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Using the ExifTool Program

September 5, 2015

The exiftool program lets you extract all of the data out of your photographs into a text file by a simple drag-and-drop operation. This is a really easy way to get at exposure, lens, and camera data, plus much more.  You can find out how many total shutter-actuations your camera has done, the “Light Value” (or EV) of the scene, the depth of field, whether you used phase-detect or contrast-detect, etc. 

What you can’t get is the Nikon lens serial number, although you do get the camera serial number.

It’ kind of cool that my Sigma 150-600 Contemporary lens data even gets correctly decoded while on my Nikon.

I can give it my RAW files directly, plus a bunch of other formats.

You can get this free program here

The author is Phil Harvey.  Please thank him! Thank you, Phil.

Phil’s software can do many things beyond what I mention here, but here’s how I use it in Windows (Mac OS-X is supported).

  • Select the exiftool.exe file in Windows Explorer

  • Right-mouse click and select Copy and paste into the same directory.

  • Right-mouse click exiftool –Copy.exe and rename it:

exiftool(-a -u -g1 -w txt).exe


Now, all you have to do is go to a directory with photos and drag/drop a file onto the

exiftool(-a -u -g1 -w txt).exe program.


You will get a text file (same name as the dropped file, but with a .txt extension) placed right next to the original photograph file. Simple and elegant.



Sample Data From Typical Output Text File








This program is really, really useful.  It's also a real eye opener to know just how extensive the amount of data kept in every photograph really is.  Thank you Phil Harvey!



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