Without having a real problem with this, why did Nikon (maybe others too?) chose this file name prefix?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Additionally, I noticed that Nikon uses "CSC" for photos converted from RAW in-camera after the fact (using the menu-based interface for doing so). \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Sep 16, 2011 at 15:43
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @mattdm - in my experience every image you make some in-camera adjustment to, not just from raw, is saved as a copy with "CSC" prefix. \$\endgroup\$
    – MattiaG
    Sep 16, 2011 at 20:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ HTC smartphones also store images in a DSC directory, but name them imgxxxx \$\endgroup\$
    – Rory Alsop
    Sep 17, 2011 at 9:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, but what does "Digital Still Camera" mean? \$\endgroup\$
    – user11595
    Sep 14, 2012 at 10:27
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ A "Still" is a photograph, not a movie. \$\endgroup\$
    – Rene
    Sep 14, 2012 at 10:34

2 Answers 2


CIPA (the Camera & Imaging Products Association) has long established DSC as meaning Digital Still Camera. This prefix is not mandated by the DCF (Digital Camera Filesystem) standard but was adopted uniformly by Nikon and Fuji which named their files starting with DSC_, DSCN, or DSCF. Other manufactures went with PICT, PIC or P which presumable all stand for Picture. Although plenty of cameras also save videos with the same convention.

You will notice that DCF requires files in AdobeRBG color-space to start with an underscore, in which case DSC is often all that is left and you get _DSCxxxx.yyy uniformly for Nikon and Fuji.

As ahockley pointed-out, Sony coincidentally uses the DSC prefix for fixed-lens camera names as well.

  • \$\begingroup\$ What is CIPA? A quick googling reveals several uses for that acronym, none of which seem to apply to imaging... \$\endgroup\$
    – ahockley
    Sep 16, 2011 at 19:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @ahockley Camera & Imaging Products Association \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Grum
    Sep 17, 2011 at 9:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Sony DSLRs also use the DSC prefix. \$\endgroup\$
    – Linda McD
    Mar 28, 2012 at 8:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ I wonder why canon don't use this too... I think they default to IMGxxxxxx. \$\endgroup\$
    – Mike
    Aug 19, 2013 at 15:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Canon EOS 50D names files as _MG_xxxx.CR2 (where xxxx are digits) when shooting in RAW with AdobeRGB selected. (The camera offers a choice between AdobeRGB and sRGB.) \$\endgroup\$
    – user
    Aug 22, 2016 at 8:35

According to Wikipedia, the Sony Cyber-shot cameras use the same prefix:

All Cyber-shot models have a DSC prefix in their names, which is an acronym for "Digital Still Camera".

I suspect Nikon adopted the same convention.


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