One thing I spent most of the weekend in Wales doing was taking photos with my new Canon Digital IXUS 55, which is very funky. It takes some great pictures and it’s dead easy to upload them to my PC.
When I was looking for a new camera, one of the things that made me doubtful about getting a Canon is that they don’t mount as a harddrive when you connect them to the PC. When Tony first got his Canon PowerShot about four years ago, this meant that you had to install the Canon software onto any PC that you wanted to connect the camera to.
We did use a USB card reader to get around this but the card reader is bulky enough that it doesn’t always fit between the other connectors on the back of the computer. The advantage of the card reader is that it *does* mount as a harddrive. So you can just drag and drop the image files from the card to your PC. Which is nice and easy.
Four years on, though, Canon now supports PTP protocol which means that when you plug the camera into a PC, the operating system goes “Oh that’s a digital camera you just plugged in. Would you like to a) import photos from it, and b) do that every time?”. The camera isn’t technically mounted as a harddrive but your interaction with it is much the same as if it were (though I don’t think you can copy files from the PC back to the camera).
On investigation, the operating systems that are friendly enough to do this are Windows XP, Mac OS X, and…..Ubuntu 6.06 (Dapper). As luck would have it, the week I got my new camera was the same week that Ubuntu Dapper was (finally) released. So a quick-ish upgrade on my home PC later and….
…it couldn’t get much simpler: I plugged my camera into my PC with its USB lead, Ubuntu detected it and popped up a dialog asking if I wanted to import my photos. Good eh?
So now the one thing I had against Canon digital cameras is no more. And having played with my new camera quite a bit over the past month, I thoroughly recommend it to anyone else who might be looking. It’s small and sleek so it fits easily into my pocket (my major requirement); it takes pictures as good as or better than Tony’s older Canon PowerShot; the interface is fairly usable – not perfect but easy enough to get the hang of with a bit of playing around (for instance, getting used to the ‘FUNC. SET’ vs ‘MENU’ buttons); the battery charges quickly.
The downside is that even after you’ve paid out for the camera, you still really need to get a case for it (another £20-odd), a larger memory card (another £20-odd for a 1GB MMC card), and I find it useful to have a spare battery so that you can have one-on-and-one-on-charge (yet another £20-odd).
Still, I’m very impressed with it as a camera and am looking forward to many snappy times ahead.