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USB Digital Camera HOWTO

Dave Kelly

April 2002

Revision History
Revision 2.02002-06-02Revised by: tab
Converted to Docbook XML 4.1.2
Revision 1.02002-04-13Revised by: dek
Initial release

Chapter 1. License

1.3. Scope of Devices

This procedure works with the Linux kernel version 2.4.8, and I tested it with a Sony P-50 Cybershot with a 4 MB and 64 MB memory stick, and a USB smart card reader for an Olympus camera. I have read that the procedure will also work on kernel versions back to 2.2.19, but there are no guarantees. I know the procedure does not work on my old kernel version of 2.2.15.

The information in this document is how I solved my problems. There are other way to do this but it may require recompiling the kernel, which I did not want to do. This document should give you the necessary information to make USB mass storage active at boot time.

Also, Linux is an evolving technology, a hands on technology, and while this document may not give you the answers to your specific question, it should give you a place to start exploring for those answers. Plus the serendipity of discovering new thing along the way.

The following excerpt from the "gphoto2 README" might give you some insight to other cameras that will work with this procedure. I don't know who to give credit for this, as I could not find a name.) Check the "gphoto" link for updated information:

Then, there are cameras supporting the so-called USB Mass Storage protocol. This is a protocol that has been published and lets you access any storage device, be it a camera or a disk connected via USB to your computer. As there are already drivers for this protocol out there, you don't need an additional program like gphoto2.

As of now, the following cameras seem to support the USB Mass Storage protocol:

  • Casio QV [2x00,3x00,8000]

  • Fuji FinePix S1 Pro, [1400,2400,4700]Zoom, 1300, 4500

  • HP PhotoSmart 315, 618, 912

  • Leica Digilux 4.3

  • Konica KD300Z

  • Kyocera Finecam s3

  • Minolta Dimage 7

  • Nikon Coolpix 995

  • Olympus C-100, C-200Z, C-700, C-860L, C-2040, C-3020Z, C-3040Z, C-4040Zoom, D-510, E-10

  • Pentax Optio 330

  • Sony DSC-F505(V), DSC P5, DSC-F707

Again, those cameras cannot be accessed through gphoto2.

Other cameras support a protocol called PTP or USB Imaging Devices that has been developed by Kodak and other. gphoto2 does not support PTP yet, but jPhoto does. Here is a short list of cameras that use this protocol:

  • Kodak DC-4800, DX-3215, DX-3500, DX-3600, DX-3700, DX-3900, MC3 and all the cameras that use Kodak Easy Share™ system.

  • Sony DSC-P5, DSC-F707 (both need user configuration of the camera)

These cameras won't be supported until gphoto2 implements PTP.

Chapter 4. The Script Files

The following script file is the result of reading several of the Linux newsgroups and a lot of HOWTOs and manuals. I take no credit for originality but confess that this is a compilation of what those more experienced have told me. A very big thank you to all those in the newsgroups who responded to my questions and the ones posted by others who were seeking this information.

To get started, using your favorite text editor select a name for the file and, type in the following script for a user or superuser.

4.1. If You Login as User

Type in the following script file:

echo "Please enter a directory name for the pictures."
mkdir ~/picture/$DIRPATH
su -c "/sbin/modprobe usb-storage; mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt/camera;
/etc/rc.d/init.d/usb start;
mv /mnt/camera/dcim/100msdcf/*.jpg ~/picture/$DIRPATH;
umount /mnt/camera;
chown -R your_login_name ~/picture/$DIRPATH"

4.2. If You Login as Superuser

If you are not creating this script for use as superuser, go to Section 4.3.

Type in the following script file.

echo "Please enter a directory name for the pictures."
mkdir picture/$DIRPATH
/sbin/modprobe usb-storage
mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt/camera
/etc/rc.d/init.d/usb start
mv /mnt/camera/dcim/100msdcf/*.jpg picture/$DIRPATH;
umount /mnt/camera
chown -R your_login_name picture/$DIRPATH

4.3. Make it Executable

Now make the script file executable. The command for that is:

As user:

[bash]$ su -c "chmod a=r+w+x your_script_file_name"

As superuser:

[bash#] chmod a=r+w+x your_script_file_name

4.4. What is Happening while the script is running

When you run the script, it will create a subject matter directory. DIRPATH should describe the pictures and is entered at the prompt. If your_script_file_name = getcamJ,(J for getting the pictures with .jpg extensions) the command sequence would look like this:

[bash]$ getcamJ
Please enter a directory name for the pictures.
bash]$ something
[bash]$ your root password

If you run this script file in superuser mode the rest of this paragraph does not apply. You have to be superuser to run this. Consequently, the 'su' command. The -c flag will let you execute one command and return to your present working directory. The quotation marks allow you to enter more that one command. And the semicolon allows one command to execute right after the last.

/sbin/modprobe usb-storage: modprobe will install the USB mass storage module along with any other modules or drivers needed. Mainly the SCSI driver. Make sure that you have in your /dev directory the following entries. sda0, sda1, sda2, sda3, sda4, sdb0, sdb1, sdb2, sdb3, sdb4. Set sda1 to the appropriate device if you have other SCSI devices mounted, probably sdb1.

Mount your SCSI driver: mount -t vfat /dev/sda1 /mnt/camera

Start your USB: /etc/rc.d/init.d/usb start

Move your pictures from your camera to your hard drive. mv will also remove your pictures from your camera: mv /mnt/camera/dcim/100msdcf/*.jpg picture/$DIRPATH;

Unmount your SCSI driver: umount /mnt/camera

Then: chown -R your_login_name picture/$DIRPATH. When you do something as superuser (su) or root, root owns those files/pictures. Some of the things you may want to do to these files/pictures may give you a permission denied error. This allows the user to work without those errors. Read the manual for more information.

My system is set up with no USB or SCSI compiled into the kernel. All this was compiled as modules. This script file assumes your system is the same. If not, you will have to make some modifications. Please read the manuals and HOWTOs. Or ask on one of the Linux newsgroups.

Chapter 5. Exploring and Fine Tuning

OK, you should be set up and ready to do some exploring. Go take some trash pictures with your camera in all the different formats. Mine will take in 4 formats, TIFF, GIF, JPEG, and MPEG, and it also provides a thumbnail of each picture. In my Sony P-50 these will be stored on the memory media in 4 different sub-folders, 100msdcf, imcif100, thm, and moml0001. These are in 2 folders, dcim, and mssony. You need to find how your camera names the directories. You can do this in the following manner:

Chapter 6. Troubleshooting or PANIC!

If nothing has gone right, let's do some troubleshooting. Use your camera and see if you still have pictures on it. If you do, skip the rest of this paragraph. If you don't, they should be someplace, check again. If not, and you can not find them, go take some more. Turn your camera off and plug it in and boot up again.

Check to see if the mount point unlinked by mv,/mnt/camera is there. If it's gone create it again. Sometimes the mount point disappears in modified mode. Also, I have notice on my system that sometimes the SCSI device in /dev (sda1) gets removed. Check that also and replace if needed.

Clean up all the extra directories you got from the script you ran that produced the errors and run your new script with the directories and see if it works. To make it easier to clean up all the directories and files you may have to su - if you're in user mode. Be sure to change back when you get through. See Appendix C at the end of this document.


[bash]$ dmesg

and you should see this somewhere:

hub.c: USB new device connect on bus1/1, assigned device number 2
usb.c: USB device 2 (vend/prod 0x54c/0x10) is not claimed by any active driver. (The 
0x54c/0x10 will be different for different vendors.)

If you see this, your USB mass storage device in recognized.

Now turn your camera on and run the script file (the modified one) and you should see something like this when you run dmesg again:

[bash]$ dmesg

SCSI subsystem driver Revision: 1.00
Initializing USB Mass Storage driver...
usb.c: registered new driver usb-storage
scsi0 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
Vendor: Sony Model: Sony DSC Rev: 3.22
Type: Direct-Access ANSI SCSI revision: 02
WARNING: USB Mass Storage data integrity not assured
USB Mass Storage device found at 2
USB Mass Storage support registered.
Attached scsi removable disk sda at scsi0, channel 0, id 0, lun 0
SCSI device sda: 126848 512-byte hdwr sectors (65 MB)
sda: Write Protect is off
/dev/scsi/host0/bus0/target0/lun0: p1
usb-uhci.c: interrupt, status 3, frame# 1628

Now run this command and read Appendix B.

[bash]$ lsmod

If the information from running lsmod appears as in Appendix B,and your dmesg shows the information listed above, and there are no pictures, I don't know what is wrong. Unfortunately, the only thing I know to do is go thru the whole process again. Only this time use the re-direction option >filename to capture the results. Post this to one of these 2 newsgroups:

  • alt.OS.Linux.mandrake

  • comp.OS.Linux.hardware

telling what you've done and ask for help. Include everything you can think of, the more information the better, and e-mail me at the same time. My address is:

Appendix A. Appendix A

A.1. PART 1

This is the way I want my picture directory to be set up. A primary directory picture and a sub-directory describing the content smkbot.

dsc00117.jpg dsc00120.jpg dsc00123.jpg dsc00126.jpg dsc00129.jpg 
dsc00118.jpg dsc00121.jpg dsc00124.jpg dsc00127.jpg dsc00130.jpg 
dsc00119.jpg dsc00122.jpg dsc00125.jpg dsc00128.jpg dsc00131.jpg

A.2. PART 2

With the modified version of the script file you have the pictures scattered over several directories. But right now, this is what we want.


dcim mssony


dsc00357.jpg dsc00360.jpg dsc00363.jpg txt00365.gif
dsc00358.jpg dsc00361.jpg dsc00364.jpg txt00365.thm
dsc00359.jpg dsc00362.jpg dsc00366.jpg


dsc00364.jpg dsc00366.tif

Appendix B. Appendix B

What we want to see here is the word usb-storage under the Used by column:

Module       Size      Used by
nls_iso8859-12880  0   (autoclean)
nls_cp437 4400  0   (autoclean)
sd_mod11792  0   (autoclean)
vfat 9968  0   (autoclean)
fat 32192  0  (autoclean) [vfat]
usb-storage 52528 0
scsi_mod 91072 2 [sd_mod usb-storage]
ppp_deflate 42208 0  (autoclean)
bsd_comp  4576  0  (autoclean)
ppp_async 6672  0  (autoclean)
ppp_generic 19616  0  (autoclean) [ppp_deflate bsd_comp ppp_async]
slhc 5136  0  (autoclean) [ppp_generic]
parport_pc  20240 1  (autoclean)
lp 5808  0  (autoclean)
parport  24768  1 (autoclean) [parport_pc lp]
es1371 26768  1
soundcore 4208  4 [es1371]
ac97_codec  9312  0  [es1371]
gameport  1856  0  [es1371]
af_packet  12560  0 (autoclean)
ip_vs 62000  0  (autoclean)
usb-uhci  21232  0  (unused)
usbcore  50752  1 [usb-storage usb-uhci]
rtc 5600  0  (autoclean)

Appendix D. Gnu Free Documentation License

Version 1.1, March 2000

Copyright (C) 2000 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 59 Temple Place, Suite 330, Boston, MA 02111-1307 USA Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.


This License applies to any manual or other work that contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it can be distributed under the terms of this License. The "Document", below, refers to any such manual or work. Any member of the public is a licensee, and is addressed as "you".

A "Modified Version" of the Document means any work containing the Document or a portion of it, either copied verbatim, or with modifications and/or translated into another language.

A "Secondary Section" is a named appendix or a front-matter section of the Document that deals exclusively with the relationship of the publishers or authors of the Document to the Document's overall subject (or to related matters) and contains nothing that could fall directly within that overall subject. (For example, if the Document is in part a textbook of mathematics, a Secondary Section may not explain any mathematics.) The relationship could be a matter of historical connection with the subject or with related matters, or of legal, commercial, philosophical, ethical or political position regarding them.

The "Invariant Sections" are certain Secondary Sections whose titles are designated, as being those of Invariant Sections, in the notice that says that the Document is released under this License.

The "Cover Texts" are certain short passages of text that are listed, as Front-Cover Texts or Back-Cover Texts, in the notice that says that the Document is released under this License.

A "Transparent" copy of the Document means a machine-readable copy, represented in a format whose specification is available to the general public, whose contents can be viewed and edited directly and straightforwardly with generic text editors or (for images composed of pixels) generic paint programs or (for drawings) some widely available drawing editor, and that is suitable for input to text formatters or for automatic translation to a variety of formats suitable for input to text formatters. A copy made in an otherwise Transparent file format whose markup has been designed to thwart or discourage subsequent modification by readers is not Transparent. A copy that is not "Transparent" is called "Opaque".

Examples of suitable formats for Transparent copies include plain ASCII without markup, Texinfo input format, LaTeX input format, SGML or XML using a publicly available DTD, and standard-conforming simple HTML designed for human modification. Opaque formats include PostScript, PDF, proprietary formats that can be read and edited only by proprietary word processors, SGML or XML for which the DTD and/or processing tools are not generally available, and the machine-generated HTML produced by some word processors for output purposes only.

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