One great thing about digital photos is that they are, well, digital. Providing that you have enough memory, you can take as many photos as you want, and the stinkers can be chucked immediately. But once you learn about the EXIF standard, you may want to start holding on to those photos, and use a program like EXIF-O-Matic to extract useful information from the photo file.
The EXIF standard (Exchangeable Image File Format) defines several types of data that can be stored in a digital image, and not all of it is image data. A typical EXIF-compatible file contains several sections of data, such as image data structure, image data characteristics, thumbnail info and information specific to the recording device that you are using. Although the standard can handle movie and audio files, EXIF-O-Matic focuses on images only.
EXIF-O-Matic Shows a Ton of Pic Info
(click for a larger image)
Some of the basic image data include horizontal and vertical resolution, measure of resolution, number of bits per pixel, orientation and so on. The more interesting data starts getting into some settings that you should be familiar with if you want to be an aspiring photographer, such as the exposure time, F-stop, ISO speed settings and focal length in millimeters. Some photos can change from stinkers to winners if you manage to get these values right. Why not compare the values from good and bad photos, and then you can figure out how to make them all good.
There's also some camera-specific info available. If you didn't happen to take the photo, you can find out what type of camera the picture was taken with, as well as the time and date the photo was taken. Or at least what the camera's time and date was set to. Plus, for the computer geek, you can usually view the revision of software in the camera, and the version of EXIF that it supports.
So find out what's inside those digital photos, and give EXIF-O-Matic a shot.
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John is a software engineer who works in the corporate R&D group of a Fortune 500 company, focusing on all aspects of communications technology. He has several degrees that claim he knows what he's doing when it comes to computers. After watching co-workers reinstall Windows, search for device drivers, and experience other horrors during the day, he's glad that he comes home to a Mac (compatible) computer. Have any comments, suggestions, or favorite Gadgets? Drop John a line at