"Error initializing camera: -53: Could not claim the USB device"

John Hupp lubuntu at prpcompany.com
Thu Sep 25 17:21:47 UTC 2014

New developments:

I dug up some old testing info from another problem and see that I was using
$ gvfs-mount -s gphoto2
to unmount gvfs filesystems (used for all cameras supporting the PTP 
standard for photo transfers)

But to use gvfs-mount, you have to first install gvfs-bin.

But in any case that now seems unnecessary.  Once in PCManFM, one can 
eject/unmount any of the filesystems displayed for the camera, and it 
will unmount all of them.  One of the displayed filesystems will 
disappear from PCManFM at that point, and the other one or two will 
remain displayed (thereby reflecting some status as recognized or 
available, but not mounted).  The camera is ready to be unplugged.

But there is still a lot of buggy behavior here.  Either by PCManFM, or 
perhaps by gvfs at the bottom of it.  Some problems:
- The Kodak EasyShare C182 error when plugged in: "Error initializing 
camera: -53: Could not claim the USB device."
- Multiple filesystems are represented.  Two for the Canon Powershot G1, 
both with matching contents.  Three for the Kodak EasyShare C182; some 
or all of the contents are duplicated.
- There is another error if you do not initially mount the camera 
storage in PCManFM, but say, in Shotwell, then close that and try to 
mount in PCManFM.  I didn't record the error but it duplicates reliably.

These bad behaviors are more troubling because opening PCManFM when 
plugging in a camera is the only option offered by default. On account 
of that I hope someone has time to better define the bug(s) and pursue 
the problem.  (I've undertaken several of these mis/adventures.  It is 
sometimes a long road, and now would be a bad time for me take a big 

That reference to Shotwell brings me to another point.


Looking for a less troubling and confusing user experience, I found it 
reported that Shotwell is the default photo manager for Ubuntu 14.04.  
It's available via Synaptic and only installs a few small dependencies.  
Total download was 12.5 MB as I recall.

Now plugging in a camera results in Shotwell being offered alongside the 
file manager as choices to mount the storage.  There is also a checkbox 
where one could choose to always use Shotwell instead of being offered 
the choice.  (Though for the Kodak there is still the Error -53 popup to 
OK through.)

The Shotwell interface reasonably shows just one filesystem represented 
for either the Canon or the Kodak.  When one is done 
previewing/importing and closes Shotwell, it automatically unmounts the 
camera storage once again, and the camera can be unplugged.

That's better!


All the same, I hope someone pursues and fixes this.  I prefer Lubuntu's 
initial default of using PCManFM for camera downloads -- it's just not 
working well now.


On 9/23/2014 10:18 PM, Israel wrote:
> Hi John!
> I would check out some of the documentation on the gvfs...
> However you can try
> gvfs-mount --unmount /<location>/
> where <location> is the actual location.
> You can also use
> gvfs-mount -o
> to watch what it is dong when you plug it in.
> (it monitors the output)
> man gvfs-mount
> will give you more information.
> You can also type
> man gvfs<TAB><TAB>
> (Use the actual TAB key) to see all the gvfs related commands listed.
> This should at least get you pointed in the right direction
> On 09/23/2014 05:29 PM, John Hupp wrote:
>> I plugged a Kodak EasyShare C182 (supporting PTP file transfer) into 
>> a 14.04.1 desktop today over USB and it responded with:
>> "Error initializing camera: -53: Could not claim the USB device"
>> OK'ing out of that, it then offered to open the device in the file 
>> manager, where it had mounted 3 devices.  One with no contents, 
>> another with DCIM and MISC folders, and another with something-store1 
>> and something-store2 folders.  (I suppose there would be separate 
>> devices for internal memory and an SD card, but I don't know why 
>> there would be 3 devices.)
>> It was then only possible to unmount 1 of the 3 devices.  To prevent 
>> corruption, I powered down the PC before unplugging the camera.
>> Under 13.04, it responded:
>> "Error initializing camera: -60: Could not lock the device"
>> And then it opened in the file manager, again showing 3 devices, only 
>> one of which I could unmount, so again I powered down to disconnect.
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> For a partial comparison, I plugged a Canon Powershot G1 into the 
>> 14.04.1 desktop and there was no error, it offered to open in file 
>> manager, and it mounted 2 devices, both with DCIM and MISC folders.  
>> I was only able to unmount one of the devices and so powered down to 
>> disconnect.
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Searching for non-ancient explanations (of which there are many), I 
>> did find this popular bug:
>> PTP Cameras not working on 14.04, works flawlessly on 12.04 
>> <https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/gvfs/+bug/1296275>
>> But that report does not reference either of these errors, and this 
>> machine already has the prescribed libghoto2 update that should fix 
>> the described bug.
>> There is also this Launchpad Answer regarding error -53, but it does 
>> not mention the unmount problem:
>> Unable to fetch previews from the camera: Could not claim the USB 
>> device (-53) 
>> <https://answers.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/shotwell/+question/157569>
>> The errors and the unmount problem are both troubling, but if I could 
>> find a manual unmount command (perhaps with gvfs?), at least I would 
>> have a workaround that would not involve rebooting.
>> Does anyone have the lowdown on all this?  What's the best available 
>> solution?
> -- 
> Regards

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