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Javascript in Photoshop: Generic Lens Names in Adobe Camera Raw = Ambiguous Lens Name

Several readers noticed that the caption on yesterday’s image indicated using the Zeiss Otus 28mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon. That image was NOT taken with the Otus, but with the Sigma 28mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art.

Ambiguous lens names

Why the discrepancy? I have javascripts that use the EXIF available within Photoshop. With many if not most lenses, my javascript code has only the generic lens description to work with, e.g., "28.0 mm f/1.4".

In other words, the same value of "28.0 mm f/1.4" is seen for a Sigma 28mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art, Zeiss Otus 28mm f/1.4 APO-Distagon, and Nikon AF-S 28mm f/1.4E EDno difference. Sometimes I miss catching it manually and then I have to go back and redo.


Even exiftool shows that the values are problematic; with the Sigma 28/1.4A mounted on the Nikon D850, the brand name "Sigma" does not appear even once anywhere even in the full EXIF dumped by exiftool (there is no 0xa433 Lens Make or 0xa434 Lens Model exif code, for example).

# exiftool 1.29
diglloyd-iMac: lloyd$ exiftool -lensid _DGL7031.NEF
Lens ID: Unknown (BC 54 3C 3C 0C 0C 4B 46)
diglloyd-iMac: lloyd$ exiftool -lenstype# _DGL7031.NEF
Lens Type: 70
diglloyd-iMac: lloyd$ exiftool -lenstype _DGL7031.NEF
Lens Type: G [6]

Nikon bug?

On the presumption that “chipped” lenses have identifying information, it appears to be a bug in the Nikon D850 and all Nikons—Nikon apparently feels no need to include the lens make or model. Furthermore, the Sigma 28/1.4A is really an "E" lens in Nikon parlance (electronic aperture) and that is not noted either (it”s recorded as a "G" lens).

What is available in Photoshop

Within Photoshop, the amount of EXIF is severely limited. It should not be confused with the full payload available with external programs like exiftool; the Photoshop-accessible values are woefully truncated. I have asked Adobe to add more fields and will ask again with specifics when time allows.

Below, this is most of what I can access from within Photoshop javascript. I’ve asked Adobe for more values to be accessible within javascript in Photoshop. There is no field accessible which has the actual lens name, nor a field with the lens brand, so I have to catch it after my script runs and manually insert the correct name.

Below this is ALL the EXIF info available in Photoshop (GPS is included also for cameras that have it):

Copyright = DIGLLOYD INC
Date Time Digitized = 2019:03:03 18:21:22
Date Time Original = 2019:03:03 18:21:22
Date Time = 2019:03:03 18:21:22
EXIF tag 34864 = 2
EXIF tag 34866 = 64
EXIF tag 37520 = 91
EXIF tag 37521 = 91
EXIF tag 37522 = 91
EXIF tag 42033 = 3003878
EXIF tag 42034 = 280/10
EXIF tag 42036 = 28.0 mm f/1.4  <== generic, nothing to disambiguate
ExifVersion = 0221
Exposure Bias Value = 0.00
Exposure Mode = Manual
Exposure Program = Manual
Exposure Time = 5.0 sec
F-Stop = f/1.4
File Source = DSC
Flash = 0
Focal Length in 35mm Film = 28
Focal Length = 28.0 mm
Focal Plane Resolution Unit = Centimeters
Focal Plane X Resolution = 2301.325
Focal Plane Y Resolution = 2301.325
Gain Control = None
ISO Speed Ratings = 64
Light Source = Undefined value
Max Aperture Value = f/1.4
Metering Mode = Pattern
Model = NIKON D850
Pixel X Dimension = 8256
Pixel Y Dimension = 5504
Resolution Unit = Inches
Saturation = Normal
Scene Capture Type = Standard
Scene Type = Direct Photographed Image
Sensing Method = One-chip color area sensor
Sharpness = Normal
Shutter Speed = 5.0 sec
Software = NIKON D850 Ver.1.01     
Subject Distance Range = Unknown
User Comment = LLC
White Balance = Manual
X Resolution = 300.0
Y Resolution = 300.0
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