My new toy: the Canon PowerShot A610, and how to use it with Linux

My new Canon PowerShot A610

So, I finally got myself a new digital camera — the Canon PowerShot A610. Judging from some, good reviews I read, it looks like the best option for my purposes and for the price I'm willing to pay.

It's a 5 megapixel camera, it has a 4x optical zoom, it's pretty fast, can do videos (640x480 at 30 fps) etc. etc.

Of course, it only comes with a 16 MB SD-card which is a joke, so I'll need to get something like a 1 GB card soonish.

It seems to be pretty well-suited for macro photography (1cm minimum distance), see the samples on the right.


Linux usage:

Using this camera with Linux is not as simple as mounting it as an USB mass storage device. Instead, the camera uses the Picture Transfer Protocol (PTP) for file transfers.

Fortunately, the wonderful gphoto2 (apt-get install gphoto2) supports that, so I can easily get all images and videos off the camera with a simple

gphoto2 --get-all-files

(actually, the camera is only "supported" in the current gphoto2 CVS version, the latest stable release, 2.1.6, doesn't really recognize it — but it still works ;-)

As I now have a pretty solid digital camera (compared to my last one), and I've also been gifted a good book on digital photography, I hope to be able to improve the quality of the photos in my photoblog quite a lot in the nearer future.

In any case, I'll sure have some fun with this new toy...


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Charger info on A610-please hyelp!


Do you maybe have a factory DC in charger for the camera? Mine is without one, and (I know it is a big favour to ask) it would be great if you could tell me what is the output voltage and maybe the polarity of the charger. I am sorry to bother you with this, but I simply didnt find any tech info on the net about this. Thanks in advance.

I plugged a 4.5V / 2.5A-max

I plugged a 4.5V / 2.5A-max adapter with positive on the tip on PowerShots A20 and A95 and didn't fry them. Since most (all?) Canons share the CA-PS500 adapter, I suppose that we can conclude that they are positive-centered.


I don't have the charger handy right now (I usually charge via USB), but the camera has "DC4.3V" printed on the bottom.

HTH, Uwe.

Video files


I own a powershot A520 and mplayer is having a real hard time playing the videos taken with my camera. Does your A610 show the same problems?

Basically the sound gets out of sync with the video every second, giving a loud tick... renders video files useless.

Any comment is appreciated :)

Powershot A610 and mplayer

No, mplayer plays the videos quite fine I think, and the sound is in sync as far as I can tell, but at the end of the videos there's often a few seconds of video without sound, i.e. there's more video than audio.

Other than that I haven't experienced any problems. You could try a faster (pricier) SD-card, it may be that the throughput of the card just doesn't suffice...

the SD card is already quite

the SD card is already quite a pricey one :)

The thing is that those videos play just fine in windows media player on winXP. That's why i'm slightly concerned. But I also noticed the same problem you have (the missing sound in the last few seconds) but again, this problem doesn't happen on winXP.

Btw, vlc crashes when trying to play the files ... this is getting to be a problem.

Anyway thanks for your quick answer, maybe i'll try to poke gstreamer, vlc or ffmpeg (that's a challenge) devs about it.


Continuous A610 video-out to computer video-in?

I'm about to buy an A610 and would like to know if it's possible to continuously send video through it's AV-output to an external video-in device, like a PVR or VCR, without saving to the memory card?

As far as I know you can only save up to 1GB of video on a memory card with this model but a computer with a TV-card and a big harddrive can store much more.

If anyone knows or have the possibility to test this and tell me I would be grateful.

A610 video-out to computer video-in

Well, good question. The camera has an A/V output plug as well as a setting which lets you choose between PAL/NTSC, so it could be possible to do something like that. However, I have never tried that myself, so I cannot really tell.


Doesn't seem to work :(

OK, I recently tested this, and as far as I can tell it is not possible. I can plug in my TV for example (via A/V out of the camera) and record videos which are shown on the TV in realtime, but the video is also recorded to the SD card, hence you cannot have more than 1 GB (or whatever the size of your card)...

Works in another way

Hi, I got my camera today and made some testing. Actually you can connect the camera to a capture card and get video on the TV without recording. As long as you can stand the recording mode icon in the upper right corner that is... :)


Hm, that sounds good. What did you do exactly, how can I reproduce that? When I tried, it recorded on the SD card, too...

sarge 2.1.5

It seems that libgphoto2 2.1.5 shipped with sarge does not support it

Will libgphoto2 2.1.6 from testing work?


gphoto 2.1.6

Yes, I use gphoto 2.1.6 and it works fine.

Transfer large files

Ooops, I've just tried the ptpcam program and now it's possible to transfer films > 70 MB. Aouh !

gphoto2 --get-all-files

I have a 1 GB card now and "gphoto2 --get-all-files" works just fine for any file sizes...


Import films > 200 Mo


I've got the same model (Powershot A610 + SD card Transcend 80x 1GB) but I can't import films bigger than ~ 70 Mo (I'm under FC4).
I tried with gthumb, or the command line ("gphoto2 --get-all-files") but same result : PTP error I/O

As you plained to buy a 1GB SD card, may you try for me this kind of import as I know if it's my powershot which has a problem ?

Many thanks,

I have a PowerShot A610, and

I have a PowerShot A610, and it works in the unstable gphoto if you select a generic camera.

PowerShot A610

The funny thing is I don't even have to select a camera, it auto-scans all connected devices (it seems) and chooses the "right" camera. Nice!


Same thing for my camera (Cannon Powershot SD550 (Digital Elph)). It's not recognized *by name*, since they haven't released since the product did, but it works fine as a generic PTP device. Yay for following standards!

PTP standard

Full ACK! I'm so happy the new PowerShots don't use a proprietary protocol anymore (as far as I've read, they did exactly that in the past, causing major problems for gphoto et. al).

the difference between

the difference between libgphoto2 2.1.6 and CVS for that camera is just that the USB ID has been added to the list. So, it is supported in 2.1.6 and recognized in 2.1.99

If only the manufacturer gave us a list of the USB IDs for their cameras. But they just don't. So we add them when we get them.


Yeah, that's what I suspected. We'll it might be annoying, but it's still way better than having to deal with proprietary protocols...