How can I keep track of the exposure settings I used when I transfer photos to my laptop? Is there a way to "tag" the settings info to each photograph? Thanks.
Just about all modern digital cameras automatically capture EXIF metadata in the image files they record; I can't think of a camera that doesn't. This EXIF data includes date & time of capture, camera model number, and most importantly, exposure settings — aperture, shutter speed, and ISO.
There are a few cases where this can't be captured, but for most users, these case don't pop up often. These usually involve using very old or adapted lenses whose aperture cannot be controlled by the camera body, or when using "dumb" (no electrical contacts) extension tubes or bellows between the camera and lens. In these cases, the camera cannot record aperture setting information, so you would need to take exposure notes for those images, and edit them into the image files' EXIF data after you move them to your computer.
There are several programs that can edit EXIF metadata. I suggest starting with searching this very Stack Exchange for the words
edit EXIF for several questions and answers regarding editing EXIF metadata.
Assuming the lens you are using fully communicates with your Nikon D5600, that information is already attached in the metadata to all of your image files when you transfer them from your camera to your computer.
There are at least a couple of remote possibilities that would leave you without this information:
- You are using an older Nikon or adapted lens that doesn't communicate lens information to the camera body. In the case of older Nikon lenses, we're talking about pre-1980s old. Any lens sold in a kit with a Nikon digital camera will fully communicate with the camera.
- The utility you are using to transfer images from your camera or memory card to your computer is set up to strip each image of its EXIF metadata. This is not common, but it is also not totally unheard of.
The EXIF information contained in a digital photograph's metadata contains a LOT of information. Much of it is in standardized fields that are common to all camera brands and models because they have been specified in the EXIF specification. The EXIF specification also includes provision for a maker notes section in the EXIF data where a camera maker may include any other information they wish using non-standardized codes to record that information. How camera makers encode the information in the maker notes section is not always as straightforward as one might expect. Even within the same manufacturer's different camera models, the way they record information in the maker notes section can vary from one model to the next.
Standardized fields in the EXIF info includes things like ISO, aperture value, exposure duration (shutter "speed"), focal length, exposure mode, date/time stamp, images dimensions in pixels, etc. Maker note sections might include info such as camera serial number, focus distance information, autofocus settings, in-camera settings for things such as contrast, saturation, sharpening, and many other settings choices. It's all up to each camera maker what they want to put in there.
So how can you see this information? You can use an image viewer that displays it. Most image viewing applications include this capability. You just need to switch it on. Be aware that not all image applications display all of the information contained in the EXIF info, but they all hit the high points such as ISO, aperture, exposure time, etc. If you want to see everything included in the EXIF info, you can use an advanced tools such as EXIFTool.
With Windows machines, you can see the most rudimentary EXIF info right in the "Details" tab of the file properties!
Here's a portion of the EXIF info (from a different image than the one used above) displayed by Canon's Digital Photo Professional (which only works with Canon image files):
Here's a bit of the maker notes section displayed by a neat image viewing utility named Irfanview which is a popular "donationware" application:
Notice that some of the fields are in the maker notes section are left uninterpreted with a string of numbers that the camera used to record the value for specific fields. For example, the ISO Value used was not ISO 32767. The number 32767 is a proprietary code code used by Canon in the maker notes section that Irfanview did not recognize and thus left untranslated. In the standardized section of the EXIF info for the same image file, Irfanview correctly displayed the ISO Speed ratings field as ISO 2500.