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Should changes to RAW files update the XMP file's timestamp?

Bails

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I processed a bunch of NEF files in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC (v8.2 - Feb 2019 version) on my Win10 PC, and worked up some proofs for a client on 15 Feb. All of the NEFs were duly given their corresponding XMP file, but they’re all dated 15 Feb despite the fact that I’ve made changes to many of the NEFs since then.

Over the next 5 days I did a lot of retouching, and backed up my images and catalogues at least 10 times (yep, I'm a bit mad with backups!) but those XMP files remained dated 15 Feb, both in my live catalogue and my backups.

I have since used RESET on some of the images with the intention of reworking them, but each NEF’s corresponding XMP file still shows a timestamp of 15 Feb. Shouldn’t subsequent changes made to the NEFs be written to the XMP files? I’ve got my preferences set to automatically write changes into XMP, and I’ve tried using Metadale | Save Metadata to File, to force a save, but that timestamp just never changes.

Naturally, this issue came about when I wanted to revert a NEF to a later set of changes than the original, and found that the backup XMP I wanted was exactly the same as the original one. Is this normal behaviour now? Because I’ve definitely had XMP files update with changes made and have been able to swap XMP files from backups before!
 

PhilBurton

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I processed a bunch of NEF files in Adobe Lightroom Classic CC (v8.2 - Feb 2019 version) on my Win10 PC, and worked up some proofs for a client on 15 Feb. All of the NEFs were duly given their corresponding XMP file, but they’re all dated 15 Feb despite the fact that I’ve made changes to many of the NEFs since then.

Over the next 5 days I did a lot of retouching, and backed up my images and catalogues at least 10 times (yep, I'm a bit mad with backups!) but those XMP files remained dated 15 Feb, both in my live catalogue and my backups.

I have since used RESET on some of the images with the intention of reworking them, but each NEF’s corresponding XMP file still shows a timestamp of 15 Feb. Shouldn’t subsequent changes made to the NEFs be written to the XMP files? I’ve got my preferences set to automatically write changes into XMP, and I’ve tried using Metadale | Save Metadata to File, to force a save, but that timestamp just never changes.

Naturally, this issue came about when I wanted to revert a NEF to a later set of changes than the original, and found that the backup XMP I wanted was exactly the same as the original one. Is this normal behaviour now? Because I’ve definitely had XMP files update with changes made and have been able to swap XMP files from backups before!
Did you actually change the NEF files, or JPGs or TIFFs based on those NEFs? In general, LR does not change any RAW files. (It is true that Nikon's Capture programs did write changes to NEF files.) In Windows File Explore or Mac Finder, check the timestamps of those NEF files to see if they have dates later than 15 Feb.

Phil Burton
 
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but that timestamp just never changes
Windows maintains a few different timestamps for files. In Windows Explorer you are probably looking at the file creation date, not the modified date. Try right-clicking on one of the XMP files, and choose "Properties". Look at the dates in the General tab and see if the timestamps make more sense.
 

Bails

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Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your responses. Problem solved

JohanElzenga: Yep, definitely understand when changes are made via manual or auto save, and my preferences are to auto save.

PhilBurton: I’m definitely changing NEFs. I understand no changes are made to RAW files but to the XMP sidecar files. The NEF files timestamps all remain at their original capture date.

And the winner goes to: prbimages: Yes! Of course! I usually have File Explorer windows set to show Date Taken and Date Modified but for reasons best known only to Windows, it had reverted back to Date only. Thank you for pointing that out – obvious now but I wasn’t seeing the wood for the forest.

Regards,
Cat
 

PhilBurton

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Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your responses. Problem solved

JohanElzenga: Yep, definitely understand when changes are made via manual or auto save, and my preferences are to auto save.

PhilBurton: I’m definitely changing NEFs. I understand no changes are made to RAW files but to the XMP sidecar files. The NEF files timestamps all remain at their original capture date.

And the winner goes to: prbimages: Yes! Of course! I usually have File Explorer windows set to show Date Taken and Date Modified but for reasons best known only to Windows, it had reverted back to Date only. Thank you for pointing that out – obvious now but I wasn’t seeing the wood for the forest.

Regards,
Cat
Bails

I think you are under a fundamental misconception about Lightroom. NEF is Nikon's proprietary RAW file format, just like CR2 is the Canon proprietary RAW file format. Further, Lightroom is a non-destructive editor, as described in Victoria's FAQ book here (p. 181 in the latest version).

12293


Phil Burton
 
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I'm not seeing any "fundamental misconception" here, Phil. What are you seeing?

It seems fairly obvious that the OP understands that original raw files are not written to, and that any changes are instead written to XMP sidecars (if writing to XMP is enabled either automatically or manually). The only issue was getting tripped up by Windows File Explorer options.
 

Bails

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Bails

I think you are under a fundamental misconception about Lightroom. NEF is Nikon's proprietary RAW file format, just like CR2 is the Canon proprietary RAW file format. Further, Lightroom is a non-destructive editor, as described in Victoria's FAQ book here (p. 181 in the latest version).

View attachment 12293

Phil Burton
Hi Phil,

I'm not sure I understand what fundamental misconception you're talking about. I realise NEF and CR2 are RAW formats and that LR is non-destructive. What am I missing? I've only been using LR for about 8 years so I'm sure I've still got loads to learn! I think I've got a pretty good handle on what it does and how it does it (but not always why!) but I'm always open to new advice. Of course, my PC skills are obviously a bit rusty to have missed a simple File Explorer option!

Cheers,
Cat
 

PhilBurton

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I'm not seeing any "fundamental misconception" here, Phil. What are you seeing?

It seems fairly obvious that the OP understands that original raw files are not written to, and that any changes are instead written to XMP sidecars (if writing to XMP is enabled either automatically or manually). The only issue was getting tripped up by Windows File Explorer options.
In message #5 of this thread, the OP writes:

PhilBurton: I’m definitely changing NEFs. I understand no changes are made to RAW files but to the XMP sidecar files. The NEF files timestamps all remain at their original capture date.

Somehow the OP doesn't realize that NEF is in fact a RAW file.

Phil Burton
 
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In message #5 of this thread, the OP writes:

PhilBurton: I’m definitely changing NEFs. I understand no changes are made to RAW files but to the XMP sidecar files. The NEF files timestamps all remain at their original capture date.

Somehow the OP doesn't realize that NEF is in fact a RAW file.

Phil Burton
If you read the very first message, then there should be no doubt that the OP knows that NEF files are raw files.
 

Bails

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Yep, definitely understand NEFs are RAW, and I'm sorry if I confused anyone. When I said "I understand no changes are made to RAW files but to the XMP sidecar files." I simply meant that I get that a digital negative is a RAW file, regardless of its proprietary name, and that changes are recorded (for want of a better word) in an XMP file, not the RAW file. Oh, and I know that DNG is Adobe's proprietary name/standard for a digital negative file even though we can use the term 'digital negative' for any RAW format as well. Whew!
 
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