Does anyone know of an entry level DSLR camera that is Linux compatible? Entry level as in under $1000. I've visited the Canon, Sony, Nikon and Panasonic websites and every camera I can afford mentions Windows and iOs, but not Linux.

I currently own a Powershot SX20 IS and since the driver for it is not available in any Linux flavour from canon.ca all my pictures are transferred by inserting the memory card to my laptop or desktop. No problems there.

I'd like to try Canon's software (CameraWindow, ImageBrowser, the ZoomBrowsers and PhotoStitch) but several attempts to run them under wine gave me no results.

Leica, Hasselblad, Pentax and the sort are out of my budget.

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    \$\begingroup\$ What you need is not another camera but image editing software that runs under linux. I am using digikam which is ok but not flawless. Or resign to the fact that no linux version is availible and dual boot or run a windows vm. \$\endgroup\$
    – lijat
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 11:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think you may have an X-Y problem here. Every DSLR I know is "Linux compatible" in that you can take the memory card and read the photos off it, or plug the camera in via USB and read the photos that way. If you want to run the manufacturer's software on Linux, that's a very different question, but as lijat has pointed out there are alternatives to most of the big tools available (e.g. Darktable for Lightroom, GIMP for Photoshop). \$\endgroup\$
    – Philip Kendall
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 11:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks lijat and Philip. I've used darktable and GIMP for a couple of years now and telling myself "you don't need proprietary software" but I needed an expert's opinion to kill the whimp. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 12:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ See pixls.us for a happy gang doing photography using open-source software (mostly under Linux). You can even talk directly to the authors of some of your favorite photo apps. \$\endgroup\$
    – xenoid
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 13:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ What functionality do you want? At one end there's just being able to mount as a filesystem over USB to transfer the photos across; at the other extreme there's tethering live view and video. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 14:09

1 Answer 1


Most every DSLR/SLT/DSLM - certainly major brands like Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax - saves to SD or CF cards in a standard format, and additionally supports USB mass storage protocol, you DO NOT NEED any drivers installed on a host computer to be able to access the images taken.

Tethering, or upgrading camera firmware, might indeed prove difficult from a linux system.

Software that can process the JPEG format is plenty on linux systems.

What you do need, IF you choose to postprocess images from RAW format, is software that can understand the RAW format proprietary to the exact camera. Compatibility lists can be found for all the linux software (mind what version a linux distribution includes!) suitable for such purposes, in the online documentation for each software package.

If your intent is running a linux system as the camera firmware, there is no well known DSLR that supports that, though the Magic Lantern project for Canon offers something (augmented firmware) in that direction.

BTW, "under $1000" still leaves some Pentax options open, which might even be better value for money than other brands. Even more so if you consider buying used, near mint condition, from professional dealers ... there, several K3-I and KP secondhand bundles under $1000 by a well known online retailer... these are almost-professional cameras even, not "entry level".

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    \$\begingroup\$ +1 – I am a Linux user. This answer is accurate. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 21:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Even before switching to Linux, I transferred files via memory card. I generally never liked vendor-provided software, so consider it a feature of Linux that they don't work, so there is no temptation to try them. If you have multiple memory cards, you can swap them out when you want to transfer files. Then the camera will be ready to go while files are copying from the another card. I don't shoot tethered, but there is software that supports it. \$\endgroup\$
    – xiota
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 21:09

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