Finding a Serial Number in EXIF

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by laurapond, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. hello all,
    my friend's D50 was stolen/lost this past weekend, and we are trying to figure out a way to find the serial number to include it in the police report. I have looked in the EXIF data for my d200 and can't find anything to help her, so I have turned to you to see if anyone has any ideas of how to find it.
    Thanks so much!
  2. EXIF data will not disclose that kind of info. Only way I know at this point is the receipt from which it was purchased from. The selling dealer should have a record as well. If it was purchased from another user as second-hand, then he/she may be able to help from getting info on where it was purchased from.
    Lost a Leica camera, watch, laptop, etc when my home was burglarized two years ago. Wrote to the respective manufacturers with included police report. Nothing came of it. It's basically lost. Just have to move on at this point and hope Karma gets to them some day.
    Good luck.
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If she still has the box, the serial number should be on the box and most likely on the receipt.
    The serial number should be in the EXIF data also. If she has a RAW (NEF) file or an unmodified JPEG file straight from the camera, she should be able to look that up. (Such data might not be available on some of the very early DSLRs, but I think it is on the D50 files. I don't have a D50 myself to verify.)
    See this thread for more details and options:
  4. grab 'exiftool' and run it on some photo's. if the info is in there somewhere, it'll find it.
  5. With PhotoMe you also find the serial in the exif.
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I just double checked a bunch of NEF and JPEG files. For the D2X, D300, D700, and D3, the camera serial number and shutter actuation count are both in the EXIF data. For the D200, only the shutter actuation count is available but not the serial number (or perhaps I somehow missed it). For the D100, neither seems available.
    The D100 is an old DSLR, but since the D2X was release about a year before the D200, I am a bit surprised that I cannot find the D200's serial number in the EXIF. The D50 was also released in the same year as the D2X and D200, namely 2005.
    Again, I don't have any files from a D50 to verify it one way or another.
  7. I confirmed Shun's finding about the D200 and higher cameras using Photo Mechanic, but I also do not have access to a D50. However, Nikon will have the serial number in their warranty registration file.
  8. I just checked my D50 with IrfanView and can't find a SN. Only the camera type and shutter count.
  9. Unfortunately this is true ... I just checked (an old picture) with "Opanda IEXIF " and there is no serial number where it supposed to be ..., only the camera name "D50" ( row 001D)
  10. I just had a play around with ExifTool and some raw files from this repository:
    It looks like neither the D200 nor the D50 files contain numeric serial numbers - I imagine it costs a little extra on the production line to match up a serial number printed on the camera with the same number embedded in the firmware, so perhaps (like many features) this was rolled out with the high-end models first (today, even the D60 embeds the serial).
    Curiously the D70 (but not the earlier D100) does seem to have some sort of data stored in the 'serial number' tag, but it doesn't match the camera's numeric serial (or is encoded differently) - I suppose an unmatched (but still potentially unique) internal serial number would be easier and cheaper to arrange than the current system of embedding the 'real' numeric serial - I don't know if anything similar is lurking in D50 files that standard Exif readers aren't picking up (if so, it would at least give all the files from a single camera a traceable signature).
    Incidentally, embedded serial numbers are wrapped up with the infamous topic of MakerNote encryption (as used for white balance from the D2X onwards). For the D2X (and the current models), the serial number is, bizarrely, one of the encryption keys (along with ShutterCount and a 'secret' lookup table). For the D50 and D200, a fixed character (the same for every camera of that model) seems to be used in place of the serial number for this purpose (if I'm interpreting ExifTool's Perl code for Nikon decryption correctly).
  11. Does anyone know if you can search the internet for the embedded serial information to locate a stolen camera? Thanks!

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