Photo Phollies

I bought a Nikon EOS 300D a couple weeks ago. This is one seriously cool camera. We wanted another camera so I can take garden pictures while Lisa travels with her camera. We’ve each won a (bush league) photo contest this year, so we felt justified in upgrading to semi-pro gear.

The biggest win over her Olympus C-730 is the optical viewfinder. The LCD viewfinder can’t be seen in bright sunlight. Even teenage eyes can’t see it if there’s sun on snow. The image quality is superb as well. Now I can take better pictures than I can print. This is not necessarily a good thing for the pocketbook.

I’m shooting “raw” images for the garden stuff. This produces about an 8 meg file, and transferring the things is something of an issue. Both Canon’s bundled windows software and Gtkam on Linux are horribly slow. The windows software to extract the JPEG preview image is also slow, as is Gallery Remote. I haven’t gotten dcraw running on Linux yet, so I don’t know if that will be better. Throughput is definitely an issue here.

I bought a USB card reader on the advice of a friend. I haven’t tried it on Linux yet. On Windows it’s clearly faster (20%?) but still not the speed one has gotten used to since 1998 or so. What is up to snuff is erasing the card. In the recycle bin and it’s gone, unlike erasing on the camera which takes several seconds per shot even if you say ‘erase all’.

Frankly I don’t see a way to get Windows up to acceptable performance. The Canon software simply requires too much manual intervention. I’m looking at abysmal performance on Linux too, but I can wrap the mess in a shell script and do something else for 10 minutes. Unfortunately I think I’m going to have to learn to us gphoto from the command line.

By the way, the EOS 300D is only supported in the latest (2.1.3) release of gphoto. RedHat 9 is 2.1.0 as I recall so I had to download and compile. And there is the standard Open Source Gotcha. The default configure script for both libgphoto2 and gphotot2 puts them into /usr/local/bin. However Redhat expects to find them in /usr/. Especially interesting is that even the configure script for gphotot doesn’t look for libgphoto in /usr/local/.

And the answer is when you run ./configure, it’s ./configure –prefix=/usr to get stuff put where it belongs. Use this for libexif too if you want exif processing.

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