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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Applications > iPhoto won't import scanned JPG: unrecognized format

iPhoto won't import scanned JPG: unrecognized format
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Zoom
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Mar 14, 2011, 05:51 PM
 
I've Googled around on this, and haven't found a satisfactory answer.

I just got a new PanDigital SCN02 portable photo scanner. It has an SD card in it, and when you hook it up to your Mac, it looks like an external drive. You drag the pics to iPhoto.

But iPhoto complains that they're an "unrecognized format'. But Preview can open it just fine. In fact, if I rotate the pic and save it, iPhoto will then import it just fine.

Some Google hits said things like 'the file might really be a bmp, so make sure the file ending matches'. It does. Get Info and the Preview "Inspector" tool both say it's a JPEG.

Some other people said that iPhoto doesn't like high "DPI" pics. This is just 300 ppi.

What's up? I've seen this before, and have never figured it out.

BTW: iPhoto 8.1.2 on OS 10.6.6.
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ibook_steve
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Mar 14, 2011, 07:43 PM
 
When you say the SD card mounts as an external drive, do you mean it mounts on the Mac desktop or does it also mount inside of iPhoto? It shouldn't matter, but if it does mount inside of iPhoto as a volume with pictures, have you tried iPhoto import instead of drag and drop?

Also, how is the SD card formatted: Mac or PC (FAT)? Does this scanner format it in a weird way? You might want to try formatting the card completely on your Mac and then formatting it using the card formatting option in the scanner to set up the photo directories correctly.

I'm guessing when you got it working with Preview, you were saving the rotated pictures on your Mac, not on the card. Correct?

Steve
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Zoom  (op)
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Mar 14, 2011, 10:08 PM
 
I meant that the scanner (with the SD card in it) shows up on the desktop as an external drive. It doesn't show up in iPhoto, though I can "import" and see it - though this fails the same way.

I saved the altered version back to the SD card, and it would import fine. I also tried copying the 'bad' JPG from the scanner "drive" to my desktop and then importing it - still had the same error. Something is amiss with the format of the JPG file itself.

The SD card either came pre-formatted, or the scanner formatted it automatically. It contains some Pandigital info that I didn't put there. "Get Info" says that it's MS-DOS (FAT16), actually. That's odd. But if that was a problem, why can I import the Preview-altered JPG but not the pristine JPG? And I'm guessing that the scanner wouldn't like the card formatted any other way... don't know.

BTW, some of the solutions I saw were "just edit it with Preview and then import it". Well, I intend to scan hundreds of pics, so that solution doesn't scale. I might be okay with an Automater script or something (folder action to tweak these and import them), but this all just seems silly. This is a Mac. Macs "just work" with stuff like this. Plus, I've run into this problem here and there in other situations, and I'd like to understand what's going on here.
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ibook_steve
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Mar 15, 2011, 01:52 AM
 
Things "just work" when manufacturers follow standards. When they don't, things don't work, as seems to be the case here.

The scanner is obviously saving to some weird format that iPhoto does not understand. I just checked, and Pandigital's web site is basically useless. I would contact them to see if they have a solution, and if not, return the scanner.

I'd also try a different SD card, just to make sure.

Steve
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reader50
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Mar 16, 2011, 02:11 AM
 
Can you post one of the scanned files? Let us look over the file, see if there are any workarounds. Like a simple batch converter.
     
hab
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Mar 16, 2011, 05:43 PM
 
If it opens in Preview, can you resave it in another format that iPhoto understands?
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ibook_steve
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Mar 16, 2011, 06:31 PM
 
Originally Posted by hab View Post
If it opens in Preview, can you resave it in another format that iPhoto understands?
The OP said that they could, just saving a rotated pic as another JPEG and it worked. That's why it's weird.

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Mar 17, 2011, 08:22 PM
 
Sorry, folks... been busy. Here are the two pics. The first one is raw, no changes. The second is rotated. The first one fails to load, the second one loads. I copied both to my desktop for testing.



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Zoom  (op)
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Mar 17, 2011, 08:24 PM
 
Will that file upload work? I'm not sure if TinyPic alters the images at all. If that doesn't work, how else should I upload the samples? Or where can I host the raw files?

Again - the issue isn't how I can make one of these work and import it. I will have hundreds of these. And d*mn it, it should just work!

I did play around with an Automator script for this. I basically wanted to try to do some sort of harmless change to the photos, hoping to make them compatible, and then import then automatically to iPhoto. But all I could find was "change type of images". I tried "JPEG", but it was too smart - it saw that the pics were already in that format and didn't touch them - and then failed to import the unchanged one. I could do "PNG", but it made the files much bigger. Then I tried "JPEG 2000", whatever that is... and it worked, plus the size was about the same. Okay... but I don't want .jp2 files. I want .jpg!

And here's my other dilemma. My mom got one of these scanners, too. Even if I get some Automator script to work for me, I'm not sure I want to subject her to that, too. Are Automator scripts portable across machines? Particularly "folder actions"?

This is just too much work. I want to know why iPhoto can't handle a ".JPG" file!
( Last edited by Zoom; Mar 17, 2011 at 11:53 PM. )
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Mar 19, 2011, 04:22 PM
 
Okay, I figured out a workaround, and probably figured out the problem. These pictures have no color profile associated with them. Apparently, iPhoto can't deal with that (which is stupid). This post on another forum helped me out.

Apple - Support - Discussions - Interesting iPhoto "unrecognized file" ...

So, to fix this, for me and my mother, I created a simple Automator "application" (script):

1) Apply ColorSync Profile to Images (Display->Generic RGB Profile)
2) Import files into iPhoto (and delete them from source)

So - when I get new pics, I drag and drop them onto this Automator script and it all works. That's easy enough for my mom.

I wish I could have it react to the disk mounting, find the photos and then do all this and eject the drive. But I couldn't see how to do that with Automator.
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reader50
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Mar 19, 2011, 04:43 PM
 
All I could find is the scanner output pic uses JFIF v1.2, while the Preview-saved pic uses JFIF v1.1

Check the output of your Automator script, see if the version was dropped to 1.1

iPhoto (and QT Player) may be rejecting the raw pics because they are in a later version. If so, the scanner is up to date and iPhoto / QT are not. Preview may open the pics because it's deliberately tolerant.
     
Zoom  (op)
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Mar 19, 2011, 04:46 PM
 
Maybe... I would think a newer format would be better.

When I did "get info" on the two pics, the "bad" one had no color profile listed; the "good" one did (RGB). That was my final clue, along with that other forum article I linked to. I'm pretty sure it's the lack of color profile. Or maybe, as you say, that's a side effect of the JFIF version... don't know. But adding a generic RGB color profile fixed the problem.
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