Using a USB digital camera

This is a generic how-to and should work for pretty much any USB digital camera. Basically, we use the principal of it simply being a USB mass storage device, meaning we don’t need any drivers. People often wonder “Will my camera work under Linux?”. Of course it will. Plug it in under Windows and it will work out of the box – all those damn CD’s are just clunky apps to download your images and edit them. You don’t need them.

So, first up, let’s create a location to mount our camera. Feel free to change the location, however I like things like DVD drivers, cameras, USB pens, etc. to all be under /media:

mkdir /media/camera

Now, let’s plug our camera in and turn it on. Type in the following whilst you do this:

tail -f /var/log/messahes

What we should see flashing by is something similar to below.If not, you don’t have USB working which is a whole other kettle of fish:

Nov 6 15:42:03 homer kernel: Initializing USB Mass Storage driver...
Nov 6 15:42:03 homer kernel: scsi2 : SCSI emulation for USB Mass Storage devices
Nov 6 15:42:03 homer kernel: Vendor: FUJIFILM Model: USB-DRIVEUNIT Rev: 1.00
Nov 6 15:42:03 homer kernel: Type: Direct-Access ANSI SCSI revision: 02
Nov 6 15:42:03 homer usb.agent[16240]: usb-storage: loaded successfully
Nov 6 15:42:03 homer kernel: usbcore: registered new driver usb-storage
Nov 6 15:42:03 homer kernel: USB Mass Storage support registered.
Nov 6 15:42:03 homer kernel: SCSI device sda: 512000 512-byte hdwr sectors (262 MB)
Nov 6 15:42:03 homer kernel: sda: assuming Write Enabled
Nov 6 15:42:03 homer kernel: /dev/scsi/host2/bus0/target0/lun0: p1
Nov 6 15:42:03 homer scsi.agent[16305]: sd_mod: loaded sucessfully (for disk)
Nov 6 15:42:03 homer kernel: Attached scsi removable disk sda at scsi2, channel 0, id 0, lun 0

The key line here is [b]SCSI device sda[/b], which tells us which device to use. 9/10 this will /dev/sda1, but it may vary on your system. So, alter the following line depending on what device you have assigned:

mount /dev/sda1 /media/camera

With a bit of luck, it should drop you back to your prompt. If the system complains about filetypes, try mounting it as root to start off with as you’re likely to having permission issues as a normal user mounting external devices. Once sorted, head over to /media/camera and you should find all your photos listed. Happy days.

If you wish, you can edit /etc/fstab to set it so normal users can mount the device along with other parameters in case the camera is unplugged during writing, etc. View the man page for fstab for more info about auto mounting devices and other useful goodies. My entry looks like this:

/dev/sda1 /media/camera auto rw,user,noauto 0 0


Senior Content Development for Microsoft writing about Azure virtual machines. Occasionally I play video games.

Posted in computing, linux

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About Me

Iain Foulds, 33 years old. Originally from England, now living in Seattle. I currently work as a Senior Content Developer for Microsoft writing about Azure VMs. Gamer. Very passionate about photography. Comments and opinions expressed here are my own. More...