I recently purchased a Sony Cybershot point-and-shoot camera (the DSC-TX1 I talked about in my last post). Overall it’s a great camera, but this weekend I bumped into an annoying design flaw in the file naming system that would affect pretty much anyone who ever buys a second Sony Camera.
As I started to play with the camera and use it daily, I filled up the memory card and had to transfer the photos to my computer. Then I realized that the new camera was naming the picture files starting with DSC-00001 and counting up. That is the same file name as my old camera began with!
See the problem?
As I move the files to my computer for storage, I will have two DIFFERENT pictures with the SAME EXACT file name on my computer. And since I took about ten thousand pictures with my old camera, I’m going to end up with something near ten thousand duplicate files. OUCH!
A quick email to Sony asking how to solve this problem got this response:
Unfortunately, the Camera is manufactured according to the Design rule for Camera File system (DCF) standards, the file names cannot be changed.
Look at this scenario. Anyone who owns a Sony camera and likes it will probably buy another Sony camera when they need a new one. When they do, they run into this file naming problem, and Sony tells them there is no solution. So…when customers behave the way Sony wants (i.e. they continue to buy Sony products) the customers run into a pretty serious problem and Sony says they have no solution.
Sony, I think you can do better on the product design front and I sure hope you can do better in the customer service front, especially for a problem that occurs when consumers behave the way you want them to.
MY SOLUTION TO THE FILE NAMING PROBLEM:
After a bit of research I discover that you can exploit the camera software to solve the problem.
(1) Take the memory chip from your new camera and plug it into your computer
(2) Find the highest numbered picture file from your old camera (for me it was DSC-09996) and copy that file onto the memory card
(3) Put the chip back into the camera and take a picture
(4) Since the camera simply adds one to the highest numbered file it finds on the chip, it will now start numbering from there (for me, the next pic I took was named DSC-09997)
(5) Even if you remove all the files from your memory chip, the camera will remember and continue numbering from this higher file name
*** UPDATE ***
After doing some additional research and speaking to Sony again, they explained that the camera file naming system is not capable of counting above 10,000 pictures. It will automatically create a new folder and begin counting again from DSC-00001. This leave us to solve the problem of duplicate file names either by renaming our files or by changing our file storage structure and put the files in new folders. Not a great solution, but at least I know for sure now.