Nikon and Canon have both warned that Windows XP can wipe EXIF file format data from their cameras, but Microsoft has said that the warning is misleading.
EXIF file information contains details about a photograph including shutter speed and light, as well as the date and time at which the picture was taken.
A Nikon spokesman explained that if Windows Explorer is used to rotate images it will destroy the important EXIF data held in the JPEG image header.
"Even a simple 'properties' view of a file can destroy the EXIF data. Secondly, if you use Explorer to format CF cards the default file system is FAT32 which digital cameras won't understand," he said.
The problems occur with Nikon digicameras and scanners when using certain rotation options.
At the moment Nikon says that lost image data can not be restored and that Windows XP users should back up their images before doing anything.
However, a Microsoft spokesman pointed out that this is misleading as the issue only effects those downloading camera pictures using XP's camera wizard.
"Pictures are converted to JPEG because that is the most common format and, as a result, EXIF information is lost. However, the majority of users don't need EXIF information. So this glitch only effects those advanced users and they can simply open the camera as they would a hard drive and drag and drop the pictures without losing any information," he explained.
Nikon and Canon have also warned that Compact Flash cards used with digital cameras should not be formatted using Windows XP, whether Home or Professional versions.
If a CompactFlash card that has been formatted using Windows XP is inserted into a Coolpix digital camera the message 'card is not formatted' will appear in the camera monitor.
If such a card is inserted into a D1, D1X or D1H camera, the 'CHA' display in the control panel will start to flash. In either case, both companies advised using the camera to reformat the card.
But the Microsoft spokesman said that the flash card problem was not an XP issue, but rather that the cameras were not configured to handle the later versions of the FAT file format.
"This is not just XP; these cameras could not handle Windows 2000 either," he said.
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