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Old Oct 24, 2003, 3:21 AM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2003
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Default Printers sneer at my test file! What am I doing wrong?

My Epson 700 Photo printer finally died, and I'm trying to select a replacement that will be US$200 or less.

I have ready access to current models at a local retailer, about 10 miles away (Fry's Electronics, Silicon Valley, California), so I thought I'd just pop a test file on to a card, take some Epson Glossy photo paper, and make my own comparisons, including an Epson to provide some sort of reference. While I have no need of a printer with a reader, the ones that have readers are close enough to what I might buy, and should provide a decent test. In theory.

My camera is an Olympus C-2100, and it uses Smart Media cards.

I cleaned a card in the camera, popped it into the card reader, and copied the test file from my own unmodified copy downloaded a few days ago from photo-i. Then I copied the file to the card in the usual way, using the OS (XP Pro SP1). That should be a completely unmodified copy, and I was able to view the copy via the OS using the reader.

I tried looking at the file in the camera, but it said "no picture". I shoved it back in the reader, and it's fine. I should have seen this as a warning, but having no other way of testing things, I went off to try it on printers with built-in readers.

I got very similar results from some 5 printers - they all said that they could see the card and they all see a single file, but in a variety of ways, they indicated they couldn't process the file.

HPs 7960 and 7660 said they couldn't print the file. The low end HP (7620?) just blinked its LED and did nothing. An Epson 925 said something about not being able to process the file. A Canon 475D put up an "E" in the display, and ejected blank paper.

At home again, the file is fine via the reader.

What am I overlooking? What needs to be done to get a straightforward JPEG on an SM card in a way that will be acceptable to printers that read cards? And, I would guess, to the camera as well?

I have a suspicion that it's something to do with the way the file system is implemented in cameras, but that's as close as I come to a guess.

Here's what a DOS box DIR command in XP shows as the file. Z: is the card reader, and \DCIM\100OLYMP\ is the basic file structure on this camera:

Directory of Z:\DCIM\100OLYMP

10/23/2003 01:31 PM <DIR> .
10/23/2003 01:31 PM <DIR> ..
10/21/2003 04:12 AM 737,216 Sophie.jpg
1 File(s) 737,216 bytes
2 Dir(s) 64,716,800 bytes free

I supect that other JPEGS would have given the same result, but as I had only the one with me, that's just a guess.

Any ideas?
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