storage question: Nikon Transfer and iPhoto/Aperture

Started Apr 27, 2013 | Discussions
Tone654
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storage question: Nikon Transfer and iPhoto/Aperture
Apr 27, 2013

Dumb question that I've just never gotten around to investigating: I have a Nikon D800 that has rapidly filled my hard drive with giant RAW files. I import from my camera using Nikon Transfer 2, which creates some files in a Nikon folder on my hard drive. Then I import into into a library that is shared by iPhoto and Aperture. I haven't been deleting the old Nikon folders, largely because I like the fact that the files are visible in a normal folder structure, and I'm confident that I can copy/export them to any other place that I might need them. I don't have this confidence about iPhoto/Aperture, since the files are buried somewhere that I don't understand. I have a concern that at some point in the future, if I switch to using different software I won't be able to export the photos, or that iPhoto or Aperture will have somehow messed with the RAW files so that I'm stuck with some proprietary Apple files that aren't usable elsewhere. Is this something I should or shouldn't be concerned about? I've run out of hard drive and the easiest way of freeing some space up would be to delete the Nikon folders.
thanks - I'd appreciate any advice

Nikon D800
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dlevitt
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Re: storage question: Nikon Transfer and iPhoto/Aperture
In reply to Tone654, Apr 27, 2013

I think you've been working too herd 

Aperture [and iPhoto] can be configured to use a 'referenced' library, where you say 'I am totally responsible for the original files'.

When you are using a referenced library, the Aperture/iPhoto library will contain only rendered preview images, metadata, and the recipes used to create exported images. The 'managed' library adds the master/original files.

The library is just a file system directory tree, with a special attribute set so the Finder hides the contents [until you tell it to show you the contents]. Again, if you open it to peek at the inside, you are telling the computer 'trust me, I know what I'm doing'. There are tools to help manage the libraries, like the iPhoto Library Manager and Aperture's built in features.

As an old time computer curmudgeon, I would like to remind readers that trying to manage the image files yourself so you 'know where they are' is for the most part a fools errand. Once you get to the 'volume' or 'disk drive' level, you can't really point with certainty just where on the physical media your image resides. Probably the last generation of media where you could know where a file actually resided was hard sector floppy disks for CP/M-80 2.x

For photos the important think is being able to find them, by camera generated metadata [timestamp, focal length, mode...] or by metadata you assign them [album names, subject name, category, place, event, keywords]. I prefer to have assistance from the computer in dealing with images and their metadata.

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webfrasse
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Re: storage question: Nikon Transfer and iPhoto/Aperture
In reply to Tone654, Apr 28, 2013

Tone654 wrote:

Dumb question that I've just never gotten around to investigating: I have a Nikon D800 that has rapidly filled my hard drive with giant RAW files. I import from my camera using Nikon Transfer 2, which creates some files in a Nikon folder on my hard drive. Then I import into into a library that is shared by iPhoto and Aperture. I haven't been deleting the old Nikon folders, largely because I like the fact that the files are visible in a normal folder structure, and I'm confident that I can copy/export them to any other place that I might need them. I don't have this confidence about iPhoto/Aperture, since the files are buried somewhere that I don't understand. I have a concern that at some point in the future, if I switch to using different software I won't be able to export the photos, or that iPhoto or Aperture will have somehow messed with the RAW files so that I'm stuck with some proprietary Apple files that aren't usable elsewhere. Is this something I should or shouldn't be concerned about? I've run out of hard drive and the easiest way of freeing some space up would be to delete the Nikon folders.
thanks - I'd appreciate any advice

Both iPhoto and Aperture has an Export feature that you can find under the File Menu. Select what ever files you want to export and select Original as a format and just that will happen, your originals will be exported. Exactly as they came out of your camera. Neither iPhoto or Aperture will ever touch that file.

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Mikael

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Tone654
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Re: storage question: Nikon Transfer and iPhoto/Aperture
In reply to dlevitt, Apr 28, 2013

thanks for the explanation, I'll delete the dupes and rely on iPhoto from now on

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Tone654
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Re: storage question: Nikon Transfer and iPhoto/Aperture
In reply to webfrasse, Apr 28, 2013

thank you

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DiploStrat
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Re: storage question: Nikon Transfer and iPhoto/Aperture
In reply to Tone654, Apr 28, 2013

... because I like the fact that the files are visible in a normal folder structure, and I'm confident that I can copy/export them to any other place that I might need them. I don't have this confidence about iPhoto/Aperture, since the files are buried somewhere that I don't understand.

A "package" is actually just a folder. You can open it, read/write, etc. It is "sealed" to prevent you from doing accidental damage to files that are part of a data base.

I have a concern that at some point in the future, if I switch to using different software I won't be able to export the photos,

Only if your copy of iPhoto or Aperture fails so totally that it cannot run. And then you can always, as noted above, use the Finder. (And iPhoto and Aperture keep your files much more neatly than you will ever be able to.)

or that iPhoto or Aperture will have somehow messed with the RAW files so that I'm stuck with some proprietary Apple files that aren't usable elsewhere. Is this something I should or shouldn't be concerned about?

Well, yes and no. At this point, RAW files cannot be edited, period. The only semi exception to this is that Nikon (and perhaps Canon, et al) can write notes inside the RAW file that their software can see, but no other programs can read these. iPhoto/Aperture/Lightroom all use what is called a non-destructive workflow. Unlike Photoshop (and other programs) which read and rewrite a file (not a RAW), iPhoto et al keep all of their edits in a separate file which is recombined with the original, which may be RAW or JPEG or whatever, on the fly, to show you the new image.
So:

* Your RAW files will never be changed, no matter what program you use.

* Edits made in iPhoto or Aperture or Lightroom will always be stored in separate, proprietary files. So if you go from Lightroom to Aperture, you will lose your edits, but not your originals. Of course, the only real reason to change from one to the other is that you expect the new program to give better image quality, so you would probably want to redo your images anyway.

N.B. The real issue to to be sure that you have multiple backups of all of your data. I use Time Machine, SuperDuper!, and Crashplan for off site, but there are other ways to accomplish this. Having had a HD die last week, back up, back up, back up!

Hope this is helpful.

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