo editing, including the ability to create slide-shows of your photos.

How to use with Linux

You must know that there are two types of digital cameras: One acts like a usb-storage when you connect the camera to the computer, and the other (PTP) needs a special, camera-specific software to get the images from the camera. Mostly, you can set your camera to act as PTP device or as mass storage.

Get the pictures

You can take the memory card out of your camera and read it using a USB card reader. If you do not want that, it depends on your camera type what you can do to get the pictures.

PTP cameras

  • Connect to your Linux computer
  • start gphoto2
gphoto2 --get-all-files

Mass storage cameras

  • Connect your camera to your Linux computer
  • Find out which device has been attached
In this example, we assume the device has been /dev/sda1
mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/sda1
  • Find your photos and movies on /mnt/sda1

Manage your photos


You have more pictures than your camera can store. You want to have all pictures in one folder and when you delete a picture on the camera or in the folder, you want an information and a possibility to propagate these changes. You want to manage your photos.


To manage my photos, I have a folder on my hard disk called cam. I keep it synchronized with my camera's SD card. Here is how you can do this as well:

Take the SD card from your camera and put it into a usb flash reader and connect it to your computer. Find out the block device mapped to the SD card:

tweedleburg:~ # hwinfo --block --short
  /dev/sda             SAMSUNG HD103UJ
  /dev/sdb             WDC WD3200AAKS-7
  /dev/sdc          Generic USB SD Reader
  /dev/sdd             Generic USB CF Reader
  /dev/sde             Generic USB SM Reader
  /dev/sdf             Generic USB MS Reader
  /dev/sda1            Partition
  /dev/sdb1            Partition
  /dev/sdb2            Partition
  /dev/sdc1         Partition
  /dev/sr0             HL-DT-ST DVD-ROM GDRH20N
  /dev/sr1             TSSTcorp DVD+-RW TS-H653B

In this case, the block device is /dev/sdc and the partitiOn is /dev/sdc1. Mount it:

mkdir -p /mnt/sdc1
mount /dev/sdc1 /mnt/sdc1

And synchronize it with the cam-folder. If necessary, create it:

mkdir cam
unison /mnt/sdc1 cam

Now the program unison presents me a nice overview which files (pictures) have been added, deleted and modified in which folder. I can decide if I want to copy files and in which direction.

Choosing a digital camera

  • does it have a menu structure that you understand?
  • what resolution has it (MegaPixel)?
  • can you use SD cards (many computers have slots for them)?
  • is it capable to use SDHC cards?
  • can you charge it using a standard adapter (micro USB)?

See also