Tag Archives: Mac

Changing Unknown Camera Models in Aperture

I use Aperture to manage my photos, and like most people, I use digital cameras. These record all kinds of information in the image file when a picture is taken – camera make, model, date, time, GPS location (if the camera supports this), and so on. This information is useful when reviewing pictures later on. This information is usually referred to as EXIF info.


However, if you have an analogue camera, then this data isn’t recorded. After scanning the negatives and importing them into Aperture, selecting a picture in Aperture’s browser viewer shows “Unknown Camera”. What is worse is the data is not editable within Aperture – so I can’t add the necessary information at this point.

There is a way to do this. This tutorial assumes that you have already imported images into Aperture and want to change this information afterwards. You will need that Swiss Army Knife of graphic software – Graphic Converter – http://www.lemkesoft.com/content/188/graphicconverter.html. There is a command line tool for changing EXIF data if you like a lot of typing in the Terminal application. GC 7 provides a handy UI for this kind of thing.

I would recommend doing this on a project by project basis to help keep things organised.


Step 1 – select all the images in Aperture you want to change. Then, go to Relocate Masters… in the File menu. This will let you move the masters outside of Aperture’s library to somewhere where you can get to them. I’d suggest a temporary folder on your Desktop, but anywhere in your User folder should be fine.


Step 2 – In Graphic Converter, go to File>Browser. This will open up GC’s Browser. Locate the images you relocated in Aperture.


Step 4 – Select all the images and click on the Action drop-down tool, and select Edit or Add EXIF Data…


Step 5 – A dialogue window will open – add in the Make and Model of the camera. Click the OK button. Graphic Converter will then add this information to the file.


Step 6 – In GC’s Browser window, you can check that the EXIF data has been correctly changed by using the panel to the lower right of the window. Click on the EXIF tab to see the camera make & model.


Step 7 – Return to Aperture, and with all the images selected, right click on one and select Update from Masters in the contextual menu that appears.


At this point, your EXIF Info in Aperture should now reflect the camera make and model entered in Graphic Converter. You can always return to GC and add more data if you need to, remembering to Update from Master in Aperture again when you’ve done.


Step 8 – The final job is to bring the Master images back into Aperture. With all the image selected, got to File>Consolidate Masters…


You will be asked if you want to copy the files or move them. I use Move files. Click the OK button, and the files will be placed back into the Aperture library bundle. Any edits – retouches etc. should be preserved.

It’s also worth noting here that if you have scanned negatives and not yet imported them into Aperture, that you can use Graphic Converter to add the necessary EXIF data before doing so. If you are a true obsessive, you can add other information to the file as well.