The Canon 5D MkIII introduced a new featured that lets you rate images by using a dedicated rear button. I am interested in finding out where in the EXIF data that this rating is stored. I wasn't aware of any metadata field that ratings were typically stored in, so I'm not sure what they would be using.

You can read about the feature on page 255 of the manual. The manual notes that:

With Windows Vista and Windows 7, you can see each files rating as part of the file information display or in the provided image viewer.


3 Answers 3


Sadly I don't have a 5DmkIII but I've managed to figure it out with a bit of detective work.

The answer is that it's stored in an XMP header as the <xmp:Rating> value.

I started by hunting down a Canon 5DmkIII group on Flickr and found this thread. Click on one of those photos then go to the metadata page and you'll see one of the values listed is Rating (in this case with a value of 3). I'm certain that value hasn't come from post-processing because the metadata also shows it was processed in Lightroom 4. I use a 5DmkII and Lightroom 4, and rate all my photos before uploading to Flickr, and yet my photos don't have a Rating value on their metadata page.

Unfortunately all the photos I checked in that group have download disabled, so I headed over to dpreview.com's gallery of 5DmkIII test shots where I found this test image:

If you click that to go through to dpreview.com you'll see one of the tags on the photo is pre-production. Seeing that, and knowing dpreview.com's usual approach, it's pretty certain this image is straight out of camera.

So, I got the URL of the original image and posted it into Jeffrey's Exif Viewer. And there it is, right in the XMP section:

<?xpacket begin='' id='W5M0MpCehiHzreSzNTczkc9d'?>
<x:xmpmeta xmlns:x="adobe:ns:meta/">
<rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#">
<rdf:Description rdf:about="" xmlns:xmp="http://ns.adobe.com/xap/1.0/">
<?xpacket end='w'?>

Also note there's no Software value in the metadata anywhere: a further indication that this is straight from camera.

Finally, just to be absolutely sure, I took a straight-from-camera JPEG from my 5DmkII and ran that past Jeffrey's Exif Viewer. Sure enough, no rating value.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Just found this blog post too that concludes that Canon are now adding XMP headers in camera: metadatamadness.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/… \$\endgroup\$ Apr 17, 2012 at 18:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think I've got about as far as I can now without actually going out and buying a 5DmkIII. ;) \$\endgroup\$ Apr 17, 2012 at 18:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you go out and buy a 5DMkIII to lay this question to rest, I will award bounty points equal to all of the rep that I have to you. \$\endgroup\$
    – dpollitt
    Apr 19, 2012 at 20:45

I assume the rating is included in the EXIF data. I wrote a PHP parser a while back that actually opened .JPGs exported from Lightroom as text, and read the rating as part of a batch export script.

There's some info on the addresses here: http://www.exiv2.org/tags.html

Tag(hex)    Tag(dec)
0x4746      18246      Exif.Image.Rating
0x4749      18249      Exif.Image.RatingPercent
  • \$\begingroup\$ @drewbenn: Good points! I would presume those tags are indeed used though, since the manual explicitly states that Windows Vista and Windows 7 can read the rating information. \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Mar 21, 2012 at 23:31

According to this the Ratings and RatingPercent tags are not part of EXIF 2.3 specifications but can co-exists with EXIF tags. I figured out from my machine that Windows 7 uses this but I do not have a 5D Mark III to test if it uses the same tag.


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