11 Replies Latest reply on May 28, 2016 6:57 AM by dj_paige

    Image files from multiple cameras: Overwrite during IMPORT

    ShipWorks

      Good Day,   Over the years several Canon DSLRs have been the source of images for a single Lightroom catalog.  The cameras have each, always, used Canon's  'Continuous' numbering scheme, so of course each must have created sets of identical four-digit file identifiers.  My fear is that both an early camera and a later camera created a file name such as IMG_XXXX.JPG,  and upon IMPORT to lightroom from the new camera there has been a collision resulting in the loss of an archived image.

      I can even imagine a scenario where two identical new cameras import images to the same directory path.

      To be honest, I have not seen the results of such a collision but I have this haunting fear.

       

      Can you tell me how LR manages these potentially identical names as imported from the cameras?

      Thanks for your insight!

        • 1. Re: Image files from multiple cameras: Overwrite during IMPORT
          JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

          If you have the "Do not import suspected duplicates" option selected in your Lightroom preferences then Lightroom will not import another image with the same name. If you don't have that option selected, then just make sure you import the images from the newer camera to a unique folder. The other option would be to copy the images from the newer camera to a unique folder and rename them to something unique. Then you could import them into Lightroom.

          • 2. Re: Image files from multiple cameras: Overwrite during IMPORT
            Bob Somrak Level 5

            After import I IMMEDIATELY go to previous import and rename the files from IMG_1234.CR2 to 5D3A_1234.CR2 for my Canon 5DMark3.  The A will be changed to B when the camera numbers roll over.  I use similar naming for my other cameras.  I never have to worry about overwriting of files.  You could STILL do this with your already imported files using the filters for Camera Model and Serial Number.  I use keyboarding for identifying my photos so the filename is unimportant.  Some newer Canons (the 5D3 included) and probably other cameras  allow you to change the IMG_ to something else of your choice so that is also an option if your camera allows this.

            • 3. Re: Image files from multiple cameras: Overwrite during IMPORT
              ShipWorks Level 1

              Hey Jim and Bob,

              Of course you are correct, and the approach I use is to use the Custom Naming feature available in the LR import GUI.

               

              Having said that I'd like to understand just how sophisticated LR is.  Some software packages will use both path and file name to differentiate between files so both appear in the catalog.  Other packages simply recognize the file name which allows the second image to supplant the first in the catalog even if the first image file is not actually overwritten because it is in a different directory. 

              I can also imagine that the metadata could be interrogiated by the tool to recognize a difference in the source or timestamp and thereby circumvent the issue entirely as both would appear in the catalog.

              I think this is an important issue because by default the numbering automatically rolls over every 9999 images. Or one can put the camera in a modes (Auto Reset) such that file numbering is reset with each newly formatted memory card.  Many users would be surprised by either actions and there are many other scenarios which will similarly result in a replicated file names.

               

              My impression is that LR is more sophisticated than just the simple file name recognition but I'd like to understand the detail so I know the risk.

              Marty

              • 4. Re: Image files from multiple cameras: Overwrite during IMPORT
                Bob Somrak Level 5

                I just did a ONE file test by using the OS to create a copy of an already imported file,  rename the file to the same name as a file in another folder, and then import MOVE the file to the other folder.  The file was imported and automatically renamed with a -2 add-on to the file name. 

                • 5. Re: Image files from multiple cameras: Overwrite during IMPORT
                  ShipWorks Level 1

                  Again Bob...you are correct.  

                  Simultaneously I was performing a test with three cameras.  In each case I formated the card in the camera and forced a manual reset of the numbering.   For each Import into Lightroom I used the same destination directory and I did NOT ask LR to alter the file name.  The first import from a Canon 70D brought in the file IMG_0001.JPG as LR designation IMG_0001.JPG.  The Canon 80D file name had exactly the same file name on the memory card and it imported to the same destination directory but with the LR designation IMG_0001-2.  Similarly the T4i test image arrived in LR as IMG_0001-3.  All three are side by side in the same hard disk location with the IMG_0001.JPG, IMG_0001-2.JPG and IMG_0001-3.JPG definitions.

                  So, LR is sophisticated and looks after the user.  It does not flag these as being duplicate images, which is a good thing.  (I had the "Don't Import Suspected Duplicates" box checked ON).   It is still unclear what indication LR uses to recognize the uniqueness of the images.  It could be file size, timestamp, or something in the metadata, but LR does know the difference.  It is not directory destination location or source directory location. 

                   

                  I am satisfied that there is no risk now but there is still a little to be learned.  

                  Thanks for your input gentlemen!

                  Marty

                  • 6. Re: Image files from multiple cameras: Overwrite during IMPORT
                    dj_paige Level 9

                    I have cycled through the numbers on my camera three times now, Lightroom has no problem with repeated file names, nothing gets overwritten, and I can find all three of my DSC_0301.NEF in Lightroom by using a simple search. These files are of course in different folders. Lightroom knows these are different files.

                     

                    @JimHess, sorry to disagree on this, but the option to ignore duplicates is irrelevant in this case, it has no effect.

                    • 7. Re: Image files from multiple cameras: Overwrite during IMPORT
                      Just Shoot Me Adobe Community Professional

                      From my understanding LR looks at the file name, the time and date shot and the camera model (and I suppose the serial number of the camera) to determine duplicate images. If any of these things are different it is not flagged as a duplicate.

                       

                      Actually there is a whole bunch to be learned

                      • 8. Re: Image files from multiple cameras: Overwrite during IMPORT
                        dj_paige Level 9

                        Just Shoot Me wrote:

                         

                        From my understanding LR looks at the file name, the time and date shot and the camera model (and I suppose the serial number of the camera) to determine duplicate images. If any of these things are different it is not flagged as a duplicate.

                         

                        Actually there is a whole bunch to be learned

                        Exactly right. The photos are not duplicates if they are taken at different times. Adobe did a very smart thing, they were smart enough to program Lightroom for this situation so it would not overwrite files or cause confusion

                        • 9. Re: Image files from multiple cameras: Overwrite during IMPORT
                          JimHess Adobe Community Professional & MVP

                          Yeah, you're right. I haven't had to deal with this problem. I just wasn't thinking. Thanks for pointing it out.

                          • 10. Re: Image files from multiple cameras: Overwrite during IMPORT
                            ShipWorks Level 1

                            Just one more piece of data here from my experiments.  I repeated the test and shot a fourth image following a numbering reset and memory card format again using the 80D.  Upon import as before, into the same directory, it became IMG_0001-4.JPG.  Ah, just as expected.   The modicum of knowledge we gain here is that LR is not using the camera body number from the metadata for differentation.   I'm still thinking LR uses the timestamp because its available with every image file right there on the storage medium, the metadata need not be interrogated, and given the linearity-of-time...it is unique.   (Again its just a conjecture, and I suggest that we not argue about the linearity-of-time...at least in this forum.)     Again, thanks for everyone's input and KUDOS to the LR software team.  

                            • 11. Re: Image files from multiple cameras: Overwrite during IMPORT
                              dj_paige Level 9

                              To actually determine if a file is a duplicate, Lightroom uses the file name, the capture time and the file size.

                               

                              Se the Documentation at How to specify import options in Lightroom