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Workflow for iPhoto 5 and Mac OS X 10.4
Ole Saalmann - Volker Weber - October 2005

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What is it?

iPhoto 5 creates huge libraries when you import pictures from certain cameras (e.g. Nikon D70). Eric Lindsay has an extensive description of this bug. This bug has been submitted to Apple's Bug Reporter with #4308599 on 2005-10-20.

Our Automator workflow solves this problem by removing the large Makernote before importing into iPhoto.

System requirements

  • iPhoto 5 (iPhoto 4 did not have this problem)
  • Mac OS X 10.4 (Automator is not available in earlier versions)
  • Growl for notifications
  • exifcleaner.pl: A perl script which removes the MakerNote. It should be in a subdirectory called bin inside your home folder (~/bin/exifcleaner.pl).

  • Download
  • unzip "ImportSansMakerNote.workflow.zip" (double-click should do)
  • move "ImportSansMakerNote.workflow" to some convenient location
  • Download and install exifcleaner.pl

General Usage
  • Open "ImageCapture / Digitale Bilder", go into Preferences (Command-,) and set it not to do anything when a camera is connected.
  • Connect your camera as usual
  • Run "ImportSansMakerNote.workflow" (by double-clicking it for example)
  • That's it.

What does it do?
All this is done in a wild mixture of Automator, AppleScript and shell scripting. Neither can do this alone.
  1. Load images from camera with help of "ImageCapture / Digitale Bilder"
  2. Create a folder "iPhotoImport" in your temporary folder (/tmp/iPhotoImport/).
  3. Move the imported files there
  4. Run exifcleaner.pl on the imported files
  5. Make iPhoto the front application
  6. Import the images into iPhoto
  7. Delete the temporary folder
  8. Show a notification

  • Open "ImageCapture / Digitale Bilder", go into Preferences (Command-,) and set it run ImportSansMakerNote when a camera is connected. This way things should be completely automatic.
  • You can delete the last action in the Automator file if you don't want to use Growl for notiifcations

What does it cost?

Nothing. If you have money to share, send it here: (to be added)


ImportSansMakerNote should be harmless. It is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY. The authors can not be held responsible for any damage or loss of work which results from the use of this software. You use it at you own risk. Always backup your data.


ImportSansMakerNote was made by Ole Saalmann and Volker Weber.

ImportSansMakerNote has nothing to do with Apple. Neither do the authors. Please do not contact Apple for support. Use this e-mail address instead: <ole@saalmann.de>.
The layout for this ReadMe file were taken from iPhoto Mailer Patcher by Simon Jacquier <http://homepage.mac.com/jacksim/software/imp.html>

Version history

26. October 2005 0.4 Initial publication on this site.


ImportSansMakerNote © 2005 Ole Saalmann - Volker Weber