Lightroom 'current file time' vs 'file time during import' vs 'capture time' problems

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  • Updated 5 years ago
When importing images without a capture time in the metadata, Lightroom (v5.2, Windows) displays the file time as capture time. This is problematic because Lightroom itself updates the file time (created and modified), during import and when saving metadata.

However, Lightroom still stores the original file time of the imported images somewhere, because they are used to sort images and categorize/filter the library by date. This leads to people noticing inconsistent sorting by capture time (you can find several forum posts about this on the internet). What happens is that Lightroom displays the current file time next to the image, but sorts them by the file time at the time of import.

Lightroom doesn't display the file time at the time of import anywhere, and the capture time in the metadata is empty.

There is a trick though to set the capture time to the file time at the time of import:
1) set capture time to any value
2) revert capture time to original

I would recommend for Lightroom to not touch the file creation time, set the capture time to the file time during import, or display the currently hidden file time during import instead of the current file time in case the metadata doesn't contain any creation time.

Thanks, Christian
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Heini Meier

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Posted 5 years ago

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Rob Cole

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I would NOT want it to always do that without asking.

That said, I think it would be a great option to have - makes more sense in many cases than current handling.

In my case, files without capture time are generally photo-scans, and so I really want the capture time to remain missing until specifically assigned by me.
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Heini Meier

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I agree that from the 3 possible improvements, the last one is probably the most light-weight and would cause the least trouble.

I'm really only guessing what the problem is based on what I've seen from using Lightroom for a few hours, so there might be a better fix or maybe it's even a user error.
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John R. Ellis, Champion

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In detail: If an image or video is missing metadata date/time fields, then LR uses the file's date-modified for filtering, sorting, and pre-populating the Metadata > Edit Capture Time dialog, but it uses the file's date-created to display in the grid view. It should use date-modified consistently for all of those.

This bug has been present and acknowledged by Adobe for over three years:

Please visit that thread and add your vote and opinion.

There's a slighly easier way to set the capture time to the file-modified time: Simply select the pic, do Metadata > Edit Capture Time, and click Change.