Connecting digital camera

Posted on 2004-11-07
Last Modified: 2010-04-26
My sister in law who lives a few hundred miles from me has an old Pentium 75 PC using Win95 as an OS. I’m not sure how much RAM but the HDD is 1gig.
The PC was given to her a few years ago so that she could send and receive emails from the rest of the family living quite remote from her. She only uses the PC for email and does not have any other computer skills.
This Christmas we would like to buy her a modest digital camera so that she can join in sharing photographs with everyone else.

Of course there is no usb port and I think the expansion slots are ISA rather than PCI, will this be likely on a P75 ?

Is it possible to get an adapter for the RS232  to provide USB ?
Is it possible to get a ISA   usb card ?
Are there any other solutions ?

Thanks  Dave
Question by:daveatdanby
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment


    I was thinking about this, and there is no simple way of doing this (or maybe im just too tired), however, I think that I came up with a solution, so here itis:

    The connection would be as following:

    Camera - USB Cable - ISA Port ( - HDD Const ISA ( - Your HDD.

    It is definitely not the quickest solution, neither the least expensive, but it is quite difficult now to buy components for HW that has been dead for so long.

    Personaly,  I think that it would be better to buy a new PC (eg this pc - - costs 269 pounds and is quite OK, with new OS and USB support), but thats your choice of course.

    Hope this helps!!
    LVL 31

    Expert Comment

    Windows 95 doesn't understand USB well enough to be of much use in that department.  One way that may be possible is to think some about what kind of memory cards that the intended camera will use, and then look for an adapter for such cards that may be incorporated in the computer.  It may even be worth looking for an ISA to PCMCIA adapter, and then a PCMCIA-to-memory card adapter, the last piece shouldn't be too expensive. Sounds a bit complicated, but the mem card to PCMCIA is one way I know will work (used it on an elderly win95 laptop). First, though, find out what kind of expansion slots are available.

    Unless a completely new computer is an option, in which case the USB solution is there for you.

    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Which version of 95 is she using? Win95b does support USB. However I do agree with Ultimate_NescaFe that a newer lower end pc would be a much better solution for her. Dell always has decent deals (especially around Xmas time) on lower end pcs. The Dimension 2400 model can be had for less than 400 bills.
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    Given the configuration issues and the possability of having to remotely troubleshoot this system, I would suggest getting your hands on another machine (as per above, new is good) a second hand machine capable of running usb should be very cheap now.

    At best if you go with the suggestions above, I would reccomend a larger HDD and maybe even a cd/dvd writer. The reason is that if she gets keen with the camera she will need somewhere to store the pictures. (and maybe even give her a photo printer next xmas? ;-)


    PS: if this is way too much to spend, then just get her to use an internet cafe to download and email her photos. (Waaay, cheaper solution)

    Accepted Solution

    One way to steer clear of the whole USB issue is to go for a digital camera make/model that supports data transfer via the serial port. I have used/handled Kodak cameras in the past that supported both serial (for getting oprational almost immediately) as well as USB (say for later use when the hardware/software upgrades permit that). Serial port based transfer on the type of Win95 configuration you have described should not require any extra hardware costs or issues  beyond connecting the serial port cable that should be supplied/acquired along with the camera and loading the relevant software (presumably the computer has a CD drive or you have your software on floppies, depending on the computer configuration). The only down side of this is one requires some patience as data transfer via serial port will be slower than USB... budget around 10-30 minutes (or more) depending on the number of pictures being transferred. I also assume at least one of the two serial ports on the computer is spare/available for this purpose. Eventually I guess one will go in the directions suggested by others who responed to you prior to me .... i.e upgrade the comp and operating system to one that can cope with USB comfortably OR can read the cameraś storage media directly. Until then serial port connection to comera is your easiest resolution in my opinion. Hope this is userful. Thanks and by for now. TechNife
    LVL 2

    Expert Comment

    Check with your camera see if it has the Win95 driver first. It might have a PCI slot event it is a Pentium 75, better have a look and see if it has a PCI slot. It is a very good question but the best solution is to buy a machine. Computer are getting cheaper and cheaper, please consider to get a new computer if you can affort to buy a latest digital camera. Also, disk space will be another issue for photo storage, I don't think the motherboard will support 80 or 120GB HDD event you are buying a new one. If you still think it is expensive, go to ebay and you might be suprise for getting a cheap second hand computer.

    Author Comment


    Thanks for  all the suggestions, as I thought there is no simple answer.
    Buying a new pc with lots of storage and usb ports is the real solution, however Mary is of mature years and would not attempt to use a computer for anything other than email.

    When we fix her up with a digital camera it is going to take some time to make her ‘bomb proof’ but it will be fun.

    As an immediate solution I am going to try to find a camera that will use a serial port as suggested by technife  and perhaps work towards a new budget system at a later date, one problem is that she has no one close by to help her with pc problems.  If we were to fix her up with something running WinXP I could perhaps help her from my fairly distant location.

    Thanks   Dave.

    Expert Comment

    Was away for a while (from the online world ;-)
    Thanks for "accepting" my answer.
    Glad to be of help.
    Best regards,

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