Using a Digital Camera With digiKam

To be able to use your digital camera with digiKam, connect the camera to your computer, switch the camera to the image display mode and turn it on. See your camera's user manual if you need more information.

Introduction to the Import Interface

The Import Interface helps you to get photographs into a digiKam Album, whether it is directly from your camera, from a USB mass storage device, via a card reader or from a local or remote folder. You can access the Import Interface by


Select one of the cameras from the submenu or choose Add Camera Manually....

The latter will open the dialog described in the Camera Settings section of this handbook. If you want to have more information about how digiKam supports digital cameras, please a take a look at this section.

ImportUSB Storage Devices

Select one of the USB devices from the submenu.

ImportCard Readers

Select one of the card readers from the submenu.

ImportAdd Images... (Ctrl+Alt+I)

Select a source folder from the dialog that opens.

Basic Import Interface Operations

Getting information about the photographs

Before downloading photographs to your computer, you may wish to see the camera item information. Using the Properties and Metadata tabs on the Right Sidebar will launch camera and photograph properties and metadata information.

The Item Properties Sidebar Tab

The Properties tab displays file information recorded by the camera and a selection of photograph information to describe how the image has been taken. A flag indicates if the image has not yet been downloaded to the computer. Note that all this information may be unavailable with some digital cameras.

The Metadata tab displays internal picture's metadata like EXIF, Makernotes, GPS, etc. This information is the same as Metadata from the digiKam Right Sidebar. Note that all these metadata can be unavailable with some digital cameras.

Geolocation Tab

The Geolocation tab will open a map that allows you to see and edit the GPS location of the selected photographs. For a detailed description see the Geolocation section of the Right Sidebar chapter of this handbook.

Downloading photographs to your computer

To download photographs from your camera to your computer click the Download button on the main toolbar and then click Download All (or use ItemDownload All from the main menu). This will download all of the photographs on the camera with the settings you used with your last download (Settings tab). The download process will not remove the photographs from the camera. It is always advisable to check that the photographs have downloaded safely into the Album you were expecting before deleting them from the camera.

If you do not want to download all of the photographs you can select just those that you need using the standard selection methods. Once you have the photographs selected, click Download and then Download Selected. The Download Selected button will be grayed out until you have selected some photographs.

Another option is Download new. New images are marked with a star in the upper right corner of the image icon. Once images are downloaded a "downloaded already" entry will be made in the digiKam database and they are marked with a checker. Obviously, if you choose this handy option, it will download the new images only.

Uploading Photographs to your camera

To upload photographs from your computer to your camera click ItemUpload... (Ctrl+U) in the Import Interface menu. A standard file selection dialog will appear to select the files from your computer for copying to your camera. You can select more than one file using the standard selection methods.

When images selection is done, digiKam will ask you to where you want to upload the files on your camera. A camera folder selection dialog will appear. Just select one folder and press OK to start uploading. No images will be removed from your computer.

Example 2.13. The Camera Folder Selection Dialog


Uploading feature is not supported by all camera drivers.

Deleting photographs from the camera

Once you are happy with the downloaded photographs that you wanted, you are ready to delete photographs from the Camera. You can delete all of the photographs at once by clicking the ItemDelete All button. If you just want to delete a selection of the photographs, you have to select those that you want to delete and click ItemDelete Selected. You may also select ItemDelete New, for example if you feel that the images marked with the star are not worth downloading.


Please note that there is no way to restore a photo that you have deleted from the camera. The photographs are not moved to the internal Trash Can, they are removed completely. It is best to double check that you have successfully downloaded a photograph into a digiKam album before you delete it from the camera. Anyway, if you plan to empty the camera card, you better do that from the camera menu because it is much quicker.

Advanced Import Interface Operations

The Settings tab of the Right Sidebar in the Import Interface opens five sections with advanced options for the import processing.

File Renaming Options

Cameras often do not use very meaningful filenames for photographs. The filenames are usually reused once the photographs have been deleted from the camera. This can lead to filename clashes if you download photographs from many shootings into the same Album. It can also be useful to include the date and time that an image was taken into the filename.

If you select Camera filenames the image filenames will not be altered. But you have the option to change their case to upper or lower case with the Change case to: drop down field. If you select Customize you will be able to put together a renaming pattern from the Options drop down menu which contains original file name, file extension, owner and group, directory, a dialog for defining a sequence number and a dialog for adding date and time information, either fixed or based on the time information written by the camera into the image file.

In the sequence number dialog you will find two options: Extension aware numbering and Folder aware numbering. If they are checked digiKam will start a new sequence for every file extension and / or folder.

The Date & Time dialog looks like this:

The calendar is active only if Fixed Date is selected from the Source: drop down field. This way you can add the same date and time information to the filenames of all imported images or videos. If Image is selected instead digiKam will use the time information from the metadata of the image files. With the Format: drop down field you can choose from several standard date/time formats and a custom format. For the latter choose Custom in Format: drop-down list and fill in for example "dd.MM.yyyy hh:mm:ss". For more information, read QDateTime class reference.

In addition these options can be customized further with the help of a number of modifiers. A list of all options and modifiers together with a short explanations will open when clicking the info button.


The sequence number may be needed if you have a camera with a very fast multi-shoot mode where it is possible to get two photographs with exactly the same data and time.

The new filename that digiKam will use for the photographs when they are downloaded is shown underneath the thumbnail in the image icon. The renaming settings will be remembered the next time you use the camera interface.


At the moment digiKam cannot read metadata of RAW files during the import. You might want to import the files while preserving camera filenames first and then rename them after the import using the rename function (F2).

Auto-Creation of Albums

Check Extension-based sub-albums and digiKam will create subalbums based on the file extensions of the imported images in the target album. digiKam will open a dialog where you can choose the target album once you click one of the download options either from the toolbar or from the Item menu. If you want to create a new Album, into which you could download the photographs, click the New Album button. The new Album will be created as a sub-folder of the Album that is currently selected in the existing Album list. This means that if you do not want your new Album to be a sub-folder of an existing folder you must first select the collection where you want to create the new album. Collections are indicated by the icon.

If your camera provides information about the date of the photograph's taking or, if you import from a USB device or a folder, the images contain EXIF metadata with date/time information, digiKam can use this to automatically create subalbums in the target album during import. Subalbums names will be based on the image dates. All images which have the same date will be downloaded into the same subalbum if you check Date-based sub-albums. Not all cameras include this information. See the sidebar Metadata section for more detail about information your camera may have embedded in your photographs.

On the Fly Operations

This section of the Settings tab offers several options for JPEG images. The Template: drop-down field lets you choose one of your metadata templates you customized in Templates Settings. You can access the Template Manager also with the edit button to the right of the drop-down field.

Write the document name to EXIF and Fix internal date & time writes this information into the respective EXIF tags and XMP fields.

If you check the next box digiKam will perform the auto-rotate/flip action described in Lossless Image Rotation.

Convert to lossless file format allows you to convert the images to PNG, TIFF, PGF or JPEG2000 during import.

DNG Convert Options

This section allows to enable the DNG conversion of RAW images by checking Convert RAW images to DNG container and to select options for that conversion. To learn more about Digital Negative (DNG) use the link DNG container.

Embed original file

Embeds the original RAW file into the DNG container.

Lossless Compression

Enables lossless compression. The difference between lossy and lossless compression is said to be practically indistinguishable with DNG.

JPEG preview

Choose whether you want a medium or full size JPEG preview to be embedded into the DNG container or none at all.


This last section of the Settings tab offers to run scripts to manipulate the images during import. You can type the filename of the script into the input field or search for it using the Browse... button. Check out the info button for additional expressions to customize the command line!