Digital Camera Patent

Digital camera accommodating different portable recording media and control method thereof

Digital Camera Patent Abstract

A digital camera which converts a picked-up optical image of an object into digital image data comprises a memory card slot part and a disk drive part. Digital image data can be transferred between a memory attached to the memory card slot part and a small disk inserted into the disk drive part.

Digital Camera Patent Claims

What is claimed is:

1. A digital camera comprising: an image pickup lens; a finder; a strobe; a release switch; a processing section, which converts an optical image of an object inserted through the image pickup lens into digital image data; a first mounting section, which mounts a memory card; a second mounting section, which mounts a disk drive unit provided with a disk recording medium, and a control section configured to control reading of the digital image data from the memory card and have it recorded by the disk recording medium, and to control reading of the digital image data from the disk recording medium and have it recorded by the memory card, wherein, the control section (a) sets a restriction on the digital image data read from the memory card and recorded into the disk recording medium, based on history information concerning copying of the digital image data, which is recorded on the memory card, (b) sets a restriction on such digital image data of digital image data recorded on the memory card that is determined as not having been copied, from the history information, such that the digital image data might not be recorded onto the disk recording media, (c) sets a restriction on the digital image data read from the disk recording medium and recorded into the memory card, based on the history information concerning copying of the digital image data of digital image data recorded on the disk recording media, and (d) sets a restriction on the digital image data of the digital image data recorded on the disk recording media that is determined as not having been copied, from the history information, such that the digital image data might not be recorded onto the memory card.

2. A digital camera according to claim 1, wherein: the control section updates history information of the memory card in a state in which such digital image data recorded on the recording media that is determined as not having been copied, from the history information, and the control section updates history information of the disk recording medium in a state in which such digital image data recorded on one of the memory card that is determined as not having been copied, from the history information.

3. A method of controlling a digital camera containing an image pickup lens, release switch, and a strobe, said method comprising: (a) converting an optical image of an object inserted through the image pickup lens into digital image data; (b) mounting a memory card; and (c) performing an operation of recording and reproducing the digital image data with respect to the mounted memory card and a disk recording medium, the recording and operation including: (i) reading the digital image data recorded in the memory card to record the digital data in the disk recording medium, and (ii) reading the digital image data recorded in the disk recording medium to have it recorded into the memory card, wherein the recording and reproducing operation (1) seats a restriction on the digital image data read from the memory card and recorded into the disk recording medium, based on history information concerning copying of the digital image data, which is recorded on the memory card, (2) sets a restriction on such digital image data of digital image data recorded on the memory card that is determined as not having been copied, from the history information, such that the digital image data might not be recorded onto the disk recording media, (3) sets a restriction on the digital image data read from the disk recording medium and recorded into the memory card, based on the history information concerning copying of the digital image data, which is recorded on the disk recording media, and (4) sets a restriction on such digital image data of digital image data recorded on the recording media that is determined as not having been copied, from the history information, such that the digital image data might not be recorded onto the memory card.

4. A method of controlling a digital camera according to claim 3, wherein: the recording and reproducing operation updates history information of the memory card in a state in which such digital image data recorded on the recording media that is determined as not having been copied, from the history information, and the recording and reproducing operation updates history information of the disk recording medium in a state in which such digital image data recorded on one of the memory card that is determined as not having been copied, from the history information.

5. A digital camera, comprising: an image pickup lens; a finder; a release switch; a strobe; processing means for converting an optical image of an object inserted through the image pickup lens; a first mounting means for mounting a memory card; a second mounting means for mounting a disk drive unit provided with a disk recording medium; and a control means for controlling reading of the digital image data read from the memory card and have it recorded by the disk recording medium, and for controlling reading of the digital image data from the disk recording medium and have it recorded by the memory card, wherein the control means (i) sets a restriction on the digital image data read from the memory card and recorded into the disk recording medium, based on history information concerning copying of the digital image data, which is recorded on the memory card, and (ii) sets a restriction on such digital image data of digital image data recorded on the memory card that is determined as not having been copied, from the history information, such that the digital image data might not be recorded onto the disk recording media, (iii) sets a restriction on the digital image data read from the disk recording medium and recorded into the memory card, based on the history information concerning copying of the digital image data, which is recorded on the disk recording media and (iv) sets a restriction on such digital image data of digital image data recorded on the recording media that is determined as not having been copied, from the history information, such that the digital image data might not be recorded onto the memory card.

6. A digital camera according to claim 5, wherein: the control means updates history information of the memory card in a state in which such digital image data recorded on the recording media that is determined as not having been copied, from the history information, and the control means updates history information of the disk recording medium in a state in which such digital image data recorded on one of the memory cards tat is determined as not having been copied, from the history information.

7. The digital camera according to claim 5, wherein a state in which such digital image data of digital image data recorded on one of the recording media that is determined as not having been copied, from the history information, is recorded on the other recording media, the control means updates the history information on the one of the recording media.

Digital Camera Patent Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is based upon and claims the benefit of priority from the prior Japanese Patent Application No. 2001-130080, filed Apr. 26, 2001, the entire contents of which are incorporated herein by reference.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a digital camera and a control method thereof in which a still image or a motion picture of a picked-up object is converted into digital image data and recorded on a portable recording medium attached to a main body.

2. Description of the Related Art

As is well known, a conventional digital camera as described above is constructed such that a memory card including, for example, a semiconductor memory and the like is attached to a memory card slot part provided in the main body of the camera to record digital image data.

Meanwhile, in recent years, for example, developments have been made in the technique of recording/reproducing digital data on/from a small disk having a diameter of about 1 inch, which has a portability substantially equivalent to a memory card, by means of magnetism, light, magneto-optics, or the like.

Therefore, in a digital camera, a disk drive part for driving a small disk is mounted on its main body, so that digital image data can be recorded on a small disk.

However, the digital camera as described above is still being developed. It has been strongly required that improvements should be made in various areas so as to comply sufficiently with the needs of users.

Two types of digital cameras are known. The first type uses a memory card as portable recording medium. The second type uses a small disk as portable recording medium.

Data cannot be transferred from the camera of the first type, directly to the camera of the second type. Nor can data be transferred to the camera of the second type, directly to the camera of the first type.

Therefore, in the case of performing a simple edit operation or the like for transferring digital image data between a memory card and a small disk, it is necessary to use an optional editing system using a PC (Personal Computer).

That is, by using this editing system, it is possible to carry out the operation of reading the necessary data from one recording medium, storing it, and writing the stored data into another recording medium.

However, if even simple editing cannot be carried out unless an optional editing system is used, it will be inconvenient for a user. A problem hence arises in that the camera is not suitable for practical use.

Note that known techniques concerning an electronic camera for recording image data obtained by picking up an image onto a recording medium are disclosed in, for example, Japanese Patent Application KOKAI Publication No. 5-91452 and Japanese Patent Application KOKAI Publication No. 10-233989.

However, the former reference discloses a technique in which image data obtained by picking up an