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Using gPhoto2 to Download From Cameras - page 2

Simple and Fast

  • January 16, 2009
  • By Bruce Byfield

If you are working with a video camera, the options are somewhat different. Then, you use --capture-image, --capture-movie, or --capture-sound to download files already stored on the camera. However, if the camera is running, you can use --frames count to specify the number of frames frames to download, and --interval seconds to specify the number of frames between each capture.

No matter what your camera's capacities are, you may need to add --folder folder to specify a folder on the camera. You also have the option of running gPhoto2 without any feedback by adding the option --quiet, or with as much information as possible using --verbose. For most people, the default feedback is usually adequate for keeping track of what is happening.

Another option is to specify the path and name of everything that is downloaded. By default gPhoto2 downloads to the current working directory, preserving the names given to files by the camera. However, you can change this option for a single file using --filename filename.

By contrast, for multiple files, you might want to create a naming convention. For example, --filename filename%n will use the base file name followed by a number for each download.

If all these options seem too complicated to remember, you can opt to run gphoto2 --shell. This command opens an interactive shell which brings you much closer than any option to normal file management. Once you start the gPhoto2 shell, you can use the commands ls to list the contents of the camera's memory and cd to change to another directory on the camera, while lcd changes your working directory on the local hard drive. To download from the shell, you can use get, get-thumbnail, and get-raw, followed by the files. When you are finished downloading, exit closes the shell.

Limits and workarounds

All these commands take a while to learn, but the gPhoto2 developers have made some effort to make them logical and consistent. Besides, you can always summon up whatever works from your command line history using the up key. In addition, gphoto2 --help is available as a crib, and the gPhoto2 man page is unusually clearly worded for that help genre and includes several basic examples of using the command. The chances are you won't need to learn many options anyway.

Graphical camera applications do have the advantage of offering you previews of what you are downloading. But this lack in gPhoto2 should rarely be a problem if you are constantly downloading files, and you can simplify file maintenance by running gphoto2 --delete-file range or gphoto2 --rmdir name to tidy the camera after downloading, or by using the --new option while downloading to your usual storage folder. Otherwise, with a little practice, gPhoto2 can quickly become your most efficient way of downloading from your camera.

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