Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

Official blog for the Windows Live Digital Memories Experience team

February, 2007

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Nikon RAW Codec


    Updated note to users of the Nikon RAW Codec for Windows:  Microsoft has received reports of compatibility issues with Nikon NEF files after installing version 1.0 of Nikon’s RAW codec posted in January 2007.  Tagging the RAW files through Windows Vista or the Microsoft Photo Info tool after the codec is installed appears to cause these files to become unreadable in other applications, such as Adobe Photoshop. We have confirmed that these files can still be opened with Nikon Capture.
    Nikon and Microsoft have investigated the issue, and have determined that no data is lost, nor is the image file damaged in any way. Nikon is working on an updated codec that will resolve this issue, and expects to have it released in the very near future.
    Tagging the file using Photo Info without the Nikon NEF codec installed appears to be safe.

    - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    RAW Codecs from Sony and Olympus are available


    In the past week, we've seen Vista RAW codecs introduced from both Sony (SRF and SR2 files) and Olympus (ORF files).

    The Photo Gallery 'check for updates' feature will take you to a page with links to the downloads, or use the above links.

    - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Canon 1D & 1Ds RAW File Issues


    Important note to users of Canon 1D & 1Ds RAW files on Windows Vista

    There is an issue with Canon RAW files that end in .TIF (which are limited to 1D & 1Ds cameras) on Windows Vista systems that do not have the Canon RAW codec. If a user adds metadata to one of these files, using the Windows Photo Gallery or the Windows Explorer, the file will be corrupted. This is because the Canon RAW files from these particular camera models appear to be standard TIFF files, and the Windows Imaging Component invokes the standard TIFF codec to handle them. The RAW files, while appearing to conform to the TIFF spec, are interpreted differently by the Canon Raw codec, and so the TIFF codec cannot handle them properly. The Photo Info tool is not impacted.

    Microsoft and Canon have identified the issue and are testing a patch to address the problem. We will provide download information once the patch is released. In the meantime, it is recommended that users not import or add metadata to their 1D or 1Ds RAW files ending in .TIF using the Windows Photo Gallery or the Windows Explorer. Canon will be releasing their RAW codec for Windows Vista soon. When you install the Canon RAW codec, the Windows Imaging Component will invoke the Canon codec to handle these files correctly.

    - pixblog

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Digital Image Suite and Windows Vista


    We’ve been getting a lot of questions lately about Digital Image Suite, and how it works with Windows Vista.

    Mike writes:

    Hey guys...  I have been reading your blog trying to get some info on how keywords are handled in Vista Photo Gallery. I have been using Digital Image Suite Library 2006 (and earlier versions) for quite some time. I have 20gigs of photos all with keywords.

    I would like to be using the "standard" for storing these keywords on my photos and it seems, from reading your blog that XMP is the way to go...

    So my questions are:

    1. Does Vista Photo Gallery read the DIS2006 keywords and convert them to XMP format?

    2. If not, is there a way to do this in a batch job? (I just want to click a button and have it fix all of my pictures)

    3. Should I be worrying about this at all?

    4. Is there going to be a future version of DIS2006?  And if so will it batch convert all my keywords to the XMP format?

    I know you may not be able to comment on future products, but PLEASE help me out on XMP and my DIS keywords.

    To answer your questions Mike, the Windows Vista Photo Gallery does read keywords from DIS2006 and display them as tags in the Gallery. The tags will not be re-written to XMP unless you make changes that cause the metadata to be re-written to the file. There is no way to force this operation to happen (other than tagging your images). You could pretty easily add a single tag to all of your files, wait for that tag to be written to all of the files, and then later delete that tag.

    One question that you didn’t ask about is whether or not tags written by the Vista Photo Gallery will be viewable in DIS. The answer is no (for DIS2006). Although Vista can read the ‘legacy’ metadata format, DIS2006 does not know how to read the Vista metadata. However, there is a new version of Digital Image Suite – the Anniversary Edition. This updated version can read and write metadata in the same format as Windows Vista.

    One important thing to note about DIS is that the ‘flags’ are not written back to the files like the keywords are, so they will not be read by Windows Vista (which does not have the ‘flags’ feature).

    - Jason Flaks (Program Manager)

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Hierarchical Tags and XMP


    A question came in via the blog from Hans regarding our implementation of hierarchical tags using XMP. He writes:

    You chose to use a forward slash as a delimiter (path/path/keyword), which requires that this character cannot be used within a keyword.

    Two problems with this approach:
    1, This limitation is not in the XMP standard, XML has also an explicit, different way of how special characters are supposed to be handeled.
    2, Since XMP allows forward slash - all other apps allow them, too. You can freely enter "Bugs Bunny/Mickey Mouse" or "nuclear/atomic" as a keyword. BUT: Vista Photo Gallery (and Vista Explorer) will think of it as a hierarchical keyword. Not good.

    Thanks for the question, Hans.  I'm sorry to hear that our implementation of hierarchical keywords is causing you problems. We actually made a conscious decision to allow users to manually enter a slash in a keyword (as in "Washington/Seattle") and have that interpreted as a hierarchy. We chose this solution with the behavior of other XMP-supporting applications in mind.

    It is true that XMP doesn't support any notion of hierarchical keywords, but we didn’t want to invent a brand new way of storing this metadata. We chose to use a simple character separator for hierarchical keywords so that the hierarchy would be visible and available for all of the existing applications that support XMP.

    Why slash versus something else? There is no perfect choice here. We wanted to use a character that would show up correctly in every application that didn't support hierarchical keywords (so extended Unicode characters were out of the question) and that would make sense when users saw it (which would not be true for, say, "}"). Additionally, we wanted to choose a character that was not as likely to be used in a normal keyword (which would rule out "." or "-", for instance).

    This left us very few choices. The backslash was considered too DOS/Windows-specific. Ideally, we *do* want third-party applications that support XMP to adopt this convention, so we didn't want to use a solution that seemed Windows-specific. The slash character existed in English punctuation long before computers. Other possibilities were ":" (similarly Mac-specific) and "|" (which is very hard to read when placed between words).

    We knew there was a risk that someone might use a slash in a keyword (such as the examples you gave), but believed these cases would be rare and easily avoided. Without knowing the specifics of your scenario, I would imagine that you could enter "Bugs Bunny" and "Mickey Mouse" as separate tags, which would be more useful for searching and browsing.

    Again, thank you for contacting us about this issue.  Getting feedback on how our solutions work in the real world is critical to making ongoing improvements in future versions.

    - David Parlin, Principal Program Manager

  • Windows Live Photo & Video Blog

    Talking Tags with Jon Udell

    Jon Udell is a blogger at Microsoft who is very interested in metadata and tagging. We had a few conversations that came out of a recent article that he posted on his blog, which led to a deeper discussion of tagging and organization in the Windows Vista Photo Gallery.

    Today, Jon posted a screencast of our conversation where he watches over my shoulder as I walk him through some of the organizational concepts in the Photo Gallery. Check it out here:

    - Scott Dart (Program Manager)

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