The camera systems in the Google Pixel phones are excellent, but Google makes it way too hard for the serious photographer to get a decent workflow going. Does someone out there know a better way? If not, let’s get together and yell at Google. [Update: I found a good way to do this.]
It’s like this: Pictures you take with your Pixel migrate into Google cloud and may be found at photos.google.com. You don’t have to do anything to arrange this, it just happens. There are slideshow and sharing tools and they’re very decent. It’s a great service, I might even pay for it if Google asked.
But I — like most serious photographers — want to pull the photos, in their highest-resolution form, into a processing workflow. Mine is Lightroom-based, a popular (perhaps even majority) choice. In a real camera, when I say “highest-resolution” I mean a “RAW” format, which tend to come in proprietary flavors such as RAF for Fujifilm and CRW for Canon. It’s OK because Lightroom can handle all of them, and then there’s sort of a standard, developed by Adobe, called “DNG”. A few enlightened camera builders like Pentax generate DNG natively and hey, it turns out the Pixel can too. You go into the camera app Settings’ “Advanced” tab and enable a RAW control on the camera screen.
I’ve just started doing this and at the moment, my feeling is that the Googlecam software does a damn fine job of JPG generation and I’m not sure the DNG will help me that much. But the central problem remains the same: How do I get these files, be they DNG or JPG, into Lightroom?
That stands for
Android File Transfer, a tired old (32-bit, so my Mac whines at me) program that
gives you a Finder-like interface to the Android Linux filesystem once you’ve USB-connected it to your Mac, pulled down the Android
notifications, and told it to allow AFT. The JPG files are in
/DCIM/Camera and the DNGs are
/Pictures/Raw. I guess what they want you to do is sort the files by date, remember where you last left off with the
copying, and then select-and-drag to a staging
folder in the nearest Finder window, from which you can do Lightroom input. After which you can take out your stone axe and join in
the tribe’s mammoth hunt.
BTW, the Pixel will connect to the Mac in PTP mode and Lightroom can even see it, but then can’t see the pictures.
Dropbox · Using the Android file-sharing dialog, you can pick the pictures from the Photos app and send ’em to DropBox, and then after they’ve traveled from the phone on your armchair off to Dropbox’s home on the Internet and back down to your Dropbox Mac folder — this is not fast — you can go get ’em with Lightroom.
Dropbox is what I actually do. It’s klunky and slow, but gets the job done and has never to date actually failed to work. But we hear troubling things about Dropbox’s direction.
Google Cloud · You can get a Backup and Sync app from Google that should make some of your Google cloud files sync to your Mac. I’ve had just no end of pain with this one. You have to go mousing around in the preferences for Docs or Drive or something, a real maze of twisty little passages there, and tell it to sync photos as well as other stuff, and then last time I tried it, the process had busted the EXIF so the pictures didn’t know what time they’d been taken. Feaugh.
Plan D? · Anyone reading this know a better way?