Before connecting the camera ensure that you have installed any camera drivers that were supplied with the unit. These small pieces of software ensure clear communication between the camera and computer and are usually installed along with other utility programs such as a dedicated browser (Sony’s Image Data Suite), camera-based raw conversion software and shutter release program (Sony’s Remote Camera Control). Follow any on-screen installation instructions and, if necessary, reboot the computer to initialize the new drivers.
The next step is to connect the camera to the computer via the USB cable. Make sure that your camera is switched off, and the computer on, when plugging in the cables. For the best connection and the least chance of trouble it is a good idea to connect the camera directly to a computer USB/Firewire port rather than a hub.
With the cables securely fastened switch the camera on and, if needed, change to the PC connection mode. Most cameras have two connection modes – one that uses the camera as a card reader (often called ‘Mass Storage’ mode) and another that connects the device as a camera (generally referred to as ‘PTP’ mode but sometimes also called Remote PC mode). The remote capture software will work with one of these modes only. Most cameras no longer require a change from the mode that is selected by default but check with your camera manual just in case. If the drivers are installed correctly the computer should report that the camera has been found and the connection is now active and a connection symbol (such as PC) will be displayed on the camera. If the computer can’t find the camera try reinstalling the drivers and, if all else fails, consult the troubleshooting section in the manual. To ensure a continuous connection use newly recharged batteries or an AC adaptor.
With the connection established you can now start the shutter release software (Sony’s Remote Camera Control). With some models the action of connecting the camera will automatically activate the software. In other cases it will be necessary to start the software and wait for the program to locate the attached camera.
Most versions of these utilities provide more than just a means of releasing the shutter from the computer and instantly (well nearly, it does take a couple of seconds to transfer big capture files) viewing captured photos. They contain options to set most camera functions as well. This can include items such as shutter speed, ISO, aperture, capture format, contrast, saturation and white balance controls.
With all these settings to play with where do you start? Start by adjusting the download options. The four big settings are:
• Where the files are to be transferred to,
• How they are to be labelled,
• What metadata is to be added to the files during this process, and
• What happens to the file once it is transferred.
The availability of many of these options will be based on the software you are using. Don’t worry if naming and metadata options are available these can be added during import into the image management/editing program (Lightroom or Aperture).
It is a good idea to create a new folder or directory for each shooting session and to nominate this as the place to download the captured files. Now select a naming scheme that provides enough information to allow easy searching later. This may mean a title that includes date and name of shoot or subject as well as a sequence number. In terms of additional metadata at the very least you should always attach a copyright statement as well as any pertinent keywords that describe the subject.
Finally you need to nominate what happens to the captured files. Most users will want to transfer the pictures directly to a preview utility such as one of the browser programs or alternatively if you want to process the photo on the spot you could pass the file directly to a raw converter. In our case we will set the download folder as the Hot or Watched folder for Lightroom’s Auto Import function.
parts of this blog has been taken and adjusted directly from the Sony website