I had my CF card reader die on me a few times (i.e., it suddenly stopped working: instead of being recognised, and then allowing me to access the CF card, it was "cycling", i.e., appearing/disappearing from Windows). So I decided to do a backup using an USB cable.

What happened:

  • My PC had [historically] the EOS utility installed

  • For personal reasons (mostly: special workflow, and avoiding the clumsy download interface) I wanted to just copy the files over, bypassing the EOS utility

  • However, when plugging the USB cable between the 5DMkII and the PC, it only got recognised as the camera, and when exploring that I could see each image twice in JPEG (one with extension, the other without, but both JPEG, whereas I know that on the CF one is .JPG, and the other .CR2, larger and with more details). I tried, however, to copy both, each in separate directories (as they had the same name), but it really ended up as two identical files each time, as if it "hides" the raw and instead shows another instance of the associated JPEG file.

Example: using a CF reader I would get IMG_0001.JPG and IMG_0001.CR2, the 2nd raw and much larger in details and size. Via cable I saw "IMG_0001" and "IMG_0001.JPG", both ending up as "IMG_0001.JPG" on my computer, and no raw file...

How can I retrieve the .CR2 files? (if possible, without uninstalling the EOS utility! But still bypassing it... I.e., how do I use a USB cable to access the files as if by a card reader?) (Should I boot on some linux boot CD and try from there?)

  • \$\begingroup\$ It is a different camera but the issue is exactly the same with all Canon DSLRs. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 22:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ can someone remove the "This question already has an answer here : ...." ? as it is NOT the case (my computer IS recognising my camera. But the issue is that it allows only to retrieve the JPEG and not the RAW.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 16:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Your best bet at this point is to re-ask the question. And if you are just trying to copy files from card to a computer, then it's really not much of a photography question and you'll get better, specialized help from a site like superuser. Are you on a Mac or PC? \$\endgroup\$
    – MikeW
    Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 17:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ What operating system? \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 6:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @jrista: both pc and mac (usually, pc, but it could happen that the only available machine is mac). I could have a linux utility on a boot cd and use it on "any" machine, however... \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 7:27

4 Answers 4


First of all, I always recommend a card reader instead of a direct USB connection. It will be faster, you don't need special software, and it doesn't use your battery while downloading. I prefer the current USB 3.0 readers but many options exist.

This looks like what you are looking for:

I wish I could tell you more about it here but I don't understand much of what the linked to website says.

This forum seems to have an answer:

Overall I think that the EOS Utility is really the way to go for direct USB transfers. The other options seem to be either complex, incomplete, or non-existent. Beyond that, I would advise picking up a USB card reader as they are typically much faster and also don't drain your battery.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @dulac sounds like it is time to buy a better card reader. I've never had a reader die on me despite heavy use and lots of transport. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 20:16
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I prefer using EOS Utility for the sorting/file renaming capabilities it has as the pictures are transferred. But you are correct that you need additional code to transfer files directly from a Canon DSLR as Canon does not allow them to be used as mass storage devices. +1 for the links. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Commented Nov 12, 2013 at 22:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks a lot, i'll have a look at those asap. (I'll then come back here to assign the checkmark to the correct answer, possibly this one)! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 16:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AJHenderson: i'd be glad to hear of some good reliable makes (for CF + sd cards) ^^ I bought mine in a "normal" (ie, non-specialized) shop, and it seemed to work fine for a few months. The same model died twice on me already (for no good reason: it was always indoors, never travelled, no incident, etc.) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 16:36
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @MichaelClark: i'm trying to be "eos utility" independant for several reasons. one of them is that I am not always on the same machine, and I don't always want my photos deliverred to the same directories... having the EOS utility in the middle is a big hindrance (I can't always install it, and I can always use it even on my "main" machine, or if i do i then have to move the files over to another destination and/or drive anyway). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 16:42

There is not a obvious PTP/Mass Storage device option with any of the following Canon cameras I have owned: Rebel XTi, 50D, 5DII, 5DIII, 7D, or 7DII. To the best of my knowledge this is true of all Canon DSLRs. Data exchange follows the PIMA 15740-2000 protocol, but with minor differences. But these differences preclude using the camera as a mass storage device without additional code. There are third party products that do the same thing EOS Utility does.

You must install EOS Utility (or a third party application that does the same thing) to download pictures directly from the camera. Your computer will not recognize it as a generic drive. EOS Utility will also give you the ability to shoot tethered and control the camera from your computer.

Your other option is to use a card reader instead.

  • \$\begingroup\$ ok, I hope one day to find some "portable utility" to replace the need to have a CF card reader ... When mine died, I could only give out the JPG :( I'll keep an eye out for alternatives and come back here with some (and will gladly check whatever people find out) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 16:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ how can i "unmark" the duplicate? if you read that duplicate question, it's something else (on that other question, the camera is not at all recognized, and turning wifi off helps. On my case: the camera IS recognised. My problem is that it only allow to access the JPEG when not going through EOS utility, where I want to access also the .CR2 raw files as well. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 17:11

You have to have a software that understands the native protocols used by the camera installed to access the files directly. The camera does not act as a mass storage or media transfer protocol device. If you don't want to install any software a card reader is your only option.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I hope dpollit options are an alternative (rebooting on a linux live CD with those on is better than forcing any software on whoever's computer I need to use when abroad ^^). I'll keep all informed on my tests of his suggestions, and if I find any other alternatives as well. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 16:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlivierDulac - his options are still driver software options. They don't have to be the first party ones, but you need something that communicates with the camera in the proprietary protocol. A LiveCD is a good idea though. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 17:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ sorry; i didn't understood "driver software" in that way. I thought you meant drivers (which has to be installed on the target computer's OS, which I would'nt want in the general case). I'll keep you (all) posted on what his 2 alternative do for me [when i get some time ^^]. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 14, 2013 at 17:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't see this as the usual term for "driver software" which allows lots of software to use a piece of hardware. Rather what you need is a specific piece of software that can read the Canon data. EOS Utility, Lightroom, Aperture, and probably The Gimp all can do it directly. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 1:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PatFarrell - I believe that it is an appropriate use since it is usually implemented as a library that provides the communication up to the software even if it is embedded within the application, however for clarity I have changed it to be "software that understands the native protocols". The choice of term doesn't detract from the answer, which is that you have to have a special software installed as there aren't default windows drivers that can speak to an EOS camera. \$\endgroup\$
    – AJ Henderson
    Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 4:10

It is a camera setting. Set in the menu "Ctrl over HDMI" to Enable and you are able to import by cable. Had the same issue.


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