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Copy pictures back to your camera




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I had email this morning that asked what should be a simple question: how do I put pictures back onto my digital camera? Apparently she had copied the pictures up to her computer and then erased them, but now wanted them back on the camera.. simple enough request.

With a Mac and a USB camera, that's trivial. When you connect the camera, your Mac mounts it as a USB drive.. you may never have noticed this if you aren't the curious type, but you don't need iPhoto or Image Capture to get your photos: just drill into the mounted drive and copy them off. For example, my Sony camera gets mounted at /Volumes/Untitled and my pictures are at /Volumes/Untitled/DCIM/101MSDCF ; I can drag and drop pictures both into and out of that folder with Finder and the command line.

Oh sure, there may be a few rules you have to follow. Your camera may only understand specific image formats like JPEG or something of its own concoction and it may impose a specific naming structure. Then again, it may not: my camera wants to see "DSCNNNNN.JPG" (where N is 0 to 9) but a digital picture frame that uses the same memory sticks doesn't care what file names I use. Other than that, it's easy: drag and drop or command line copy, back it goes to the camera. But what about Windows?

Ah, yes, what about Windows? I hooked up my camera to my wife's XP machine. A "Found New Hardware" balloon popped up down in the system tray area but it didn't respond to any cicking. Moments later, it informed me that my device was installed and ready to use. Ready to use? OK, but how? It hasn't been mounted as a drive..

Now to be fair, maybe it should have. When I connected it under Parallels, that XP did mount it as a local drive. But it had help from the Mac side, didn't it? So, not knowing whether this was just a problem with my wife's computer or typical of Windows, I went looking on the net, searching for "put pictures back on camera".

The first page I looked at was Microsoft. At Working with Digital Photos they say:

One of the easier ways to copy digital photos to your storage card
for your digital camera is to insert the storage card into a card
reader.
 

Oh come on, Microsoft: it has to be easier than that! What if I don't own a reader?

The next page I looked at went into great lengths describing the standards cameras use (and don't use) and ends up implying that the camera is attached as a drive you just copy to (How to put edited pictures back into your Digital Camera). Note that one commentor there insists that copying pictures back destroyed his memory card (probably not, though his camera may have been impotent to deal with this external imposition).

So the camera should be automatically mounted? Apparently yes, but How can I load photos back into the camera? at PC User warns:

Unfortunately, it's not easy to do by yourself. In some cases it's
not easy to get the computer to recognise the camera as an external
drive so you can upload the photos to it. In almost every other
case, notwithstanding that you can get the photos onto your card,
chances are that you can't actually see them in the camera when
you do. However, you might be able to see the photos on, say, the
preview screen of a photo printer or your TV.
 

I suspect this person is talking about cameras that only recognize certain formats or file names, but he does also imply that although Windows should see it as a drive, it might not.. So I changed my search to "camera drive not found" and similar text and found people who said that it might matter which USB port you used.. and of course the usual advice about making sure you have the right drivers. Well, Device Manager said everything was just great as far as it knew and changing ports didn't help with my wife's box as she only has two and neither worked.. though Windows thought it had connected something as it objected if I unplugged the camera without clicking on the "Safely Remove Hardware" icon. But if I did use that, Windows locked up immediately after "Stopping" the drive.. Windows "stopped" everything.

Isn't Windows fun?

I had noticed something odd though: when I did run that "Safely Remove Hardware" program, Windows seemed to think the Camera was at F:

F:? No, no, Mr. Bill, F: is where we have a network drive mapped. But F: would be the next logical pick, because she has two internal drives (C: and D:) and a DVD (E:). So it made sense for the camera to try to take F: if we assume that Windows is as moronic with cameras as it is with everything else. That did seem like a very reasonable assumption (the part about Windows being moronic), so I moved my current F: to H: and rebooted.. plugged in the camera and my goodness! There it was, happily sitting under F:!

So, basically XP is partially unaware of mapped network drives. Isn't that fun? I think so..

More on camera copying

Some camera don't seem to mind you copying anything to them. Others may insist that the file names match their nameing format (see the hint in the comments about snapping useless pictures and then overwriting from pictures you want but using the same names).

Still others may insist that Exif data be present. In that case, you may need an Exif tool like this one.

In the most stubborn cases, you might need both Exif tags AND copying back over existing file names.

For the sake of those to helpless to find things themselves, I'm going to repeat Christian's comment here:

>>I'd try this: snap a random picture and try overwriting it with
what you really want. Maybe that would work.

THIS WORKS! Thanks again for the idea! That's exactly what I did, one
by one for 160 pictures, and now they're all back on the display. Took
an hour or so.

If you have the same problem, I did it this way: First took 160 random
snaps of blue sky (avoid flashlight), then gave the file names of those
snaps to the 160 good photos on my imac, then copied the whole buch into
the camera, overwriting the random snaps. Problem solved.

Before that, when I tried to simply upload the images with their original
names, the display messages from the camera at one point mentioned an
"image management file". Apparently images are only shown on the display
when they are listed in that file. Sony's service denied that there is
such a "catalog file" when I asked them. But it seems logical, that's
why the fix with the random snaps works.

Cheers 
Christian 
 



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Mon Jun 2 11:02:00 2008: 4281   anonymous


Start->Run->diskmgmt.msc lets you change drive letters.

Microsoft has a hotfix also: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/297694



Sat Dec 6 03:06:54 2008: 4857   anonymous


this didnt help at all.
you could have just explained HOW to do it, but you didnt.Instead you went on rambling.Its too confusing.



Sat Dec 6 12:03:06 2008: 4861   TonyLawrence

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I dunno - I think it did explain HOW.

What don't you undertstand?



Fri Mar 6 22:51:53 2009: 5619   anonymous

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hey i did not get it nor understand it i am confused please help me by giving me more info and what in the world is a mac i really need help please help me understand make a viedo or something



Sat Mar 7 01:33:57 2009: 5621   TonyLawrence

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What is a Mac? You have to be kidding.. http://apple.com

As to the rest, how would a video help you? Get someone more familiar with computers to read this and explain it to you.



Sat Apr 4 20:36:31 2009: 5991   anonymous

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A mac is like an a designer appliance. It is overpriced, you have to pay for every change to it, and heaven forbid u have a warrenty claim



Sat Apr 4 21:47:46 2009: 5992   TonyLawrence

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Sure, whatever you say. Of course those of us who actually have real experience and knowledge of multiple operating systems disagree, but don't let that bother you.



Thu Jul 9 05:18:28 2009: 6626   anonymous

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Hi, looking at your answer to copying pictures back to the camera. Do you know ig I can do it with an image not from a camera - like a jpg that has been created elsewhere?
I have a few jpg files of routes I want to take out when hiking, and have tried to copy them onto my Sony DSC W5. I can see them on the memory card when I connect to the pc, but not when looking at them on the camera. I've tried shrinking them so they are a comparable size to those images (I can see) already on the camera, and renamed them so the naming convention of the sony camera files are followed, yet I still can't see them on the camera. Any ideas? Thanks,
Gareth



Thu Jul 9 10:39:16 2009: 6627   TonyLawrence

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No, I don't. As I said above, apparently some people have problems with this. It's possible that there is some hidden index that you can't get at with some cameras - I really don't know. I was able to do it with mine.

I'd try this: snap a random picture and try overwriting it with what you really want. Maybe that would work.



Wed Sep 9 19:15:47 2009: 6881   anonymous

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>>I'd try this: snap a random picture and try overwriting it with what you really want. Maybe that would work.

Thanks, I love that idea! Y'all out there, did anyone try that with any success?

(I could use help, having transferred all my mother's pictures from her Sony camera to my Dad's Imac, only to find she wants them back to take with her wherever she goes.)






Wed Sep 9 19:20:50 2009: 6882   TonyLawrence

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I can imagine your jaw dropping when she told you that :-)






Sun Oct 11 21:20:16 2009: 7190   anonymous

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>>I'd try this: snap a random picture and try overwriting it with what you really want. Maybe that would work.

THIS WORKS! Thanks again for the idea! That's exactly what I did, one by one for 160 pictures, and now they're all back on the display. Took an hour or so.

If you have the same problem, I did it this way: First took 160 random snaps of blue sky (avoid flashlight), then gave the file names of those snaps to the 160 good photos on my imac, then copied the whole buch into the camera, overwriting the random snaps. Problem solved.

Before that, when I tried to simply upload the images with their original names, the display messages from the camera at one point mentioned an "image management file". Apparently images are only shown on the display when they are listed in that file. Sony's service denied that there is such a "catalog file" when I asked them. But it seems logical, that's why the fix with the random snaps works.

Cheers
Christian



Sun Oct 11 21:25:33 2009: 7191   TonyLawrence

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That's wonderful that it worked for you!

But - other folks should note that this MIGHT NOT WORK FOR THEM. Definitely worth a try, but don't blame us if your camera is too smart for its own good!



Thu Nov 19 17:40:15 2009: 7566   anonymous

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This is more of a creative writing exercise than it is a helpful how to. It does NOT explain how to move pictures back onto the camera. It is just too cutsie.



Thu Nov 19 17:52:37 2009: 7567   TonyLawrence

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This is more of a creative writing exercise than it is a helpful how to. It does NOT explain how to move pictures back onto the camera.

You copy them just like you copy anything else - drag and drop, Edit -> Copy, command line Copy, whatever. The article says that:

drag and drop pictures both into and out of that folder

The problem described here is MOUNTING the damn thing so that you CAN copy them. I assume you know how to copy a file?

What this post is really about is how Windows can not notice mapped network drives and how that can interfere with what should be a trivial operation. I'm sorry you didn't understand that.








Thu Nov 19 18:03:01 2009: 7568   TonyLawrence

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By the way - if you don't understand something, it's usually a lot more useful to say that you don't understand rather than bitching about the post.

I'm not really sure WHAT you don't understand - as I said, I have to assume you can at least drag a file from one folder to another. It's also possible that you didn't bother to read all the other comments, which do include ways to get around some issues other people have had.

We're not an unfriendly bunch here - if you have confusion, I or someone else will almost always try to help. Complaining usually isn't the berst way to start that process :-)



Fri Nov 20 13:08:14 2009: 7574   anonymous

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>>... more of a creative writing exercise than it is a helpful how to ...

Dear correspondent,
I'm grateful for the help I got here, so, assuming you need support and don't have much experience, here's a HOW TO that might be useful to you:

HOW TO COPY PICTURES BACK TO YOU CAMERA
1) Collect the photos that you want to copy back to your camera in a folder on your computer.
2) Connect your camera to the computer and MOUNT the camera's memory device, so that you see it's folders and files on your computer as well.
3) Drag and drop your collected pictures from their folder to the place on your camera's memory device where the cam stores its own pictures.
4) When you're done, get your computer to dismount the camera's memory device, then disconnect the camera.

Can't do step (1), (3) or (4)? Most of it is very easy. Any person with computer experience should be able to help. Can't do step (2), for whatever reason? This can be tricky. READ THE ABOVE POST or get someone with computer experience to do it for you. Then go on.

After steps (1) to (4), the pictures should be back in your camera. If you still can't view them in the camera display, your camera may refuse to display any foreign files. In that case you can try the overwrite manouvre described in my earlier post Sun Oct 11 21:20:17 2009. Suggested by Tony. It can trick the camera into recognizing your picture files.

No success? Please tell us which step of the process didn't work and what happenend. I was lucky enough to obtain a golden hint this way.

Cheers
Christian




Fri Nov 20 13:31:07 2009: 7577   TonyLawrence

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Thanks, Christian - you have more patience than I do :-)



Sun Jan 3 22:30:15 2010: 7848   RichardLWalker

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Although you did cover the initial question you did ramble.
I use Windows XP with USB port and plugging the cable between the two shows the camera as a removable drive. I copied 2 pictures from the computer to the camera. Software on the PC can see the pictures as on the hard drive, but it seems impossible to view them on the camera. I renamed them to the camera standard and used the JPG that it expects. Not fun. I can use the camera as a small hard drive (very easily and it works well) but not to hold pictures that I can show people. Oh well.



Sun Jan 3 22:42:08 2010: 7849   TonyLawrence

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Did you try the trick suggested above of overwriting existing shots?



Mon Jan 4 01:47:07 2010: 7850   TonyLawrence

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Although you did cover the initial question you did ramble.

That amuses me immensely. I'm reminded of my wife, who often complains that I "have left out important details" - except when I add the details, she complains that I'm telling her things she "doesn't need to know".

The article is actually about two different subjects. One is copying pictures back to your camera, which I thought was the least important part of it - although all the comments have been about that. The second part, which is probably where you think I rambled on to no purpose, is about how Windows is sloppy about mapped network drives. I think that's a lot more important than the stuff about the camera, even though the comments ignored that part entirely.






Mon Jan 4 13:50:18 2010: 7853   anonymous

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Richard



From your description, your problem looks just like mine did. You can try the 'overwrite manouvre' that fixed it for me, thanks to Tony, described in my post from Oct 11 21:20:17 2009. Good luck!



Cheers

Christian



(Tony, it appears many of us are bugged by our cameras' file handling quirks, and there is so little help available elsewhere. So, in the name of consumer empowerment, I find this discussion much to your credit, even if the deeper points have moved to the background for now).







Mon Jan 4 14:18:35 2010: 7854   TonyLawrence

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it appears many of us are bugged by our cameras' file handling quirks

I understand. I just find it amusing when people complain about the stuff that was the original intent :-)







Thu Jan 21 08:12:51 2010: 7935   anonymous

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You mentioned that in some cases the pictures are copied back to your memory card but you may not be able to view them in the camera. In a case like that will you still be able to print them if you take the memory card to get the pictures printed?



Thu Jan 21 09:40:48 2010: 7936   TonyLawrence

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will you still be able to print them

If you can see them from your computer, the printing computer should be able to also.



Fri Jun 11 19:54:24 2010: 8700   anonymous

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Neither of these worked for me. I have a Sony A-330, and some of the photos, i'm not sure why, didn't show up. This is very strange, as they are all in the same format, and have all been taken with the same camera, but every time, about half of the pictures say 'unable to display' and one of the pictures that does show up is extremely pixelated, even though when i view them on the computer, they are fine. Confused. But all i want to do is print them, so the printer should be able to see them. :)



Mon Jun 21 02:54:36 2010: 8730   anonymous

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Wow, I can't wait to try this out...
I'll Tell you how it goes!
-ANON



Mon Jul 5 14:56:07 2010: 8784   Kristin

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Alright, now I have a question.

I have a Mac, and I have a Canon PowerShot A540. When I connect my camera to my computer via USB, I don't know how to find it. You said in your post that yours was under "Volumes/Untitled," but I can't even find the Volumes folder! Normally, when I attach flash memory to my USB, it shows up on the desktop, but not when I attach my camera.

Is this just a Canon thing? Or am I just an idiot? :/

Thanks for any help!



Mon Jul 5 15:05:00 2010: 8785   TonyLawrence

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I doubt you are an idiot.

It is /Volumes - could that be your problem?

Look for it in Disk Utility also and try it in a different port. Try turning the camera on AFTER connecting the cable. USB can sometimes be annoying.



Tue Jul 6 04:15:22 2010: 8786   anonymous

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I was able to get the pictures back onto the camera but when I view the pictures on the camera, the image has terrible quality. It didn't have terrible quality before I put it on my computer and it doesn't have terrible quality on my computer. Do you know what I might be doing wrong? I use Windows and I used the "drag and drop" method and it worked. (I guess my computer recognized it as an external drive?)



Tue Jul 6 10:22:13 2010: 8787   TonyLawrence

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That is odd. Sorry, I have no clue what could cause that.



Thu Jul 15 14:08:41 2010: 8818   anonymous

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i have a dell computer and a Lumix camera. Im trying to get the photos back on. They show up on the SD card when they are on the computer but not when they are in the camera. Pleas help I really need them in the camera. Thankyou :)



Thu Jul 15 14:59:17 2010: 8819   TonyLawrence

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Everything I can tell you is here or in the comments. If you have read all that, you know everything I know.



Sun Jul 18 14:42:34 2010: 8828   Christian

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For a chance to fix this problem I suggest reading the comments from Jul 9 2009 and after -- cheers



Fri Mar 25 12:14:08 2011: 9405   Candra

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Some cameras need some spesific file include in the pictures file, so it can view the pictures from other media such as computer.
I also use Sony cybershot DSC-H3. But i have to convert Some Pics with Sony PSP Image Converter ( http://psp.ign.com/articles/608/608349p1.html) then Copy the converted file into my camera. Viola...it works.
This can do with some video project too. And i need Digital Camera Media Studio ( http://www.makayama.com/digitalcamera.html) to make it work. Believe me...it really work.







Fri Apr 1 23:44:56 2011: 9418   TropicalSheri

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Absolutely fantanstic info! Did the write-over name thing and saved a friendship. My friend just about died when I put his photos on my computer and had checked the erase after import box. Fixed now, still buddies. Sony Cyber-shot and Windows 7 Thanx a million!



Sat Apr 23 15:41:51 2011: 9465   anonymous

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My Nikon does not mount as a drive.



Sat Apr 23 15:55:26 2011: 9466   TonyLawrence

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You might be able to get around that with a card reader: http://forums.macrumors.com/archive/index.php/t-138711.html



Thu Jul 14 16:28:13 2011: 9617   TOM

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I HAVE A NIKON S52,TO ADD PHOTOS FROM MY PC I CREATE A FILE CALLED
NIKON100 AND DROP MY PHOTO FILES INTO IT.
IT ALSO DISPLAYS MY CANON PHOTOS TOO BUT THESE CANNOT BE EDITED WITH MY S52.



Thu Oct 27 01:53:03 2011: 10075   de

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Hi I have a Canon A490 powershot..... tried all the advice you gave the other
person... no luck ... when I connect my camera Iphoto automatically opens and search as I might for /volumes or \volumes or any other such folder or trying to find the camera no luck ...it is not to be found.. Any suggestions?...Tried all the USB stuff.. no luck
Thanks



Sun Mar 4 16:10:43 2012: 10703   Anastasija

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I have big problem, please HELP! I made some photos with 1 memory card in camera, and I saw them on the display. When I came home, and put the card in computer, new photos weren't there, just old ones. and now I can't even see them on the display. What should I do?



Sun Mar 4 16:15:49 2012: 10704   TonyLawrence

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Again, for I don't know how many times: I don't know. If the stuff talked about here doesn't work, I do not know!



Sun Mar 4 16:26:26 2012: 10705   RLWalker

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Even with a memory card installed pictures sometimes get stored on the camera memory. Remove the memory card and see if the pictures are stored on the memory that came with the camera.



Sun Mar 4 16:28:12 2012: 10706   BigDumbDinosaur
http://bcstechnology.net
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Another topic that refuses to die. Geesh!

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