Daylight Saving Time just ended; it’s time to set your in-camera clocks to the correct time
Did you set the time on your camera’s clock back from Daylight Saving Time to Standard Time this morning?
For those of us who live in the US, at two o’clock this morning time slipped back and we gained (temporarily) an hour of sleep.
Around lunchtime, I somehow remembered that I needed to change the time back on the clocks in my cameras. And I felt good about it in the way that you feel good about doing something that you know you should do religiously, but, well, you aren’t quite as diligent as you should be.
When I got to the camera I used for the bird picture at the top of this post, I found its clock off by about 31 minutes, neatly splitting the difference between Daylight and Standard time. That likely means that I didn’t set that clock ahead last spring and it definitely-for-sure means that my camera’s clock keeps lousy time.
Your camera’s clock probably keeps lousy time, too. Regardless of the machine’s ability to make photographs, every camera I’ve ever dealt with has been a lousy timekeeper. We should check their time from time to time.
If we leave our cameras set to Greenwick Mean Time, we won’t need to worry about Daylight Saving Time. But still, terrible timepieces that they are, they’ll drift away to silly times.
Why does it matter? Well, metadata, of course!
Your camera’s clock provides the time written to your pictures’ Exif data and file-save times. The Exif time will likely be copied to the IPTC Create Date field, and it will be shown in all sorts of applications, including your own asset management system. If it’s wrong, you may just never know when a given photo was made. After lunch? After dinner? It might very well matter someday.
So mark your calendar. Set your clocks.
On time? Some photographers need to-the-second-level time precision, say in order to sort frames from multiple cameras by capture time. Sure, you can synchronize your pictures after the fact, with Photo Mechanic’s clever time shifting feature, for example. But does anybody know how to make their camera clocks run on time in the first place? Jump in the comments and let us know.