Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?

Started Sep 29, 2013 | Discussions
OP (unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,348
Re: Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?

marvin t martian wrote:

Digital cameras know perfectly well how to read and write files on FAT formatted flash cards, so adding support for external (USB) HDD's needn't be all that complicated.

Many consumer external drives are formatted with NTFS or HFS+. These file systems are much more complex than the FAT or exFAT file systems used on flash memory cards.

Engineering a camera to write to NTFS would not be an insurmountable problem but it would be a non-trivial project to develop and would require non-trivial hardware to implement.

However....an iPhone is certainly 'non trivial hardware' so if a small box that size can hold all that is needed do do what an iPhone can do, such a box should hold all needed to achieve this and it would be smaller and lighter and (hopefully!) cheaper than a laptop.

MisterBG Veteran Member • Posts: 6,035
Re: Why do we download to HDD's?
1

Leonard Migliore wrote:

I think the cards are safer storage than the drive.

You may think that, but you are deluding yourself.

MisterBG Veteran Member • Posts: 6,035
Re: Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?

MPA1 wrote:

wasserball wrote:

If I have to carry something, I rather carry a laptop than a hard drive because a computer is more flexible and useful than a hard drive. And, I want to look at my photos. Yes, eventually, I transfer the photos to a hard drive.

Generally yes.

However a laptop costs $2000 and is a reason to mug you or steal from your baggage.

I wonder what world you live in that a laptop costs $2000.

Where I come from you can buy an 11" netbook with a 320GB hard drive for about $350.

OP (unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,348
Re: Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?

MisterBG wrote:

MPA1 wrote:

wasserball wrote:

If I have to carry something, I rather carry a laptop than a hard drive because a computer is more flexible and useful than a hard drive. And, I want to look at my photos. Yes, eventually, I transfer the photos to a hard drive.

Generally yes.

However a laptop costs $2000 and is a reason to mug you or steal from your baggage.

I wonder what world you live in that a laptop costs $2000.

Where I come from you can buy an 11" netbook with a 320GB hard drive for about $350.

I live in NZ, although Apple laptops cost that much and more pretty much everywhere.

D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 17,644
Re: Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?

Danielvr wrote:

Not with a normal external drive, no. External drives still need an operating system to manage the file system which a digital camera lacks.

Digital cameras know perfectly well how to read and write files on FAT formatted flash cards, so adding support for external (USB) HDD's needn't be all that complicated.

I believe the operating system in most digital cameras is some version of Linux.

D Cox Forum Pro • Posts: 17,644
Re: Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?

MPA1 wrote:

RhysM wrote:

I'd not take any chances with transferring the images through a computer or otherwise Work out how many photos you think you'll be taking and buy enough memory cards for the job. Store them in waterproof wallet and transfer them when you get home.

Best answer ever!

a) Cards fail. Who wouldn't back them up?!

b) My last 10 week trip resulted in 8,976 RAW files. The number of compact flash cards required to hold two copies of that lot would have cost more than several Macbook Airs in New Zealand! A single 32Gb card holds about 900 NEF files from a D3s (probably half that or less from a D800) and costs $500 here.

What kind of dollars ? A 32 Gb card costs about $40 on amazon.com.

So I'd need 10 cards at $500 each which is $5000 as well as a complete second set for backups!

I could buy a new D4 and have $2500 change for that!!

Mahmoud Mousef Senior Member • Posts: 2,604
Re: Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?

MPA1 wrote:

We wondered why, given that a digital camera is basically a computer with a lens on it, it is still not possible to just connect a portable hard drive direct to the camera and download your images to one or more drives when working in the field, enabling you to leave your expensive and cumbersome laptop at home.

They already offer no-computer-needed transfers for video cameras, with suitable cable.

http://panasonic.jp/support/global/cs/e_cam/connect/usb_hdd.html

I personally find the limitations (above) stupid, since it requires a FAT-formatted hard drive. I don't use FAT for hard drives since it's less reliable.

tecnoworld
tecnoworld Veteran Member • Posts: 7,147
perhaps galaxy nx (based on android)
1

Samsung Galaxy nx 'should' be able to do what you mention.

I don't own it so I didn't test myself, but it has a powerful four cores cpu and android os in it.

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Mark B. Forum Pro • Posts: 22,380
Re: Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?

MPA1 wrote:

marvin t martian wrote:

Digital cameras know perfectly well how to read and write files on FAT formatted flash cards, so adding support for external (USB) HDD's needn't be all that complicated.

Many consumer external drives are formatted with NTFS or HFS+. These file systems are much more complex than the FAT or exFAT file systems used on flash memory cards.

Engineering a camera to write to NTFS would not be an insurmountable problem but it would be a non-trivial project to develop and would require non-trivial hardware to implement.

However....an iPhone is certainly 'non trivial hardware' so if a small box that size can hold all that is needed do do what an iPhone can do, such a box should hold all needed to achieve this and it would be smaller and lighter and (hopefully!) cheaper than a laptop.

...and yet my iPhone can't even save files to any external memory card.  The only trick it can do is d/l from an SD card with an adapter.

Erick L Senior Member • Posts: 1,062
Re: Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?

I carry 9 SD cards (16, 32 and 64Gb) in a film capsule plus one in each cameras. It gives me plenty of storage for a month including some time-lapses which take lots of room. Cards are cheaper, smaller and lighter than portable hard drive and I figure if the cards fail, they will do so during operation, not while they sit in the film capsule. I've only ever had one card fail and it was brand new and I could still retrieve the images, just not write anything on it.

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Chris Malcolm Senior Member • Posts: 1,842
Re: Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?

I'm in the middle of a 3 week holiday in Sicily. I used up most of my air baggage space & weight with camera, lenses, tripod, etc.. I took 2 x 32GB SD cards which I estimated rightly would be enough, given that when handheld sightseeing snapping I don't use RAW & mostly turn down the MP to 12.

But I wanted web access, GPS mapping & navigation, plus the ability to do at least some minimal image editing and uploading to the web while on holiday. A laptop much too big & heavy. So I took along my Nexus 7 Android tablet with a small Bluetooth keyboard. With the usual OTG USB cable & a USB card reader it can read the camera's memory card, including RAW files. I can display and edit these more easily & better than I expected to be able to, including curves, downsizing, altering jpeg compression ratios. Not as well as I'll be able to do when I get back home to my desktop computer. But more than well enough to supply good images to local friends while out here.

I trust memory cards much more than hard drives from having read research reports on the reliability of the technologies involved.

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Chris Malcolm

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paulkienitz
paulkienitz Veteran Member • Posts: 5,263
Re: Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?
1

MPA1 wrote:

A professional colleague and I were having a conversation yesterday.

He is off to shoot in Burma in a few weeks and I recently spent 10 weeks shooting in SE Asia.

We were discussing image storage when on the road and what a PITA carrying computers is.

We wondered why, given that a digital camera is basically a computer with a lens on it, it is still not possible to just connect a portable hard drive direct to the camera and download your images to one or more drives when working in the field, enabling you to leave your expensive and cumbersome laptop at home.

Can that be done? I don't believe so, but it seems a fairly obvious thing we ought to be able to do.

You'd think at the very least, that if it couldn't be done directly between the camera and the disk drive, it would at least be possible if you had a smartphone in between.

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Danielvr Veteran Member • Posts: 4,110
Re: Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?
2

Many consumer external drives are formatted with NTFS or HFS+. These file systems are much more complex than the FAT or exFAT file systems used on flash memory cards.

Engineering a camera to write to NTFS would not be an insurmountable problem but it would be a non-trivial project to develop and would require non-trivial hardware to implement.

Actually, it should be trivial because full-featured NTFS drivers are readily available for almost any conceivable platform. But they might as well stick to FAT and simply leave it up to the user to either obtain a FAT-formatted external drive or to reformat it himself. There are plenty of partitioning and formatting tools available that the camera manufacturer could refer users to.

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OP (unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,348
Re: Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?

Mark B. wrote:

MPA1 wrote:

marvin t martian wrote:

Digital cameras know perfectly well how to read and write files on FAT formatted flash cards, so adding support for external (USB) HDD's needn't be all that complicated.

Many consumer external drives are formatted with NTFS or HFS+. These file systems are much more complex than the FAT or exFAT file systems used on flash memory cards.

Engineering a camera to write to NTFS would not be an insurmountable problem but it would be a non-trivial project to develop and would require non-trivial hardware to implement.

However....an iPhone is certainly 'non trivial hardware' so if a small box that size can hold all that is needed do do what an iPhone can do, such a box should hold all needed to achieve this and it would be smaller and lighter and (hopefully!) cheaper than a laptop.

...and yet my iPhone can't even save files to any external memory card. The only trick it can do is d/l from an SD card with an adapter.

I'm not suggesting that the iPhone could do it, merely that nothing physically bigger than an iPhone would be required to do it.

OP (unknown member) Veteran Member • Posts: 3,348
Re: Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?

Chris Malcolm wrote:

I'm in the middle of a 3 week holiday in Sicily. I used up most of my air baggage space & weight with camera, lenses, tripod, etc.. I took 2 x 32GB SD cards which I estimated rightly would be enough, given that when handheld sightseeing snapping I don't use RAW & mostly turn down the MP to 12.

But I wanted web access, GPS mapping & navigation, plus the ability to do at least some minimal image editing and uploading to the web while on holiday. A laptop much too big & heavy. So I took along my Nexus 7 Android tablet with a small Bluetooth keyboard. With the usual OTG USB cable & a USB card reader it can read the camera's memory card, including RAW files. I can display and edit these more easily & better than I expected to be able to, including curves, downsizing, altering jpeg compression ratios. Not as well as I'll be able to do when I get back home to my desktop computer. But more than well enough to supply good images to local friends while out here.

I trust memory cards much more than hard drives from having read research reports on the reliability of the technologies involved.

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Chris Malcolm

Personally I have had more card failures than HDD failures (2 versus zero in about 15 years of using both)

However, if you substitute spinning drives for drive-sized SSD's you still can't write images straight to them from the camera.

Since an SSD appears (and I am no techno geek) on the surface to be equivalent to a giant Compact Flash card, it seems feasible that a camera should be able to connect direct to one with a USB cable and copy images direct to a 960Gb SSD.

A couple of SSD's weigh far less than a laptop etc and when you get home you pop them into a Thunderbolt desk mount and bingo - a few minutes and 10 weeks of RAW files are imported.

kiirokurisu Regular Member • Posts: 385
Re: It is already out there...

Probably cheaper/more economical to just buy more SD cards (or whatever format your camera uses) and swap them out as they get full.

marvin t martian Forum Member • Posts: 58
Re: Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?

I believe the operating system in most digital cameras is some version of Linux.

Modern Canon cameras use DryOS, which is a real-time OS developed in-house by Canon. Nikon uses microITRON.

domina Forum Member • Posts: 86
Re: Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?

marvin t martian wrote:

I believe the operating system in most digital cameras is some version of Linux.

Modern Canon cameras use DryOS, which is a real-time OS developed in-house by Canon. Nikon uses microITRON.

Yes, Canon uses DryOS now and it used VxWorks in the past. The camera OS isn't GNU/Linux.

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RedFox88 Forum Pro • Posts: 27,021
Re: Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?

MPA1 wrote:

We wondered why, given that a digital camera is basically a computer with a lens on it, it is still not possible to just connect a portable hard drive direct to the camera and download your images to one or more drives when working in the field, enabling you to leave your expensive and cumbersome laptop at home.

Well it's more like a camera with a specialized computer built into it, that's why you don't have wide functionality.  Your digicam doesn't have Windows Mobile 6.5 or Windows 7.  It's an OS designed by or for Canon for running the camera.  Plus many external hard drives do not have a power plug, so it would be a bit of a drain on the camera's battery.  Camera makers are concentrating on making a solid camera, not one that is to be integrated into many other devices.

Mahmoud Mousef Senior Member • Posts: 2,604
Re: Cameras: Why Do We Still Need Computers To Download To HDD's?

MPA1 wrote:

NZ, where I live! Here are the current CF card prices:

CF cards are terribly overpriced in today's market. The high-performance ones even more.

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