Glenn's digital camera page

Don't have a digital camera? Here are some features to look for, and some recommendations.

Have printed pictures to scan? I'm sure enjoying my Epson Perfection 4870 Photo scanner.

Free software packages I have found useful for digital cameras. Irfan View -- a totally free picture viewer program, with a "safe" JPEG rotation feature and slide show generator. Can also be used to resize, crop, and do brightness and contrast adjustments. Be sure to also download and install the "plug-ins" for full functionality. Thanks to Irfan Skiljan for a fine product with continual upgrades. Some comments on Batch Scanning, Archival Image Quality, and IrfanView tips.

Photo Paper Saver -- a picture printer, allows combining of multiple pictures onto a single page of that expensive photo paper. Totally free for laying out one or two pages at a time, the paid version allows more pages for high volume production mode. Some comments on printing pictures.

New version of DRC 12/05/2007
Digital Recorder and Camera program -- an aid to transferring pictures from your digital voice recorder, camera, a flash memory card from such a device via a card reader, or from a Digital Wallet® or MindStor® device. (Digital Wallet and MindStor are registered trademarks of Minds@Work.) Includes renaming pictures to their internal timestamp, and has options for batch resizing pictures and batch converting picture formats. See Organizing Pictures below.

Rename Many -- an aid to renaming large number of picture files (or other files) with powerful control features, it also comes with some sample commands to do common operations that are useful for digital pictures. This has a few more capabilities than the rename features in the current version of DRC, above, but is not packaged as nicely.

jhead -- EXIF data manipulation. Includes ability to remove the low-quality EXIF thumbnail, and can extract and modify EXIF data and rename files. Limited to .jpg file manipulation.
Not free but sometimes worth it Adobe PhotoShop -- The classic standard tool by which all the others are measured.

Corel also offers a variety of competitive digital imaging products.

Organizing pictures

There are probably as many ways to organize pictures as there are people with digital cameras, but one way is to rename the picture files with a timestamp, so that the natural order of the pictures in the filesystem is the same as the order they were taken. While the camera's sequence number also does that for a single batch of pictures, most cameras reuse the numbers after a while, or some start over each time you clean the memory card. Having the timestamp as a sequence number also allows multiple cameras to be used together, with a merged result. Also, when selecting pictures from different times to put together in a logical directory, the time order is automatically preserved, which can be quite convenient. DRC and Rename Many can help with these tasks.

The exact naming convention I use is YYYYMMDD-HHMMSSid.JPG, where YYYY is the year, the first MM is the month, DD is the day, HH is the hour, the second MM is the minute, SS is the second, all of which are from the timestamp on the picture file, and id is the initials of the photographer. For cameras that don't have clocks, I use YYYYMMDD-SEQUENCEid.JPG, where the date is the date transferred to the computer, and SEQUENCE is the sequence number from the camera. Not quite as nice, but somewhat consistent with the other naming convention. It is much better if you have a real clock in your camera, and synchronize it with your friends that are shooting together.

DRC helps with the task of pulling pictures off of camera cards, or digital wallets, optionally clearing off the cards and wallets once the pictures are safely on a hard disk. It also optionally renames the files to have the same name as the timestamps, when the camera has a clock.

DRC is an alternatve to the software that comes with some cameras for transferring the data from the memory cards or the camera to a computer. Most cameras or card readers provide direct access to the flash filesystem in the camera or on the card over a serial, USB, firewire, or PCMCIA connection, by providing a drive letter. DRC can find that drive letter, and it can recognize the directory and file naming structure for various brands and models of digital cameras that it supports... and it is fairly straightforward for a programmer to add support for additional cameras. If such support is added or desired, I'd be glad to incorporate it into the official version of DRC, if appropriate information is supplied to me.

Rename Many implements a batch renaming capability. Files can be selected with various patterns (either DOS or Perl pattern matching), and renamed according to very powerful file name construction rules, or via a Perl substitution pattern. Some example commands are included in the Windows Integration files.

Installation and environmental dependencies

DRC is a Windows application; works on both Windows and many versions of Unix.

All the Perl scripts require Perl to be installed, and additionally requires the Perl Module Image::Info for certain features, but can live without it if you don't use those features. If you are online using ActiveState Perl on Windows, you can obtain Image::Info by going to a command window, and typing "ppm install Image-Info". If you need to install it offline, you can downloadWin32::API (required for, Image::Info (required for renaming files to their internal timestamp), and IO::String, (which Image::Info requires) in zip files for Perl 5.8.x from this directory containing many packages. For other Windows versions, start here. For non-Windows users, obtain Image::Info from CPAN.

On Windows, you need to install ActiveState Perl, install Win32::API, Image::Info, and IO::String, and place all the perl scripts in a directory on your machine. I usually suggest C:\pgms, and I usually add it to the path, although that is not absolutely necessary if you never use them from the command line.