There are many clever features in Mac OS X 10.3 that
don't appear on the cover of
Apple's Panther page. One of my favorites is the new
Image Capture application that enables
you to network images directly from your digital camera to others who
can view them with a Rendezvous-enabled browser. At
first, this might seem more like a cool hack than anything truly
useful. But depending on the features of your camera, this hidden
Panther gem could bring new enthusiasm to your digital photography.
Our old friend, Image Capture (http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/imagecapture),
is at the core of this digital wonderment. While iPhoto gets all the
headlines, Image Capture continues to work under the radar and
improve with each version of the operating system. Panther includes
Version 2.1.0, and I think you'll be impressed by
some of its new goodies.
I first saw a discussion about some of these features on the
O'Reilly Mac Editors list that I follow. Then, I
heard that David Pogue was playing with remote
capture, and he included a demo in his
keynote at the Mac OS X Conference (http://www.macdevcenter.com/mac/osx2003/),
while I configured the remote camera. Later that day, he did the same
demo on Tech TV. David focused on the
aspect, and he documented his findings in this follow-up article for
his Tech TV
By the way, his demo was a big hit at the conference.
But now I'm going to broaden the conversation
considerably and show you how to combine Image Capture and Rendezvous
to add new flexibility for making your pictures available to others,
as well as taking snapshots remotely. As a bonus,
I'll show you how Mass Storage Device digital
cameras can be used to easily broadcast any picture from your Mac
over a Rendezvous network.
Setting Up Your Computer
Rendezvous should automatically be enabled on your Panther computer.
You can check it by launching iChat and making sure
you're logged in. Then, go to other computers on
your network and open Safari. Add the Rendezvous button (shown in
) to the Bookmarks Bar
(Preferences→Bookmarks→Include Rendezvous). This
will come in handy once you start to actually broadcast images.
Figure 1. The Rendezvous button on Safari's Bookmark Bar
Now, launch Image Capture on your Mac. It's right
there in your Applications folder. Open Preferences and click on the
Camera tab at the top. Set the drop-down menu option to
"When the camera is connected, open: Image
Capture." This will prevent you from having to deal
with iPhoto launching every time you plug in your camera. (This can
be an irritating nuisance when you don't want to use
iPhoto.) You can, of course, still use iPhoto by launching it
manually when you do need it.
Connect your digital camera, put it in Playback mode, and turn it on.
Go back to Preferences and now click on the Sharing tab (). Check all of the boxes, and you should see
your camera appear under "Share my
devices." Click the OK button to close the
Preferences dialog box.
Figure 2. Enabling Rendezvous sharing in Image Capture's Sharing preferences
Now, go to another Rendezvous-enabled Mac on your network—it
doesn't have to be running Panther; it could be
running Jaguar—and open Safari. Click on the Rendezvous
drop-down menu in the Bookmark Bar that you previously installed, and
look for your shared device. You should see a Rendezvous-shared
"page," as shown in , just like that of any other computer in the
Figure 3. A digital camera found via Rendezvous.
Choose the page, and before you know it, you'll be
looking at the pictures directly from the memory card on the remote
camera! You can browse in thumbnail view, or, if you want to see a
little metadata too, switch to list view for cool information such as
file size, date captured, dimensions, bit depth, DPI, exposure,
f-stop, flash setting, and color space. If you double-click any of
the thumbnails, you can look at an enlarged view that will be
constrained by the dimensions of your browser window.
But wait; there's more. You can actually download
the image to the Rendezvous-connected computer and save it to your
hard drive. And if you don't like the picture, you
can delete it from the camera directly from the browser.
If it's not your camera you're
browsing, you might want to show some restraint with this feature.
If you connect a second camera to the Mac, Rendezvous will broadcast
it too, and users can toggle between both cameras (as shown in ) and view the images on each of them.
Figure 4. Toggling between multiple cameras in Rendezvous
Taking Pictures Remotely
Viewing pictures directly from the memory card of a remote camera is
certainly useful and interesting. But with certain current models of
digicams, you can also use Rendezvous-enabled Image Capture to
actually fire the camera from any computer on the network. Once the
camera records the image, it is then added to your browser window
alongside the other images on the memory card.
Here are some of cameras that have this capability (thanks to David
Pogue for this list):
Canon A60, A70, S400, S50, and G5
HP C618 and 912
Kodak DC280, DC4800, and DC5000
Nikon D1, D1X, and D1H
I tested this functionality with a Canon S400 Digital Elph, and the
results were compelling, as shown in .
Image Capture instructed the camera to set the zoom to 7.4mm (the
wide-angle setting), turn on the flash, and set the shutter speed to
1/60 of a second and the aperture to f-2.8. The camera used the
assist light to focus before firing off the exposure. It also used
the image resolution that I had previously set. The remotely fired
images looked great. Very impressive.
Figure 5. Firing the camera from the remote computer over Rendezvous
If you want the pictures to render faster on the screen, you can
lower the resolution to 640 480. But don't do this
if you plan on using these images later for prints; you
won't have enough pixels for a decent enlargement.
You'll notice that next to the Image Browser tab
there's another one called Remote Monitor. If you
click on it, you go to a new window and the camera starts firing
shots once a minute and displaying them on the screen. It
doesn't save them to the memory card; rather, they
are displayed only on the computer screen until
they're replaced by the next shot.
There is a Preferences switch on the left side of the window. In
theory, it allows you to change the frequency of the camera firing,
but it didn't work for me. Once I clicked the
Preferences switch, my Mac asked me for a Shared Name and Password. I
provided the correct information, but it was repeatedly rejected. So,
the moral of the story, at least with a Canon S400, is to be happy
with once-a-minute automatic firing, or use the control button in the
Image Browser view to shoot pictures manually.
More Flexibility with Mass Storage Devices
sharing has been limited to pictures stored on the memory card or
displayed from the camera right after exposure via remote firing. But
what if someone you're chatting with in iChat wants
to see a collection of pictures that you have saved on your hard
You could send the images one by one (or in a compressed archive) via
iChat and let the person open them on her computer. But
it's a lot more fun (and easier) for your audience
to view them in a browser window as thumbnails and enlarge or
download only the images that interest them.
I connected an Olympus C-5050Z, which has USB Mass Storage
capability, and tried adding pictures from my iPhoto album to the
camera, then sharing them over Rendezvous. (Olympus calls this
capability auto connect.) As shown in , it worked!
Figure 6. Pictures uploaded from iPhoto to a camera, then shared via Rendezvous
The first two pictures were taken with a different camera, the Canon
S400, and copied from iPhoto to the Olympus C-5050Z. The Olympus
displayed the S400 images right alongside the ones taken with the
Here's the procedure for sharing images from your
hard drive with a USB Mass Storage camera:
Connect the camera and turn it on.
When the device icon appears on your Desktop, open it and navigate to
a folder that contains pictures.
Drag pictures from your hard drive into the folder. They will be
copied to the camera's memory card.
Turn off the camera, and then turn it on again.
Open Preferences in Image Capture, and share the device.
View the complete image catalog from a Rendezvous-enabled browser.
Make sure you've already downloaded the native
pictures that are already located on your memory card.
There's a chance that, after you disconnect the
camera, you'll get a memory-card error message and
have to reformat the card. This happened to me only once during many
tests, but beware and be prepared.
For me, these new capabilities are going to be a handy way to
distribute pictures to others directly from my camera. For example,
I'm often asked to snap shots at work, which I
don't mind. But I do hate uploading the images to my
Mac, sorting through them, and sending the images that I think the
requester might want via email.
Now, all I have to do is connect my camera and turn on Rendezvous
sharing. Everyone can view the catalog in their browsers, grab the
shots that they want, and I don't have to do a
thing. Later, I can upload the pictures to my computer, if I want, at
You'll need Panther on the computer that you use to
serve the pictures. But any Rendezvous-enabled browser on the local
network can view and download them. I successfully tested this
functionality with an Olympus C-5050Z, Canon S400, Canon G2, and EOS
One thing to keep in mind is that your camera remains powered
up while it's serving pictures across the
network. If you have an AC adapter, this would be a perfect use for
it. I don't have one, so I keep an extra battery on
hand. I didn't run out of juice on any of the
cameras while testing these procedures, so the drain
rate must not be too bad. But, as with everything else in
digital photography, be prepared; otherwise, you will certainly run
out of power at the worst possible moment.
As for firing the camera remotely with this set up, well,
it's fun, but since I don't have as
much control over the camera's settings as
I'd like, I don't see it as useful
as the image-sharing functionality. But it makes for a great demo,
and you might want to keep it in mind as an impressive Panther trick
to show off Apple technology.
You can also use Image Capture to control scanners and share the
images over a network. But that's another hack