Author Topic: Digital Photography Issues - Changing File Names & Correcting Picture Dates  (Read 2053 times)

Offline AE_Collector

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Everyone takes pictures but maybe some here are more into it than others. I take a lot of pictures and of course have had numerous cameras and even phones that I have taken digital pictures with over the years.

Keeping them all organized on a computer along with backups elsewhere seems to be a never ending challenge that can never be completed. I made the mistake in the past of editing the file name of many pictures to describe what they were. This came back to haunt me big time with identical pictures being stored with original file names and sometimes more than one copy with several similar but not identical modified file names. A picture viewer taht displayed the file name as well as having a small area for a custome description would sure be nice.

I am surprised that many if not most cameras have no options to allow one to set the prefix digits to the file name for each picture. DSC is popular, it stands for something to do with digital pictures and then my Nikon ads an N which is apparently Nikon's identifier and then a 4 digit number. I have just come to the realization that to make matters worse, my Nikon P520 is about to "Roll Over", that is I am at picture DSCN9735 and after DSCN9999 comes DSCN0000 for the second time around! There is something about a camera creating conflicting file names for photographs that just seems like a BAD IDEA especially when it is preceeded by 4 letters that can not be changed.

There are many other formats created by other cameras, some bordering on rediculous. In sorting through my pictures, some of which have come from other people I disocovered one of my daughters early digital cameras used a novel approach, some letters and then numbering pictures partially with he date it was taken. That sounds like a good concept except there was no year, just a single digit for month which had it use A, B & C for October, November & December after 1 through 9 for January through September. Then I think it had 5 digits with the first two being the day and the final three allowing for 1000 pictures to be taken on any given day. Needless to say there were potential file name conflicts created every year.

My wife and I each have identical BlackBerry Torch smart phones....I know, we are antiques as well. Each has a different picture file format though I cant find anywhere in the set up to select a format. One uses a format that I like very much and would like to find an easier way than "manually" to change all of my digital pictures to this format no matter whatbit was taken with.  The format is YYYYMMDD-HHMMSS. That is: Year, Month, Date, Hour (24 hour format), Minute & Second. I guess someone could take more than one picture per second requiring something else be added onto the end but not me. Also, a single letter code identifying the device that took the picture might be nice to have in a file name though not a neccesity.

So apparently there are programs that one can use to run their pictures through when they come off the camera that will change their file names to the standard that you would like. This is exactly what I want to do. All the info is tagged to the picture already including when it was taken. Does anyone have any experience with this? I have Googled a bit and found photography forums that mentioned this but they talk on the photography forums like you know something about photography....not phones!

Also, I would think that a program like that may be able to modify the date that the picture was taken. One daughter took a bunch of pictures on a trip in 2006 with the camera set to year 2036! In files with pictures from several different cameras (thus different file names) I sometimes resort the pictures by the date and time taken so they all land in proper order. This fails miserably even if someones camera is a couple of time zones behind or ahead. I can't blame just her though, i set the time in my P520 back by two hours on our recent trip to Hawaii and have only now noticed that in doing so I managed to change 2016 to 2015! I give up! It is so easy to totally botch the time frame of the record you have created with pictures.

Any experience in this area by anyone on the forum?

Terry


« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 05:43:02 PM by AE_Collector »

unbeldi

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The program I used for that purpose is NIKON TRANSFER.  It was on the CD that came with my first Nikon click-and-shoot camera and while there are other programs now, even Google's Picassa, that can read pictures out of a camera, I still like Nikon Transfer the most, because it also works on other media cards that I insert into the SD cardslot, not only the USB hookup to the camera, and I don't have to deal with other large and clumsy programs.  The latest version of the program can also be downloaded from their website.

The program has features to rename the image files in a consistent manner, providing several fields that can be strung together to create a new filename, and the original filename can also be included.  Not only does it name the files, but also creates the directories in which the images are stored, and there is a naming convention too.

The program also can be configured to automatically add copyright info, contact info, or other stuff, and has various options for meta data and color profiles.

The program automatically launches when the system detect a camera on the USB port or when an SD card is inserted.
In addition it provides a backup feature that writes another copy of the image to another disk on the system. This did come in handy once or twice when I accidentally deleted a directory.

Here is a screenshot of the file renaming configuration dialog:
« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 06:11:18 PM by unbeldi »

unbeldi

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Of course, if the images have the wrong date information stored into the image meta data, that is not erased or changed.  There are other programs that deal with that perhaps more generally, but I usually use open-source or home-brewed command line utilities to massage image information.  A very good program for that is called exiftools, and I have built my own utilities around it.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 06:16:14 PM by unbeldi »

Offline Doug Rose

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Terry..... Windows 10 has the best picture editing. Click rename and name you pic what you want it to be, so easy even I can do it!

Kidphone

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A very good program for that is called exiftools, and I have built my own utilities around it.

That seems to be a great free program but it is not for the faint of heart computer user. I keep running across references to it when searching for image processing software. Requires command line programming skills or knowledge, IIRC, right? That's the main reason I've not downloaded it yet, didn't want to add another "project" to me to do list, from what I've read.

How easy is it to program, to use? If not to deep in the programming weeds, I may give it a try. I understand, have used, command programming but not knowing the complexity of exiftools is what is holding me back from trying this software.
            John . . .

              

unbeldi

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Well, I have always maintained that command line use of a computer is actually the easiest form of computing, unfortunately lost in the marketing hype of incomprehensible GUI tools.

You don't actually have to program with with, it can simply be used specifying the myriad of command line option,  but indeed they can be challenging in casual use.  This is why I build my own utilities around more complex programs.

Technically, the program is top-notch, I am doubtful there is anything more comprehensive in existence when it comes to image meta data.

Offline AE_Collector

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Thanks Unbeldi, Nikon Transfer sounds familiar. I think I went looking for a Download when I last explored this topic but Quickly became bogged down by other Nikon programs such as View NX, NX2, a reference to Nikon Transfer 2 and some other programs as well. What I havent gone looking for is info that came with my Nikon P520 which is my first Nikon camera. I will check there first. The screenshot that you posted looks like exactly what I need.

Fixing botched dates would be easy to partially correct once using a YMD-HMS format by editing the file names afterwards if there is only a relatively small number of pictures as in my case. This wouldn't fix the actual info associated with the picture but as you say, there are other ways to fix that.

I am using Windows 10 on the computer with my pictures stored on it Doug. I took an initial peek at the Windows 10 photo stuff after upgrading to W10 and as I frequently do, went back to what was familiar to me without giving it a chance. The W10 editing could certainly be useful especially to rename pictures grabbed online that don't fit the naming protocal that I choose. I will need something much more automated to actually rename all of my pictures to a new file name format. I will study that some more.

Thanks for the input everyone.

Terry
« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 09:31:43 PM by AE_Collector »

Offline Doug Rose

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Terry...I used to have an app for my pictures and was reluctant to change. Now I edit my weekly pictures in half the time and I think they come out better, especially cropping to exact size I want. I really think its great.

People complain about Windows 10, I have no complaints at all. Works wonderfully...Doug
« Last Edit: February 21, 2016, 07:10:45 PM by Doug Rose »
Kidphone

Offline AE_Collector

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Yes, I havent had any problems with Windows 10 either though there are lots of things that I haven't tried such as the photo editing.

Nikon Transfer is no longer available on its own as they don't seem to have updated it for Windows 10. Another program called View NX-i and Capture NX-D are available as a free download from Nikon and it includes Nikon Download-2 which appears to have the same file renaming capabilities.

Now to play with it a bit to get the settings the way I want them and then figure out how to rename all my existing pictures without having to load them back onto a SD card as though I am importing them from the camera!

Terry
« Last Edit: February 22, 2016, 12:47:06 AM by AE_Collector »

Offline Sargeguy

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The latest version of Nikon transfer is included in ViewNX2.  I use that program for about 90% of my photo editing.  Microsoft Office Picture Manager is useful too.  I also have Adobe Photoshop CS, which will do everything that you ask but is very $$$.
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Offline NorthernElectric

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Re: Digital Photography Issues - Changing File Names & Correcting Picture Dates
« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2016, 06:15:27 PM »
I use a number of different freeware imaging programs for different purposes but the one I find the most generally useful for posting photos to this forum is FastStone Image Viewer.  It is more than just a viewer as it has a number of editing features that I use to mark up photos, change brightness and contrast, crop and resize, sign with my forum handle, etc.  It also has great batch features (including rename) that allow you to operate on groups of images.  You can change the file date and time to the current date and time while doing this, so you could set that to whatever you want by temporarily changing you system date and time.
Cliff

Offline 19and41

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Re: Digital Photography Issues - Changing File Names & Correcting Picture Dates
« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2016, 12:40:40 PM »
10 is an excellent editor.  7 comes in a close second.
"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
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