Using Picasa to import photos in Windows Technical Preview
In a prior article, Windows Technical Preview – Import Photos with “Photos”, I explored the functioning of the Windows Technical Preview for importing photos from a DSLR camera. The results were less than satisfactory. Alright, for RAW photo files the Windows 10 preview is utterly useless as is. What is a photo enthusiast to do? In this article I will explore using Picasa. yes, Picasa the program from arch-foe Google for managing, enhancing, and sharing photos.
On a clean Windows Technical Preview virtual machine (running in VMware Player) I downloaded and installed Picasa.
Next I plugged in a camera. And what should my eyes behold? There in that AutoPlay “what shall I do” window was a listing of Picasa. Of course, I clicked on that. So when I plug in my camera the next time, Picasa will start to import my photos.
Well, my elation was short-lived. What Windows Technical Preview promises it does not necessarily deliver. The next time I plugged in my camera only the device recognition sound indicated that it was being seen. As to launching Picasa, nope.
So I opened Picasa, then plugged in the camera and turned it on. Funny, the only thing that happened was the Picasa window going inactive, the nice blue top just turned gray. If you want to import, you have to use the Import option in Picasa. That is certainly a weird process. I intentionally have a memory card that is almost full with photos. So it took Picasa quite a while to “investigate” the camera. It really imports the photos on a temporary basis and list them in the preview screen where you can select the photos you wish to import. If some have been previously imported there is a “don’t” circle. The folder selection options are meager but adequate. You can specify the main folder and subfolders. For the subfolders there are three choices, a folder for which you specify the name, a folder with today’s date, or date-taken folders. The “investigative” process took 20 minutes for the 634 photos on my camera. Once the photos to be imported are selected the process is rather quick. I will illustrate with a couple of screen shots from a later stage in my testing but these illustrate the import process pretty well.
The good news is that Picasa can display and edit the RAW files, Nikon NEF files in my case, just fine. Picasa writes its own info file with the edit settings so the next time a photo is opened these prior settings are applied. This makes it appear as if Picasa had edited the photo. The actual photo file is not touched (except for some items, but that is a story for another day). You can use “Save as” to make an edited JPG copy of the photo.
The files on the camera I used for this test averaged about 8 MB. I wondered how importing from a camera that produces larger RAW files would fare. I used a Nikon D800 for another test, the files average more than 70 MB each. Picasa recognized the camera but found no photos. This camera uses two memory cards. Apparently the Picasa designers had not encountered this situation, so this is not supported.
It is always possible to import photo files with File Explorer. Locate the desired files on the camera and select them and drag the thumbnails to the desired PC folder. Here is an illustration of that process.
Although a bit more delicate, this process is really much faster that using the Picasa import option.
Once copied to the PC, Picasa had no problems displaying and editing these RAW files.
For the photo enthusiast running the Windows Technical Preview using Picasa is a workable solution. By itself Windows Technical Preview is useless. Longtime readers of this blog know that I am partial to using Photo Gallery, Microsoft’s tool for managing, enhancing and sharing photos. Just scan down a bit in the sidebar for the reason of my bias. In my next article I will take up using Photo Gallery in the Windows Technical Preview.
© 2014 Ludwig Keck