My parents bought our son David a SMaL-based digital camera from Oregon Scientific. I love the price point ($60) for a digital camera for our six-year old, giving him the ability to document experiences and tell stories about them without risking the loss of an expensive camera. One catch is the file format. Some time ago, I banished Microsoft Windows from the home, concluding that such an ill-behaved and resource-hogging operating system did not deserve a place in our home. Unfortunately, the default photo transfer method is a small .exe that runs straight off the camera. We needed a different solution that would work with either Ubuntu or Mac OS.
The files are accessed easily enough, as the camera mounts as a USB mass storage device. They are in RAW format, which I understand contains the data captured by the CCD card. I thought to myself, “hey, Photoshop opens raw” but then discovered that RAW formats vary considerably from one manufacturer to the next. I didn’t make much progress until I started looking for SMaL RAW converters. Then, I found a number of converters, most notably through the web site raw-converter.com. They have a nifty search tool that allows you to specify the manufacturer and model camera you have (or at least come close) and get a list of links to available converters.
For the Oregon Scientific SMaL-based camera we now have, I have found a number of useful leads but nothing yet that will quickly batch process a number of files on my Mac. FDR Tools is designed for high dynamic range photo compositing, but it also allows one to convert SMaL RAW files to JPGs or TIFFs individually. Dcraw seems like the daddy of raw converters, a linux tool that is incorporated into a number of other applications. I’m not quite yet ready to compile a Linux application and go command-line, but that may prove the easiest in the long-term. PV2 seems like a good option for Windows users. JPGind looks promising — it’s a command-line tool but offers binary installers for three platforms to make getting started easier for people like me.
This has been a fun vacation project. Ideally, I will find a command-line or GUI batch converter soon and be able to suck my son’s photos in without much trouble.