Camera companies are (still) stupid

Seriously, why the hell, in this rather modern world we live in, aren’t cameras able to just copy files directly to an external hard drive without needing a computer in the middle?  It’s not that hard people…


So with that in mind, here’s a challenge for the wonderful CHDK hacker community – can you develop this capability?  Bonus points for repurposing the essentially worthless ‘Direct Print’ button into a quick backup-to-external-disk control.  That would be sweet!



13 thoughts on “Camera companies are (still) stupid

  1. Well, if you have one of Canon’s extraordinarily expensive WFT add-on grip units, they can do exactly that using the included USB port (in addition to transferring wirelessly, and geotagging).

    • Yes, there are plenty of overpriced, cumbersome, inefficient and generally annoying solutions to what I really want :-). But you make a good point – the fact that Canon can make lots of extra dollars for this functionality definitely gives them less incentive to do it for free. Let’s hope for some competition to emerge that forces them to do it!

  2. I totally agree but I am afraid it’s not as easy as it sounds. My understanding is that a simple device (like a USB drive) uses a different hardware controller than a host device (typically a computer). So maybe there is nothing the CHDK folks can do. However future cameras could have two mini USB ports.

    • Yeah, that’s now been pointed out to me by a couple people on twitter too. Bummer. But I guess it goes back to the title of the post – sure wish the camera Mfr’s would start to do stuff like this.

  3. TL is onto the problem. What you want is called shooting tethered. Otherwise there needs to be a much larger hardware component to store the files of unknown quantity. We are talking BufferPalooza. Interestingly enough the flash memory of your card is just that static flash memory. So the hard drive you are looking for is actually the memory card, traveling incognito. Isn’t a good fast card more convenient by way of size weight and speed? Am I not getting something here?

    And I do not think the CDHK folks could complicate this enough to make it appealing.

    My beef with Canons is with P Mode always reverting to default instead of staying where it is shifted to. This neuters the mod altogether. What were they thinking?? Nikon does this and it is great -a setting you can trust! A firmware upgrade for Canon would do this. But then only Morons use P mode right? Not hotshot pros like us…My emails to Canon regarding this come back to “Tom Who?”

    • No, this is NOT shooting tethered. Two completely different things. What I want is the ability to use the camera as a host to copy all the files on a CF/SD card over to an attached USB hard drive.

      • You are right this is not shooting thethered. So maybe another ASIC chip that act as a host device controller built into the camera. Bypass the card reader altogether. Then the question is how useful will this be for how many customers…I know we all this it is a cool idea but how to convince Canon or Nikon….that is the question.

        I just buy a lot of cards and back em up when i can. What is the rush?

  4. You’re absolutely right. There SHOULD be a way to do this. The difficulties that are being pointed out are irrelevant. Someone’s going to figure it out and everyone will say “sure.. you could do it THAT way…” Every camera should be able to do this out of the box, as should external hard drives.

  5. When I first saw the image of the external HD attached I jumped for joy! Then I read and realized you were expressing what I’ve wanted for a long time as well. Hopefully some savvy hacker or a smart camera company can figure this out.

  6. When I first saw the image of the external HD attached I jumped for joy! Then I read and realized you were expressing what I’ve wanted for a long time as well. Hopefully some savvy hacker or a smart camera company can figure this out.

  7. I agree, this is much needed! I’m sick of carrying a laptop for all my more-than-3-cf-cards photo shoots.
    Maybe we should open a facebook petition or the sort?…

  8. You also had me going on this as well then I realized the picture was faked!! I cried a little.. so I to have been looking at this solution intently as I am new to the Mid range DSLR community. here is what I have found out so far.

    There are drives to move your sd card data to a portable hard drive like this one thats lets you save your cards to the drive and then you can also view them.

    this is pretty cool but still not the cheapest option. What I see as the easiest but not the most power savey option is to use your android device as a usb controller that can control a usb hub and then transfer the files between various devices that it would see as data devices.

    I say this becuase my personal best sollution would be a mini self powered linus usb controller and most usb devices are not self powered.

    And finally but not last, I went a little further than this for the requirements and was thinking about using ssd hard drives because they can take 1000 times the abuse of a regular hard drive the same size, see these stats.

    That video also makes me not want to by hdd’s any more lol knowing how prone to movement they are.

    Great hearing you on TWIP btw!!

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