In this work we report a study of the photoinduced insulator-to-metal transition in manganese oxide perovskites of the formula Pr1-xCaxMnO3. The transition is closely related to the magnetic field induced insulator-to-metal transition (CMR effect) observed in these materials. It is accompanied by a dramatic change in the magnetic properties and lattice structure: the material changes from an insulating charge-ordered canted antiferromagnet to a ferromagnetic metal. We present an investigation of the transport and structural properties of these materials over the course of the transition (which usually takes about an hour to complete). The current-voltage characteristics exhibited by the material during the transition are highly nonlinear, indicating a large inhomogeneity of the transitional state. Possible practical applications of this novel type of transition are briefly discussed. We also report a high-resolution x-ray diffraction study of the charge-ordering in these materials. The temperature dependent charge ordering structure observed in these compounds is more complex than previously reported.