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Daylight Savings Time is Here: Don’t Forget to Change Your Camera’s Clock

Gear Talk

Set time and date manually

Unlike your computers, tablets, and smartphones, the clock in your camera doesn’t typically do the “Spring forward, Fall back” routine required to keep its clock accurate. If you don’t go in manually to change the time and date on you camera, the EXIF data it stamps your files with will have an inaccurate time/date stamp.

While it’s not the end of the world if your photos show a time that’s an hour off, having your clock accurate is always a good thing. Knowing the exact time an image was taken can help you if you want to replicate the exact atmospheric conditions in a landscape shot at a later time, for example.  Having accurate timestamps is especially important if you’re doing any kind of geo-tagging of your images using a GPS tracker or your iPhone to record a GPS track file and apply it to your DSLR photos in Lightroom or Aperture.

This article will show you how to adjust the time on your Nikon or Canon camera, as well as how to adjust your photo timestamps if you forget. Not all cameras use the exact same menu setup, so please check your camera’s manual for instructions specific to your gear.

On a Nikon (we’re using a D800E in this example) go to your “Setup” menu and select the “Time zone and Date” option.

Time Zone and Date option

Now, rather than changing the actual time once you’re here, you can simply change the “Daylight Savings Time” option and your camera will automatically jump its clock forward an hour. Switch it form “Off” to “On.”

 

Daylight saving time option

On a Canon camera (We’re using a 5D Mark II for this), the option can be found in one of the Setup Menus (the ones with the yellow wrenches). In the case of the 5D Mark II, there’s no automatic Daylight Saving Time option, so we have to edit the time manually, as shown below.

Setup Menu for time and date

Set time and date manually

As I mentioned earlier, each camera will differ slightly, so check your camera’s manual for complete instructions on how to do this.

Fixing in post

Now, if you’ve taken some images after the fact, then you’ll need to go back and fix the dates on them. Here’s how to do it in Aperture and Lightroom.

In Aperture, the option to change the capture time and date of your image is located in the Metadata menu. Select the “Adjust time and date…” option as shown below to make this change.

Select "Adjust time and date..." from the Metadata menu

Make your time and date adjustments.

That’s it! The correct time and date adjustment will be noted in your image’s metadata.

In Lightroom, make sure you’re in the Library module, then go up to the “Metadata” menu and select “Edit Capture Time…” and make the adjustment in the dialog box that pops up, as shown below.

Lightroom time/date adjustment

Lightroom time/date adjustment options

And that’s it! It’s now time to go out and take advantage of that extra hour at sunset (and a later sunrise, too). As always, questions and feedback are welcome in the comments below.

 

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Sohail Mamdani is a writer and photographer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. You can find his portfolio on his website at sohail.me as well as on 500px and Flickr.

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