Dates in photo metadata

In the metadata panel, Pictures Properties dates include 'Date Taken' and 'Date Digitized'. There is no metadata field named' Date Taken', and I have never seen a 'Date Digitized' field for photos in the many applications I use.
'Date Taken' is an expression! I use many different photo/DAM applications and have analyzed how each reads photo date metadata. Applications looks at the date metadata for a file and, if there is an Exif DateTimeOriginal (EDTO) that is the date that will appear as the 'Date Take'. If there is no EDTO, the next fields looked at may include Exif ModifyDate, IPTC Date Created, XMP Create Date and other - depending on the application. I have been reading posts in this forum about 'Date Taken' in an effort to determine what metadata 'qualifies' as 'Date Taken'.
I have noticed that DOpus sometimes displays a 'Date Taken' when no 'Date Taken' is shown in Windows File Explorer. Tag That Photo, ACDSee Photo Studio, and Photo Mechanic (Capture Date). I have not fully tested this, but it seems DOpus will display the File Modified Date in the 'Date Taken field. That is unusual, and now always check date metadata in other applications.
Please adjust the metadata fields being read by 'Date Taken'.

Date Taken and Date Digitized are both standard terms for two of the EXIF fields. Some fields have more than one name across different software, unfortunately.

You won’t find exact consistency in how metadata is displayed between any two apps, even if you ignore Opus and only look at others. Photo metadata is a mess of standards, names, and implementations.

Sadly, that is a common misunderstanding. Date Taken does NOT correspond to any single metadata field in the many applications I use and/or have tested.

It is not possible to know what should be considered 'standard' unless one has extensive knowledge of how photo metadata is handled in many different applications. I have that knowledge.

Understanding photo metadata is essential to my work, and I have created spreadsheets for numerous applications that detail how each application handles photo metadata - dates and many other types of metadata.

Testing Example A:

  • I scan a photo
  • I examine and list the metadata as shown in ExifTool.
  • I use 'Edit Capture Time' in Adobe Bridge to add an Exif DTO (which also changes the File Properties > Date Created field).
  • I open that same photo in other applications and record the names of the fields in which the Exif DTO appears.

Testing Example B:

  • I open a file in ExifTool and record what metadata is in what fields.
  • I use DOpus or another application to change a date in a specific field.
  • I open that file in Exiftool again to analyze what metadata fields were changed.

The data in the spreadsheets I create allows me to determine equivalencies: An application's metadata field name and its equivalent field name in Exiftool and other applications.

There is definitely a lack of consistency - that's why testing is so important to me. The exact metadata that may be displayed in the Date Taken field of different applications - and the priority order those applications have for determining what is displayed - does vary. However, I have seen DOpus display a date in the Date Taken field when no other application would.

The term 'Capture Date' is similar to Date Taken, but is generally used by Mac applications - with the exception of Photo Mechanic and Adobe Lightroom Classic that are available for both Mac and PC. I never trust Adobe Lightroom Classic's 'Capture Date' because that field is more lenient about what metadata date it will display in the Capture Date field.

There is no editable 'Date Digitized' photo metadata field in any software I have used or tested (other than DOpus) though it is commonly used as the name for a video metadata field. I'd be interested in knowing the name of any software that has an editable Date Digitized field for photos.

I don't use DOpus for working with photo dates, but I wish I could. Hopefully the next release/version of DOpus will have better handling of photo and video date metadata.

Kind regards,
Meg Macintyre

As far as Opus is concerned:

Date Taken comes from:

  • Exif.Photo.DateTimeOriginal
  • Xmp.exif.DateTimeOriginal
  • Xmp.xmp.CreateDate
  • Iptc.Application2.DateCreated

(in that order - first one encountered is used)

Date Digitized comes from:

  • Exif.Photo.DateTimeDigitized
  • Xmp.exif.DateTimeDigitized

(again, in that order)

I'm unclear about what exactly it is that you'd like us to improve; if you could be more specific about what problem you're having we'd be happy to look at it.

After seeing many comments in this forum (including in a comment in this topic) stating that Date Taken is a metadata field and is the same as Exif DateTimeOriginal, I am pleased to finally see an acknowledgement that it does not!
Now that you finally seem to willing to at least 'look at' the issues I have told you about, here are some points you should investigate:

  • Reading and writing of Date Taken in DOpus does not match how File Explorer reads and writes Date Taken.

  • Adding a Date Taken in DOpus (if Exif metadata has been stripped or no Exif date is present) results in incomplete Exif metadata being added to the photo, so other applications - including Photo Mechanic and Adobe Lightroom Classic - do not show the new date because they do not 'recognize' the Exif DateTimeOriginal. Other date metadata is required for a photo's Exif DateTimeOriginal to be recognized by other applications.

  • Adding a Date Taken in File Explorer (if Exif metadata has been stripped or no Exif date is present) works well and other applications DO 'recognize' the new date. However, For maximum compatibility with other software, I always use ExifTool to copy the Exif DateTimeOriginal to other date fields.

*Date Digitized is sometimes used for Video metadata, but not for photo metadata (in the best and most popular photo management applications)

  • The Date Digitized field in DOpus does not match any date field used in the best and most popular photo management applications. There is no point in adding or editing the Date Digitized field in DOpus, because that date serves no purpose in other photo management software.

That information should be enough to point you in the right direction when you do your own testing.

In what way? Please be specific.

We have been down this track many times in the past 20 years - compatibility with what Explorer shows has always been a priority, and it has been a long time since anyone complained that Opus was not compatible with Explorer. Something may have changed recently of course, but you'll need to provide more specific details.

If Opus is adding metadata to an image that has none to begin with, all we will add is an EXIF tag. We only write XMP and IPTC tags if they're already present. Perhaps that's what you are seeing, although as we don't make those programs I can only speculate on what the issue might be. As far as we know, Opus writes a "standard" EXIF tag.

I don't understand this assertion, sorry. It's a part of the EXIF specification. Opus exposes it because in the past some users have asked us to. The fact that you don't personally use it doesn't mean no one does.

If you spend many hours (as I have) testing batches of JPEG files that have dates in different date metadata fields, then you use DOpus to add or change the date metadata that is editable with DOpus; and next view the date metadata in applications including Adobe Lightroom Classic, Adobe Bridge, File Explorer, Photo Mechanic, and Duplicate Cleaner Pro; I am confident you will come to the same conclusion.
Testing by editing date metadata in other applications and then checking DOpus to determine which fields show the changes (or not) is also part of my testing process.
I am not willing to share my extensive and proprietary data with DOpus at this time - especially since my testing compares metadata from several applications and does not focus solely on DOpus.

Unfortunately with our limited resources we don't have time to go chasing potential wild geese without a detailed explanation of what we're even looking for.

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I just did a test where I created a new JPG from a BMP file, such that it had no metadata to start with, then set the Date Taken field using Opus. I set the date to something distinct to the filesystem created and modified timestamps, to make sure I wasn't just seeing those in other software.

The date I entered was visible in both File Explorer and Photoshop.

So if you think there is a problem and you want us to fix it, you'll need to provide more information on the exact steps, or example files where the problem is seen, because the problem isn't happening for us and probably isn't as simple as you assume it is.

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Of course the problem isn't happening for you! I only check photo dates and other photo metadata using applications that are designed and used for photo management and working with photo metadata. Three of the applications I use for metadata testing are: Photo Mechanic, Adobe Bridge, and Adobe Lightroom Classic. Those applications are available for Mac and PC, and that's another reason I know I can depend on the dates they display being properly read by either Mac or PC.

Adobe Photoshop is not a photo management application. Since you do see that unique date in Photoshop, I suspect you are seeing it listed as the Date Created. Date Created is usually the same as Exif DateTimeOriginal, but not always, so I never rely on a Date Created to be the date a photo was taken.

Date Taken in File Explorer will display a date even if there is no Exif DateTimeOriginal - though only when there is a date present in one of a few other metadata fields, so I never rely on a Date Taken I see in File Explorer. If a file in File Explorer has no Date Taken, and one enters a Date Taken, that date metadata is written to at least 2 more date fields than a Date Taken entered in DOpus.

There is something else I've noticed, but I have not yet investigated: Date Taken in File Explorer does not always match Date Taken in DOpus. I've seen a date taken displayed in DOpus when no Date Taken is displayed in File Explorer. Again, I have not investigated this specific issue.

I also would very much appreciate you looking into this matter. MegMac knows photo date metadata incredibly well and is highly respected in the fast growing field of photo management. This area is crucial in our line of work. She had recommended Directory Opus to me but warned me about this date problem. I did the process of testing she outlined in a previous comment: I used Directory Opus to add a date taken to a photo that had no photo date metadata. I then checked the photo in both Adobe Lightroom Classic (mind you: not Lightroom, but LrC) and also in Adobe Bridge, and just as Meg said, the date was nowhere to be found. When I ran the same test in File Explorer and viewed the photo in LrC and Bridge, the date was there. I love a lot of the strengths of DOpus, but sadly, this issue is a showstopper in my line of work. If it gets resolved though, I believe you would be able to tap into a quickly growing customer base in this exploding field. I look forward to seeing how this will work out!

We would be happy to look into it, but we need more detail:

  • Steps/workflow to create an image which has the problem.

  • If the steps don't include how to make the image from scratch (or require a non-free tool other than Photoshop), then we need a sample image to use as a starting point, so we can take that image and apply the Opus-specific part of the steps to it to see what happens.

We cannot reproduce or investigate the problem without that information. The problem did not happen when we tried doing it ourselves with our own JPEGs and guesswork about the steps to take.

I have provided all the details needed for you to test this:


And then you did use Opus to add a Date Taken to a photo with no metadata:

I also told you which trusted photo management applications I used to view the metadata after the Date Taken weas added:

Adobe Bridge is free, and free trials are available for the other applications.

But instead, you checked the metadata using applications that are not trusted and reliable for photo date metadata:


So, I explained to you that File Explorer and Photoshop are not suitable applications for examining photo date metadata:


I would like to be able to use DOpus for adding and correcting photo dates, and I'd like to be able to recommend DOpus to other professional photo organizers with confidence. However, I am no longer willing to share any more testing details and results since my offer of free assistance was dismissed (I contacted the DOpus office by email twice) and after DOpus developers ignored or did not read the testing information I posted and also suggested I don't know what I'm talking about.

I hope you check the date metadata using one or more of the applications I recommended.

So where did I go wrong here?

I tested with Adobe Bridge as well. It sees the date as well.

You're telling us that Opus doesn't add metadata correctly, yet Explorer, Photoshop and Bridge all show the date for me.

There's clearly a detail missing here.

Yes, there are definitely details missing! After you converted the PNG files to JPG, what application did you use to view the JPG files and ensure they were truly free of metadata? I viewed my test files using ExifToolGUI, and as you can see, there is no Exif date metadata.

In a different batch of test files, I converted 2 PNGs to JPG using DOpus and they were not completely stripped of metadata:

So, perhaps the files you used for testing had not been completely stripped of metadata?
In Adobe Bridge, what metadata field displayed the date you added? If metadata had not been completely stripped, and there was an XMP Date Created (as in the screenshot above), that date would have been displayed in the File Properties > Date Created field, which is not dependable as the representing date the photo was taken.
Photoshop is an editing application and the Date Created and/or Created Date fields it displays are not not dependable as the representing date the photo was taken.

Leo said he started with a BMP, not a PNG.

I started from a BMP file. There was never any metadata in the file at all. I added some with Opus, and it appeared in every program I tested with.

Could you please just give us a starting file and list of steps to perform to reproduce the problem? It would be a lot quicker than talking around the issue!


You converted a file to a JPEG. The file type you started with does does not matter.

Metadata doesn't just appear out of thin air. If you take a file like a BMP with no metadata in it, and convert it to a JPG (in Opus, at least) the JPG will also have no metadata in it.


I always check using Exiftool to be sure.