EXIF data being stripped .NEF→.DNG

  I do not know how long this has been going on, but I have just become aware that in processing a .NEF file from a Nikon D3200, into a .DNG file, Photo AI 1.4.2 is stripping out a large portion of the EXIF data.  Attached is what appears to be the relevant log, as well as output from EXIFTOOL on the original file DSC_7765.NEF and on the output fil from Photo AI, DSC_7765-topaz-denoiseraw-sharpen.dng.  Almost half of the EXIF data are missing from the latter.

2023-07-24-06-14-33.tzlog (360.1 KB)
DSC_7765.NEF.exif.txt (9.3 KB)
DSC_7765-topaz-denoiseraw-sharpen.dng.exif.txt (5.0 KB)

  Look for the file DSC_7765.zip that I uploaded to your DropBox via the link in the Photo AI 1.4.2 release thread.

Topaz Photo AI v1.4.2 on Windows

Thanks for sending the files. I verified and was able to reproduce. I made a task for my team to look into this.

I can follow up once I have more information about this.

I spoke with my team and it looks like we do not copy the MakerNotes exif data to the output DNG. This is intentional as the MakerNotes can cause issues with other metadata.

Are your files missing any important information?

  I haven’t examined the data to see just what is missing; just a rough comparison to show that a very large part of it is missing; in the example that I uploaded, nearly half of it.

  I have to admit that I have no clue at all what this “makerNotes” issue is.  Can that really account for half of the EXIF data that ought to be in my output, that are getting stripped out?  Since discovering the issue, I’ve been using EXIFTOOL.to copy all the data from the input file to the output file, in order to correct your software’s erroneous removal of these data; but that is clumsy and inefficient.

  Can you at least give me an option that I can set, to tell Photo AI •NOT• to strip out any of the EXIF data?

  Perhaps you can give me some explanation that might help me understand why your software is stripping out all these data, and what issue sit is supposedly protecting me from; but from what I can see, there is no legitimate reason at all for this behavior.  I am certainly not experiencing any issues farther down my process that can be traced to there being EXIF data in my files that is causing problems.

  If there truly are EXIF data in any of my original files, for which there is any reason that they should be stripped out, then that ought to be a job for some separate software that I would run for that purpose and intent, knowing what I am stripping out, and not for some program like Photo AI doing it without my knowledge, consent, or choice.

MakerNote is a tag manufacturers can add to their files. They are not standardized at all and usually not useful for anyone other than the manufacturer.

I asked my team about the exact reason why we remove it. The developer who handles this will be back next week.

If we found that the exif data was needed or useful we would leave it. In this case it seemed that it was better to remove it than to leave it. The rest of your exif data is left as is.

  Removing any data, for any reason, from my files, is something that should only be done by my choice, by my knowledge.

  It is just plain wrong for any program to be doing this to my files behind my back, without letting me know that it is doing it or why, and without giving me any choice in the matter.  This is malware-type behavior, and not anything that a legitimate program should ever be doing.

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To my knowledge the output is worse with the MakerNote information. I will have more information when the developer comes back.

  That is my call to make; and not something that the producer of any software that I use along the way should presume to make for me without my knowledge or consent.

  Most of my pictures don’t go through Photo AI. I start editing from the .NEF right out of the camera.

  Whatever EXIF data are in the original .NEF, along with whatever other data I add along the way, are all in the final product.  And now, I am having to use EXIFTOOL to repair the vandalism that Photo AI is doing to my files when I use it.

One thing that Lingyu forgot to mention is that MakerNote’s are Nikon specific and therefore are not relevant in DNGs, TIFFs, PNGs or JPEGs. And that ExifTool drops this data when copying.

You may want to check on Phil Harvey;s ExifTool website.

  If that’s the case, then it’s not just the MakerNotes that are getting stripped out.

  As I said, I haven’t done the sort of comparison to determine just what is getting stripped out, but there are a •LOT• fewer EXIF data in the outputs files that I am getting out of Photo AI compared to the .NEF files that I am putting into it, and most of it is getting copied back when I use EXIFTOOL to copy from the .NEF to the .DNG.


From a developer:

“There is a lot of metadata that can be in makernotes that can conflict with other metadata. We had an issue at one point with like color temperature where makernotes and xmp differed and the only way to fix was to ignore makernotes version.”

This is an issue with crop and other properties as well. The output with Makernotes could be UNUSABLE or require more editing to fix than if we output without Makernotes.

I have compared the NEF and DNG output, the only thing missing is MakerNotes. I encourage you to compare the metadata on both files and to check if the Makernotes missing actually changes anything important.

We made this change a long time ago and have not had any issues with metadata due to excluding Makernotes in the output.

If you are using Exiftool to copy the metadata directly then yes it could copy everything.

  For good or ill, I have to stand on my original position, that it is just plain wrong for your software to be stripping data out of my files without my knowledge or consent.  The intent may be good, but it simply does not justify it.

  At the very least please give me a choice, please give me a setting that I can choose in the software, to tell it not to vandalize my files in this manner.

  What is offensive to me here, is not the intent or the effect, but that fact that you are arrogantly making this choice for me, contrary to what I would choose, and what I have every right to choose, and giving me no easy way to enforce my choice.

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I agree. I’ve only just realised that basic exif information- Camera make and model - in my case Nikon 7200 - is being stripped by Topaz AI. I can see no reason for this at all except that Topoaz wish to claim the entire photo is due to them (AI) and not the camera which is pretty daft given a camera is required for a photo to come into existence - at least in this case. I find the response from Topaz - that exif data is not required, totally bizarre. I post my photos in the public forum where it’s important to state what camera and lens one is using. I wish Topaz would actually listen to its clients. I’m going to look around now to see if theirs an alternative to Topaz and if there’s not one now, as soon as one comes alone I’ll be switching. I mean, stripping camera make and model? Makes no sense at all.

  To reiterate my original complaint; it is absolutely •NOT• Topaz’s place to strip any data from my pictures, without my full knowledge and consent; and it is just plain wrong, and unethical, for it to presume to do so.

  At most, I would consider it reasonable for Topaz’s software to put up a warning, that it believes that some of the data in my files might cause issues, and ask me for permission to strip it out. But even if it does that, I want the option to disable any such behavior, and to have it pass all data along without further bothering me about it.

  I haven’t previously looked to see specifically which data are being stripped from my images; just to note that the amount of EXIF data in images that have been processed through Photo AI are much fewer than what are in the input files going into Photo AI. In most cases, the majority of data are being stripped out.

  Just now, I had a look at an example, and saw that the camera make and model was still there (Nikon D3200), but a few data for which I looked were missing.  One in particular, the camera serial number is of some importance because there is a service that I use that tries (alas, not very well) to watch on the net for images taken with my camera, to let me know where my images are showing up.  The camera serial number is rather crucial to this purpose. If the serial number is not there, then this service cannot identify it as one of my pictures.


  The new 2.0.0 version is still stripping data out of my files.  Has anything been done to address this serious issue?

  As I become more aware of just which data are missing from the output files, it becomes increasingly clear to me that the excuse about “Maker Notes” is incorrect.  There is absolutely no legitimate reason for Photo AI to be stripping ANY EXIF data from my files without my knowledge or consent, and now against my very clearly-expressed will.

  This issue very much needs to be corrected, ASAP.

  If you continue to delusionally believe that there is any reason why Photo AI should be vandalizing our files in any such manner, then please at least make it a user-selectable option.

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FYI see the comments by Phil Harvey the EXIF tool creator …

  Whatever the excuses, my position remains the same, that there is no valid reason why any software should be stripping these data out without the user’s knowledge and consent.

  EXIFTOOL itself does not presume to do so, and it is EXIFTOOL that I am using to repair the damage that Photo AI has been doing to my files by inappropriately removing these data.

  Again, if you disagree, if you really think that it is appropriate for Photo AI to be vandalizing its users’ file in this manner, at least have the decency to make it a user-selectable option, rather than irrevocably forcing this vandalism on me against my clearly-expressed will.

I don’t work for the company just showing you that even Adobe cannot help with Maker Notes. Also I have never had any of my Camera Serial numbers stripped out. And I did check by taking a snapshot before sending the image to Photo AI, then checking on return. That includes Fujifilm, Canon and Sony cameras.

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  For what use it may be to others, here is what I have been doing to repair the damage that Photo AI does to my image files, by inappropriately stripping EXIF data out of them.

 I have a batch filed called cpexif.bat

  This is what it contains:

exiftool -TagsFromFile %1 %2
move /y %2_original %temp%

  Of course, I also have EXIFTOOL installed.

  If DSC_0000.NEF is my original file, and DSC_0000-topaz.DNG is the output file produced by Photo AI, then I run this command, from a command line, in the same directory containing both files:

cpexif DSC_0000.NEF DSC_0000-topaz.DNG

  This copies all the EXIF data from DSC_0000.DNG back to DSC_0000-topaz.DNG, including the data that Photo&nsbp;AI vandalized this file by inappropriately removing.

  I should not have to perform this extra step with every file.  There is no legitimate reason why Photo AI should be stripping these data out in the first place, at least not without giving me an option to tell it not to do so.  But as long as Photo AI’s developers arrogantly feel entitled to dictate what EXIF data to allow to remain in its customers’ files in defiance of the clearly-expressed wishes of those customers who have spoken up on the matter, this is ho to repair the damage that it insists on inflicting.