How to create exif statistics for your photos

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If you have Adobe Bridge, you can display statistics such as how many times you used a certain focal length or which ISO speeds you use the most.

Adobe Bridge Screenshot

Screenshot of the Filter Panel in Adobe Bridge

But what if you wanted to use this information in another application or post it on your blog? Unfortunately, Bridge doesn’t let you export that information (or at least I couldn’t figure out how), and not everyone can afford Photoshop with Bridge anyway.

ExifTool to the rescue

Don’t worry there are free tools to achieve the same or even better:

ExifTool by Phil Harvey is the most powerful tool to read, edit and write any metadata of your photos. It can extract even more information from your exif data than Adobe Bridge itself, especially for proprietary RAW formats such as Nikon’s NEF.

Together with the Exif Stats Utility it allows you to extract any technical information stored in your photos you can think of, e.g. which lens or exposure time you used the most.

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Best way to transport your photo equipment including a 600mm/f4 lens

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When traveling by airplane, the size of the case and the weight of the photo gear is usually a big problem. Currently, luggage size on international flights is limited to an overall length of 157 cm (length + width + depth) and weight is limited to 23kg. Carry-on is limited to 115 cm (56 + 36 + 23 cm) and weight to 5-12kg, depending on the airline.
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Nikon versus Canon lenses: If weight is important.

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A few weeks ago Nikon announced the release of the new AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR. This is the first Nikon telephoto lens, which has basically the same weight as its Canon counterpart. It is Nikon’s lens with the best focal length to weight ratio. You get 176 mm per kilo. I also seems to offer superb image quality.  I updated the lens comparison charts accordingly.

Guyana’s Wildlife along the Rewa River

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I just returned from an amazing trip to the Amazonian jungle of Guyana. Together with friends and local guides I spent a month on the Rewa river searching for wildlife. Aside from many birds, insects, snakes, frogs and lizards, we got rewarded with outstanding sightings of tapirs, anacondas, capybaras, harpy eagles, an ocelot, a jaguar, giant river otters and even a puma.

Anaconda (Eunectes murinus) basking in the sun

Large anaconda (Eunectes murinus) curled up on a dead branch above the river taking in some sun light (Nikon D800, 105mm/f2.8, 1/750s, f8, ISO 1250).

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Using Nikon D800 for flying birds

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Over the last three weeks, I’ve been using the Nikon D800 to shoot birds on my vacation in Florida. Here are my unscientific and personal findings for shooting birds in flight from tripod and hand-held with some example photos below:

  • Auto ISO sensitivity control is bliss if you don’t use manual exposure mode. For birds in flight or any other wildlife in fast action, I normally have it set to: ISO sensitivity 100 (= minimum), Maximum sensitivity 1600, Minimum shutter speed 1/1600-1/2000. For slower moving or more static animals, 1/640 seconds seems to give good and sharp results. Of course if you have enough light go as fast as possible.
  • When using CF a general AF problem is that the focus point is often not on the eye. This is not specific to the D4/D800’s new AF system (Advanced Multi-CAM 3500FX). So just shoot and hope for the best.
  • The new AF system seems to be very fast and hunt less than the previous one, especially when the background is the sky.
  • With the new AF system I don’t need to overexpose +1 or +2 when shooting flying birds against the blue sky as with the old AF (Multi-CAM 3500DX).
  • You don’t need more than 4fps to capture wildlife in action (I already knew this before and couldn’t understand all the fuss about it being slow).
  • Having so many pixels at hand is really helpful, since it is easier to catch a bird in flight when it is further away, then just crop to get the right detail. This is a huge advantage over the D4 and I think far more relevant than the 4fps versus 10fps.
  • If you only want photos that are sharp down to pixel level, be prepared to have to throw away many of your shots (Be aware that this makes sense only if you plan to crop or print in gigantic dimensions).

Photos of flying birds using a tripod

All photos below were taken with the Nikkor 600mm/f4 VR mounted on a Gitzo Tripod GT5541LS with a head by Dietmar Nill.

Flying Great Egret (Ardea alba) with fish in beak

Flying Great Egret (Ardea alba) with a little fish in its beak. Taken at f5.6, 1/1600, ISO 640

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