What's New: IPTC Metadata with the EOS 5D Mark IV

September 23, 2016

With the launch of the EOS 5D Mark IV, Canon introduces its first camera with the ability to input IPTC metadata directly into each image file, as it’s taken by the photographer.  For many years, digital cameras have been able to add numerous details of shooting data — date, time, file numbers, and even some user-defined information such as the user’s name and fields for copyright information.

But IPTC data is different, and completely in addition to the EXIF shooting data we’re accustomed to seeing in our image files.  Far from simply displaying camera settings, IPTC data allows the user to input very specific types of detailed information, which can be used for numerous purposes once images are downloaded from the camera to a storage area.  

In this article, we’ll introduce this feature, and describe how it’s implemented in the EOS 5D Mark IV camera.

IPTC — what is it, and what are its origins?

IPTC is an abbreviation for International Press Telecommunications Council, a clear hint to the background of this digital data.  News photojournalists and news organizations require extensive archives for stored images, and methods to not only access these files quickly if and when the need arises, but also to have accurate and precise information saved along with them.  IPTC data is a form of industry-standardized data within the photojournalism (and other) industries, allowing access to this info for a host organization, as well as sharing of this information.

For some time, different specialized software programs have been able to input this data as image files were downloaded to storage servers within news (and other) organizations.  Now, for the first time in a Canon EOS camera, IPTC data is incorporated in the camera itself with the EOS 5D Mark IV.

(An important additional note:  the same IPTC information capabilities are added to the Canon EOS-1D X Mark II camera, when firmware 1.1 [or higher] is installed in that camera.  Initial versions of the 1D X Mark II require a firmware upgrade; this will become factory-installed from roughly Fall of 2016 onward on those cameras.  Operationally, this will be the same as the factory-equipped IPTC capabilities we’re describing here for the EOS 5D Mark IV.)

Available IPTC data fields on the EOS 5D Mark IV

Thirty-nine fields of standardized IPTC data can be registered to an EOS 5D Mark IV camera (we’ll describe the process shortly).  The fields are:

  • Image Content
  • • Description/Caption
  • • Description Writers
  • • Headline
  • • Keywords
  • • Persons shown
  • • Featured Org. Name
  • • Featured Org. Code
  • • IPTC Scene
  • Image Rights
  • • Creator/Photographer
  • • Creator’s Job Title
  • • Copyright
  • • Credit
  • • Source
  • • Copyright URL
  • • Rights Usage Terms
  • Status
  • • Title/Object Name
  • • Job ID
  • • Special Instructions
  • • Category
  • • Supplemental Categories
  • • Urgency  (pull-down menu)
  • Contact Info
  • • Contact Address
  • • Contact City
  • Contact State
  • • Contact Zip
  • • Contact Country
  • • Contact Emails
  • • Contact Phones
  • • Contact Web URLs
  • Event and Location
  • • Event
  • • City
  • • Location
  • • State/Province
  • • Country
  • • ISO Country Code
  • • IPTC Subject Code
  • • Intellectual Genre
  • Models
  • • Model Ages
  • • Additional Model Info

While obviously many of these literally correspond to categories intended for large organizations, it’s equally clear how many of these could be used by individual photographers — working professionals as well as serious enthusiasts — to provide additional image data to the pictures they take, and have it added in-camera as the images are taken.  Just a few and probably obvious examples:

  • Photographers could enter general, broad keywords and have them applied to each image that they take, in-camera — various third-party software programs are able to read IPTC keywords and use them for search purposes, etc.
  • A photographer can add precise copyright information to the IPTC shooting data for his or her digital images.  Unlike the camera’s built-in copyright notice, this will allow users to input the actual copyright symbol into the data field, using their computer’s keyboard  (the keyboard shortcuts are Option + G for Macintosh, and ALT + 0169 for Windows)
  • A wedding or event shooter could pre-load detailed information about an event — dates, client names, places, and so on — and have it accompany each image file, from the time each image is taken in-camera
  • Travel photographers could provide information at the start of each shooting day regarding locations, dates, and other details they may find helpful later
  • Catalog and commercial shooters can pre-install information regarding clients for a particular shoot and their contact information, the types of products being photographed that day, locations where images are shot (if on-location), and so on
  • Portrait photographers could include basic, fundamental information concerning locations, client names or categories, detailed contact information, etc.
Fundamental info about IPTC information, with the EOS 5D Mark IV

A few important basics to understand about the IPTC data with the EOS 5D Mark IV camera:

  • Information is input by the user into Canon’s supplied EOS Utility software (it’s included with the EOS 5D Mark IV camera — you’ll need version 3.5 or higher).  It is then applied or uploaded into the camera, via a Windows® or Macintosh® computer, using a USB 3.0 cable to connect camera and computer.
  • Information cannot be added, changed, or modified in-camera — there are no menu settings to change IPTC information on-the-fly.  Therefore, think of IPTC information as basic, fundamental data that will accompany every picture or at least groups of pictures, rather than data you’d change for individual images, or groups of images.

    For example, a portrait photographer could easily add IPTC data to indicate that he or she was photographing people at a particular school, company or location, but could not change IPTC info with the camera’s menu to identify different subjects by their names from one picture to the next, or one group of pictures to the next.
  • Once IPTC information is entered into fields in the Canon EOS Utility software, and uploaded (applied) into the camera, the photographer can choose to add it to pictures; or to disable it (IPTC data already installed into the camera will not be added to subsequent images).  But the IPTC info remains in-camera, once installed, and cannot be completely deleted via camera menu commands.

    Applying or disabling IPTC information with the 5D Mark IV is done via a Custom Function on C.Fn menu screen 4 (“Add IPTC information — Disable or Enable;” Disable is the default setting.

    Again, to be clear, disabling IPTC data does not remove it from the camera — it simply means it won’t be added to future shots, until you set this menu setting back to “Enable.”
  • IPTC data does not change from shot to shot.  It does not reflect actual photographic camera settings, like shutter speeds, apertures, and so on.  It is not connected to the camera’s date and time settings, so it won’t change automatically with the passage of time.
  • IPTC data is completely additional to the shooting data the camera normally attaches to original image files.  The ability to add IPTC data does not in any way allow users to change normal EXIF shooting data.
  • IPTC data does not change or influence actual image file names, nor does it allow re-naming of files.
  • During image playback in-camera, you can see whether IPTC data is attached to an image, but you cannot see the actual IPTC data on the camera’s LCD monitor.

    On the 5D Mark IV’s thumbnail + detailed information playback screen, scroll down the detailed info to the last item:  “IPTC Information — Avail” appears if the info was recorded for the image; there is no reference to IPTC info if you had the Add IPTC Information set to OFF as a picture was taken (Regular EXIF shooting data continues to be visible as always.)
  • To change IPTC data, you must re-connect the camera (via USB) to a compatible Windows or Mac computer, running Canon’s EOS Utility software version 3.5 or higher, call up the IPTC window, and DELETE the data currently in-camera.  Then, enter new data, and APPLY that via EOS Utility.  Again, it cannot be changed via the camera’s Menu.
  • Only one set of IPTC data can be installed into the camera at one time.  In other words, you cannot have one set of data for personal pictures, and then quickly switch to another for business or event shooting, and so on.
The process of entering IPTC data

Canon’s EOS Utility software, supplied with EOS cameras, is the software that manages USB connectivity from camera to a Windows or Macintosh computer.  With a compatible version of EOS Utility software installed on your computer — versions older than v. 3.5 will not recognize a connected EOS 5D Mark IV — you connect the camera to the computer with the supplied USB 3.0 cord.  EOS Utility normally will start up automatically.  (Be sure the camera’s Wi-Fi® functionality is turned off.)

Once EOS Utility software starts, here’s the procedure to enter and upload IPTC information to the EOS 5D Mark IV camera:

1. The first window that opens shows the camera name, and gives three options on-screen.  Click on CAMERA SETTINGS.

When EOS Utility recognizes a USB-connected camera, this window appears. Click on Camera Settings.

2. Another small window opens up.  Click on REGISTER IPTC INFORMATION.

Enter the IPTC area by clicking on “Register IPTC Information”

3. The primary window with IPTC fields opens up onscreen.  You’re free to enter information into any fields you want, and leave any others blank.  Pretty much any keyboard characters or language can be input here, if it’s on your computer’s operating system.  Scroll down to find other items you may want to enter.

Here’s the primary IPTC screen within EOS Utility. Scroll through this screen, and enter any information in any relevant fields that you want to be able to attach to images. You can leave any fields you want blank. Note that there are important buttons at the bottom of this screen… more on them in a moment.

4. Once you’ve entered all the info you want, scroll to the bottom, and click the APPLY TO CAMERA button.  The information is uploaded into the USB-connected camera.  If your “Add IPTC information” setting on C.Fn menu screen #4 is set to ENABLE, images you shoot will have the information you just uploaded added to each file.  You can turn this off at any time by setting “Add IPTC information” to DISABLE on your C.Fn menu; you absolutely do not need to re-connect to EOS Utility to turn IPTC data on or off in your camera.

5. To add new and additional IPTC information, for instance at a later date, re-connect the camera via USB, type in whatever new info you want, and click APPLY TO CAMERA.  The newly-updated info is uploaded into the camera.  You don’t need to delete any original info that you want to keep and re-enter everything all over again.

6. To completely delete IPTC information from the camera (for example, if you were loaning your camera to another photographer, and didn’t want to risk him or her accidentally having your information attached to their images), re-connect the camera via USB to your computer.  Start EOS Utility software, if it didn’t start-up automatically.  Repeat steps 1 ~ 3 above.  Scroll to the bottom of the main IPTC entry window, and click DELETE FROM CAMERA.  The IPTC info is removed from your connected camera.

7. To totally change IPTC info, delete any previously-input data (see step 6, directly above), re-enter whatever new data you want to include, and click APPLY TO CAMERA.  Be sure to delete the old data first, if you don’t want it to be returned to the camera!

You also have the ability to save your IPTC entries, once you’ve input them — this would make it a lot simpler, for instance, to add IPTC to several cameras.  Type in all the data initially, apply it to the first camera, and click SAVE…  The data will be saved to a location you select on the computer.  Now, you can access this same data once another camera is connected, by clicking LOAD…and your previous (saved) settings will re-populate the IPTC window.  Apply it to any subsequent EOS 5D Mark IV cameras that you want.

Viewing IPTC data in Canon’s DPP software

Many third-party software programs, for browsing/viewing, cataloging and archiving, and RAW image processing are able to view and work with IPTC information.  It’s beyond the scope of this article to give details, but you can certainly search online and reach out to various software vendors you may be interested in to learn details about how each uses and applies camera-created IPTC data.  This could be potentially very useful for purposes such as keywording and other search-oriented tasks.

For our purposes, we’ll show how this info can be viewed in Canon’s Digital Photo Professional (DPP) software.

You’ll need DPP version 4.5 or higher to work with files from the EOS 5D Mark IV.  Once you access a folder with 5D Mark IV original images on it, click on the folder, and thumbnail images will appear on-screen.  Click on any image to highlight it.

Whether you’re viewing a thumbnail or a larger preview image on-screen, to view shooting information, do one of the following:

  • VIEW pull-down menu  >  Info (a check-box should appear next to it)
  • Or, use the keyboard shortcut:  Command + I on a Mac; Control + I on Windows

The normal window with camera shooting information should appear.

At the top of the window are three tabs.  To see any IPTC information for the file you’ve highlighted, click the XMP/IPTC information tab.  IPTC information then appears, listed separately based on IPTC category.

In the shooting info display, click the middle tab at the top (“XMP/IPTC information”), and the first set of IPTC data becomes visible. Any entries you’ve previously uploaded into the camera will appear here.

Note that there’s another small pull-down menu below the XMP/IPTC information tab at the top.  This is where you select which of the IPTC categories are displayed — unlike regular camera-generated shooting data (date, time, shutter speeds, and so on), the IPTC info is not all displayed by DPP at one time.  

Canon’s DPP software won’t display ALL the IPTC data at once. To view different categories where you may have input IPTC information, click on the small pull-down menu, and choose one category at a time to view any entered data that’s attached to the image you’ve selected.

IPTC data may be a new concept to many individual photographers who haven’t worked at major photo organizations in the past.  But it’s an opportunity for nearly any shooter to put more information in his or her images, and know that the info will travel with those images once they leave the comfort of your personal computer.

Obviously, like any image information, IPTC data can be stripped away if images are posted onto certain web sites, or by some clients and end-users.  So it’s not an iron-clad guarantee of copyright notice or anything else.  But on the other hand, it can be very helpful to let photographers detail their own contact info, to provide keywords and other items to help later with searching images, and certainly for providing descriptions about clients, dates, locations, and more.  Clients and end-users of your images may find the info helpful for captioning, identifying different sets of images you may have taken at different times or locations, and so on.

Even casual shooters may find benefits in the EOS 5D Mark IV’s incorporation of IPTC data.  Once you understand the process of how to install it, modify it, and delete it, you’ll probably agree that it’s a great addition.

The EOS 5D Mark IV is Canon’s first camera factory-equipped to be ready for inputting IPTC data.  (As mentioned earlier, a firmware update adds this same functionality to the top-of-the-line EOS-1D X Mark II camera as well — all of the information in this article applies to updated 1D X Mark II cameras as well, for its newly-added IPTC capabilities.)  IPTC may be yet another minor but potentially useful reason to consider upgrading to the new EOS 5D Mark IV.

The CDLC contributors are compensated spokespersons and actual users of the Canon products that they promote.


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