10 Replies Latest reply on Apr 2, 2017 6:48 PM by f.a.b.s

    exif data missing but sorting still works

    f.a.b.s

      Hi, I have a really weird issue, I have about 28K photos in a lightroom library, all different camera sources, now when I backed them up to a NAS I realised that the NAS wasn't sorting them in the right order, or at least not about 2000 of them, they all had the creation time of today (file creation). When I went back to LR I saw that those files didn't have

      I have a really weird issue, I have about 28K photos in a lightroom library, all different camera sources, now when I backed them up to a NAS I realised that the NAS wasn't sorting them in the right order, or at least not about 2000 of them, they all had the creation time of today (file creation). When I went back to LR I saw that those files didn't have exif data. Now there are two slightly weird things with that, 1. at least some of them must have had exif data at some point because I renamed them using date and time and the filenames are correct.

      The really odd thing is though that although there is absolutely no data other than the file creation date (today), lightroom still perfectly sorts those images when I organise the library by capture time. I haven't refreshed (changed and changed back) the sorting as I'm afraid that then I may loose my sorting. Can anyone help with that? So I guess the capture date must still exist somewhere in LR and I'd like to re-write it to the file.

      cheers

        • 1. Re: exif data missing but sorting still works
          johnrellis Most Valuable Participant

          First, note the differences between the file creation and modify dates and the dates recorded in photo metadata: Date Time Digitized and Date Time differ from Date Modified and Date Created | Photoshop Family Customer Community

           

          When you import a photo into LR, and the photo is missing the EXIF capture date (EXIF:DateTimeOriginal), LR will usually use the file creation date (the date that the operating system created the file) as the catalog capture date for sorting and display under the thumbnail, though it won't show that date in the Metadata panel.   This would explain what you're observing.

           

          If you want to get those capture dates saved back to the files' EXIF metadata, you can select the photos, do Metadata > Edit Capture Time, click Adjust, and then do Metadata > Save Metadata To File.  But try on a couple of photos first, and make sure you've made backups of your catalog first!

          • 2. Re: exif data missing but sorting still works
            f.a.b.s Level 1

            thanks for your answer!

            I have had a look and somehow lightroom (the only way I am accessing the original photos) has also changed the creation date of the files to a date a few days ago. So when I update metadata, the exif creation date gets set to that too.

            I do have backups of the pictures on my NAS with the correct file creation date, but as soon as I download them or copy them over to my source folder, the creation date gets changed to the current date and time.

            Any ideas on how to restore my exif capture date to the actual file creation date, or the date that is stored somewhere in LR as in the grid view the pics are still sorted correctly, are appreciated.

            • 3. Re: exif data missing but sorting still works
              johnrellis Most Valuable Participant

              I do have backups of the pictures on my NAS with the correct file creation date, but as soon as I download them or copy them over to my source folder, the creation date gets changed to the current date and time.

              If you're on Windows, the file creation date usually gets set to "now" whenever the file is copied or rewritten.  Only a few backup utilities try to maintain file creation date.

               

              If you're on Mac, in the past Mac programs maintained file creation date when a file is copied or rewritten. However, these days many programs on Mac (including LR and Apple iPhoto) don't follow that convention and behave like Windows programs, setting file creation date to "now" whenever a file is copied or rewritten.  Most of the command-line utilities such as "cp" used to copy files also set file creation date to "now".

               

              Regardless of whether you're on Mac or Windows, LR will usually set file creation date of JPEGs and XMP sidecars to "now" when you do Metadata > Save Metadata To File (or when LR does it automatically, if you have that option set).  Some people have asked that LR set file creation date to the EXIF capture date, or to maintain the previous file creation date: Lightroom: Changes creation date of image files | Photoshop Family Customer Community . But I'm skeptical Adobe will ever make that change.

               

              Any ideas on how to restore my exif capture date to the actual file creation date

              You could find a utility that copies your backup photos to your hard drive while maintaining the file creation date, and then use LR's Metadata > Edit Capture Time with the option Change To File's Creation Date.  On Mac, use the Finder to copy the files -- it will maintain file creation date.  On Windows, you could use the Robocopy command-line program, and there are likely many utilities with friendlier user interfaces that also do it.

               

              Any ideas on how to restore ... the date that is stored somewhere in LR as in the grid view the pics are still sorted correctly, are appreciated.

              As described above, Metadata > Edit Capture Time / Change All (without actually adjusting the time in the dialog) will set the EXIF capture time of all the selected photos to have the capture time displayed under the thumbnail in grid view.  (If you're not seeing that capture time under the thumbnail, do View > View Options.)  Any internal inconsistencies in the dates recorded in the catalog will be resolved at that point.

              • 4. Re: exif data missing but sorting still works
                f.a.b.s Level 1

                Hi and thanks for your help.

                 

                The problem is that the capture date of the pictures is already updated but they are still sorting correctly. Is that sorting info captured anywhere? I have attached a screenshot to illustrate, the left pic and the following ones are all shot at the same event, different camera though. But somehow, although it is showing up as the 13/03/21017, I can't search or filter for it, it is still sitting in that sequence and when I filter for capture date it shows up in 2011.

                Thanks again for any suggestions.

                cheers

                tst.jpg

                • 5. Re: exif data missing but sorting still works
                  johnrellis Most Valuable Participant

                  I suspect you've still got the inconsistency described in the bug report I linked to above.  Please post a screenshot showing the problem photo's thumbnail selected and the Metadata panel with the EXIF tagset, e.g. like this:

                   

                  • 6. Re: exif data missing but sorting still works
                    f.a.b.s Level 1

                    here you go, thanks for all your help. The date in the thumbnail is now missing, pictures still sort correctly, all exif data is gone

                    cheers

                    Untitled.jpg

                    • 7. Re: exif data missing but sorting still works
                      johnrellis Most Valuable Participant

                      I don't know what accounts for the missing EXIF data.  As for sorting by capture time, if the EXIF capture time is missing, LR will use the file created date.  You can get that date written to the EXIF metadata by doing Metadata > Edit Capture Time.

                      • 8. Re: exif data missing but sorting still works
                        f.a.b.s Level 1

                        Hi John,

                        that's the thing, it doesn't use the file creation date, the file creation date is March 2017 but the pics are perfectly sorted within the same 2011 sequence that still has exif data shot with a different camera. This occurs for about 2000 photos, no clear pattern (not the same camera or anything) out of about 30K photos.

                        • 9. Re: exif data missing but sorting still works
                          johnrellis Most Valuable Participant

                          I've never seen a thumbnail missing a date before.  Can you upload one of those photos to Dropbox or similar and post a sharing link here?  We can put the photo under the microscope to see what's going on.

                          • 10. Re: exif data missing but sorting still works
                            f.a.b.s Level 1

                            Hi,

                            sorry for the wait, here is the link to one of those pics:

                             

                            Dropbox - IMG_1686.jpg

                             

                            Any help much appreciated.

                            cheers