Sunday, October 23, 2011

Look Mom, No Wires

I was asked recently for some tips on how to easily export photographs and videos from a digital camera to a computer for editing and storage. All digital cameras have one or more options for this. The easiest and most often used method uses a cable between the devices to transfer the digital images. The cable connects to the USB port that is found on most every brand and model of computer. Using that cable and the software that is bundled with the camera is a straight forward process.

For cameras that use a removable storage device like a SD Card or Memory Stick, the removal of the card from the camera and plugging it into the computer is another easy method of getting your pictures into the computer. Of course, this method requires compatible slots on the computer that can accept the SD Card or Memory Stick. If your computer does not have these slots you can purchase an adapter for about 5 bucks that plugs into the USB port and has slots for most all memory cards and sticks.

There is another method that is now available that requires no slots and no cables. Marketed by Fuji it is called “Eye-Fi” and can be used in any camera that takes a SD Card. This standard size SD Card not only serves as a storage device in your camera but also contains a miniature wifi transmitter that can wirelessly send your photos to any wifi equipped device. So instead of fumbling with wires or removing the SD Card from the camera, you just instruct the SD Card to send all the photos now stored on the card to your computer.

There are various version of this card with prices starting at about $50. The card can transfer to computers, iPhones, Androids and several other devices. It can be set up to recognize more than 30 different wifi networks that you may use from time to time.

There is some set up required when you first get the card. For instance you need to tell it where to send the pictures. You can choose to send them to a special directory on your computer or instruct it to send the photos directly to one of the photo sharing web sites like Flickr or SnapFish.

There is a version that has a geo-tagging function. With geo-tagging, your photos are labeled, or “tagged”, to show where they were taken. When you save the photos you also save information about them. You can view where the photos were taken on a map. You can search photos by location. So years after coming back from that vacation in Alaska, you can have information about the trip that may have vanished from your memory since it is stored in you computer’s memory.

Now if I can only get it to remember where I put those keys…..

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