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"When did I shoot this??" - Date Imprints or Lack Thereof
Old 02-13-2018   #1
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"When did I shoot this??" - Date Imprints or Lack Thereof

Digital photography has spoiled me with automatically embedded EXIF data. While looking through a few batches of film scans, I began to wonder when I took those images. As the images were taken months apart on the same roll, and that roll processed months after I finished it, I wasn't sure at all when the images were taken.

I had to go through my digital images to find the scenes and possible contexts, and sometimes I was successful, sometimes not. Shooting with film was such an event in those times (late 2000's) that I even made notes in my journal that I had used the T3 or Ikon on particular days. This helped me figure out when I shot.

But the dates of some images remain elusive.

One solution is to shoot with cameras that have data backs. I only have a few cameras that do this, and only one of them is a camera I'd really consider using on a regular basis, the Fuji Natura Black. I also have a Nikon L35AD but I can't work out how to change the battery in the data back!

No film camera that uses M-mount lenses records date in the image. My best bet for a camera of that form factor would be the Contax G2, but data backs are separate.

A Nikon 35Ti or 28Ti would be great options for the future, assuming they print accurate dates for the next ten years or so.

I understand that a number of Nikon, Canon and Contax SLR's had date imprinting, but that's a bunch of lenses and weight I'm not keen to take up.

Another possibility is to shoot an identical digital image very soon after, which would allow me to place a film image in visual context. It's a bit messier, but it more or less works.

Any thoughts?
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Old 02-13-2018   #2
David Hughes
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Hi,

You don't seem to get through a lot of film, so why not just buy a notebook and write the details in it?

As for date backs, they stopped making cameras sometime in the 90's - with a few exceptions - and so the date range available won't last long. I've one or two that can't be used for this reason.

What you really need to know is the date range of them all and that might be difficult without seeing the instruction manual before buying.

Also, I remember some of my cameras had to be returned to the makers for the back's battery to be removed and replaced. Others had a tiny rechargeable battery inside (as computers do) to store the dates but they often fail due to their age, life and usage.

Regards, David
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Old 02-13-2018   #3
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Thanks, David. Honestly, I'm a bit lazy about writing details of what I shot and when, although I'm more likely to make those notes in my journal in the evening or next day or so. I could create a separate section for film images taken with different cameras... hey, this could work. Thank you for that suggestion.

I'll activate the date stamp on my Fuji Natura Black and clone out the date stamp if I have to, haha.
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Old 02-13-2018   #4
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All part of the service.

If it will help; when I've two cameras with film in at the same time I take a picture of the other camera to help identify the negative strip. I hope it's obvious why...

REgards, David
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Old 02-14-2018   #5
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I'd use a smartphone to snap a few images while out shooting film to correlate to those images.

Depending on how comfortable you are with the idea, you can turn on the 'personal timeline' in Google Maps on your smartphone and it will keep track of your travels each day. Sometimes it works very well and sometimes it's not very detailed, but I have used it to re-remember where and when I've been. Yes, there's the 'big brother' aspect of it all...

If you're not a big fan of smartphones due to the big brother aspect, you can still use one but not connected to the network. The camera will work and GPS should also work independently as it's a passive system; the phone receives signals from the GPS satellites, which should still embed in the photo EXIF (though I have not tested this, but I have used GPS to follow on offline maps when no network connection was available, i.e. on a flight or while hiking remote areas). The reason a smartphone comes to mind is it's compact and easy to carry along day-to-day while out shooting with other gear. It also makes for a good clock, flashlight, etc.
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Old 02-15-2018   #6
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@rscheffler - I recently turned on Google location timeline and I'm frankly astounded by the convenience. I'm an avid user of the Maps app because I have to drive a lot of places for work, but now I get a day by day breakdown of exactly where I went, and when. If only I'd had something like this, well, all my life. I can think of any number of trips and times when I would love to know exactly where I've been. The Big Brother aspect does bother me somewhat, though. Too late now, I guess.
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Old 06-24-2019   #7
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FWIW, as I posted on another thread here, META35 will NOT be upgraded to work on 64bit OS's. I have that from the software's author.
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