What's the difference between file date and photo date?

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The following topic tries to throw some light on the general confusion of date values (The EXIF strategists added to the chaos by creating even more confusing names).


The following date values are used in Windows (1-2), CodedColor (1-7) and in the EXIF standard (5-7):







Explorer: File Properties



Storage of image file on disk

= date in Windows Explorer

Explorer: File Properties


ModificationDate, FileDate

Last change of image file in image editor

= date in Windows Explorer

Explorer: Database Panel


OrgDate (database)

File storage or time of photo

= DateTimePhoto

Explorer: Info Panel



Last change of image file in image editor

= Modified

Explorer: EXIF Panel


$132, DateTime

Storage of image file on camera chip

editable in annotation EXIF editor

Explorer: EXIF Panel


$9003, DateTimeOriginal

The time, the picture was taken with the camera


if empty, CreationDate is copied

Explorer: EXIF Panel



Digital conversion of the photo by the camera

editable in annotation EXIF editor


CodedColor improvement


Since the CreationDate in Windows is actually the birthdate of the file on the disk, and not the time when the picture was taken, CodedColor replaces it with the EXIF DateTimePhoto. This is done when the user first edits the image annotations.


So from that moment on, you see the actual shooting time of the picture, and not the time the file was created on the disk, i.e. moved from your camera storage to your PC.


This fix can be done for all records at once by calling Cleanup Database.


icon_tipMore Infos


Usually, all 3 EXIF date fields are identical, and the difference only applies to older cameras.


During Image Annotation and Database Cleanup, CreationDate and DateTimePhoto are set to equal, if one of the values is empty. Usually, you cannot edit this field manually in EXIF editors. CodedColor makes an exception, in order to allow you to correct false camera settings. Even in the EXIF Batch Conversion you can therefore edit all three EXIF date fields.


In Windows it is possible, that the ModificationDate of a file is jounger than the CreationDate. This can happen, if you move a file to another disk. For Windows, this file is "newly created" on the disk.


The top menuitem Tools > Restore Creation Filedates in the Explorer allows you to reset the filedates of all edited images in the current folder to DateTimeOriginal. That way, you can sort your images in the orignal creation order in applications like the Windows Explorer. You could also turn on Preserve original filedates when saving image changes in the Options > Image Editor dialog. That way, the filedate (modification time of the file) does not change when you edit and save the image in the Image Editor.





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