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How to Download Your Nikon D5300 Photos to a Computer

Once you have taken photos with your Nikon D5300, you will probably want to have a go at them using photo editing software. You can move picture and movie files from your camera to your computer in two ways:

  • Connect the camera to the computer via a USB cable. The cable you need is supplied in the camera box.

  • Use a memory card reader. With a card reader, you simply pop the memory card out of your camera and into the card reader. Many computers and printers now have card readers, and you also can buy stand-alone readers for less than $30.

Consider using a card reader because sending pictures directly from the camera requires that the camera be turned on during the download process, wasting battery power.

What about wireless transfer, you ask? Well, there is one way to do it: You can buy Eye-Fi memory cards, which have wireless connectivity built in. You can find out more about these cards and how to set them up to connect with your computer at the manufacturer's website.

Also check the Eye-Fi details provided in the D5300 manual; look for the section related to the Eye-Fi Upload option on the Setup menu. (The menu item appears only when an Eye-Fi card is installed.)

As for the camera's Wi-Fi feature, it enables you only to connect to Android- and iOS-based phones, tablets, and other smart devices. You can't use it to download files to your computer using a standard wireless network.

How to connect the D5300 via USB

To link your camera to your computer via the provided USB cable, take these steps:

  1. Check the level of the camera battery.

    If the battery is low, charge it before continuing. Running out of battery power during downloading can cause problems, including lost picture data. Alternatively, if you purchased the optional AC adapter, use it to power the camera during downloading.

  2. Turn on the computer and give it time to finish its normal start-up routine.

  3. Turn off the camera.

  4. Insert the smaller of the two plugs on the USB cable into the USB port on the side of the camera.

    Look under the rubber door on the left side of the camera for this port.

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  5. Plug the other end of the cable into a USB port on the computer.

  6. Turn on the camera.

    What happens now depends on the photo software you have installed on your computer.

  7. When the download is complete, turn off the camera and then disconnect it from the computer.

How to start the transfer process

After you connect the camera to the computer or insert a memory card into a card reader, what happens next depends on the software installed on your computer. Here are the most common possibilities and how to move forward:

  • On a computer running Windows, a Windows message box appears. By default, clicking the Import Pictures and Videos icon starts the image transfer using the Windows picture-transfer utility, but you can click the Change Program link to choose Nikon ViewNX 2 or another program as your preferred transfer tool.

    In older versions of Windows, you may see a dialog box listing programs that can handle the transfer; if so, click the one you want to use.

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  • An installed photo program automatically displays a photo-download wizard. For example, the downloader associated with Nikon ViewNX 2, Adobe Lightroom, iPhoto, or another photo program may leap to the forefront. Usually, the downloader that appears is associated with the software that you most recently installed.

    If you don't want a program's downloader to launch whenever you insert a memory card or connect your camera, you can turn off that feature. Check the software manual to find out how to disable the auto launch.

  • Nothing happens. Don't panic; assuming that your card reader or camera is properly connected, all is probably well. Someone simply may have disabled all the automatic downloaders on your system. Just launch your photo software and then transfer your pictures using whatever command starts that process.

    As another option, you can use Windows Explorer or the Mac Finder to drag and drop files from your memory card to your computer. You connect the card through a card reader, and the computer sees the card as just another drive on the system. Windows Explorer also shows the camera as a storage device when you cable the camera directly to the computer.

    So the process of transferring files is exactly the same as when you move any other file from a CD, DVD, or flash drive onto your computer. (With some versions of the Mac OS, including the most recent ones, the Finder doesn't recognize cameras in this way.)

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