Most modern cameras use memory cards to store the pictures. If you have such a model, when you plug the camera into your PC's USB port, you should find that Ubuntu instantly recognizes it. An icon should appear on the desktop, and double-clicking it should display the memory card's contents in a Nautilus window. Along the top of the window, you'll see an orange bar saying "This media contains digital photos" alongside a button marked "Open F-Spot Photo Manager". Clicking this button will start F-Spot, with which you can copy the images to your hard disk, as explained in the next section. Of course, you can simply copy the pictures to your hard disk manually using Nautilus.
If your camera doesn't appear to be recognized by Ubuntu, you should consider buying a USB card reader. These devices are typically inexpensive and usually can read a wide variety of card types, making them a useful investment for the future. Some new PCs even come with card readers built in. Most generic card readers should work fine under Linux, as will most new digital cameras.
■Caution Before detaching your camera or removing a photo card, you should right-click the desktop icon and select Unmount Volume. This tells Ubuntu that you've finished with the device. Failing to eject in this way could cause data errors.
If you're working with print photos, negative film, or transparencies, you can use a scanner and the XSane program (Applications > Graphics > XSane Image Scanner) to digitize them, as explained in Chapter 8. This works in a virtually identical way to the TWAIN modules supplied with Windows scanners, in that you need to set the resolution in dots per inch (DPI), as well as the color depth. Generally speaking, 300 DPI and 24-bit color should provide an adequate representation of most printed photos. Because of their smaller size, transparency or negative film images will require higher resolutions, in the order of 1,200 or 2,400 DPI.
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Compared to film cameras, digital cameras are easy to use, fun and extremely versatile. Every day there’s more features being designed. Whether you have the cheapest model or a high end model, digital cameras can do an endless number of things. Let’s look at how to get the most out of your digital camera.