Serial data cables

Last updated updated 25 January 2004

IMPORTANT: If you're trying to use a serial cable to transfer images, you are almost certainly wasting your time. I can't urge you too strongly to get a card reader and spare yourself the agony! It's sixty times faster than a serial cable, it works with any modern computer and it costs as little as thirty bucks. See the Adapters page for details.

The following information is for those unfortunates who for whatever reason MUST use a serial cable. (Note that these cables reportedly work with Fuji's MX-1200, and may alsowork with other older Fuji serial-interface models.)

Mac cable

The QuickTake 200 comes with a serial cable for Macintosh computers; the Fuji DS-7 comes with cables for both Macs and PCs. You can build your own Mac cable, if you want; here's the diagram. I built a second Mac cable so that I could have one at home and one at work. Needless to say, you had better be adept with a low-wattage soldering iron before trying to build one of these—and triple-check all your wiring before attempting to use it, lest you damage your camera, your computer or both. You're on your own—'nuff said!

Cable diagram

You can make an extra serial cable for your QuickTake 200 or DS-7 from scratch, or by cannibalizing an old printer cable. I was unable to locate the required 2.5mm (7/32") stereo miniplug at Radio Shack, so I wired up my cable using a 3.5mm (1/8") stereo miniplug and then used Radio Shack's 3.5mm-to-2.5mm stereo adapter (#274-373 in the stores or #910-0736 if you're ordering online, $3) to plug into the QuickTake 200. Not elegant, but it works fine!

While not essential, it's probably a good idea to add a snap-on ferrite choke (Radio Shack #273-105, $4.99) to the camera end of either cable. This helps to suppress electronic noise (RFI) both entering and leaving the camera. Without it, you might notice a buzzing interference in nearby radios.

USB solutions

Owners of recent Macs don't have a serial port, so how can they connect a QuickTake 200 or DS-7 to their new computer? Several companies make USB-to-serial adapters that will let you hook up a digital camera to your iMac or blue-and-white G3 Mac. For example, Keyspan makes an inexpensive adapter that lets many serial devices such as cameras, palmtop computers and older Wacom tablets work with the iMac.

Juri Munkki, author of the CamerAid utility, offers this advice for Keyspan users: "The Keyspan adapter seems to require quite a bit of power to work correctly. It's entirely within the USB specification, but apparently Apple's USB implementation is not. To work around this problem, Keyspan suggests that the USB adapter should be connected to the iMac directly. The keyboard hub may not provide enough power for the adapter. Users should have the latest system software (8.5.1) and latest Keyspan drivers."

But there's a much faster and much less expensive solution for owners of USB-equipped computers: a $10-$30 USB SmartMedia card reader will transfer your images fifty to sixty times faster than a serial hookup! See the Adapters page for details; I highly recommend this solution.

Mac-to-PC adapter
Mac-PC adapter

Davo Laninga came up with a really elegant solution to using his camera with both Macs and PCs: by putting together a female mini-DIN 8 and a female DE-9S, he built an adapter that plugs into the end of the QuickTake 200's Mac cable and converts it to a PC cable. With this nifty little adapter, you won't have to carry around two cables! Here's a diagram for this one:

Cable diagram
PC cables

What if you're a QuickTake 200 owner who wants to transfer images to your friend's PC? Apple didn't give you a PC cable with your camera, so where do you get one? Fuji (800-659-3854, extension 33) sells a PC cable separately for $33.81. (By the way, if your PC has the older style 25-pin serial connector, you'll have to shell out for an additional 9-to-25-pin adapter.) Reader Leslie Burkholder writes that he bought a Fuji cable for the DS-7 and PC software at—no word on price.

There's a cheaper source, though: Kodak's PC serial cable for their DC20/DC25 cameras works fine with the QuickTake 200 if you add a cheap Radio Shack adaptor—and you can pick up the Kodak cable for around ten bucks! If you go to Systems Unlimited (1-888-409-8443), you'll find the cable selling for $5.90 plus shipping. (It's Systems Unlimited part #SU906750, Kodak part #1157619, described as "Kodak cable for DC 20 & 25 DB9 to mini DIN F/Windows CABL PC") It has a 3.5mm tip, but all you have to add is the 3.5mm-to-2.5mm adapter mentioned above to make it fit your QuickTake 200.

If you're handy with a soldering iron, you can build your own PC cable for a few bucks, following the wiring diagram below. (You'll need to download the Windows software from Fuji's website, of course.)

Cable diagram

Reader Guy Daugherty suggests a shortcut for PC cable builders: "a nice step-saving tip in building a serial cable is to hit up either your parts box or a computer shop for a dead [serial] mouse, and use its cable with the DB-9 plug already attached."

As with Mac cables, it's probably a good idea to add a snap-on ferrite choke (Radio Shack #273-105, $4.99) to the camera end of the cable. This helps to suppress electronic noise (RFI) both entering and leaving the camera. Without it, you might notice a buzzing interference in nearby radios.

Cables for the QuickTake 100 and 150

Finally, many QuickTake 150 owners have asked how they can connect their cameras to a PC. The QuickTake 100 and 150 were built by Chinon, whereas the QuickTake 200 was built by Fuji—so the hardware and software requirements for the earlier models are quite different, and I don't pretend to know much about them. In particular, I'm sorry to say that I don't have any source for the software needed to get the 100/150 talking to a PC—but reader Steven Palm was kind enough to supply this wiring diagram for a QuickTake 150-to-PC cable, if you want to build your own. Good luck!

Mac owners: it may be useful to know that the cable used to connect a 100 or 150 to a Mac is the same as the cable used to connect a Newton PDA to a Mac, which is the same as a standard serial Mac printer cable. With luck you might be able to find one of those at a dealer like Small Dog Electronics.

QuickTake 200 Return to the QuickTake 200/Fuji DS-7 Users' Page

If you have tips or suggestions about either of these two cameras, or if you've found any accessories I haven't mentioned here, send email to Andy Baird so I can put the information on this page.

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