This page attempts to describe how to get your DigitalCamera working under Linux.


Front-end applications

Linux Frontend software for transfering pictures off cameras:

  • gphoto2 (the "main" software, it has all the low-level libraries and a CLI)
  • gtkam (GNOME or GTK-only front-end to the gphoto2 libraries)
  • gthumb - a GNOME thumbnail previewer that has the ability to import photos (using the gphoto2 libraries)
  • kamera (KDE front-end to gphoto2, also allows you to use a camera:// URI in konqueror)
  • GIMP 1.2 and later - if gphoto2 is installed (or the more specifically the gphoto2 gimp-plugin), you can use File -> Acquire

These programs have Debian packages of the same name - I would guess RPM-based distros do too.

You can also "mount" some cameras onto your filesystem, so that the contents look like a normal directory. See the "mass-storage" notes below.

Back-end 'automatic mounting' setup

  • For USB devices, you can use HotPlug to automatically run something when a certain USB device is connected. This could either run one of the above photo-transfering programs, or it could mount the flash card onto your filesystem. If your distribution doesn't do this automatically, look at our HotPlugNotes page to see how to set this up manually.

* GNOME (2.6 and later) have gnome-volume-manager, which will automatically launch a program (defaults to gthumb) when a camera is attached to the computer. On Debian Sarge or Ubuntu, installed the 'gnome-volume-manager' package - note that the script only allows people in the 'camera' group to use the connected camera, so make sure your user is in this group.


  • Almost all "recent" cameras use USB, so make sure you have the correct USB support in your kernel (this seems fairly likely).
  • See HotPlug for information on setting up using USB devices with linux.
  • After the camera is setup as a USB device, there are two main ways the picture contents can be read: USB Mass Storage, or PTP. (gphoto2 also supports some other camera-specific/non-standard protocols.)

    • USB Mass Storage may not be compatible if your system has Hotplug USB support setup properly and the Camera is not emulated as a SCSI sevice. See the Mass-Storage Device notes below for details how compatible cameras function under this protocol.
    • Also, many recent cameras (such as the Kodak DX series) use the Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP), which gphoto2 supports. A list of comaptible devices can be found at as of August 8, 2004.
    • Some other cameras might require kernel support for their own protocols, if neither of the above two methods work.

The Kodak DX3900 and DX4900, unlike the other DX cameras, don't allow uploading files from your computer to the camera - you get a write error. (see kodak faq item.)

There are two main ways to read (and write) files from (and to) a digital camera: using gphoto2, or accessing the raw filesystem as a mass-storage device.


The gphoto2 libraries can access many different cameras, via different connection methods (such as via a USB port, or a serial port, or a parallel port).

There are several programs that are front-ends to this library - these are listed above. These instructions are for the gphoto2 command line application, and these are pretty generic instructions, using a Kodak CX4230 as an example).

You need to load the USB modules (not sure which ones, I have them built in), assuming you have a USB camera, of course.

Under Debian, you can

apt-get install gphoto2

Note that you will either need to run these commands as root, or (preferably) set your system up so that non-root users have read (and write) access to the correct devices. Debian users should read /usr/share/doc/libgphoto2-2/README.Debian for information on how to use gphoto2 as a non-root user (which is contained within the libgphoto2-2 package). (There should be a similar file in the gphoto2 or libgphoto2 package on rpm based systems). The HotPlug page also briefly describes how to set up scripts to set the permissions on the USB port.

After gphoto2 is installed, run
gphoto2 --port "usb:" --camera "Kodak CX4230" --get-all-files

This will detect the camera plugged into the USB port.

And with any luck you will have your photos downloaded to $PWD, otherwise you can use the "--get-all-files" argument to gphoto2.

(Note: It is not strictly necessary to specify the port and camera model, since gphoto2 will scan them, and will also store these settings in the $HOME/.gphoto/settings file. Just doing

gphoto2 --get-all-files

should be enough if everything goes well. "-P" is a short-cut option for "--get-all-files")

After you're done, you can erase the pictures from the camera with

gphoto2 --port "usb:" --camera "Kodak CX4230" --delete-all-files

("-D" is a shortened option for "--delete-all-files". Again, the --port and --camera aren't really necessary if the gphoto libraries successfully automatically detect the camera type - it will use stored settings.)

If you don't want to use the command-line, you can use one of the graphical front-ends mentioned earlier up the page.

Mass-Storage device

If you have a camera not supported by gphoto, you can probably still mount it as a USB drive. (The USB page has notes on setting up Mass Storage support.)

The following makes and models of cameras are known to have USB mass-storage support:

  • Casio (QV 2x00/3x00/4000/8000)
  • FinePix (19400,2400,4700 Zoom, 1300, 2800 Zoom, 4500)
  • HP (PhotoSmart 315, 618, 912)
  • Leica (Digilux 4.3)
  • Kyocera (Finecam s3)
  • Konica (KD300, Revio C2*)
  • Minolta (Dimage 7)
  • Nikon (Coolpix 995, Coolpix 2000*, Coolpix 2500, D70)
  • Olympus (C1, C-100, C-200Z, C-700, C-860L, C-2040, C-3040Z, D-510, E-10)
  • Samsung (Digimax V4)
  • Sony (DSC-F505(V), DSC P5, DSC-F707)

* Note - requires manually adjusting some settings on the camera first. The Nikon can use either PTP mode (use gphoto2/gthumb above) or USB Mass storage: go into the "Setup" menu, then "USB", then choose either PTP or Mass Storage.

(Please add any other mass-storage cameras to this page. This list originally based on information at

Under a stock RedHat just plug it in and check what it got detected as;

 USB Mass Storage device found at 4
 SCSI device sda: 14528 512-byte hdwr sectors (7 MB)
 sda: Write Protect is off
  sda: sda1

 #cdrecord --scanbus
        0,0,0     0) 'CONCORD ' 'DIGITAL CAMERA  ' '1.00' Removable Disk

then mount it (make sure the /mnt/usbfs directory or whereever you decide to mount it exists):

 #mount /dev/sda1 /mnt/usbfs

(A good place to mount the device would be the /media/camera directory, although you will need to create the directory if it isn't already there).

Your piccies will appear somewhere under this directory and you can copy, move, delete them like any other filesystem.


  • rwxr-xr-x 1 root root 189064 Jan 2 2000 img00001.jpg

The same steps should work for any other Linux distro, although you might need to manually load modules for USB and USB filesystem support.

The procedure was almost identical under FreeBSD, but I've forgotten exactly what I did. I'll wiki that up some other time.

Here is how I got my brand new Samsung Digimax V4 digital camera working in Linux.

By 'working' I mean, the files on the Secure Digital card are readable while the camera is connected to my PC via USB.

First of all, I am using Linux 2.4.21 on Gentoo (2003-07-18), with an Asus A7V8X motherboard (hence KT400 chipset).

I have a CD burner so I already have the SCSI emulation compiled into my kernel (or as modules). The only extra SCSI module I needed is the SCSI Disk driver (sd_mod.o). I also had Mass Storage support (usb-storage.o) and the USB virtual filesystem support.

After connecting my camera to the USBus, a quick 'dmesg' showed that the camera had been detected. I loaded the usb-storage driver and the SCSI disk driver. I confirmed that it had been picked up as an emulated SCSI device by:

 $ cat /proc/scsi/usb-storage-0/1
    Host scsi1: usb-storage
        Vendor: SAMSUNG
       Product: DIGIMAX V4
 Serial Number: None
      Protocol: 8070i
     Transport: Bulk
          GUID: 083910090000000000000000
      Attached: Yes

Also, /dev/sda1 appeared.

To mount the filesystem on the camera's SD card, I simply:

 $ mount -t msdos /dev/sda1 /mnt/usbfs

And voila!

I think that was all. The hardest part was working out what drivers I needed.

Under Gentoo with my Sony 5MP camera, I did all of the above and also added a /etc/fstab entry to use Supermount to automatically mount /dev/sda1 to /mnt/camera this works really well as now I can just plug and unplug the camera as I please and it automatically mounts and unmounts it. It also even shows a purty little icon on your Gnome desktop.

See also: some good info about digital cameras

Part of CategoryHardware

lib/main.php:944: Notice: PageInfo: Cannot find action page

lib/main.php:839: Notice: PageInfo: Unknown action