Photolab and Adobe DNG files - archiving old formats

Those tags are written to the imagefile in the iptc section. As far as I could see. But raw-files are not supported.


For me a reason not to use that program.

Changing the name of your file means that all existing references to that file are invallid.


True, however the utility app I have written renames all files with what I call the same root name so that any edits stored in xmp and or dop files remain valid.

There’s more outside your dam or editing software. Backups by example, communication with others etc. I don’t think it’s a wise idea to make your filename ‘flexible’.
I use 2 pc, on both I work local. I synchronize with the nas. When I delete or rename a file I have to pay attention that the old files aren’t copied back again. On both pc’s.


A valid observation for people who use a similar workflow.

The word synchronize has always had the potential to cause issues especially if more than one application is involved. I’m not advocating frequently changing the filenames, just that it can be done if required. Also, if it is an issue there is no reason why the front portion of the file name can’t be used to discover if the exists in a second location but with different keywords as the date time and original camera name in the filename will be unique. How to decide which is the most recent name is more of a challenge as I don’t think changes to the filename modify the dates associated with the file.

best wishes


My 2 cents: converting to DNG just for archiving makes little sense to me.

If in a few years, your RAWs can’t be processed, you’d still have time to convert with Adobe DNG converter.
If Adobe DNG converter doesn’t exist anymore… then it would probably mean that DNG is dead too…

DNG is great for in-camera RAW, for example some smartphones would probably not be supported by a lot of RAW software if it wasn’t DNG (they are not supported in DxO though… and it’s a pity).

Crikey! This thread has gone a long way since I last looked in. So much thought going into this.

One thing that occurred to me… if the problem with EXIF/IPTC is the proprietary nature of its contents, isn’t using .dop files just recreating that problem? As in, “all these files can’t agree on what is what, so I will create my own unique variation, too.”

Just a thought. There may be no good answer to the problem without industry-wide cooperation.

Exactly! In many ways we the consumers have been sold what is at best a prototype. Both EXIF and IPTC are well documented but the manufacturers refuse to document their own camera formats.

I have written to Olympus, Panasonic and Nikon asking for advice on their view about writing IPTC data directly to their raw formats. Nikon have not replied, Olympus say its o.k. if using their software and Panasonic wrote “The camera developers do not release technical data about RAW files.” strange, I thought they were the camera developers, I must have been confused by the name “Panasonic” that is written all over my camera.

I am trying to think what happens to my images once I am no longer around to curate my collection. It is a sad fact that after almost two decades of digital imaging the best solution for long term archiving is the same as the Victorians used i.e. printing the images to high quality acid free paper and storing them in dark rooms.

All people can view prints, a medium number of people can view files on a computer, a smaller number of these know how to use DAM software. Food for thought ?

best wishes

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An example:

In the first Gulf War “Desert Storm” of 1990, the RAF deployed two prototype recce pods, the system was named TIALD and the pods were nick named “The Fat Slags” after two cartoon characters in the popular magazine “Viz”.

TIALD was digital and underwent undocumented rapid development during the conflict. It produced many air to ground images for the use of allied forces.

Time passed and as soon as the year 2000 the images taken by TIALD became unavailable because the hardware used to store the images had failed and the format of the images had been forgotten. The images are lost to history.

Compare this example with the millions of wet film images taken during world war two. These are very much available and frequently used in history programs and by researchers.

When we write about file formats such as raw being available for a long time I would like to remind people of files I wrote using “Computer Concepts” word processor (BBC Micro), or documents written using Word Perfect 5 or Wordstar. Then spreadsheets created using “PipeDream” running on the first ARM powered computer when ARM stood for “Acorn Reduced Instruction Set Machine” (which blew the socks off any MSDOS machines of the day). All the data I once stored on 5 ¼ inch floppies, or 20Mbyte Winchester disks, Zip disks, the list goes on and on. Most of it lost. Fortunately most of it rubbish.

Worth thinking about once one reaches a certain age, especially when being stalked by a nasty virus.

best wishes and stay well,

…it all depends on who you and your expectations are. Some people value other people’s rubbish.

Anyway, electronic archives need to be migrated from time to time as systems and technologies evolve, no way around it. Today’s formats might well be lost after tomorrow, and as far as my personal experience goes, you best select the optimal data format when you migrate to the next archive technology - and accept that some info might still be lost in the process. All that is not migrated will be lost, unless we use human readable formats (prints) and store them accordingly.

a sort of digital erosion ?

Maybe. Often it is a matter of what you can give up in order to attain something.

Good old time when my ancestors draw pictures on rocks 1000’s of years ago. They are still found and can be seen. All those wonderful paintings from a few hundred years ago. The only tool we need are our eyes.
My images are mine. I don’t have the illusion anybody will take care of them after I’m gone. If I want to be remembered later the only solution will be the printed version and hope somebody will find them sometime in the attick or in the basement in a shoe box. For the time being.

In the Nikon software it was common to write the keywords in the raw file. Nikon left that part of commerce since the Nik-software was sold to Google. Camera’s up to the D750 are still supported in that software. Keywords added that way or using Exiftools in the iptc section are read by DxO. They are not written to that section but to the xmp section. I think it’s the dominance of Adobe.


That’s not a problem; they are accepted standards.

True, however if your keywords have been written back to the image, then any file management software capable of searching file contents can search for images that contain particular keywords.

True, but it seems that while some apps can and do store IPTC data in the original raw file the process is not supported by the owners of the file formats, when not Olympus, Panasonic or Nikon. Also editing a single keyword will mean that the large raw has to be written to back up. So you pays your money…


Also true, however since all the good DAM software will write to them without problems, that really needn’t be a concern.

Which software? I ask because the few that I have looked at seem to write to sidecar. Mind you I could have missed a preference setting or other command. PhotoMechanic does, but is not yet a full blown DAM application.

These are the leading 3 mentioned earlier

Thanks for that. Only Photo Supreme runs on MacOS and it uses a non-standard interface but it does have preference which appears to mean that it writes keywords into the raw files.

However, I’ve had a brief play with Photo Supreme and I don’t think its for me. The use of non standard terminology is unhelpful and I suspect that while in the past the use of “catalog tags” was an improvement over other applications this advantage has been implemented by other apps in the form of hierarchical keywords.

Also, try as I might I am unable to get it to write back to Panasonic raw files; it just updates the .xmp file. Looking at the release notes I see a reference to macros with ExifTool so my guess is that PhotoSupreme uses ExifTool to do any writing to raws although as I say I can’t get to do the write despite ticking the preference setting.

best wishes