January 29, 2006
Tip: Make raw files’ EXIF data searchable with DNG
My colleague Fergus Hammond made an interesting discovery while using Mac OS X’s Spotlight feature to hunt for EXIF data in his photos. It seems that Spotlight can’t find the EXIF in some raw formats, but dropping images onto the free DNG Converter makes their metadata readable by Spotlight (not to mention making the image data itself compatible with numerous DNG-aware applications).
I tried an experiment with a handful of Nikon NEF’s from a D2X, and sure enough, converting to DNG made their EXIF data visible to Spotlight; here’s a screenshot. Now, I should mention that I’m not an expert on Spotlight’s capabilities, but these results seem in line with a document on the Apple site that lists “GIF, JPEG, PNG, TIFF, EXIF, DNG” as Spotlight’s supported image formats. On my system (OS 10.4.4) Spotlight can find EXIF data in some (but not all) CRW and CR2 files, so your mileage may vary.
In any case, converting the D2X NEFs to DNG cut the size of each from 19.3 to 11.1MB–a clear benefit in and of itself.