After you have chosen a digital camera with specific resolution and storage, and after you have captured your desired images, how do you transfer the information stored in the camera to your computer? This page demonstrates some possible ways to transmit this information.

Compact Flash Cards

Information can either be transferred to your computer via PCMCIA adapters, USB adapters, or media readers. Some readers or adapters may not be able to read all types of compact flash cards. For example, USB adapters can only read the compact flash cards which have the "USB enabled" logo on the card. USB enabled cards may not be able to be read by media readers or by using PCMCIA adapters. Which of the cards below can be read by a USB adapter cable?

The following movies show the variety of ways the compact flash cards can be removed from the cameras and connected to the computers.

One of the simplest ways of moving information from a compact flash card to a computer is through the use of the PCMCIA slot. This slot is standard on most laptops, but desktops usually do not have them. Therefore, this standard option exists only for laptops. The adapters are relatively cheap (around $12), considering the cost of other adapters.
Simple USB connectors can also be used as a method to transferring images to the compter. The compact flash card must be USB enabled in order for this simple connection to work. These types of connectors are sometimes packaged with new USB enabled compact flash cards.
A third method is to use a media reader. In this example, we are using a Tri-Media reader, which reads 3.5 inch diskettes, smart media, and compact flash cards. Software drivers for the readers must be loaded into the computer before you can use the media reader.

Smart Media

The venue for transferring from smart media can include PCMCIA adapters, diskette adapters, or media readers.

One method for transferring images from the smart media removable storage to the computer is through the use of a 3.5" diskette adapter. Although it looks like a diskette, the device is more than a holder for the smart media. It is an electronic device which is powered by two small DC cells. This device is expensive, costing around $80.

Driver software must be installed in the computer for the adapter to function.


A second method is to use a media reader. In this example, we are using a Tri-Media reader, which reads 3.5 inch diskettes, smart media, and compact flash cards. The reader has three different slots for each of the media.

Driver software must be installed in the computer for the reader to work.


Memory Sticks

Memory sticks are the removable media developed by the Sony Corporation. The images stored on memory sticks can be transferred using PCMCIA adapters, and diskette adapters. We have also seen media readers available for memory sticks, but we do not own one to show as an example.

This movie shows the memory stick being used in a PCMCIA adapter. This adapter is quite expensive (around $80).
The memory stick can also be used with a device which looks like a 3.5" floppy, although it is quite more complex than a floppy. Driver software is required for this adapter for both Macintosh and Windows machines. Again, this adapter is rather expensive (around $80).

3.5 inch Diskettes

The 3.5 inch diskettes in the Sony cameras can be removed and read by any regular 3.5 inch diskette drive, or by other media readers which can read PC formatted diskettes. Keep in mind that only PC diskettes can be used in the cameras, which can also be read by Macintosh Power PCs.

This is one of the easiest ways to transfer the files to your computer. It is best if you copy the contents of the diskette to your hard drive before you manipulate the images. Then you can archive the diskette, or erase it for other purposes.

Direct Hardwire Connection

Many of the newer camera models now include a USB connector and software so the user can connect the camera directly to the computer to download the images onto the hard drive. First, load the driver software on the computer you will be using for image downloads. Then connect the camera to the computer via the USB cable. Then run the software which came with the camera to view and download the images.

©2000-2002 Dr. John Park for Science Junction, NC State University.
All rights reserved.
Last updated 07/25/02

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