Shotwell does not show thumbnails for images on "Mass Storage Camera"

Bug #986676 reported by Frederik Elwert on 2012-04-21
This bug affects 10 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
libgphoto2 (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

When I want to import photos from my N9, which is detected as "Mass Storage Camera", no image thumbnails are shown. Instead, a blurry "Image missing" icon is used. However, I can import images. Not having thumbnails just makes the selection of specific images next to impossible.

When using Nautilus, accessing these images with thumbnails is no problem.

ProblemType: Bug
DistroRelease: Ubuntu 12.04
Package: shotwell 0.12.2-0ubuntu2 [modified: usr/bin/shotwell usr/bin/shotwell-video-thumbnailer]
ProcVersionSignature: Ubuntu 3.2.0-23.36-generic 3.2.14
Uname: Linux 3.2.0-23-generic i686
ApportVersion: 2.0.1-0ubuntu5
Architecture: i386
CheckboxSubmission: 688d20c2367428cd47393f8945b33f66
CheckboxSystem: b845c366ea09c60efa3a45c1b5b21525
Date: Sat Apr 21 21:56:46 2012
InstallationMedia: Ubuntu 11.10 "Oneiric Ocelot" - Alpha i386 (20110803.1)
SourcePackage: shotwell
UpgradeStatus: Upgraded to precise on 2012-01-22 (90 days ago)

Laura Khalil (loura) wrote :

What is the format of the pictures you are trying to import?

They’re simple JPEGs, 2000x3552, from my N9.

Laura Khalil (loura) wrote :


I belive what you're experiencing is a problem resulting from an interaction between some and gPhoto, a common Linux library Shotwell uses to access digital cameras.

I'm glad that the photos are showing normally when you do import them.

You may consider filing a bug with the gPhoto team. I did not see any bugs related to the N9 in their bug database, so this could be something new or part of a more generic issue.

You can file a bug with gPhoto here:



affects: shotwell (Ubuntu) → libgphoto2 (Ubuntu)
Marcus Meissner (meissner) wrote :

as the mass storage driver does not do thumbnails itself, we have code in "libgphoto2" that extracts thumbnails
from the EXIF tag using "libexif".

I looked at the buildsystem info here and it seems to links against libexif, so I need some debuglog
to verify if libgphoto2 has other problems.

gphoto2 --debug --debug-logfile=xx.log ... commands ...


Attached is a log file for a gphoto2 shell session.

I think it boils down to these lines:

92.665044 gphoto2-camera(2): Getting file '20120218_001.jpg' in folder '/DCIM'...
92.665104 libgphoto2/gphoto2-filesys.c(2): Getting file '20120218_001.jpg' from folder '/DCIM' (type 0)...
92.665139 gphoto2-filesystem(2): Lookup folder /DCIM file 20120218_001.jpg
92.665169 gphoto2-filesystem(2): Lookup folder '/DCIM'...
92.665241 context(2): Lade »20120218_001.jpg« aus Verzeichnis »/DCIM«...
92.665305 directory/get_file_func(2): /DCIM 20120218_001.jpg
92.665334 directory/get_file_func(2): ->/media/Nokia N9//DCIM/20120218_001.jpg
92.665389 libgphoto2/gphoto2-filesys.c(2): Getting previews is not supported. Trying EXIF data...
92.665425 libgphoto2/gphoto2-filesys.c(2): Getting file '20120218_001.jpg' from folder '/DCIM' (type 4)...
92.665458 gphoto2-filesystem(2): Lookup folder /DCIM file 20120218_001.jpg
92.665485 gphoto2-filesystem(2): Lookup folder '/DCIM'...
92.665516 context(2): Lade »20120218_001.jpg« aus Verzeichnis »/DCIM«...
92.665557 directory/get_file_func(2): /DCIM 20120218_001.jpg
92.665583 directory/get_file_func(2): ->/media/Nokia N9//DCIM/20120218_001.jpg
92.687333 gphoto2-file(2): Adjusting file name for mime type 'unknown/unknown'...
92.687429 gphoto2-file(2): Name adjusted to '20120218_001.jpg'.
92.687753 libgphoto2/gphoto2-filesys.c(2): EXIF data does not contain a thumbnail.
92.687802 gphoto2-camera(2): Operation failed!

So it looks like the N9 camera simply does not store thumbnail data into the images? Are those always expected or should there be a fallback thumbnailer for images with missing EXIF thumbnails?

Marcus Meissner (meissner) wrote :

If the camera does not store thumbnails in EXIF, than libgphoto2 currently can not provide preview images,
as we do not do image processing in such cases.

(We would need to download the full image and post-process it, which might not be what users want if they
just request a preview.)

Launchpad Janitor (janitor) wrote :

Status changed to 'Confirmed' because the bug affects multiple users.

Changed in libgphoto2 (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
BandD (swords-into-plowshares) wrote :

I have a Canon 30D which is also mounted as a "Mass Storage Camera" and experience the same lack of preivews in Shotwell at the import screen. I just upgraded from 11.04 to 12.04. Worked fine in 11.04.

Marcus Meissner (meissner) wrote :

The Canon EOS has a different issue on why it does not retrieve thumbnails,
while adding EOS fast directory I broke the thumbnail preview getting.

patch for EOS:

Dave Gilbert (ubuntu-treblig) wrote :

Medium -> Moderate impact on core app

Changed in libgphoto2 (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
Simon Butcher (sbutcher) wrote :

@meissner, re comment #10, is there a separate bug # for this? i'd like to see this EOS bug fixed for all users in 12.04.

Peter Bencsik (pbencsik) wrote :

@meissner, re comment #10, just wanted to confirm that your bugfix is working (tested with shotwell and a Canon EOS 1100D on Ubuntu 12.0.4, now showing the thumbnails). Thanks a lot! I described how I patched the package in

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