Hello markspace - Welcome to the Sony Forums
When shooting images on your camera, if the camera is set to 'auto-rotate' photos then the Image Data Lightbox software will usually read this data and display images in the same manner.
If you let me know which camera you have, I can point out where the auto-rotate feature is located.
Many thanks for responding so quickly. That's what I thought too, though your use of the word "usually" is the worrying bit!. My camera - Sony alpha 580 - is set to auto-rotate on the playback display menu.
Perhaps more info is needed so you can hopefully help with this further. I download pics and view them using Windows Explorer. The RAW images come out fine (they auto-rotate). I create JPEGs using Image Data Lightbox (incidentally, now much more involved than the Image Data Converter I got with my Sony alpha-100) and it is these that do not auto-rotate when they appear in Windows Explorer. Can't understand why, as the RAWs should carry this information - and it always worked fine with the old software I mentioned. Is there some incompatibility issue with the newer Sony software? (IDC version 3 came with the a580).
Hope this all makes sense. Thanks.
Auto-rotate is written to an image's EXIF data which is then read by the camera and any program capable of decoding the EXIF. It's a known problem with Windows Explorer that it doesn't read some encoded EXIF properly and hence fails to do the rotate thing.
Hope that helps
I believe the non-rotation in WE is deliberate on the part of Microsoft engineers. The rationale is that because some apps may fail to read auto rotate data on upload, and only not all apps will export the rotation data correctly before it gets to WE, there's a good chance that WE will read the auto-rotate instruction and re-rotate an already-rotated image. Hence it's not a bug, and AFAIK there's no fix for it.
You can get WE to recognise auto-rotate if you use it to upload; you should also bear in mind that manually rotating jpegs in WE involves re-compressing the file, which will likely reduce image quality.
I'd say you have two options: first, find an alternative image browser; second, switch the a580s auto-rotate off. I had similar experiences to you and I opted to switch it off and manually rotate on upload, rather than have these problems later down the line. Without the problem metadata, your images remain rotated no matter what.
I tried turning off the auto-rotate on the a580 menu. The RAWs still appear the right way up in WE and the JPEGs, as created by Image Data Lightbox still appear rotated (the portriat images that is, the landscape ones are fine). Despite what you say, I suspect it's IDL that isn't reading the data correctly when it creates the JPEGs.
Do you know of any other software that would be able to read a580 RAWs and convert to JPEG as a batch process - does any part of the Photoshop suite do this, do you know? Take your point about an alternative browser, but I'm a WE sort of guy, I'm afraid! I'm just used to it and find it useful for other things I do (which is why it's such a pain it won't handle images from my new camera properly).
I appreciate your advice so far - if you can be bothered, I'd like your views on other software or PS. Thanks!
I'm not sure there can be a rotation problem with any image browser if you disable the auto-rotate function. When you turn it off, you disable the metadata 'trigger' that causes software to rotate images on import; so there's no data to read, properly or otherwise. Your files will appear exactly as you shot them, with portrait-oriented shots needing to be manually rotated.
You can set Photoshop up to batch process RAW files although you have to generate the 'script' yourself. It's not difficult but it isn't exactly 'seamless' like more dedicated apps. If none of what follows here appeals and you want to set PS up this way, let me know.
Shooting RAW can be very useful and highly convenient with the right software. I've never found a bundled-with-your-camera RAW processor that comes anywhere near a commercially-available one. You need something that works seamlessly as a RAW database, editor, browser and publisher. I use Abobe Lightroom, but there are others that do the same thing (almost) as well, such as DxO and Apple's Aperture. If you're prepared to mess about a bit, there are also a number of free RAW processors around that some people find more than adequate, or at least, considerably better than the bundled ones. With the right one, you shouldn't need WE, Photoshop or anything other than the stand-alone app.
On import, your raw files are databased. Any editing modifications you make, including rotation, is stored as metadata until you publish your images; your RAW files remain intact. When you publish, the program writes a file (tiff, jpeg, etc) with all that metadata incorporated, just as if the camera had generated it. I couldn't swear to it but because of this, if you enable auto-rotation, Lightroom (or whatever) can be set to output a file that WE will orient correctly, as it's no longer a metadata-dependent function.
Once you try a dedicated RAW processor you'll never turn back... and most are available for trial download.
Hope that's of some help!
I'll give this some more thought, but could you give me a link to one (or two) of the free RAW processors you mention. I guess it wouldn't hurt to try one to see if it solves my problem. FYI: JPEGs are an interim solution for me, mainly for quick-sorting pictures/weeding out the dross before minimal Photoshopping and pitching to stock agencies. Thanks.
A while back there were several around but the best of them were bought out: Bibble was aquired by Corel and RawShooter was incorporated into Lightroom. It therefore shares many of LR's best features and is still available as a free download, albeit it no longer supported, and being an older app, you need XP: http://rawshooter.en.softonic.com/
The only other free, up-to-date, Lightroom-like app I've heard good things about is RawTherapee http://rawtherapee.com/blog/features
Once you get the right image browser/editor I promise you jpegs will only be for email and internet A good image browser should blow the socks off Windows Explorer for sorting, tagging, weeding and basically any/all databasing routines, long before you get round to editing and converting.