Sending Pictures to the Computer

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You can take two approaches to moving pictures from your camera memory card to your computer:

✓ Connect the camera directly to USB symbol the computer. For this option, you need to dig out the USB cable that came in your camera box. (The camera manual refers to the cable as the interface cable.) Your computer must also have a free USB slot, or port, in techie talk. If you aren't sure what these gadgets look like, Figure 8-1 gives you a look.

The little three-pronged icon you see on the plug and to the left of the two ports in Figure 8-1 is the universal symbol for USB. Be sure to check for this symbol because a different type of slot, called a

FireWire slot, looks very similar to a USB slot, and your USB cable can even seem to fit (sort of) into a FireWire slot.

✓ Transfer images using a memory card reader. Many computers now also have built-in memory card readers. If yours has one that accepts a Secure Digital (SD) card, you can simply pop the card out of your camera and into the card reader instead of hooking the camera up to the computer. Note that if you're using the new SDHC (high capacity) cards, the reader must specifically support that type.

As another option, you can buy stand-alone card readers such as the SanDisk model shown in Figure 8-2. This particular model accepts a variety of memory cards. Check your photo printer, too; many printers now have card readers that accept the most popular types of cards.

Figure 8-1: You can connect the camera to the computer using the supplied USB cable.

I prefer to use a card reader, for three reasons: First, when you transfer via the camera, the camera must be turned on during the process, wasting battery power. Second, with a card reader, I don't have to keep track of that elusive camera cable. And third, when I copy photos to my desktop system, transferring via the camera requires that I get down on all fours to plug the cable into mm the computer's USB slot, which is of course located in the least convenient spot possible. The card reader, by contrast, stays perched on my desk, connected to my computer at all times, so there's very little physical activity involved in transferring pictures, which is how I prefer to live my life.

If you want to transfer directly from the camera, however, the next section explains some important steps you need to take to make that option work. If you choose to use a card reader, skip ahead to the section "Starting the transfer process" to get an overview of what happens after you insert the card into the reader.

Courtesy SanDisk Corporation

Figure 8-2: A card reader offers a more convenient method of image transfer.

Courtesy SanDisk Corporation

Figure 8-2: A card reader offers a more convenient method of image transfer.

Connecting camera and computer

You need to follow a specific set of steps when connecting the camera to your computer. Otherwise, you can damage the camera or the memory card.

Also note that in order for the process to work smoothly, Canon suggests that your computer be running one of the following operating systems:

✓ Windows Vista

✓ Windows XP with Service Pack 2

✓ Windows 2000 with Service Pack 4 or later

If you use another OS (operating system, in case you're a non-geek), check the support pages on the Canon Web site ( for the latest news about any updates to system compatibility. You can always simply transfer images with a card reader, too.

With that preamble out of the way, the next steps show you how to get your camera to talk to your computer:

1. Assess the level of the camera battery.

&\NG/ Just look at the little battery-status indicator at the bottom of the Shooting

Settings display. If the battery is low, charge it before continuing. Running out of battery power during the transfer process can cause problems, including lost picture data. Alternatively, if you purchased the optional AC adapter, use that to power the camera during picture transfers.

2. Turn on the computer and give it time to finish its normal startup routine.

3. Turn off the camera.

4. Insert the smaller of the two plugs on the USB cable into the USB port on the side of the camera.

The slot is hidden under a little rubber door just around the corner from the buttons that flank the left side of the monitor, as shown in Figure 8-3. Gently pry open the little door and insert the cable end into the slot.

5. Plug the other end of the cable into the computer's USB port.

Be sure to plug the cable into a port that's actually built into the computer, as opposed to one that's on your keyboard or part of an external USB hub. Those accessory-type connections can sometimes foul up the transfer process.

6. Turn on the camera.

USB port

Figure 8-3: The USB port is hidden under the little rubber door on the left rear side of the camera.

USB port

Figure 8-3: The USB port is hidden under the little rubber door on the left rear side of the camera.

The Shooting Settings screen appears briefly on the camera monitor, displaying a "Busy" message. Then the monitor goes black, and the card access lamp (just to the right of the Erase button) begins flickering, letting you know that the camera is communicating with the computer. After a few moments (or minutes, depending on the speed of your computer), the Direct Transfer screen appears on the camera monitor, as shown in Figure 8-4, and the Print/Share light, in the center of the WB button, glows blue.

For details about the next step in the downloading routine, move on to the next section.

The options you see on the Direct Transfer screen relate to a method of image downloading that requires you to handle everything through the camera menus. I don't cover this download technique because I think that most people will find the alternative methods I discuss here easier and more user-friendly. Nor do I cover the Transfer Order item on the Playback menu, which is related to the process. However, if you're curious about the Wallpaper option on the Direct Transfer screen, turn to Chapter 11, which explains it. Your camera manual also includes specifics about the other download technique.

E*Direct transfer

All images New images

Transfer order images Select & transfer Wallpaper

Figure 8-4: When the camera is ready to download images, the Direct Transfer screen appears.

Starting the transfer process

After you connect the camera to the computer (be sure to carefully follow the steps in the preceding section) or insert a memory card into your card reader, your next step depends, again, on the software installed on your computer and the computer operating system.

Here are the most common possibilities and how to move forward:

✓ On a Windows-based computer, a Windows message box like the one in Figure 8-5 appears.

The box suggests different programs that you can use to download your picture files. Which programs appear depend on what you have installed on your system; if you installed the Canon software, for example, one or more of those programs should appear in the list. To proceed, just click the transfer program that you want to use and then click OK. (The figure features the Windows XP Home Edition version of the dialog box.)

Figure 8-5: Windows may display this initial boxful of transfer options.

If you want to use the same program for all of your transfers, select the Always Use This Program for This Action check box, as I did in Figure 8-5. The next time you connect your camera or insert a memory card, Windows will automatically launch your program of choice instead of displaying the message box.

✓ An installed photo program automatically displays a photo-download wizard. For example, if you installed the Canon software, the EOS Utility window or MemoryCard Utility window may leap to the forefront. Or, if you installed some other program, such as Photoshop Elements, its downloader may pop up instead. On the Mac, the built-in iPhoto software may display its auto downloader. (Apple's Web site, com, offers excellent video tutorials on using iPhoto, by the way.)

Usually, the downloader that appears is associated with the software that you most recently installed. Each new program that you add to your system tries to wrestle control over your image downloads away from the previous program.

If you don't want a program's auto downloader to launch whenever you insert a memory card or connect your camera, you should be able to turn off that feature. Check the software manual to find out how to disable the auto launch.

✓ Nothing happens. Don't panic; assuming that your card reader or camera is properly connected, all is probably well. Someone — maybe even you — simply may have disabled all the automatic downloaders on your system. Just launch your photo software and then transfer your pictures using whatever command starts that process. (I show you how to do it with the Canon software tools later in the chapter; for other programs, consult the software manual.)

As another option, you can use Windows Explorer or the Mac Finder to simply drag and drop files from your memory card to your computer's hard drive. The process is exactly the same as when you move any other file from a CD, DVD, or other storage device onto your hard drive.

As I say in the introduction to this chapter, it's impossible to give step-by-step instructions for using all the various photo downloaders that may be sprinkled over your hard drive. So in the next sections, I provide details on using Canon software to download and organize your files.

If you use some other software, the concepts are the same, but check your program manual to get the small details. In most programs, you also can find lots of information by simply opening the Help menu.

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