C. David Tobie: Dropbox Camera Import and Disk Space Issues
Mar 2014 26

Dropbox has become a handy tool for many remote file storage and transfer tasks. It was the go-to cloud storage solution before most other cloud systems existed, and even with more recent competition from the big names in web services, it is still a leading player.

However, in its attempts to be ever-more useful to us, Dropbox has added features and functions that we may not actually want Dropbox to perform. An important example for photographers is camera import.

The internal drive on computers is often not the largest drive that photographers use, especially with laptops, and particularly with solid state drives, such as those used in the most recent MacBook Pros. It is typical to use this internal drive only for applications and OS files, and to store all image files and other large media files on external drives.

Dropbox Gear Icon and pop-down menu Preferences Option

If you have been having ever-increasing difficulty keeping sufficient free space on your internal drive, then one possible culprit is Dropbox. Hidden away in Dropbox’s Preferences Import Pane is an option called “Enable Dropbox camera import”

The Problematic Camera Import Option

If the Camera Import option is checked, then when a camera is attached to the computer, Dropbox will automatically copy all images on it to the Camera Uploads folder, inside the Dropbox folder, in your User account. You may be downloading all of these images to an external drive via Lightroom or some other software, but also be unintentionally putting copies of the images into the Dropbox Camera Uploads folder at the same time.

With RAW files, these unused copies of your images on your internal drive could quickly lead to drive space issues, slowing your image editing, and eventually triggering the dreaded “disk nearly full” warning.

So if you are a Dropbox user who imports your photos through another application, be sure to disable the Dropbox camera import option, and check the Dropbox Camera Uploads folder for duplicate images that may be clogging your internal drive.

C. DAVID TOBIE has been involved in color management and digital imaging from their early development. David has worked to see affordable solutions put in place for graphic design, prepress, photography and digital imaging, and then taught users how best to utilize them. He has consulted internationally for a wide range of color-related companies, and is best known by photographers for his writing and technical editing of texts and periodicals for the photo industry such as Mastering Digital Printing, and Professional Photographer magazine, and his seminars on color and imaging at photographic workshop around the globe. David is currently Global Product Technology Manager at Datacolor, where he develops new products and features for their Spyder line of calibration tools. His work has received a long line of digital imaging product awards including the coveted TIPA award, and a nomination for the Spyder line of calibration tools. Much of David’s recent writing can be found at his photography blog: cdtobie.wordpress.com, and his samples of his photography can be seen at: cdtobie.com.