Adding Legacy lens meta data using EXIFtools with Lightroom (for Mac)

Discussion in 'Image Processing' started by WT21, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. WT21

    WT21 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Feb 19, 2010
    For Mac users, there's a tool called "exiftool" that can be used to change the exif in image files. It's a very, very powerful tool, but as with things very powerful, it's pretty confusing, and to boot, it's a command line interface within terminal. Ugh.

    After much experimenting, I've found the settings to update lens data to my image files. Here's my workflow (you have to find and download EXIFtool from the internet. Here's one location: ExifTool by Phil Harvey)

    Here's my workflow:

    1) I import my photos into Lightroom, and because I switch lenses, not all my pictures are from a legacy lens. So, I use the metadata filter, and search for "unknown lens" in my recent imports. At this point, of course, you have to actually know which lens you shot with. (you could, btw, apply changes before importing to Lightroom, but I have to see the pictures myself, to make sure that they are indeed from the lens I'm thinking of).

    2) I open up terminal (in your utilities folder, or type in terminal in Spotlight) and a command line terminal interface opens up.

    3) I then cut and past text that I keep in a txt document in my desktop, right into terminal. I have had a bunch of legacy lenses, so I use variants such as the following:

    exiftool -FocalLength=50 -MaxApertureValue=1.4 -Lens="Super-Takumar 50mm 1.4" -m -overwrite_original_in_place -P

    exiftool -FocalLength=35 -MaxApertureValue=1.7 -Lens="Fujian 35mm CCTV 1.7" -m -overwrite_original_in_place -P

    If you need to know what all this means, then after downloading and setting up EXIFtools, just type in "exiftool" in the command line for help.

    You should change the attributes to be appropriate to your lens (FocalLength, MaxApertureValue and Lens=)

    4) With the terminal window running next to Lightroom, I then select the pictures right within Lightroom, that were shot with the lens I am targeting, then click and drag the images over to the terminal window and drop them in. This causes the actual path to the file to write into terminal! Make sure there is a space between the "P" at the end of the Exiftool command line, or it will return a bad command.

    5) Hit enter, and depending on the number of files, it could take some time, but it will write the Lens EXIF data right into the file.

    6) Once that's finished, with all the pictures still selected inside Lightroom, right click and choose "read metadata from file" and all your pictures will populate with the new lens metadata. The added benefit here, is now you can filter on legacy lenses inside Lightroom!

    You could also use EXIFtools to set the actual aperture you shot at for particular pictures, but I'm not OCD, and I change my aperture settings too much to keep track.

    Hope this is helpful to someone!

    Here's a screen shot from LR to show you the outcome:

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