[xplorer˛] — Import pictures the easy way
home » blog » 9 October 2011
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My wife like many others has been bitten by the facebook bug so she seems to waste half her time either uploading pictures or commenting on other friends' facebook pictures. When a digital camera has 2000+ pictures and videos in it — a few months worth — importing the newest ones only can be a bit tricky, especially if you are a facebook enthusiast <g>. So today I am extending the series of articles on educating WAGs on basic file management with a picture importing tutorial.

Digital cameras store pictures inside their sizeable memory cards. You can connect the camera to your computer like any other external storage device (e.g. your USB stick) and access the files (pictures) in a number of ways:

  • using the special software that came with the camera (invariably rubbish)
  • using windows import wizards that pop up when you plug in the camera (tickbox hell)
  • removing the camera's memory card and inserting it in your PC's card reader (may result in a fried memory card)

All these methods leave much to be admired in one way or another. The biggest problem is importing only the newer pictures and videos. If you have thousands of 8 megapixel pictures in your camera you don't want all of them imported each time you take a few extra pictures. Windows import wizards vary but many times require a manual tickbox selection procedure where it can take ages to spot and select the newest pictures.

IMHO the easier access to the pictures is regarding them as files in folders. Some of the older cameras did behave like external drives (with drive letter and everything) but that was sacrificed in the interest of windows import wizards. Still you can reach into the camera's pictures if you access the camera through My Computer folder, after entering folders called DCIM and what have you (see picture on the right).

Once we reach a file and folder mode we can use xplorer˛ arsenal of file management commands to synchronize the camera and the hard disk. Here are the steps:
digital camera filesystem access

  • connect the camera e.g. using its USB cable
  • start xplorer˛
  • browse the camera picture folder in one pane (dual pane view mode)
  • browse the folder where you want the pictures imported in the other pane (usually somewhere under My Pictures folder)
  • Press <F9> or use Mark > Synchronize panes menu command
  • Press <F5> or use drag-drop to import (copy) the pictures selected by xplorer˛

For more detailed explanations please watch the demo video

If you would care to understand the camera's filesystem a bit deeper, all pictures and videos are usually under a single folder with names like DSCF1234.JPG. As you take more pictures the numbers increase so a picture called DSCF2234.JPG will be more recent. Even if the synchronize command didn't work you could have figured out the newest pictures sorting by name or by modification date — which are equivalent. Just locate the last picture imported and select the rest of them pressing <Shift+END> on the keyboard.

If you are working on the elementary filesystem level then you can also do any of these extra management steps without taxing your brain:

  • Create separate folders in your hard disk for each batch of imported pictures
  • Browse only pictures or only videos using View > Visual filter > Autofilter menu command
  • Delete pictures after importing

So dear WAGs now you will waste less time on facebook and hence can catch up with the mounting housework :)

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