What is DCIM?

Written by John Harris, Updated on October 10, 2023


DCIM is an acronym for (Digital Camera Images). It is a standard name of the root folder automatically created on flash memory cards by digital cameras where the captured images are stored. Nowadays, most Android Smartphone manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, LG, Micromax, etc., and digital camera manufacturers such as Olympus, Fujifilm, Nikon, Canon, etc., use the DCIM folder to store images.

The DCIM is just a directory part of DCF (Design Rule for Camera File System), first introduced by the Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association (JEITA). This is the standard file system utilized by all digital cameras.

So, whenever you connect your camera to Mac or Windows OS-based computers or laptops, your system will look up the DCIM folder. If you connect your memory card via card reader to a PC, then it will scan for the memory card folder named DCIM and finally display all the photos enclosed in it.

DCIM Structure and Naming

Subdirectories and Naming:
Inside the DCIM directory are numerous subdirectories, each with unique alphanumeric character names (e.g., '123ABCDEF') and three-digit numbers ranging from 100 to 999.

Alphanumeric Characters:
The alphanumeric characters in these subdirectory names are insignificant; each camera maker can choose their own naming conventions.

Example: Apple manufacturer iPhone has a five-digit name and code, so the Apple DCIM directory might have names like '100APPLE', '102APPLE', '101APPLE', '104APPLE', etc. The alphanumeric characters in these names are specific to the camera maker's chosen naming convention.

Difference between Pictures and DCIM

Both are very similar; the only difference between them is their origin.

DCIM is a standard rule set by manufacturers of SD cards where only images and files the camera takes are saved on the SD card.

Pictures is a folder on laptops, computers, and tablets that stores image formats like PNG, JPEG, RAW images, and other formats on devices and the internet.

But one thing you must remember is to ensure not to drag extra items into the DCIM folder because it may cause your camera not to identify the list of photos.

There is a rising question in every tech geek’s mind, and that is:

What Happens If I Delete The DCIM Folder?

The design will not allow this, but if you delete the DCIM folder from your device, you will lose all the Photos and Videos captured with your digital camera Android in the folder.

Final Words

The DCIM folder helps you easily find your photos on your SD card. If you've lost data, stop using the device to improve your chances of Recovering the DCIM folder and approach reliable data recovery software.

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