EXIF Data
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Old 08-19-2010   #1
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Default EXIF Data

As a newcomer to this forum and photography I have been trying to use EXIF data from photographs as a learning tool to determine both technique and equipment. Have found all sorts of info from old threads here but still remain somewhat confused.
Looks like any post processing using some kind of "save for the web" variant strips the data and "save as " doesn't. Since the majority of what I am trying to learn from is on the "web" it seems I am between a rock and a hard place. Besides the obvious pro's and successful non pros not wanting to publicise there technique are there other reasons for not making EXIF public.
What am I missing from the "save for the web" function by using "save as"? When I post on the web I would like to have people learn from my mistakes. Have seen several posts where the poster says they left exif data intact but using every tool I can Google on the net can't find it.

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Old 08-20-2010   #2
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Default Re: EXIF Data

If you use FireFox Mozilla has a EXIF Viewer plug-in that seems to work pretty good.
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Old 08-20-2010   #3
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Default Re: EXIF Data

"Save for the Web" does a couple of things designed to streamline the image size. These make the file size smaller to conserve space and decrease the transmit/receive time for viewing. It also removes "unnecessary" elements of the image, not the least of these is the EXIF.

There are a few other things that will strip the EXIF from the image. I believe using Auto Contrast in PS will do it as well.

Not many true professionals intentionally hide the information like its some proprietary secret. If disclosing the shutter speed, aperture, ISO are that secretive I feel sorry for ya. I believe we sometimes have steps in our work flow that rip off the EXIF so they get posted without it. Posting an edited image to the Camel might not be a high priority in a specific instance so taking time to work the image so the data stays intact wouldn't be thought through.

You are right that looking at the EXIF is a good way to evaluate technique. It is statistical data and when applied to previous knowledge and experience can really tell the tale about exposure issues. I check for it most times before offering advice.

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Old 08-20-2010   #4
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Default Re: EXIF Data

There are not only EXIF readers, there are EXIF writers too, like PhotoMe. So, what EXIF data you see, may not be the settings actually used.
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Old 08-20-2010   #5
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Default Re: EXIF Data

Thank you for the input. Would it be safe to say if your goal is streamlining for internet throughput and preserving exif data that reducing image size first then doing a "save as" would accomplish the same thing? I have used jpeg compressors also that seem to reduce file size well. Wasn't aware that auto contrast stripped exif and wonder how many more actions also do it as it seems like intact exif data is the exception not the rule.
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Old 08-20-2010   #6
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Default Re: EXIF Data

The thing with having the Exif information is in the Exif is a "thumbnail" copy of the original image (for instance if you took a shot of two people, and then cropped the image so only one is seen, you would still see the original two people in the thumbnail).

That "thumbnail" isn't a small image, it can be 1600x1200 range, which is a huge chunk of your file size (it may even be larger than the image you're trying to upload). It's a lot of wasted space in the file, space that can be used instead to post a higher quality version of the image.

In addition, many image sharing sites purposely strip the Exif off anyway, again to save space.
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Old 08-21-2010   #7
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Default Re: EXIF Data

I understand the the need to streamline for internet use but it Seems like a EXIF version with no thumbnail and just the basic data would be better utilized.
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Old 08-21-2010   #8
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Default Re: EXIF Data

Ah ha! So you have learned that using f/5.6 will make your photo perfect? I have been hiding that secret for decades.

What you learn from looking at photos, is what a good photo looks like. Us old guys had an advantage as they published millions of great photos in weekly magazines, until TV pretty much killed them.

"What f/stop are you using?", is the classical idiot question that working photographers have heard a thousand times, until they get tired of it and start replying, "What's an f/stop?".

OK, I will let the secret out, the proper f/stop is the one that goes with the ISO and shutter speed you are using to give the correct exposure. Now admittedly juggling those around can affect how you photos look, but I doubt you are going to figure that out by looking at the info for photos.

If you understand what it means you will already know pretty much what was used to make the photo without looking at the EXIF. Besides, nowadays it is often decided by a programmer in Pakistan who wrote the firmware for your Chinese manufactured Japanese auto camera.

By the way, how do you read the EXIF off of prints? Oh, no one bothers with prints anymore except housewives who take photos of their 2 year old.
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Old 08-21-2010   #9
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Default Re: EXIF Data

TR:
I realize there are no "silver bullets" that will take me from neophyte to pro instantly but have no hesitation in using every tool available to find out what it took to make a photograph look good to me.
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Old 08-21-2010   #10
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Default Re: EXIF Data

Bob,

You didn't say what system you are using ?

I'm on XP/IE and use Kuso to view exif data.

Cheers, Don


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