Online Exif (Image Data) Viewer

Since I'm getting more interested in photography and understanding cameras and techniques, I find myself wanting to know the details under which a photo was taken. Modern digital cameras encode a lot of such data — shutter speed, lens focal length, etc. — into the image file, generally called “Exif Data” (“Exif” stands for “Exchangeable Image File Format” and as an acronym would normally be written as “EXIF”, but the standard creators explicitly say that it should be written “Exif”, which is nice.).

As of Dec 2016 this tool has moved to http://exif.regex.info.

So, I wrote a little online Exif viewer to view whatever data might be encoded. Here's a screenshot using the viewer on a picture from a recent post:

screen capture of Jeffrey's Exif viewer in action

That's just the summary — you can see the full data using the tool itself.

The amount of data encoded in the image is quite variable. Many times there's just about nothing, as the data is stripped somewhere along the way. Here's a version of the previous picture with most data missing. It's missing because it's a smaller version that's meant for web display, and for such use the data just makes the file bigger and slower to download.

Geoencoded photos get links in the summary area to Google Maps and the like, and below that is an embedded Google Maps pane. With either, you can switch between Satellite and Map, and zoom, etc..

You can also check images on your local hard drive — images directly from a camera generally have the most information. Give it a try!

If you're using Firefox or Safari, you have the added benefit that you can install an Exif-viewer button on your button-bar toolbar. Once you've done that, later, when you're viewing a page with an image you want to check out, just click the button and you'll be whisked to a new tab showing the image's data. I find this really useful. It doesn't work in IE, though, sorry.

I use the viewer a lot on images I see in the Digital Photography Review Samples and Galleries forum. Lots of nice pictures in there. Many have their Exif data stripped, but many do not.

Finally, I should note that my viewer makes use of Phil Harvey's most excellent Image::ExifTool library. Thanks Phil!


All 10 comments so far, oldest first...

There is a camera which hash GPS integrated into it. No more manual geocoding.

http://personaltechpipeline.com/news/57702442

— comment by Yogish Baliga on February 25th, 2006 at 8:52am JST (11 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Built-in GPS is cool, but at this stage I don’t think I’d like it built in unless I knew it was at least as good/accurate/fast as the current crop off GPS handhelds.

My Nikon D200 can be hooked directly to a GPS unit and automatically encode pictures with the appropriate data…. but I don’t use it that way. (To have something teathered to the camera would be fairly awkard, I think).

As for manual geoencoding, I don’t do that, either.

What I do: I have my GPS unit keep a track updated every second or so. When I get home, I correlate the data from the track with the pictures (via the picture timestamp). While I’m updating the Exif data with the GPS stuff, I also add my name and copyright and human-readable location info (e.g. Kyoto Japan).

The downsides of what I do is that I must be sure that the camera clock is set correctly (the GPS clock will always be correct when its talking to the satellite), and that I must remember to bring my GPS unit, and remember to turn the tracking on, and must be sure that I download the track before its memory fills. I’d certainly like not to have these downsides, but I think it’ll be a while before a built-in GPS unit will be good enough yet small enough to add to a full-size SLR to make it a real value…..

— comment by Jeffrey Friedl on February 25th, 2006 at 9:12am JST (11 years, 10 months ago) comment permalink

Was just reading one of your posts in the Digital Photography Review forums :

http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1018&message=16751765

and was wondering how you planned to deal with the timezone info. I have a Nokia 3650 camera phone (which takes pretty decent pictures) that does not save EXIF data. It does however create a modification date in UTC , which I can then inject into the EXIF data with ExifTool. But how to indicate the time zone? I will most likely leave the time in UTC, and set TimeZoneOffset to EST (-5), which is the time zone where most of my pictures “live”….Tom

— comment by Tom Karches on March 13th, 2006 at 1:21pm JST (11 years, 9 months ago) comment permalink

Hi Jeffrey,

Your EXIF tool is fantastic. But I do have a question about how you’re obtaining a timezone offset. I suspect it’s via the XMP headers which I assume are simply set by whatever Adobe program I happen to be using. And set to be the same as the timezone offset of the machine on which the photo was processed. Am I totally off base?

Ted

— comment by Ted Chen on July 25th, 2006 at 11:54pm JST (11 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

The viewer’s timezone stuff is sort of random, because timezone data within the Exif data is random. The Exif standard does not provide for timezones, which is just an amazing oversight as far as I’m concerned. When I asked a member of the committee about it, he asked “why would you need timezone information? Could you give an example where it’d be useful”. Arrrrgh.

Some programs do insert timezone info in the data in various ways. Adobe Photoshop assumes all images are in the machine-local timezone, and so adds that timezone (turning data that’s vague into data that’s perhaps wrong).

Until there’s clear direction as to what should be done, my online viewer remains sort of random WRT timezone stuff. I should at least update the output to indicate that timezone stuff is random, though….

— comment by Jeffrey Friedl on July 26th, 2006 at 3:38am JST (11 years, 5 months ago) comment permalink

How do you merge the GPS data? I’ve been thinking of coming up with something like this but it seems like I’d end up manually merging all the data in, which is more work than I want to do at this point. If there were some way to automade adding the GPS info I’d be all for it though.

— comment by Rahim Anderson on January 1st, 2007 at 3:18pm JST (10 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink

Rahim, I wrote my own little script to do it, but I know that there are scripts and apps out there that will do it. Try
a search and you’ll find some.

— comment by Jeffrey Friedl on January 1st, 2007 at 4:07pm JST (10 years, 11 months ago) comment permalink
My Nikon D200 can be hooked directly to a GPS unit and automatically encode pictures with the appropriate data…. but I don’t use it that way. (To have something tethered to the camera would be fairly awkward, I think).

Tethering recently got less awkward. I’m finally considering it:
http://www.dawntech.hk/di-GPS/n2.htm

Moose’s blurb:
http://www.moosepeterson.com/moosenews/archives/2007/06/23/coolest-tool-ever-062307/

And Bjørn’s review:
http://www.naturfotograf.com/GPS_review.html

Thanks for the great information, dww. That unit looks quite nice, and it seems to be a great solution for many. I think I’ll still opt for the untethered approach because it offers much more flexibility at little cost (at least, little cost to me… YMMV). I’m at the point of probably soon replacing my Garmin GPSmap 60cs because of it’s old GPS antenna not being as fast or sensitive as the newer models. I’d probably just get the newer “60csx” model except for the worthless barometric altimeter. So, what to get…..? Now, if Nikon built the GPS into the camera…. 🙂 —Jeffrey

— comment by dww on June 26th, 2007 at 10:46pm JST (10 years, 6 months ago) comment permalink

Nice tool. We use it in our photography forum. Thanks.

— comment by Angel on September 18th, 2008 at 2:39am JST (9 years, 3 months ago) comment permalink

I have a picture with blacked info, which is uploaded , And posted.
I would like to know if iT Is possible to get THE picture without anything on iT ?

No, unless there’s a clear embedded thumbnail, which this tool would have shown. —Jeffrey

— comment by Manso on December 23rd, 2015 at 7:41pm JST (2 years ago) comment permalink
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