Friday, May 20, 2011

Secret II

The 'secret' RAM disk of the Leica M9 proves to be rather useful.

It didn't give me the big speedup I was hoping for though, but the transfer does go faster.

On my PC transferring a JPG (fine / max resolution) takes about 6 seconds before it shows up in the viewer. With the RAM disk enabled it takes about 4 seconds. That's still a respectable 30% speed gain.

Another big advantage: you can shoot tethered without the SD card in the camera. The camera happily takes a shot and stores the photo on the RAM disk, without complaining about a lacking card.

I have to fine tune this a bit. The object on the RAM disk needs to be deleted before the next shot is taken, and I haven't accomplished that yet. Makes testing a bit awkward, because after one shot I need to switch the camera off to empty the RAM disk, else the camera freezes up. Also the DNG + JPG setting doesn't work, because the RAM disk can only hold one object (even when the RAM disk is not filled up fully).

So my first step will now be some functionality to automatically wipe it clean after transfer.

Another headache with this: the filename on the RAM disk is always the same: M9_0001.dng. I haven't checked the EXIF yet to see if the unique numbering simply continues or what the next shot on the SD card is, but when using this I obviously have to implement some solution to give the transferred file a unique name on the PC.

I'm still unclear as to what the RAM disk is exactly or why Leica put it in there. I've been asking around, but so far no answers. There's not many options though. It's either for internal testing at Leica, or for tethered shooting, with the specifics about it perhaps released to some software vendors when they ask for it.

Leica does not mention this in their technical specifications (under 'storage' they only mention the need for a card), so thus far I am inclined to believe I discovered something undocumented.

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