DC25Convert

NEW (August 22, 1998): Version 1.1 adds user selectable compression level.

In this document:

Introduction

DC25Convert is a utility to batch convert Kodak DC25 Image files to JPEG.

If you have ever been annoyed by how time consuming and tedious it is to download pictures from your Kodak DC25 camera using the serial cable, and wished for a fast way to download pictures en-masse, this may be the solution for you. You must have a CompactFlash card and a computer with a PC Card (PCMCIA) interface, such as most laptops, for this to work.

Neither this software nor the download process are particularly well suited for computer novices. If you are not particularly comfortable with using your computer, you may prefer to use the easy to use Kodak software such as the Kodak Picture Easy software that comes with the DC25.

How Does It Work?

The process goes like this:

How fast is it? I can download and convert 36 high resolution images in less than 30 seconds. That's total, not per image!

The JPEG encoder in DC25Convert is also much more efficient than the one in the Kodak PictureEasy software: PictureEasy JPEG files tend to be about 130K; DC25Convert generates images of about 30K, with no noticeable loss of quality.

What Do I Need?

You need:

How Do I Get The Software?

You can download the application here: http://www.rickk.com/dc25/dc25convert.zip

The file above is a "zip" file containing the necessary software The file is approximately 100K, or a 30 second download with a 28.8 modem.

What Is DC25?

The DC25 is a Kodak's low-cost consumer digital camera. It's discontinued, but you can still find them around. I like the camera because it's inexpensive and looks more or less like a point and shoot 35mm camera.

What Is CompactFlash?

CompactFlash is a small electronic card, a little over an inch square, that can be used to store pictures instead of using the camera's built-in memory. The name refers to the type of memory on the card, so called Flash Memory, not to be confused with the electronic flash that illuminates the things you are taking pictures of.

Flash memory is fast, and does not lose its contents when left unplugged from the camera. It can also be reused essentially forever. You can also pop out a flash card and pop a fresh one in, just like reloading with more film when you need to take a lot of pictures.

Though the Kodak documentation says the DC25 only supports 4 MB CompactFlash cards, I have not found this to be the case. I have a 10 MB CompactFlash card manufactured by SanDisk and it works fine. It cost less than the Kodak 4 MB CompactFlash card, too. I paid about $ 150 for a 10 MB card at MicroCenter.

What Is PC Card (PCMCIA)?

The PC Card interface, previously referred to as PCMCIA, is the expansion interface used by most laptop computers. You can plug a variety of things like modems, networking cards, video and sound devices, etc. into the PC Card slot. You can also plug in ATA Flash Disk, which is the size of a few credit cards stacked on top of each other, and acts like a disk, but it entirely electronic with no moving parts. You can also get a PC Card interface that fits into a desktop computer; it usually fits in an unused 3 1/2" floppy drive bay. There's also a device that connects to the parallel port but I haven't tried it..

The neat thing is that you take a CompactFlash card, insert it into a PC Card adapter, and pop it into a PC Card slot. The contents of the CompactFlash card show up like they are a disk (such as E:\), and you can copy the images very quickly from the CompactFlash card. The CompactFlash to PC Card adapter is very inexpensive; when I bought the CompactFlash card from SanDisk, it came with one free. Otherwise, it should cost less than $ 20.

So What Do I Need DC25Convert For?

Once you insert the CompactFlash card in a PC Card compatible computer, you will find that there is a directory called DC25img that contains a bunch of files. Unfortunately, they are ".k25" files. These are files compressed with Kodak's proprietary compression algorithm.

The DC25Convert application converts these files into the JPEG file format which is well suited for inclusion in documents and web pages.

But I Have A DC20 Camera

It it possible that this will work with the DC20 camera, but I do not have one to test it against to be sure.

But I Have A DC40, DC120, etc. Camera

I believe the DC25 uses a different file format than the other cameras, and it is unlikely that it will work with any other model of camera.

What about Windows 3.1, Mac, or Unix?

If people enough people want it I will consider a Mac version, but Windows 3.1 is not going to happen.

I haven't tested with Windows 98, but there should be no problem with it.

The decoding requires a proprietary library from Kodak, and this library is not available for platforms other than Windows and Mac so I cannot build a Unix version of DC25Convert.


Users Manual

Getting Started

There isn't much to the application. When you start it, you get a dialog with two edit boxes and a slider.

The first box specifies the source for the files. You can read files directly from the CompactFlash card, or can read the files off your hard disk if you've copied them there. You must type a full pathname with a filename pattern. The default is:

E:\dc25img\*.k25

If your CompactFlash card was mounted as drive E, you don't need to change this value, otherwise change the drive letter.

If you want to only convert one file you can enter the name instead of using a wildcard such as *.k25.

The second box specifies the destination directory. The default is:

C:\Pictures\

You can set this to whatever you like. If the directory does not exist it will be created, but only if all of the directories except the last directory in the pathname already exist.

The destination files are named with the same name as the source file, except with a "jpg" extension instead of a "k25" extension. If the destination file exists, it will be overwritten without warning!

The quality slider control determines the image quality. the leftmost edge corresponds to the lowest quality and smallest image size (25, if you are using the command line interface). The rightmost edge corresponds to the highest quality and largest image size (100, if you are using the command line interface).

Slider Command Line Test Image Size
Left 25 15 K
Center Left 50 22 K
Center Right (Default) 75 31 K
Right 100 145 K

If you change the values, they will be remembered so the values you enter will be the new defaults next time you run the application.

Once you hit OK, a progress bar will be displayed during conversion.

Command Line Options

You can run DC25Convert with command line options, as well. This is handy if you are automating the process of conversion. The following options are supported:

-noprompt Don't display the dialog for selecting source and destination.
-src F:\dc25img\*.k25 Use this as the source pattern. Useful with -noprompt.
-dst D:\MyImg Use this as the destination pattern. Useful with -noprompt.
-qual 75 Set the JPEG quality between 25 and 100. Default is 75.

For the source and destination paths, replace the argument (i.e. "F:\dc25img\*.k25") with whatever you like.

Troubleshooting

The CompactFlash card doesn't show up as a disk

If after a few seconds the CompactFlash card doesn't show up as a drive (such as "E:\") you may not have the proper software installed. Usually Windows 95 will do the right thing if you leave the card in the slot and reboot. It should detect the new hardware and automatically install the proper driver for it, but only at startup.

Unable to find msvcrt.dll (or mfc42.dll)

You apparently must have no Microsoft applications on your computer, which I find quite amazing. This is not a problem. Simply download this file: http://www.rickk.com/dc25/msdll.zip and extract the files to same place as DC25Convert, often C:\DC25Convert_1.00\.

This ZIP file is 577K and since most people already have these files, it seemed silly to include them.

An Unexpected Error Occurred

If you get an error dialog, copy down the exact text of the dialog (especially the number and the word in parentheses) and email it to dc25a (at) rickk.com.

What Is DC25V20_32.dll?

This is the component that Kodak has provided to decode Kodak DC25 image files. It is Copyright Kodak and is used with permission


Release Notes

Version 1.1

In version 1.1, you can now choose how much JPEG compression you want to apply.


Legal Stuff

DC25Convert is written by Rick Kaseguma
Copyright 1998 Rick Kaseguma
All Rights Reserved

The latest version of this document is available here: http://www.rickk.com/dc25/

You can use DC25Convert for any purpose you like. There are no commercial use restrictions. There is no warranty. I make no guarantees that this will actually work for you. The software may be redistributed if it is unmodified, with this notice but please drop an email note saying that you will be doing so. It may also be redistributed commercially, subject to the same restrictions.

If you have comments, suggestions, bug fixes, or if you are successfully using DC25Convert, send a note to dc25a (at) rickk.com. Your email address will not be released or used for any solicitations. Thanks!

The JPEG images are generated using the code from the Independent JPEG Group, http://www.ijg.org .