Image date problem


Hi all,

New digiKam user here (version 5.9.0 GNU/Linux) with an image date problem.

I have a group of image files from 1999 that have been moved across various photo applications during their life (Aperture, Lightroom, now digiKam) and have accumulated various dates in their metadata. In
digiKam these images from 1999 are displayed in 2015 (but with a modify date in 4 January 1999). How can I file these images in the chronologically-correct order?

I would prefer to fix the date issues before they are imported into digiKam (or any other application) to ensure that the changes are made to the source files and not just updated in the application’s internal database. I have tried various combinations of jhead and exiftool but with no success.

$exiftool -time:all -a -G0:1 -s <filename.jpg>  produces the following output:

[File:System]   FileModifyDate                  : 1999:01:04 12:00:00+00:00

[File:System]   FileAccessDate                  : 2018:08:09 09:32:20+01:00

[File:System]   FileInodeChangeDate             : 2018:08:09 09:33:14+01:00

[EXIF:IFD0]     ModifyDate                      : 2015:11:10 15:49:30

[ICC_Profile:ICC-header] ProfileDateTime        : 1999:06:03 00:00:00

[XMP:XMP-xmp]   MetadataDate                    : 2015:11:10 15:49:30+10:30

[XMP:XMP-xmp]   ModifyDate                      : 2015:11:10 15:49:30+10:30

[XMP:XMP-xmpMM] HistoryWhen                     : 2015:11:10 15:49:30+10:30

I believe that either [EXIF:IFD0]ModifyDate and/or [XMP:XMP-xmp]ModifyDate need to be changed to match the [File:System]FileModifyDate but so far I have been unable to achieve this. The date I would like to use (in the above example) is the FileModifyDate 4 January 1999.

Is this the correct approach, or should I be thinking in a different way?

Although these files have been touched by various photo management applications, I would like to treat them as though they are “straight out of the camera” so I am willing to delete any/all records that are attributable to Lightroom or Aperture.

Thanks for your help.

(Simon Frei) #2

There are two fundamentally different types of times: Those related to time when the photo was taken (afaik just one :slight_smile: ) and those related to what happened to the file on disk. The latter should be filesystem stuff that you don’t need to handle manually. The former is written to exif (and potentially xmp). For my photos usually ModifyDate and DateTimeOriginal are present. Assuming you care about the time the image was taken, determine which of the existing time fields corresponds to that and copy this value to DateTimeOriginal. For example like this

exiftool "-FileModifyDate>DateTimeOriginal" <filename.jpg>


Thanks for your reply. Problem solved!

None of the files in my test set have a DateTimeOriginal field, but based on your exiftool command example, I now know that I can simply create one that matches the FileModifyDate. When I read the modified files in digiKam, their dates are shown correctly. Modified Date is also displayed but the DateTimeOriginal field is key to getting correct chronological order among the images.

Thanks again for your very helpful reply.


I consider the DateTimeOriginal tag to be the base. None of the apps are supposed to change it unless you do so manually, so it is a good indicator of when the photo was taken.


I will take that advice. Thanks.

I am starting to explore the metadata editing features of digiKam. I may edit the dates after importing the images rather than before.



Thumbs organizing by “date” doesn’t go so far. There’s always some images at wrong spot.

Arrange by date modified and arrange by date created are needed.


It makes sense to report this as a wish in bugzilla.
In digikam, Help - Report a Bug, and then select Severity - wishlist

As a workaround, if you files named yyyyMMdd-hhmmss sort order by Name should arrange them chronologically.