Thursday, January 3, 2008

Windows 2k support for Canon SD850IS Powershot

With my new SD850IS camera I had a bit of difficulty getting my Windows 2000 computer to recognize the camera. It does work however - the problem was that the installation routine was unclear. One of the options was to install TWAIN drivers for the camera. TWAIN is a protocol most known for allowing programs, such as PhotoShop, to acquire images from a scanner. By default I assumed that Canon was giving you the option of doing the same, except that the source would be the camera. But since I have no desire to directly download images into PhotoShop I skipped installing it. Well, as it turns out you need the TWAIN drivers to download pictures from the camera at all, even if you are using ImageBrowserEX.

Come on Canon! It would be so easy to make this clearer in the installation program. Why should I have to read the manual just to install the right driver?

As it turns out, the new image downloading software that came with ImageBrowserEx 5.8 has a nice feature that the older versions did not have. First, you get a preview of your photos as they are downloaded from the camera. Second, you can tell the program to delete photos from your camera after downloading, automatically. This is a great idea - after downloading pictures there's no reason to leave them on the camera. With this change, it's finally the case that Canon's photo download routine is as useable as the default USB mass storage method of accessing your photos that most other cameras use. This is especialy true if you like the feature that Canon offers of splitting your photos into sepeate folders, one for each day you took pictures.

I still wish they also offered USB mass storage support, however, so that I could grab my photos off the camera without having to install drivers on machines that don't support the DPIC protocal that Canon uses (altho to be fair WinXP and OSX both support DPIC, so this is a dimishing problem).

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