Every time you press the shutter release button, your camera writes data about the camera and its settings to a part of your image file called the EXIF data. This EXIF data includes information about the lens that you used, unless you happen to be using a Sony camera and one of the myriad lens adapters. Because the lens adapters from companies like Metabones or Fotodiox don’t communicate with the electric contacts from modern lenses, and/or allow for use of vintage pre-electronic lenses, the EXIF data for the lens often ends up being incorrect or blank.
Being a Sony-Canon hybrid photographer I use Canon lenses and Sony mirrorless bodies, so I was very interested to find out about the new, and free application LensChanger. The Metabones IV adapter I use does give some correct lens metadata but unfortunately it has to be added manually in Lightroom, which is easy if you are using one lens for the whole shoot but is more difficult if you swap out lenses.
LensChanger runs on both Windows and Mac and works by writing to the XMP sidecar files used in Lightroom (and other photo management applications) and while the instructions (listed below) seem a bit confusing, the application is actually pretty straightforward.
The developer, Nicolas Genette is not a native English speaker, so the product’s page and instructions are a bit awkward to read, but don’t let that throw you. This freeware app is a great tool for the Sony shooter with a collection of adapters and lenses.
Tested on Windows 7/SP1 Pro x64
Tested on OS X Yosemite
– In Lightroom, select all your photographs (library module, Catalog/All Photographs). You can also select only some photos on which you will run LensChanger .
– Press ctrl+S : This will ensure all xmp files will be synced with actual datas in catalogs.
Start LensChanger :
– Set Dir : select the directory where are your raws and xmp files.
– Check Recursive if you want to update xmp files into sub-folders.
– Set your lenses list according to what you want to change.
– Run ‘Rewrite lenses’ pr ‘Override’ and wait for finish.
– In Lightroom, select all photographs in library module (or all you updated with LensChanger).
– Right click one and select Metadata/Read Metadata from File.
All your raws files should now display lenses according to your choice in LensChanger.
Ok, back to LensChanger:
– Set Dir:
This button will open a window so you can indicate the main folder where you files are.
Rewrite function allow you to rewrite lenses into xmp files, jpg files, and tiff files. Just check the right option there. For example, if your folder contains some raws with their xmps, some jpgs and some tiffs, if you only check ‘xmps’, the LensChanger won’t even look at your jpg and tiff files.
LensChanger won’t change anything apart lens name information. For xmp files, it will of course keep all your develop settings in LightRoom, tags, rating, keywords etc …
– The « ? » button is an help button, which can direct you to this page or display full version number of LensChanger (for later updates).
Recursive option tell LensChanger to also look into sub-folders of the main folder you have set with ‘Set Dir’.
LensChanger will read lens in your files, and if you check ‘Backup’ option, before changing the lens in the file, it will duplicate myfile.xmp into myfile_LensChanger.xmp. Note that LensChanger never touch the raw files.
This button give you access to your lenses list. By default, I’ve included a list of some lenses I work with, as they are reported by my bodies, and how they should be reported. You can of course delete all these and make your own.
On the left, you have the lenses as reported by the camera. This is what LensChanger will look at in your files. If LensChanger find any of these, it will replace it by the right lens name. For each line, you can click into the name fields to modify them, and have a ‘Del’ button to remove it from the list. At the bottom, an ‘Add lens’ button to add a new line to the table. And finally, a ‘Save’ option which should be pretty obvious… Note that closing the list won’t automatically save it !
LensChanger will start to analyses files into your folder, check in each file the lens registered, compare it with your lenses list, and change it if necessary. A log window will appear to show you what LensChanger is doing at each step, and finally let you know it as finished.
Editing xmp files is fast, as these files are a few Ko. Editing jpgs and especially tiffs is lot slower, because LensChanger has to load each file to read its metadatas. If you check Backup option, it will also be slower, as it will duplicate heavy files before modify them. Backup on xmp files is also really fast.
LensChanger will override any lens in your file to a new lens from your choice. Once hitted ‘Override’, a popup ask you for the lens to override to. You can select one from your lenses list, or enter a new one.
– In xmp, jpg and tiff files, if no lens is specified in the file, it will specify it.
– For raw files in the folder(s) which have no xmp file yet (if it was never imported in a raw editing software yet), it will create a new simple xmp file with the lens data inside. This xmp will be taken by LightRoom when you import the raw file.
Tips: When using Override, it set lens option to first lens from your lenses list. You can set your top lens in the list to « Override » / « Your lens » so it select this one by default, and doesn’t interfere with Rewrite function.
– Manual Set : Let you select some files manually instead of an entire folder.
For Lightroom lens correction, select the right ‘Make’ in Develop/Lens Corrections. If you have set new name right it should take the right lens profile. Or select ‘Model’ manually. If you want Lightroom to automatically select this lens for other raws with same lens name, go to ‘Setup’ popup and select ‘Save New Lens Profile Defaults’.