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Nikon D300s won’t mount as a USB drive

By Noah | October 25, 2009

(I’ve been intending for some time to start posting more photo-related items.  I just happened to stumble on this surprising tidbit last week.)

I’ve come to depend on the fact that pretty much every digital camera I’ve ever used, from small point-n-shoots to high end DSLRs, has allowed me to see the camera’s memory card as an ordinary filesystem drive when connected through USB.  This is handy for a variety of reasons.  First of all, it lets me use a very wide range of software tools to directly access the images and other files on the memory card.  Also, when visiting with friends, it’s an easy way to hook the camera up to their computers, to leave them copies of pictures (being careful of viruses, of course.)  Unfortunately, this option seems to be disappearing, at least from some high end Nikons.

Specifically, Nikon recently announced the D300s.  It’s mostly a modest upgrade to the quite wonderful D300, but it includes some new features like video capture.  I was very surprised to find that there’s also one D300 feature that’s gone missing: the so-called USB mass storage option, which is used to expose the camera’s memory card as a USB drive.  On the D300, you can choose mass storage (to mount as a drive) or PTP, which is a special protocol used specifically for digital cameras;  on the D300s you don’t get the choice.  It’s PTP only.  Maybe Nikon did this because the D300s supports two memory cards, which means they’d have to write code to expose both of them through a single USB connection.

Anyway, if you want to copy files directly to or from the filesystem on your D300s memory cards, you have to take the cards out of the camera and use a card reader reader.  For those who do that anyway, it’s of course no problem;  for people like me who often don’t, carrying a memory card reader everywhere is a big nuisance.  I hope this isn’t a trend.

Topics: Photography | 4 Comments »

4 Responses to “Nikon D300s won’t mount as a USB drive”

  1. nikon d300s Says:
    August 21st, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    hi Noah,
    are there any external tool or hardware to attach nikon D300s to pc?
    thank you

  2. Noah Says:
    August 21st, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    All you typically need to attach a D300, D300s or most other cameras to a PC is a miniUSB cable such as the one supplied with the camera.

  3. PHilip Says:
    December 11th, 2013 at 3:50 PM

    For those still looking for an answer to this, plug in the camera to the computer using USB cable and you can open any image capture program to download the images. On mac the program is simply called Image Capture.

  4. john bauer Says:
    December 5th, 2015 at 8:33 AM

    Six years later… So I bought a Nikon D300S, used of course, to update myself in the world of Nikon DSL’s. Yes, I am still six years behind the latest Nikon offerings. But … So for a month or so I had been trying to introduce my “new” camera to my “old” 2006 Mac Pro 2.66GHZ Xeon. Past Nikon DSL’s had been basically plug and play, ie. USB hard drives of sorts. Usually the only update required was the Adobe Raw plug-in. Not that simple with the D300s. Note, the “s” is significant as the way the camera behaves is quite different from the D300. Yep! So after a lot of time parsing Google searches, the remedies abounded, mostly posted by people trying to be helpful with their guessing. The most popular solution seemed to be something on the line of switching the camera mode to behave as a “mass storage” device. Here lies one of the significant differences between the 300 and the 300s: the 300 has this option, not so the 300s. Also note the adobe camera raw has to be updated to version 5.5 so once you figure out how to download the NEF files to your Mac, you will be able to open them in PS or CS. And you need minimum of CS4 to use camera raw 5.5. One mention on the side, I was able to download raw files from this camera via Aperture 2.1.4. In order to open them in PS, I had to jump through a bunch of hoops such as using Adobe DNG converter, what a pain. Once I had CS4 installed and the proper camera raw plug-in, I figured I should be good to go. Nope. But I was able to finally open a NEF RAW file (not a DNG) in CS4 downloaded vie Aperture. So I was on the right track. Finally, I found the above comment in regards to Image Capture. Wow, for years I had seen this application in recent OSX versions but can’t say I ever had any use for it nor do I ever recall checking it out. But today, that app brought my D300s into harmony with my old MacPro, persistence paid off.

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