Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Why Does Every Camera Put Photos in a DCIM Folder?

The How-To-Geek answers the question, why does every camera put photos in a DCIM folder?

"Every camera — whether it’s a dedicated digital camera or the Camera app on Android or iPhone — places the photos you take in a DCIM folder. DCIM stands for “Digital Camera Images.”

The DCIM folder and its layout come from DCF, a standard created back in 2003. DCF is so valuable because it provides a standard layout.

Meet DCF, or “Design rule for Camera File system”

DCF is a specification created by JEITA, the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association. It’s technically standard CP-3461, and you can dig up the arcane standards document and read it online. The first version of this standard was issued in 2003, and it was last updated in 2010.

The DCF specification lists many different requirements with a goal to guarantee interoperability. The file system of an appropriately formatted devics — for example, an SD card plugged into a digital camera — must be FAT12, FAT16, FAT32, or exFAT. Media with 2 GB or larger of space must be formatted with FAT32 or exFAT. The goal is for digital cameras and their memory cards to be compatible with each other.

The DCIM Directory and Its Subfolders

Among other things, the DCF specification mandates that a digital camera must store its photos in a “DCIM”directory. DCIM stands for “Digital Camera Images.”

The DCIM directory can — and usually does — contain multiple subdirectories. The subdirectories each consist of a unique three-digit number — from 100 to 999 — and five alphanumeric characters. The alphanumeric characters aren’t important, and each camera maker is free to choose their own. For example, Apple is lucky enough to have a five-digit name, so their code is APPLE. On an iPhone, the DCIM directory contains folders like “100APPLE,” “101APPLE,” and so on.

So Why Does Everyone Follow This Specification?

DCF is a “de facto” standard, which means that enough digital camera and smartphone makers have adopted it that it’s become a consistent standard in the real world. The standardized DCIM format means digital camera picture-transfer software can automatically identify photos on a digital camera or SD card when you connect it to your computer, transferring them over.

The DCIM folders on smartphones serve the same purpose. When you connect an iPhone or Android phone to your computer, the computer or photo-library software can notice the DCIM folder, notice there are photos that can be transferred, and offer to do this automatically."

Click here to read the whole article over on How-To-Geek.

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