File names - danger of duplicate file names?
Hi, I had a 450d which had to be sent back. I've now got the replacement. However, I am very new to whole digital darkroom and I would really appreciate some advice on how to handle the issue of duplicate file names..

The first camera has generated photos (I've done everything JPeg + RAW) and they are named/numbered thus: IMG-0001.jpg IMG_0001.cr2 for the raw files..

Now, if I load new photos from the new camera they will surely also be named IMG_001.cr2..

Firstly, is this a problem at all? If I put them in different folders will they be safe from confusion - I'm thinking about any post production I do on them, calling them up etc from different programmes..

If it is a problem and I need to rename all the pictures - please tell me there's an easier way than clicking on each one individually and renaming!!!.

And thirdly, does it matter what I name the files? I am assuming I need to keep the .cr2 or .jpg suffix in each case, are there any other rules, do I have to keep the IMG_ part as well?.

Again, sorry for the very basic question, but I don't want to muck it up. Thanks in advance...

Comments (12)

If you move same-named photos into, say, a default folder (where likely the prior files are stored), then yes, the previous ones will be overwritten with the new files. Either move the older files to their own, uniquely named folder, or download the images to a newly named folder..

If you're using Windows, you can easily batch rename the files. See here: However, remember that you would still need to download the images from your camera into a separate folder, because renaming takes place once the files are already on your system. Short of the Windows capability, there are tons of file renaming programs available for free. Do a Google search..

The name of the files preceding the extension (.jpg or .cr2) is irrelevant. You can name this anything. You must keep the extension intact to enable automatic program association...

Comment #1

If the last number of the returned camera was ,say img 1200 then set your new camera to start at img1201,its a long time since I have done this and my memory is not what it used to be,i do recall manually altering a file number on a memory card and setting the new camera to auto file reset on,taking some shots ,removing the card and then resetting camera to AFR off,.

I hope someone will help you with the correct proceduresomeone. Just found this thread,goes into it in detail. Perry..

Comment #2

I have a pentax *istD dslr and an optio S5i from pentax. I use them both all the time. they are generating identical file names and always have..

This is different from your situation in which the first camera only went to a certain number on your pc because that is all the pics you took..

What I do to solve the problem is that I download all the S5i pics to a certain folder on my desktop. the number sequence is as follow IMGP0001. what I do is use irfanview to reverse the the last 2 letters, so it becomes IMPG0001. now there is no conflict in the 2 camera's number system. the newly numbered pics are put in the adjoining folder on my desktop. after I confirm that the renumbering was successfull I delete the contents of the first folder...

Comment #3


Why not just a folder called 1st Camera and then 2nd camera or whatever model it is? I don't think for a moment that you'll never ever have another camera and so you might get into the system from the start..

Most picture software has a batch rename feature somewhere. It makes life a lot easier. If you want to go the whole hog, why not rename them S5i 0001.jpg etc?.

Regards, David..

Comment #4

The finished images are put in folders on an ext hdr drv. in folders by type or subject matter, so they would end up in the same folders. the desktop folders(it is a pics folder with 1-24 subfolders inside) are only holding fodlers while I work on them for any reason..

All my finsihed pics are on a separate hdr drv with 2 more copies on their own hard drvs as backups...

Comment #5

Even when using Continuous File numbering, your camera will eventually start using the same numbers again, like the mileometer in an old car - and it's also difficult to avoid duplication when swapping cards between two similar cameras - however, until then, you may as well sidestep the problem if you can..

Check in your camera manual for File Renumbering Methods, and make sure you're set to Continuous. The 350D for example reverts to 0001 after 9999 - which should be some time away?.

Now you need to get the camera's numbering moved beyond those you've already used..

The easiest way may be to copy the last picture you took with the first camera (must be the original, unedited version) back onto your memory card - subsequent shots should then carry on from there. If you prefer, try changing the file name of an image already on the card to one well ahead of the others - 1001 or 2001 - so there's an obvious break between the two cameras..

Usually it doesn't matter overly if you have two files of the same number as well-behaved programs will baulk at overwriting an existing file and either throw up a request that you confirm or prevent the substitution, or cope in some other way (as I recall, the Windows Explorer for instance adds either "_1" or "-1" just before the stop before the filetype extension)..

HOWEVER there are a few that lack such safeguards. Can't tell which, but I think that the Elements Organizer is said - when doing File Moves (and MAYBE some other processes) - to have a problem if there's a pre-existing file of the same name as one being transferred into a particular folder, so it's well worth steering clear of the problem completely!.

Hope that helps,Peter.

Peter - on the green island of Ischia

Comment #6

It is almost impossible to control the file names so that your camera uses every number from 0001, in sequence, once and only once. But in practice it doesn't matter. The filenames are to all intents and purposes arbitrary and it would be a mistake to try to use them as an indexing system..

Instead, set up your downloading software so that it organises the files for you. My own preference is to put the files in a folder named according to the shooting date; I don't change the file names. Other people may prefer to let EOS Utility (or whichever you are using) rename the files with the shooting date and a sequential number for example. You need to familiarise yourself with the options that the software offers and choose one to suit your way of working..

There are circumstances which can mean the software wants to use a filename which already exists in the same folder. One I run into quite often is if I use Remote Capture more than once on the same day, because Remote Capture numbers files from 0001 regardless of the numbers the camera is using. It could also happen if you have more than one camera, or if you reset the file numbering. Don't worry about this. If there is already a file named IMG_0001.jpg, the next time the software wants to use this name it will instead use IMG_0001_1.jpg..

Finally, your specific question about renaming - yes, you must keep the .jpg and the .cr2, but apart from that you can use any name you wish. IMG_ is a convention but it is not a requirement...

Comment #7

I use ACDSee as my primary organizer and it has features that allows you to manage potos by date quite readily. Like most organizers, it has the ability to rename photos on download to almost any naming convention you want to create. Also most of the better organizers have the ability to batch rename photos AFTER download as well. This allows you to experiement with the best set of naming conventions for the way you want to work..

A good photo organizer program really makes a big difference.STOP Global Stasis! Change is good!.

Now that you've judged the quality of my typing, take a look at my photos..

Comment #8

I have thousands of (personal) images on my computer and lots have the same file name but it has been of absolutely no problem. I keep different subject/events/happenning whatever in different folders so duplicate file names don't really matter. I now start each folder with the date followed by the subject eg2007.12.25_Xmas Aunty Ethel2008.01.02_Skiing in Croydon2008.04.12_Britney & Brad at my Place.

This way a Sort done on name also sorts date order, just looking at a huge list of folder names it is easy to spot the one I want..

Of course I also use browsing programmes, ACDSee Pro 2 being my favourite..

As I said, duplicate names is no problem..

However for our business we use a unique job numer followed by the clients surname followed by the camera image number. Once again any duplicate image name is usually sorted by the different client names but we keep the D2x on continous numbering anyway.jules.

Why can't you blow bubbles with chewing gum?..

Comment #9

Digital Assest management..

Eventually, no matter the camera, it will run out of numbers and start over again..

What I do is create a folder called PicturesInside that I create folders named 2001,2002,2003-2008inside each Year folder, I create month folders 01_jan.

Inside each month, I create folder for te photo event, even if it's nothig more than a walk around my yard, the pics would go into a folder titled Yard.Each image is renamed, batch process according to year_Month_Day_Event_number..

I then created thumbnails of each image, in every folder, within each Year folder. THose thumbnails are put into a folder called Thumbsnails, which resides inside eash YEAR named folcder..

I use LIghtroom and ACDC to manage my files, switching from AcDc to Lightroom, so Iam using both until I learn lightroom better..

Good LuckDave'When the light and composition are strong, nobodynotices things like resolution or pincushion distortion'Gary Friedman..

Comment #10

I have two bodies - a D50 and a D80 and if I did nothing the output would duplicate file numbers (Most people don't realise they will have an identical problem when they swap cameras somewhere down the line). I also shoot RAW..

My solution:.

A) I download output from each cam onto separate offload folders then use IRFANVIEW ( a free download) to batch rename each file simply adding a "5" or an "8" to make it "DSC5" or "DSC8". Those files are dumped into a 2nd set of offload folders. (In my case on a different drive).

B) I then create a series of named folders/subfolders for each event where the output from those offload folders can later be mixed..

C) I use IRFANVIEW to sort the photos into BEST, MAYBE and BIN dedicated sort folders (mixing D50 and D80)d) I PP the BEST photos using Nikon Capture NX and send to the named folders.

E) I batch process the MAYBE photos to jpeg using NX and also delete the RAW files & delete the BIN folder contents.

F) I then back everything up to an external drive and usually upload jpeg copies of the BEST folder to Zenfolio..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.


Comment #11

Maybe usefull:.

There is a programm looking for identical files,google clonespy..

Extremely usefull, if you are loosing track which files are safety copies at a different location, and which files are similar size, same name, but otherwise different....



Comment #12

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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