I’d always been rather satisfied with Aperture 3’s metadata views until I started shooting the X100. Why? Because the EXIF data in Aperture doesn’t include Fuji’s proprietary film simulation info (available in JPEG mode). And while it was frustrating on the X100, it’s become more of an issue with the X-Pro1 since I tend to play with these a lot more, especially the two Pro-Neg simulations which I’ve become quite fond of. In fact, my studio preset is based on Pro-Neg Std (with raw as a backup).
Being able to check on this from Aperture had never been a mission critical problem so I hadn’t spent much time trying to find a solution. Until I stumbled on RPP this week.
The latest version of the free (donations accepted) Raw Photo Processor supports X-Pro1 raf files and I downloaded it to do some quick tests. I have to commend Andrey Tverdokhleb for creating such a powerful application and sharing it with the community. The results are impressive but unfortunately in the end, it doesn’t really fit my workflow. Still hoping for Apple to come through on that one eventually.
However, while performing these tests I noticed the massive EXIF section at the bottom of the app window… And lo and behold: there was a film simulation entry. Which meant the EXIF data DID contain the info I was looking for - and Aperture was simply not reading it. I hate when that happens.
Anyway, long story short: this info is contained in a subset called MakerData and apparently not all apps bother to access it. But I’ve found a solution: Phil Harvey’s ExifTool.
As its name implies, ExifTool centers on one thing: EXIF data. It’s a powerful but very barebones application. In fact in Mac OSX it’s a command line application, which means you access it through the Terminal. Not my cup of tea. Fortunately, once you’ve installed EXIFTools (it’s a standard Mac installation package) you can use a set of droplets created by Rob Lewis which bypasses the Terminal entirely. You just drag and drop a picture on one of the droplets and the file’s entire EXIF metadata appears in either a dialog window or a new text document. Very handy.
Not only do you get the film simulation info, but everything under the sun including two separate entries for dynamic range: the first describing which mode you were in, the second displaying the actual compression ratio that was used (useful when you were set to Auto). You can even see how many faces were detected along with their coordinates. I kid you not. It’s crazy extensive.
I’ve added the “List” droplet to my Dock, so anytime I need a picture’s info I right-click in Aperture, choose Show in Finder (I use a referenced library) and drop the file onto the droplet. Boom! A window opens containing ALL the EXIF info. Here’s what I mean (I’m about half-way down the window):
I know this is all very geeky. But I like being able to go back and check on this stuff once in awhile and it always felt like a deficiency in my process. Like something had a memory lapse along the way.
I’m not sure why Aperture picks and chooses the info we can access. It should all be available as far as I’m concerned, at least in custom metadata views.
One more for the wish list I guess… ;)