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Secrets Uncovered: EXIF Reader Software
© 2006 KenRockwell.com

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Nikon hides the number of shutter actuations inside every JPEG file made with my Nikon D80, D200, and D70. I checked: the very first shot I made made with my D80 is #1. The very first shot I made with my D200 is #0.

I'm up to over 25,000 on my D200 and D70 today. My D80 is up to about 3,000.

My Canon SD700 pocket camera records the subject distance in every file.

I've read a lot of complex work-arounds to read this secret information, got curious, and discovered that almost every Mac can read this with one long click, free!

Almost every Mac comes with Graphic Converter already installed, free. Find it in your Applications folder. Open an image and click the EXIF tab. It's in the listing! On a Mac this is a one-click deal: just drag the file onto the finder, and while your mouse is down, find Graphic Converter, drop the file on the application and it opens right up. DUH!!!!

Before a reader pointed out that my Mac already does this for free, I downloaded this software here and review it below. It also works great.

Windows folks suggest OPanda and the free http://www.irfanview.com and the EXIF reader you can get from the same URL. I haven't tried them personally, and I do know that irfanview is used in Hollywood to convert among weird digital motion picture formats like Cineon.

PERFORMANCE (of the Mac EXIF Viewer download)

Just drop a file onto the EXIF Viewer icon, and it tells everything it can.

Nikon records the total number of photos as " Camera Actuations." I don't see this recorded by Canon.

My Canon SD700 records the distance as "Subject Distance" in meters. It seems accurate!

Not everything is read correctly by this or other programs. Be sure to check it against your camera or the camera makers' software. it doesn't seem to read the ISO from my Canons correctly or read any hue tweaks from my Nikons. Nikon's software reads the time of day to the nearest tenth of a second - I don't see the EXIF reader showing that.


I avoid installing camera makers' software on my computers. Nikon software tends to be buggy and for years has screwed up my Macs and PCs. Canon and Epson software seems to be OK, but I'm still wary.

I only trust software written by real software companies like Adobe and Apple.

Oddly I'll trust freeware like this EXIF Viewer when suggested by others. Freeware writers are software writers, and camera companies aren't.

There are many other things called EXIF Viewer. This particular one reads the Nikon shutter actuations from JPG files. It is written by Ali Ozer incorporating work by Eric A Johnston.


If you find this as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me write more with a donation. Better, send Ali a donation (I don't know how)!

Thanks for reading!


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