Thursday, 29 March 2012

Free image editing: Aviary and Easy Photo Editor keep your resolution and your exif tags

There are plenty of free image editors for Android out there, but all of them suffer from major flaws. Most free image editors downsize your pictures to a single megapixel or so. They're either unable or unwilling to preserve your image resolution. And all (free) image editors lose your exif tags.

Correction: all (free) image editors lose your exif tags, except for one two. And if your camera shoots up to 8 12 megapixels you get to keep them all.


Aviary is an image editor that doesn't install as a normal app. It works as a plugin which you can fire up from your gallery share menu. An icon in the app drawer for quick access without going through the gallery would be nice, but not essential.

Edit: An Aviary update added an icon. You can now launch it like any other app.

Aviary used to downsample your pictures, but now it keeps them all up to 8 12 megapixels.

Unfortunately Aviary loses your exif tags. That may not sound like a big deal until you want to find out exactly when and where you shot the picture. That info is in the exif tags, but it gets lost if you run it through Aviary. Without the original "date picture taken" tag your gallery will use the "last modified" date instead, which will mess up the sequence of pictures in your gallery. If you edit the picture of the appetizers it will appear in your gallery after dessert and cigars.

Aviary is working on a fix, but nobody knows when it will be ready.

Update: Fixed! Aviary now keeps your exif tags the way you want them.

Easy Photo Editor

Easy Photo Editor looks like Aviary because it is built on Aviary, but there are a few differences between the apps. Easy Photo Editor has ads, but those are easily tamed with apps like AdAway. It doesn't let you choose your own folder to save edited pictures, so you'll have to move 'em with a file manager or an app like QuickPic after you're done editing. Not a big deal either, but a fix would be welcome anyway.

The big difference is that Easy Photo Editor learned to preserve your exif data. It took a few updates and a bit of trial and error, but the good news is that it works. Easy Photo Editor still changes the "last modified" date of your image file, but QuickPic comes with an option to repair that.

Update: Not a difference anymore. Aviary now keeps your exif tags the way you want them.

Which one?

Aviary or Easy Photo Editor, tough choice. Easy Photo Editor is a wrapper around Aviary, so both apps come with the same set of editing tools: brightness, contrast, colors, saturation, effects like sepia, red eye removal, and one click touchup.

Aviary lets you choose your own target folder, and it doesn't have ads. For now I use Easy Photo Editor Aviary because it's the only way to keep my exif tags. That may change with a future update of either app (for example, neither app does white balance correction yet). Let them compete and improve, it's good for us.

Easy Photo Editor by Paradise Android (make sure you get the right one, and not the piece of junk from CBS Co., Ltd.)

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  1. Aviary addressed this issue in a test build we have internally. Expect it to be added to the app store early next week once we conclude testing.

  2. Hi Avi,
    The update is a big step in the right direction. The app keeps most tags now, except for a very important one.

    The "date picture taken" exif tag is replaced by the date the pic got edited with Aviary.

    Changing the "date modified" entry in the file properties is enough. There's no need to change the date in the exif tags too. Changing the date in the exif tag messes up the picture sort order in all gallery apps, and you lose the date and time you shot the pic.

    Could you fix this in the next version?