To my issue. Last year I had my first trip to Africa, ended up shooting 13,000 pictures with my 5D MkII - abusive, I know!

Transferring them to my computer went all fine, as they arrange in folders after date (after all I did not shoot 13k in one day). But the issue that arose when I wanted two images with the same number in the same folder (why is another story!). I assume this is an issue others have encountered, I solved it by adding "-1" to the end of the files, a quick process in automator.

However this is annoying for the sake of timeline in the folder structure, and even more annoying when trying to maintain a logical, resonable and sensible structure.

Is it possible to increase the image counter to the 100,000 instead of 10,000? I've figured no in the cameras firmware itself, but how about 3rd party software?

Hope I made myself clear about the problem, it was hard putting it into words and I haven't found similar topics either here or on google at all. I also have a 1D MkIV that I will run into the same problems with over time.

  • and welcome to photo.stackexchange! – Paul Cezanne Sep 4 '13 at 18:32
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    Just as an aside, 13k for an entire trip is nothing. When I'm shooting a wedding, I shoot 3300 photos in 10 hours. I shot 5500 photos over a weekend in DC. 13 thousand for a week or however long your trip was doesn't sound bad at all. – AJ Henderson Sep 4 '13 at 18:36
  • @AJHenderson: Oh I know, but the difference is that in a wedding you can't miss a second of "action". In the nature one normally has more time. But yes, it could be worse hehe :-) – Fred B. Sep 4 '13 at 19:41
  • @FredBerentsen - depends on what you are doing. If you are shooting a bird taking flight for example, or just about anything in motion, the AF is going to miss on some of the shots, so you take a bunch to catch motion and such the way you want. If there is lots of interesting stuff to shoot, 2k photos per day isn't even breaking a sweat without shooting too obsessively. Two thousand photos is only about one photo every 30 seconds or so for a 16 hour day. If you shoot a burst of 10 or so every 5 minutes, or should a few quick bursts of 10 each when you see something interesting, it will hit – AJ Henderson Sep 4 '13 at 19:47
  • @AJHenderson: Oh I agree, but doing 10k+ in a day would be overkill, no matter what you do in my opinion. That's 10,4 pictures a minute for 16 hours. I personally have lately preferred quality over quantity - although some situations demands both, like a bird in flight. – Fred B. Sep 4 '13 at 20:05

You can't do it in camera because it would be an exception to the DCIM naming standards which the camera follows.

As far as after the fact, I use the multi-rename feature of Total Commander for my bulk file rename operations. It's technically a shareware product, so you can try it and use it for that for free. It's really worth buying though cause it is cheap and comes with lifetime upgrades. I bought a copy of it back in Windows 3.0 days and haven't paid again since and it's the best file manager/ftp client etc that I've ever found (assuming you are on Windows).

The multi-rename feature will let you specify which part of the file name is the counter and let you increase the values by whatever you want.

  • Same as I figured regarding doing it in camera firmware. I'm on a Mac but no problem, "Automator" can batch rename files with ease, which I have used for these kind of instances, it is just a little extra hassle. So I guess this will be the way to go. Thank you for a good response! – Fred B. Sep 4 '13 at 19:46
  • And I was worried because my Sony uses only 5 digits in file number, making 99.999 the biggest possible number in filename. Not so big a problem after all :) – Esa Paulasto Sep 4 '13 at 21:33
  • @EsaPaulasto: You won't get into these troubles then. Smart thinking from Sony! Perhaps we could start a riot against Nikon and Canon and have them change it to the same! :-) – Fred B. Sep 4 '13 at 22:18
  • @FredBerentsen - My bad, Sony is in line with the standard of naming files. The name starts with DSC0 followed by a 4-digit number and it will reset after reaching number 9999. – Esa Paulasto Sep 5 '13 at 13:35

One thing you can do in-camera with Nikon cameras is to alter the 'IMG_' prefix. I have friends who shoot events with Nikon gear. Each one has changed the prefix to their initials. It makes it easy to identify which images belong to each shooter. If you could remember to manually change the prefix each time the image number reached 9999 you could continue shooting without using the same file name until you had exhausted the limits of 'AAA' to 'ZZZ' (26^3=17,576 prefixes multiplied by 9,999 would yield 175.7M+ unique file names). Unfortunately, you can't do that in-camera with Canon bodies, but you can use importing software such as EOS Utility to translate file names automatically when they are imported. If you switch to from sRGB to AdobeRGB color space, the prefix in Canon bodies changes to '*MG*' from 'IMG_'. Video files have an 'MVI_' prefix.

I add a date prefix to image names when I import them. IMG_0001.cr2 becomes 201309040001.cr2. Since I often shoot with multiple bodies, I can still run onto duplicate numbers. One nice thing about transferring the images using EOS Utility is that duplicate numbers are automatically appended with an underscore and a 1. So the second IMG_0001.cr2 imported that was shot on the same day becomes 201309040001_1.cr2. If a third IMG_0001.cr2 were imported it would be 201309040001_2.cr2.

Sometimes after importing them I open the folder with Digital Photo Professional in the main window (thumbnail view). By selecting 'View-->Sort-->Shooting Date/Time' the images are arranged chronologically (assuming the camera's clocks were synchronized beforehand). I then use 'Tools--> Start the Rename Tool' and renumber the images with either 'Fit to Main Window' or 'Shooting Date/Time' selected under the 'Sort' option in 'Basic Settings'. The 'Fit to Main Window' option allows you to batch rename files based on your arrangement of the thumbnails in the main window.


  • Decent point about changing the prefix, though remembering to do that at 9999 could be tricky and since it will branch in to a new folder anyway, it's probably easier to just worry about it after the fact. – AJ Henderson Sep 4 '13 at 19:48
  • I use the EOS Utility for importing my images as well. Have tried several different softwares but always fall back. I arrange it in folders with shoot dates as folder name. Works wonders for most of my work. I also use different prefixes on my two bodies so that i can have similar numbers in the same folders. Alot of great tips here though! Thank you! – Fred B. Sep 4 '13 at 19:52
  • @AJHenderson Folders are applicable if you use a card reader as a logical drive, but may be invisible when using certain applications with certain settings to move images from cameras to computers. – Michael C Sep 4 '13 at 21:56
  • @FredBerentsen Yeah, I've thought about using a different prefix for each body. Sometimes I want to work through images from a shoot chronologically (reviewing), sometimes by camera (editing). The nice thing about EOS Utility and DPP is I can name them whatever I want and still auto sort them based on date/time shot. – Michael C Sep 4 '13 at 21:59
  • @MichaelClark - do your bodies not write the serial number to EXIF? Granted, you do need to use a utility that reads EXIF then though, but really something like Lightroom is a worthwhile investment for anyone shooting thousands of photos. :) – AJ Henderson Sep 4 '13 at 22:43

I really doubt it is possible with one exception, check out Magic Lantern. I don't think they do it but the coders who write Magic Lantern just might think it is a great idea.

Note, the file number might be a limit of the filesystem on the CF card, in which case it is almost certainly impossible to get around.

  • Magic Lantern looks like a great piece of 3rd party software! I'll give it a try on my 5DII! I can't see how the file system would be in such a sorry state on the CF card. :-) – Fred B. Sep 4 '13 at 19:58

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