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fastest way to copy photos from a Sony A5100 camera

I love it when you can hook up peripherals, and they expose their files like a simple external USB drive. You already know how to copy files from a USB drive, so no need to install a new piece of software, and learn how to use it.

Unfortunately, a lot of peripherals do want you to install some fancy piece of software to import your files. The Sony A5100 camera is no different and wants you to install the PlayMemories software. I used it in the past, but it doesn’t bring me any extra value, so I’d rather not. This is how I export my photos now, and I guess this also works for similar Sony cameras.

  1. Hook up the camera using the USB cable to your PC.
  2. Power on the camera and select USB mode.
  3. Navigate to the \DCIM\100MSDCF folder on your camera’s USB drive.
  4. Copy the files to your hard drive.
  5. Delete the files from the SD card folder.

It works even faster if you have an SD card slot in your PC. In that case, put the camera’s card in your PC, and copy the files. Then put the card back in the camera.

Now we still have to restore the image database.

Because we removed the files manually, the camera’s image database needs to be reset using the settings menu. If you don’t do this, you’ll see missing images in the camera gallery. This makes sense because we just deleted them.

To reset the image database:

  1. Power on the camera.
  2. Go to the Settings menu.
  3. Use the Recover Image DB option.

There you have it, files copied neatly to your PC without needing the PlayMemories software. For videos, this doesn’t work, unfortunately. They are saved in a different format and need to be converted to mp4. In that case, I still use the software to extract the video’s to mp4’s.

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