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Adding lens metadata

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by loonsailor, Mar 15, 2013.

  1. loonsailor

    loonsailor TalkEmount Regular

    45
    Feb 7, 2013
    Berkeley, CA, USA
    One of the nice things about digital photos is the metadata carried with each photo. It includes a bunch of stuff you may choose to add, like keywords, location, captions, etc. It also includes some stuff usually added automatically by the camera, like camera make and model, serial number, date and time, exposure, flash info, etc. All of this stuff is really useful, because it allows you to organize and search your photos in different ways ("Show me all the pix of Frankie and Johnny together, taken with my Nex-6", or "all photos of baseball").

    The camera also generally automatically adds lens info, like make and model, f-stop, actual focal length (lens is 10-18 zoom, this photo was shot at 15mm.). Unfortunately, in the case of an adapted lens or a manual lens like the Rokinon 8mm, the camera doesn't do that, because it doesn't have the info. It doesn't know what the lens is, so it can't put it in the metadata. Now, this doesn't matter to the photograph, since the metadata has absolutely no effect on how the photo is processed, printed, etc. But, personally, I really like having all the metadata there, both for searching ("show me all my photos with the Rokinon fisheye") and because, when I publish on-line, I like having this data carried to the jpg so a knowledgable viewer can see it if they want.

    There's a great tool for doing this in Lightroom. It's a plugin called lenstagger LensTagger Lightroom plugin, and it works great. You do need to take an extra step, by selecting the photos taken with a lens and telling lenstagger to do its thing on them. I do this when I import, because I always tag and keyword my photos then anyway, so it's very little extra work. The instruction on the lenstagger website are clear, so I won't repeat them here.

    lenstagger makes use of a really wonderful open source tool called ExifTool ExifTool by Phil Harvey. ExifTool can do absolutely anything to your metadata, and much more as well, but it's a very powerful command line tool that requires some learning. lenstagger makes it almost automatic, for this one specific purpose.

    I have no connection with lenstagger other than as a happy user, but decided to post this just as useful info to all those using adapted and manual lenses with the Nex.
     
  2. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Gret post loonsailer, very useful info. And for those who don't use Lightroom and do use OS X there's ExifChanger that is also a GUI front end for ExifTool.
     
  3. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    +1

    Works great! But you have to remember to apply it every time you import your images into Lightroom. And if you used several different lenses while shooting, and like me, can't remember which images were taken with which lens... :rolleyes:
     
  4. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Interesting that you bring that up. There's a thread at DPR currently on that very subject. I won't link it because it has devolved to the usual that/you are stupid stage so the message is getting lost in the signal noise.

    I use my phone and a note taking app. Write the lens/aperture with my finger, shoot the phone screen and shoot the pics. Change lenses or aperture and the phone comes out again. When I process the pics the phone shots are right there and I can add exif info when I get to that step. A zoom lens might be a PITA though. :p
     
  5. loonsailor

    loonsailor TalkEmount Regular

    45
    Feb 7, 2013
    Berkeley, CA, USA
    Though it doesn't really matter for the sake of this discussion, I realized that this statement isn't exactly true. So, for the sake of completeness...

    Lightroom, and some other raw converters like DxO, can use the lens and camera metadata, in conjunction with a lens correction profile, to correct distortion and vignetting in a lens. For instance, the SEL1650 has some pretty serious barrel / pincushion distortion, as well as some vignetting. If you shoot jpg's, the camera does software correction and fixes it up pretty nicely. But if, like me, you shoot raw's, you can clearly see the distortion in all its ugly glory. Luckily, LR comes with a lens correction module that does pretty much the same thing that the camera does, and probably does it somewhat better. That profile uses the lens model, f-stop, actual focal length, and focal distance to perform the correction. It gets all of that info from the metadata, where the camera automatically put it. It works automatically (if you tell LR that you want it to) and turns the SEL1650 from a marginal lens to a very acceptable one.

    As I said, this doesn't normally matter if you're using a manual or adapted lens, because you probably neither have nor desire a lens correction profile. Though, I suppose you could create and use one if you want to.
     
  6. ChangshaNotes

    ChangshaNotes Super Moderator

    Aug 15, 2012
    China
    Colin
    Good post.

    How do people keep track of manual lens data? Do you write it in a notebook or phone or something else? Any clever ideas?
     
  7. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    memo01.

    Change the lens (or aperture), record data on phone, shoot the screen, shoot the pics. Rinse, lather, repeat. ;) Shoot the phone screen & the data is there as a pic when you d/l the files.
     
  8. WoodWorks

    WoodWorks Super Moderator

    Dec 12, 2012
    Ashland, OR, USA
    David
    Damn! I've learned two things from this thread already. Can I go back to bed now? :p
     
  9. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Great tip, thanks!
     
  10. eno789

    eno789 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    720
    Jan 1, 2012
    NoCal, USA
    Brian
    Another option, is
    1) To make sure the time of phone and camera are synced;
    2) Use the built-in camera of the phone, take picture of aperture ring whenever changing;
    (other people suggests voice memo)
    ...

    But in practice, I rarely record aperture if the camera does not automatically support it.
     
  11. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    I only record lens data when doing test shots. I transfer these to the PC immediately after taking them so I can remember what I did. If in doubt, I'll write a note on my iPhone and shoot that. For normal picture taking I just don't care enough to take notes; sometimes I can add metadata because I only took one fixed focal length legacy lens on an outing and I mostly stick to a standard aperture for a lens like f/5.6.
     
  12. loonsailor

    loonsailor TalkEmount Regular

    45
    Feb 7, 2013
    Berkeley, CA, USA
    I only add lens type

    Right now, my only manual lens is the Roki 8mm, so it's pretty obvious what is going on when I import. When I have more, I'll make a note of what lens I used if I don't think it will be recognizable. I don't care enough about f-stop, or actual focal length (if I had a manual zoom) to bother making notes. Sometimes, it's easy though - all night shots at f2.8, or whatever.
     
  13. ChangshaNotes

    ChangshaNotes Super Moderator

    Aug 15, 2012
    China
    Colin
    I sometimes take a few shots of the same thing with the same composition but change the aperture. Anybody else do this?
     
  14. Bimjo

    Bimjo Super Moderator

    Oct 28, 2011
    Washington State
    Jim
    Yeah, sometimes, mostly when I'm shooting flowers.
     
  15. eno789

    eno789 TalkEmount Top Veteran

    720
    Jan 1, 2012
    NoCal, USA
    Brian
    Yeah, I often do that.
     
  16. addieleman

    addieleman Passionate amateur

    Nov 13, 2012
    Netherlands
    Ad Dieleman
    Quite often actually, especially when photographing mushrooms, but also in landscapes when I want to have some isolation between foreground and background.