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June 24, 2008

Mihov EXIF Renamer

OK. Canon farked me again last night when I uploaded my files. It started renumbering them from 0 again. Why? Sunspot activity, I assume. So, I finally broke down and installed and ran this Mihov EXIF Renamer that Robert told me to install over a month ago. I have to say it's pretty slick little utility. It also allows you to offset the time (like if you forget to change the time in your camera when you cross time zones or for daylight savings, etc.)

It creates a little log file when it performs the rename function, but the log file is so small it's illegible, and you have to copy and paste the text into something like notepad to be able to read it.

Surprisingly, when I use Microsoft's Image Resizer Powertoy, it apparently drops the EXIF data, so the rename fails on these files.

Also, when you attempt to change the input and output directories, you have to re-navigate from the root directory every time, which is a major pain.

The most serious problem that I'm seeing now, though, is that Resizer only works with .JPG files, and this is a problem because I shot a lot of raw images (.CR2) yesterday. So now I've got to figure out what to do with my raw images...

This webpage discusses some of the merits of the various programs available for renaming images with EXIF data.

The other problem that I'm having is choosing an optimum file renaming convention. This is not a small issue, as I shoot scads of images and even something as simple as renaming only the new files to be essentially a date time stamp introduces some new issues. For instance, I often want to upload several images to my website and post HTML links to them. The problem is that I don't have a batch upload link creator wizard for my website. It's possible that one exists for Movable Type....I have no doubt that there are several...but this means installing more software and screwing around with the website and, of course, what I really want to be doing is riding, not playing debugging web software on the PC.

So, if I'm going to post 6 images in the extended entry of a post, it's actually easier to create the HTML to do this if the file names are short and not overly unique. Introducing a time stamp means I have to do some fancy fingerwork to get all of the filenames right.

Before I go any further with EXIF Renamer, I'm going to use IrfanView to rename all of the files I shot yesterday.

Batch Rename with IrfanView:

Select: File - Batch Rename.
Work as: Batch rename
Select the "Look In" folder.
Files of Type = Comon Graphic Files (this does my .jpg files - i have to do .CR2 files separately)
Batch Rename Settings:Name Pattern = IMG_####
Batch Rename Settings:Options - Set starting Index (i.e.
Set output directory for result files
Click Add All
Click Sort Files: by name(ascending) - (i didn't do this at first and it hosed me)
Click Start Batch

I have to process the .CR2 files separately, as they have the same filename as the .JPG files since I'm shooting Large + Raw. So, I'll reprocess them as a separate batch and they'll get identical file numbers with a different file extension (I hope.)

As I'm going through this, I realize that I've lost some images. I shot some images when we went fishing with Charlie and Piper and Hudson on Saturday. Also, I lost some images of the military helicopters flying over Peaceful Hills.

So, I'm not exactly clear what happened, but I lost some images and then the camera started renumbering from IMG_0002.JPG. So, possibly my CF card crashed?

Now, I realize that I'll have to process my .CR2 files in two batches, as it only shoots Raw files while I'm in the "creative zone" of the camera. So, this sucks. Also, I noticed that I needed to sort the .CR2 files to get them to display in the right order in the IrfanView batch rename window. So now I'm wondering if I didn't manage to rename the .JPG files out of sequence?
Sure enough - the .JPG's were out of sequence so I resorted them and reran the batch rename for the .jpg files.

Ugh. Finally got everything renamed. The only thing I can guess is that the card crashed(?) and/or the camera forgot what the current image number was when I changed it by adding on the Canon Speedlite 580 EX flash apparatus. Maybe it got confused and lost a few images....there weren't many...I think there were about 5 helicopter photos and maybe 10 photos from the lake.

The nice thing about IMG_9999.jpg file format is that, although it's basically meaningless in and of itself, it is short and unique. So, renaming all of my files to "20080623_183122_Honda_XR_400_Trip_To_Rocky_Mountain_National_Park.JPG" isn't necessarily better. If the file is in a folder with a meaningful name, I could locate it that way. Alternately, I could in theory update the EXIF file with custom data. Or alternately, I'm sure I could upload them to FLICKR and tag them with unique tags. I dunno but it makes my head ache to think about solving it today and it's nice out and I want to go for a ride.

What I'll do in the meantime is copy my last image back into the camera so it starts numbering them correctly again and then pray that this doesn't happen again and go ride my motorcycle up in Clear Creek County in the national forest for the rest of the day. How's that for a plan?

Posted by Rob Kiser on June 24, 2008 at 9:52 AM


The nice thing about IMG_9999.jpg file format is that, although it's basically meaningless in and of itself, it is short and unique. So, renaming all of my files to "20080623_183122_Honda_XR_400_Trip_To_Rocky_Mountain_National_Park.JPG" isn't necessarily better.

But "20080623_183122.jpg" (14 characters) is also unique, and arguably better than "IMG_9999.jpg" (8 characters).

There is no need to add a descriptor such as "Honda_XR_400_Trip_To_Rocky_Mountain_National_Park" (48 characters) if length is an issue. After all, you're not adding it to IMG_xxxx.jpg now. Giving the folder a descriptive name is an option.

I didn't realize that Mihov's Exif Renamer didn't work with RAW (.cr2) files. Does IRfan View? The utility I use for Mac OS X does rename .cr2 files.

Posted by: Robert on June 24, 2008 at 6:51 PM

IrfanView does allow for batch renaming of .CR2 files in addition to the .JPG format. I have to do it in multiple passes in IrfanView though, as the increment feature on the rename would add one to the counter for each .CR2, which isn't what I wanted.

The problem with going with "20080623_183122.jpg" is that when I want to post six images in a single web page, instead of changing 1 or 2 digits for each image, I now have to study and analyze a more complicated date-time stamp for each image to see what changed.

So, in some ways, it is clearly better to rename them with the EXIF data, but in other ways, it's a step back. :(

Posted by: Rob Kiser on June 24, 2008 at 9:09 PM

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