A Way To Download Images From A Memory Card


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A Way To Download Images From A Memory Card

This example is for Nikon Coolpix point and shoot cameras from 3200 to L-11 using a Windows XP computer

Posted Thursday December 4, 2008

HERMISTON - People seem to be a little overwhelmed with the simple process of downloading images from the memory cards of their digital cameras. When I worked at a local newspaper a man brought in his digital camera that had photos of a community event he wanted an article written about. I was busy working on another project when the person helping him called for me. I joined them at the computer that they were downloading photos on. It turned out that he got the camera new in 2005 and had a two gigabyte memory card. There were hundreds of photos on the card in the two and a half years he owned the camera. Was it a simple task of just finding and downloading the last photos taken? No he wanted photos from the last couple years of the activity used for the article. So if you want to keep the frustration level low here is my way of keeping up to date with downloads from your camera.

I taught photography for over 20 years and it was always interesting how the average person shot about two rolls a year. One roll would have the holiday photos and the other roll would be the summer vacation. It can be a lot bigger deal when you have a digital camera that has photos covering three or four years span of time. Some people may be overwhelmed by the technical aspects of working with the computer when downloading images. The idea is to make the downloading of images at least a monthly occurance.

This example involves a Nikon Coolpix 5600 digital camera and downloading to a PC running Windows XP.


LEFT - First make sure that you have a card reader for the proper type of memory card that your camera uses. In the case of the Nikon it's a SD type memory card. The photo on the left shows an external card reader. RIGHT - On the right is an internal card reader.


LEFT - A Nikon Coolpix 5600 point and shoot digital camera. RIGHT - Use your finger to flip the door open that covers the SD memory card slot. Push in slightly on the card to make it spring out which disengages it from the slot and remove the card from the camera.

LEFT - The card should slide easily from the memory slot in the camera. RIGHT - Locate the proper card slot for the SD card on the card reader. This is an external USB2 multi-card reader.


LEFT - Don't force the card into the slot. The card reader may have slots similar in size and shape to the SD card. Most readers have the type of card printed next to the slot. RIGHT - On most default configured Windows XP PCs a little menu will pop up. The menu will suggest several automatic download settings. Scroll down to the bottom and highlight 'Take No Action' and click OK on the bottom of the menu. I suggest doing this because because I want to set up where I save the photos instead of Windows making that decision.


LEFT - Now open Windows Explorer by going to START>ALL PROGRAMS>ACCESSORIES>WINDOWS EXPLORER. Under MY DOCUMENTS there is usually a folder called MY PICTURES. If you want to save your photos to you C Drive which is usually the drive with your operating system then double click on the MY PICTURES folder and make a new folder based on what is most important to you. You could create a folder that says Nikon Coolpix. You could create a folder that says Photos 2008 or whatever year it is that you are downloading. Then you should double click on the new folder then create another folder inside that one. If the folder is called Nikon Coolpix then the next folder might be 2008. Then double click on that folder and create a folder for each month. If you created a year (say 2008) folder then create new month folders. However, if you take a lot of photos or have a small C drive then you may want to save the photos to your secondary hard drive or an external hard drive like a LaCie or Maxtor. In that case in WINDOWS EXPLORER search for that drive. Depending on you computer it can range from a D drive to some other letter. RIGHT - To create new folders in Windows Explorer go to FILE>NEW>FOLDER. A blue box should appear in the open folder window on the right side of the screen. Type in the name of the folder, say Nikon and hit enter. Now if you want to create more folders repeat the process for example you have a scanner. If you want to add folders to the newly created folder then double click on the new folder to add months.


LEFT - Now we can download the images to the proper folder. Scroll to the drive letter of your card reader. Most card readers give a letter to each slot. One reader could have maybe five letters. So as you scroll through the folders in WINDOWS EXPLORER you might notice a group of letters like H, I, J, K or something similar. One of those is likely to be your SD card. Some smarter readers will actually highlight the letter and add Nikon Coolpix or Canon Rebel when the card is inserted. But we will imagine that it's just a bunch of letters. Click on each letter until more little folders pop out below the letter. The folder will likely say DSCN Files or something similar. Click on that folder and a whole bunch of files will come up on the right hand window. RIGHT - Highlight the file names by clicking on the first one and scolling to the end and hold down the shift key and click on the last file number. All files should be highlighted like the photo at the right.

LEFT - A little progress window will open up showing the duration of the file transfers to the hard drive. When all the files are transfered the little progress window closes. Often times cameras place photos into separate folders - usually 100 at a time. So once you download the first batch go back and see if there are any more folders of pictures. If there are then download them to the same folder on your hard drive. You can download all the photos to the same folder since there is no reason not to. If you want to can download the photo folders separately. I don't - I just dump all the files into that folder I created for the particular camera, memory card chip, date, subject. If you have several memory cards to download then give each card a unique folder by date or subject. Once all the files are downloaded then you can eject the memory card. To make things easier I usually click on the folder I downloaded to to check that the files are where they should be. If they are then I scroll to the card reader drive letter and right mouse click then scroll down to eject. It may take a few a seconds for the reader to disengage from the USB2 port. Some computer have a hangup or a delay. For example some computers take a while before you can remove the memory card. Some might say memory card busy. If that's the case wait another minute or so. If it still hangs I've found that you can force the card to eject by clicking on 'CONTINUE' on the menu that usually pops up saying the card is busy. Then right mouse click on the card reader letter and it will usually then eject with now problem. The speed of the CPU and the amount of memory the computer has will affect the speed of the download and the opening of the files. RIGHT - Once the memory chip is removed then you can open the photo files in PhotoShop, PhotoShop Elements, or some other image editing program.









Photos by Terry Aichele

IMAGE | Wedding Photography | Wedding Video Production | Photo Gallery |

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Posted September 3, 2008
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