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Tech: Digital camera query

McGrath of Harlow 29 Dec 08 - 07:17 PM
michaelr 29 Dec 08 - 09:22 PM
michaelr 29 Dec 08 - 09:23 PM
Joe Offer 29 Dec 08 - 09:39 PM
JohnInKansas 29 Dec 08 - 10:42 PM
GUEST 30 Dec 08 - 01:14 AM
Uncle Phil 30 Dec 08 - 01:51 AM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Dec 08 - 06:33 AM
GUEST,GUEST MaineDog 30 Dec 08 - 09:03 AM
JohnB 30 Dec 08 - 09:32 AM
McGrath of Harlow 30 Dec 08 - 12:51 PM
JohnInKansas 30 Dec 08 - 02:53 PM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Dec 08 - 08:34 AM
JohnB 31 Dec 08 - 10:38 AM
JohnInKansas 31 Dec 08 - 11:02 AM
McGrath of Harlow 31 Dec 08 - 12:27 PM
Acme 31 Dec 08 - 01:49 PM
GUEST 31 Dec 08 - 01:57 PM
McGrath of Harlow 01 Jan 09 - 11:55 AM
Gurney 01 Jan 09 - 02:36 PM
JohnInKansas 01 Jan 09 - 04:17 PM
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Subject: Tech: Digital camera query
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 07:17 PM

I've got a digital camera (Samsung D85 aka S85) and it's suddenly stopped being able to communicate with my PC. What I mean is, I've got a cable that plugs into the camera and into a USB port on my PC. When I plug it in and switch on the camera it shows up as an extra external drive, and a message pops up on the camera asking if I want to download to the PC, and when I say yes, it does its tricks, downloading both both still pictures and video clips.

At least that's how it's always worked - but now instead there's no message, the camera just switches on ready to take pictures or show them on its screen, and the PC doesn't recognise its existence.

Subsequent to this problem arising (and because of something quite different), I've reinstalled Windows. And for good measure I have also reloaded the drivers and software from the camera's accompanying CD. But no joy.

One obvious way round this that proved a dead end - my PC has a slot on it for SD cards, so I tried using this for the 4 GB card from my camera - but when I try to open it, the hourglass icon shows and then hangs on, but I can't access the contents of the card.

Anybody got any suggestions or pointers ? (In every other respect the camera is working fine.)


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: michaelr
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 09:22 PM

Have you tried this? Hook up the camer via the USB cable, then go to My Computer and see if it shows up as an external drive. If it does, just right-click Open or Explore - and Robert is your sister's brother.

My camera had the same problem when I switched to a larger SD card.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: michaelr
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 09:23 PM

I should add that you then manually transfer the files to the appropriate folder.

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: Joe Offer
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 09:39 PM

What's your operating system, Kevin? Windows XP? Does it have Service Pack 2 & 3? The original SD cards went up to 2 GB, I believe. Some earlier machines may not recognize the large SD cards. I've had trouble with my 8GB SDHC cards and some hardware.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 10:42 PM

A couple of possibilities.

1. Most cameras I've seen have a switch somewhere to switch between picture taking mode and "DSC" mode. You usually have to make the switch to DSC on the camera before connecting the USB cable (or before turning the camera on) in order for the images to download. If you connect in picture taking mode, the computer may recognise the camera as a USB drive, but in "taking" mode the drive is effectively "write only" (for some cameras).

2. The S85 should have come with a driver to be installed on your computer, and I would guess that the D85 uses the same driver. (They appear to be the same camera sold under two names.) Occasionally Windows will decide that your camera is something else and when you connect it Windows will replace the driver on the computer with a "Microsoft default" driver. (My laptop insists on recognizing my rf mouse as a camera and tries to install my "still camera driver," fails, and tells me everything will stop working if I dont' fix it." But it keeps working.)

2. The SD card itself may have "lost its format." When a memory card is used in a camera, it should only be formatted in the camera, by the camera. If formatted by the computer it will not get the "markers" in boot sector that identify the camera to the computer, so it sometimes won't be connected as camera memory and the file formats of the images may not be properly recognized. Check this out last, since formatting will lose any images on the card.

3. If necessary, the driver and user manual appear to be downloadable from Samsung.

4. Some Windows versions have had problems with recognition of USB RF devices, mostly mice and keyboards. Sometimes the "misidentification" of an RF (wireless) mouse can affect other USB devices like a camera or camera card readers. There are patches for some such problems that you may find as optional patches at Windows update, if you choose the "manually select" updates rather than "install automatically." Information on exactly which problems are solved by what patches is vague, but you might try a look to see if update suggests something for your computer. You should only be shown patches that might be useful based on your computer configuration, but read the descriptions before installing.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 01:14 AM

First thing is to figure out if it's the card, the camera, or the computer. Try plugging the camera into another computer. If it doesn't work on another computer then get a another card, format it in the camera and see if that works (a small capacity cards are quite inexpensive and are a handy way to transfer pictures). Of course you don't want to reformat your existing card unless you are very sure that the card is the problem because reformatting will destroy all the pictures you are trying to save.

If we're getting up a betting pool here, I'll bet the eventual fix will be to reformat the card. Good luck.
- Phil


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: Uncle Phil
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 01:51 AM

That last was me logged off, sorry about that.
- Phil


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 06:33 AM

Thanks, people, for the replies.

My son gave us one of those digital photo frames for Christmas, and the card works fine on that, which would seems to suggest that the problem isn't there. And it's worked fine up until this problem showing up.

I'll have a go using a different computer with the camera when I can, and using a different card on this computer too. Ring all the changes...


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: GUEST,GUEST MaineDog
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 09:03 AM

Look in detail at you camera's setup menu (on the camera) for something called "usb mode" or "communication options" . Since I don't know what the options will be, I suggest trying them all.
My camera, a Nikon, has one mode for the drive emulation mode, and another to allow the camera to be controlled from the computer.
(Why does my cookie keep disappearing??)
MD


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: JohnB
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 09:32 AM

DON'T Format your card, as someone suggested above, UNTILL you have the pictures off it.
You will loose them ALL.

Did/had you download/ed any windows updates, via the net, in your previous set up when it worked?

JohnB.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 12:51 PM

Did/had you download/ed any windows updates, via the net, in your previous set up when it worked?


I downloaded Windows Service Pack recently - but since then I have reinstalled Windows without it, and reinstalled the drivers for the camera etc.

So far I've found nothing that looks like a usb mode setting, as MaineDog suggests, but I'll have a good look through the manual and so forth. It's always worked before without adjusting any settings, but I suppose it might have decided to readjust itself without being asked, the way these things do sometimes.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 02:53 PM

SDHC Flash Memory Card Performance, February 14, 2007, By Loyd Case gives some information on SD memory cards that may give you a clue, if your camera/card combination has some problems.

Original SD memory cards could only be formatted in the old FAT16 format, and were thus limited to 2 GB. A later update to the spec produced SD cards with FAT32 format that could go to 2 GB.

It's reported that some cameras that could use preformatted 2GB cards could only format the first 1 GB, so if you format it in the camera it's only 1 GB usable, with the other 1GB in an unformatted separate partition.

The SD 2.0 spec modifies the format so that up to 32 GB can be formatted, but cards with larger sizes may not work well in some cameras because SD cards are really too slow to keep up with the camera for "speed modes" and/or for "movies."

The SDHC spec is a subset of the SD 2.0 spec, and is the only thing commonly available in cards above 2 GB, but the format is different and a 2 GB SDHC card may not work in a camera that was designed for 2 GB SD cards. I haven't seen a camera capable of >2 GB that doesn't specify SDHC cards, although some may exist.

In addition to the SDHC logo that should be on the card, and that you must have if the card is 2GB or higher and you use it in an SDHC-capable camera, SDHC cards should show a "speed class" rating, at least on the package. A Class 2 SDHC card is "guaranteed" to be able to write at a minimum speed of 2 MB/sec. The highest "Class" is Class 6, which has a minimum guaranteed write speed of 6 MB/sec.

Unfortunately, knowing the minimum guaranteed write speed doesn't tell you what the maximum is, or even what the expected speed is, and some Class 2 cards may be able to actually write data faster than some Class 6 cards. The manual for your camera should be very specific about the exact kinds of cards you camera should use, but often the precise information is missing or very vague.

The write speed of the card is of real importance since corruption of the card, making it unreadable, is common if the camera tries to save the images faster than the card can write it down. For most camera/card combinations the problem only occurs if you use the "rapid cycle" mode where the camera shoots a sepecified number of pictures "as fast as possible" (usually at a preset rate) when you click the button once, or shoots continuously at its maximum rate as long as you hold the button down; or when you try to record "movies" in your still camera at a frame rate that exceeds what the card you have installed can handle.

If a memory card is corrupted, there are software programs that claim to be able to salvage pictures; but I haven't seen one that doesn't require you to purchase the program (about $90 US is as low as I've seen for what looks "trustworthy maybe") to actually save the pictures. Free trial versions may tell you that there are pictures that can be saved, but don't allow you to actually save them until you pay. "Can be saved" in this case actually should be read as "might be saveable."

Note that this "card compatibillity" may not be the real problem in the present case, but the need to match the card to the camera is of some importance, and was mentioned above.

The only case I've seen of reluctance of the computer to connect properly, with my own cheap camera, came from the Vista tendency to try to identify a USB device each time its plugged in, and to connect using a "Vista default" driver for the new connection instead of the driver you installed for it if it's not correctly identified. Sometimes the camera was connected as an "external USB drive," in which case Windows explorer could be used to copy the files to the hard drive, but in a few cases it reported "no driver found" and failed to connect. A format, done in the camera, should put the information on the card that the computer needs to identify the device and use the right driver, but of course a format deletes all the data currently on the card.

If you've had trouble connecting, but got your pictures off the card, then a format of the card in the camera, by the camera, may make the next connection cleaner.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 08:34 AM

Problem solved - it was the USB cable. I'd tried with several that looked right and fitted the connection slot and all, but they all failed - but then I found one which worked.

That still leaves the puzzle why the slots for the SD card on the computer and the printer wouldn't work, but that's a minor problem. I suspect it may be something to do with format, and once the pictures are all saved I can maybe try reformatting.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: JohnB
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 10:38 AM

I have a Nikon Digital SLR, and I bought my wife a Canon Point and shoot. Although both have very similar looking Usb connectors and also 1/8 jack/ phono connectors (to attach to a TV).
Neither one will work with the others connectors.
Glad you are sorted out.
JohnB


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 11:02 AM

The Canon probably has a "standard" USB-mini connector that's fairly common on cameras (at least mine does). It's likely the Nikon that's a "special" (Lin's is).

My Canon SD1000 (shirt pocket point-n-shoot) and an older Fujitsu both accept the mini connector that comes in a "multi-connect" USB adapter kit, but Lin's Nikon (cheap) has to have the Nikon cable.

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 12:27 PM

I suppose the idea of a manufacturer having not using standard connectors is to help make people stick with their brand next time they are buying a camera. But of course this works the other way too - it tends to deter people using other brands from switching to their brand.

And in this case, since I'd more or less convinced myself it was the camera at fault, then the fact that a non-standard connector was involved would have have had the effect of ensuring that the next camera I bought would definitely not have been the same make.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: Acme
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 01:49 PM

I was going to suggest that you turn off and restart the computer, with the camera plugged in and on, so it would be mapped at startup as a drive. I wonder if you left your card in the reader if it might be recognized at startup?

Windoze may need a little help recognizing all of your drives. Did the computer come with the card reader, and did you install all of the computer's drivers when you reinstalled Windows? If you installed the card reader separately, you may need to manually reinstall it again with the CD it probably came with.

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Dec 08 - 01:57 PM

Glad your problem is solved but here's a suggestion: (if it's redundant...my apologies)You may want to look into purchasing a separate "card reader" to use when uploading pictures to your PC. The are inexpensive..$15 to $20 US...come equipped with a cable and save wear and tear on the camera/battery. Just plug the cable into the PC, put the card in the "reader" and you're ready to go. Depending on your set-up, the reader will either appear as an icon on your tool bar or as an external device in "my computer"


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 11:55 AM

I've tried the computer slot with a different SD card, which is only 2MB, and that works fine. But there's something about the 4MB card that it doesn't like. The same thing happened with an old card reader I tried them on. I imagine it's something to do with the formatting.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: Gurney
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 02:36 PM

A similar problem that I had, with Kodak, was solved by getting rid of the Kodak program and using Google's free Picasa program.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Digital camera query
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 01 Jan 09 - 04:17 PM

McG -

If your computer is more than a couple of years old the reader attached to the slot where you poke it in may not be equipped to handle the SDHC cards. While there are some obsolete larger cards in SD-2.0 spec that were larger than 2GB, the only ones still in use larger than 2GB (that I've heard of) have the SDHC format that older readers, not designed for the HC spec, don't handle well - if at all.

If you have a recently acquired camera that accepts a 4GB card, the card almost certainly is SDHC - not just SD.

If you want to read cards direct to the computer, without using the camera, your cheapest way out probably would be to get a "reader" (and check before purchase that it reads SDHC cards) that you can plug into any USB slot.

Your camera probably can use a "plain SD card," if the card is 2GB or smaller, but if you want to use a card larger than 2GB you need to make sure that it's SDHC (sometimes shown as just SD with HC somewhere else on the package or with other slightly variant markings).

You can get a reader now that looks like a "fat thumbdrive." A cap comes off one end where you stick the memory card in, and the other end is just a USB connector that plugs into the computer. The absence of a lead wire makes this style a little easier to carry around in your pocket; but otherwise doesn't have any particular advantage over other styles. Some readers accept several different kinds of memory cards/sticks but I haven't seen one of the "thumblike" ones that takes anything but the SD/SDHC.

Gurney touches on the point that lots of "accessories" come with "programs" that try to do all kinds of totally unwanted crap to your computer.

WinXP or Vista should mount your camera (or memory reader) without the installation of any drivers or programs. The computer should have satisfactory defaults it can install. Just plugging in and turning on (with the camera in download mode) should allow you to copy the images to the computer. An exception to this would be a camera that allows saving "RAW" images, especially if the "RAW" format for that camera is a little "off-standard."

The "camera software" that you're urged to install inevitably will attempt, however, to "organize your pictures" for you, often in ways not compatible with the software that came with your printer, which tries to organize your images in another way, both of which compete with the software that came with your scanner, which tries to organize everything otherwise - all of which may compete with other "reallynothelpful" utilities that are bundled with your image editing program, or that came with your computer. (And there are several other ways to be helped in ways that are not helpful.)

Unfortunately, the package in which you get your latest new device just says "you should install this" and NEVER tells you what it's going to do, or gives you a reason to believe you want to install it.

(Gimme one big-enough hammer and I don't need no stinkin' toolbox full o' junk?)

John


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