Nikon recently introduced a new camera, the D4. Considered the company’s new flagship with (according to Nikon) improved image quality and modest improvements in performance. I am excited, but not for the reasons you might think (but my colleagues do think I like my gadgets). Among the “new” features is the ability to add IPTC information to images in the camera. I Love It! Is this new feature revolutionary or evolutionary?
No one disputes the idea that Metadata is important for finding content. In fact, I am a metadata freak. None of my personal images are stored on my local network without adding metadata to them immediately (if you don’t do it then, when will you do it?); and for those of you that have attended my training or webinars, you know I preach the importance of metadata.
So, I really welcome improved metadata handling in any form as part of an overall workflow, and most serious photographers will also appreciate it.
But is this new? Not really. My D3s Nikon has the ability to update copyright information and byline (author) information with every frame I make. That is a start. Most new pro cameras have had the ability to capture voice memos for some time, so that is not new. Voice memos would be a form of metadata, and in a digital asset management solution like Merlin, these memos can be converted to searchable text. In fact, the Associated Press’s NC2000 camera (remember that one?), which was introduced in 1994 in time to go to the 1994 Olympic Winter Games in Lillehammer, had the voice memo feature. There is a great story about an AP photographer being sent to Japan to cover an earthquake in 1995. He was not a Japanese speaker, but he was able to use the voice memo feature extensively by coaxing his Japanese subjects to speak their names into the camera.
Kodak DCS cameras had the ability for photographers to create ITPC information in advance on their computers, copy that file to the camera storage card (PC cards at the time), and have the camera apply that information on the fly to images as they were taken. It took advance planning, but again, what a great idea. More metadata is always better. (The irony that Kodak declared bankruptcy last week is not lost on me.) The D4 allows photographers to store 10 data presets, each containing 14 fields.
So, I welcome this evolutionary improvement of metadata handling. It will be especially interesting to see how it is implemented, whether Nikon’s tethered technology (the D4 may be accessed wirelessly or over Ethernet) takes advantage of this, allowing remote captioning of data from connected computers or if IPTC handling will be included as part of the rumored remote camera controls that may be offered through iPads and phones.
There should be no excuses for not have great searchable metadata associated with your photos.
Posted By David Breslauer
Photo by Nikon, Inc.