Need utility to set Nikon camera date/time

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Craig Johnson, Oct 31, 2007.

  1. My wife and I have Nikons (D70s, D80 & D200).

    I'm looking for some sort of utility that will quickly and easily sync
    the camera date & time to the time on my PC. (Prefer Windows XP
    capability, but can work with Suse Linux or Mac Mini if needed).

    It's kind of annoying to review vacation photos where we are both
    shooting away, and one camera is 5 minutes off the other. I use
    Downloader Pro to rename photos with date/time so they sort in
    chronological order.

    And then there are the times one of us forgets to change the time zone
    as we travel. Funny, but we never seem to forget to do that on the
    laptop we use to download the images each day.

    I know I can use the MS camera download wizard, but I'm really looking
    for a very simply utility that I intend to use just for this purpose,
    over a USB cable.
     
    Craig Johnson, Oct 31, 2007
    #1
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  2. Craig Johnson wrote:
    > My wife and I have Nikons (D70s, D80 & D200).
    >
    > I'm looking for some sort of utility that will quickly and easily sync
    > the camera date & time to the time on my PC. (Prefer Windows XP
    > capability, but can work with Suse Linux or Mac Mini if needed).
    >
    > It's kind of annoying to review vacation photos where we are both
    > shooting away, and one camera is 5 minutes off the other. I use
    > Downloader Pro to rename photos with date/time so they sort in
    > chronological order.
    >
    > And then there are the times one of us forgets to change the time zone
    > as we travel. Funny, but we never seem to forget to do that on the
    > laptop we use to download the images each day.

    []

    Craig,

    Two suggestions:

    - Keep your cameras on UTC - avoids any time zone issues.

    - Sync the cameras by hand at the start of a trip. Mine seem to be not
    more than a few seconds off after about a week.

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Oct 31, 2007
    #2
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  3. David J Taylor wrote:
    > Craig Johnson wrote:
    >> My wife and I have Nikons (D70s, D80 & D200).
    >>
    >> I'm looking for some sort of utility that will quickly and easily sync
    >> the camera date & time to the time on my PC. (Prefer Windows XP
    >> capability, but can work with Suse Linux or Mac Mini if needed).
    >>
    >> It's kind of annoying to review vacation photos where we are both
    >> shooting away, and one camera is 5 minutes off the other. I use
    >> Downloader Pro to rename photos with date/time so they sort in
    >> chronological order.
    >>
    >> And then there are the times one of us forgets to change the time zone
    >> as we travel. Funny, but we never seem to forget to do that on the
    >> laptop we use to download the images each day.


    >
    > Two suggestions:
    >
    > - Keep your cameras on UTC - avoids any time zone issues.
    >
    > - Sync the cameras by hand at the start of a trip. Mine seem to be not
    > more than a few seconds off after about a week.


    I prefer synching by auto via the Canon software on my Mac. I am sure
    Nikons can do that on PCs. Is there an advantage to doing it by hand?

    --
    John McWilliams
     
    John McWilliams, Oct 31, 2007
    #3
  4. John McWilliams wrote:
    []
    > I prefer synching by auto via the Canon software on my Mac. I am sure
    > Nikons can do that on PCs. Is there an advantage to doing it by hand?


    Not having to connect the camera to the PC.
    Something I never do.

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Oct 31, 2007
    #4
  5. In article <>, Craig Johnson
    <> wrote:

    > My wife and I have Nikons (D70s, D80 & D200).
    >
    > I'm looking for some sort of utility that will quickly and easily sync
    > the camera date & time to the time on my PC. (Prefer Windows XP
    > capability, but can work with Suse Linux or Mac Mini if needed).


    PictureProject Transfer or Nikon Transfer can synchronize the camera
    clock. It's the only thing I use Transfer for.
     
    Jeffrey Jones, Nov 1, 2007
    #5
  6. On Wed, 31 Oct 2007 17:34:40 GMT, "David J Taylor"
    <-this-bit.nor-this-bit.co.uk> wrote:

    >Two suggestions:


    Unfortunately, neither are what I'm looking for.

    >- Keep your cameras on UTC - avoids any time zone issues.


    Ineresting point - but I want my photos to show the local time when I
    took them.
    >
    >- Sync the cameras by hand at the start of a trip. Mine seem to be not
    >more than a few seconds off after about a week.


    If I had done that, I wouldn't be needing a utility to make it easier.
    And my wife is even less likely to set the camera dates.

    I just got back from a 2-week cruise through the Panama Canal. 3 time
    zone changes. Three different cameras, each with differing menus.
    Manual changing just isn't working for me.

    At least if I had a utility, I could change the time each evening when
    I download the pictures for the day, and then I would only have one
    day's worth of EXIF data to adjust.

    More importantly, I want a utility to set the clocks EXACTLY correct,
    or at least try to get them to the second. I just can't really do
    that by hand in a quick and easy fashion.

    Maybe I'll just perservere with the MS wizard on this one.
     
    Craig Johnson, Nov 1, 2007
    #6
  7. On Wed, 31 Oct 2007 23:45:32 -0400, Jeffrey Jones <>
    wrote:

    >PictureProject Transfer or Nikon Transfer can synchronize the camera
    >clock. It's the only thing I use Transfer for.


    I have PictureProject, but I haven't seen a clock sync function. Off
    to start looking more closely! (Thanks!)

    Nikon Transfer, I'm not familiar with.
     
    Craig Johnson, Nov 1, 2007
    #7
  8. On Wed, 31 Oct 2007 23:45:32 -0400, Jeffrey Jones <>
    wrote:

    >PictureProject Transfer


    Cool - found the function. Now if only I can figure out how to launch
    just that part, quickly.
     
    Craig Johnson, Nov 1, 2007
    #8
  9. Craig Johnson wrote:
    > On Wed, 31 Oct 2007 17:34:40 GMT, "David J Taylor"
    > <-this-bit.nor-this-bit.co.uk> wrote:
    >
    >> Two suggestions:

    >
    > Unfortunately, neither are what I'm looking for.
    >
    >> - Keep your cameras on UTC - avoids any time zone issues.

    >
    > Ineresting point - but I want my photos to show the local time when I
    > took them.
    >>
    >> - Sync the cameras by hand at the start of a trip. Mine seem to be
    >> not more than a few seconds off after about a week.

    >
    > If I had done that, I wouldn't be needing a utility to make it easier.
    > And my wife is even less likely to set the camera dates.


    If your cameras are loosing a day over a three week trip, you have serious
    problems! Mine are OK over months.

    > I just got back from a 2-week cruise through the Panama Canal. 3 time
    > zone changes. Three different cameras, each with differing menus.
    > Manual changing just isn't working for me.


    You see why I recommend UTC! But can't you alter just the hours, leaving
    the minutes and seconds alone?

    > At least if I had a utility, I could change the time each evening when
    > I download the pictures for the day, and then I would only have one
    > day's worth of EXIF data to adjust.
    >
    > More importantly, I want a utility to set the clocks EXACTLY correct,
    > or at least try to get them to the second. I just can't really do
    > that by hand in a quick and easy fashion.
    >
    > Maybe I'll just perservere with the MS wizard on this one.


    This is something I do at the start of a trip, even earlier, when doing
    the packing. Check that all clocks (watch, alarm, phone, all cameras,
    etc.) are correct, batteries charged, memory cards formatted etc. Done
    once and then left well alone. But I don't take a laptop.

    Cheers,
    David
     
    David J Taylor, Nov 1, 2007
    #9
  10. Craig Johnson <> wrote:
    >On Wed, 31 Oct 2007 17:34:40 GMT, "David J Taylor"
    ><-this-bit.nor-this-bit.co.uk> wrote:
    >
    >>Two suggestions:

    >
    >Unfortunately, neither are what I'm looking for.
    >
    >>- Keep your cameras on UTC - avoids any time zone issues.

    >
    >Ineresting point - but I want my photos to show the local time when I
    >took them.


    That's a valid point, but considering reality, the UTC
    suggestion is almost certainly the _only_ solution
    likely to provide you with accurate results in the end.
    It hasn't much to do with the cameras or the "best case"
    situation, it has to do with human nature...

    >>- Sync the cameras by hand at the start of a trip. Mine seem to be not
    >>more than a few seconds off after about a week.

    >
    >If I had done that, I wouldn't be needing a utility to make it easier.
    >And my wife is even less likely to set the camera dates.


    Well, if you are unlikely to set them at the beginning
    of a trip, just how likely are you to be aware of every
    time zone change and actually set the laptop and cameras
    correctly????

    The whole point of using UTC is that you only need set
    it once per trip, and even if you miss that there isn't
    all that much of a problem (compared to not knowing when
    you've entered a different time zone, or one camera
    being set for a new time zone and another not).

    BTW, yes I'm also advocating use of UTC on the laptop
    too!

    >I just got back from a 2-week cruise through the Panama Canal. 3 time
    >zone changes. Three different cameras, each with differing menus.
    >Manual changing just isn't working for me.


    It would have been extremely simple for you to set all
    three cameras to UTC on the day before you leave. End
    of *all* concerns about getting the time synced...

    >At least if I had a utility, I could change the time each evening when
    >I download the pictures for the day, and then I would only have one
    >day's worth of EXIF data to adjust.


    That assumes your laptop is set correctly, but there is
    no reason to assume it is any more likely to have the
    right time zone than the cameras!

    >More importantly, I want a utility to set the clocks EXACTLY correct,
    >or at least try to get them to the second. I just can't really do
    >that by hand in a quick and easy fashion.


    That's a valid point too. Still, if you find an easy
    way... the *right* thing to do is still going to be
    UTC! :)

    You'd still want to sync the cameras to the laptop every day,
    just to maintain sub-second accuracy to allow sorting images.

    But the human errors that are bound to creep in when you
    want timezone changes included is just too error prone.

    >Maybe I'll just perservere with the MS wizard on this one.


    --
    Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
    Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
     
    Floyd L. Davidson, Nov 1, 2007
    #10
  11. Floyd L. Davidson wrote:
    []
    > That's a valid point, but considering reality, the UTC
    > suggestion is almost certainly the _only_ solution
    > likely to provide you with accurate results in the end.
    > It hasn't much to do with the cameras or the "best case"
    > situation, it has to do with human nature...


    I start to wonder about my answers when Floyd agrees with me!

    <G>

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Nov 1, 2007
    #11
  12. On Thu, 01 Nov 2007 01:23:08 -0900, (Floyd L.
    Davidson) wrote:

    >That's a valid point, but considering reality, the UTC
    >suggestion is almost certainly the _only_ solution
    >likely to provide you with accurate results in the end.
    >It hasn't much to do with the cameras or the "best case"
    >situation, it has to do with human nature...


    Thanks - valid points, to be sure.

    However, there are some factors here that come into play in my favor:

    1. I'm on a PC a LOT. And it's (for me) easier to set the clock
    correctly on the laptop than on 3 different cameras.

    2. I'm thinking seriously about using UTC time. I can certainly see
    the advantages. But I also like being able to look at a photo and
    knowing that it was taken at such-and-such a local time.

    3. Even if I forgot to change the time zone on the laptop, at least
    if all 3 cameras we use are synched the same, it's easy for me to use
    a utility to adjust the exif data by an hour. What drove me nuts was
    interlaying all the pictures together when we went through the Panama
    Canal (for one instance), and having one camera about 3.5 minutes off
    the other. I finally found some pictures showing a clock in them and
    was able to put in a pretty good offset to adjust one camera to match
    the other.

    When I go on a trip, I get the camera maintenance duties. The routine
    is normally that at the end of the day, I pull the batteries and
    recharge them, download all the cards to the laptop (Downloader Pro),
    copy the downloaded images to a backup USB drive, and clean lenses.
    If I have filled cards and know there is a big shooting day coming up,
    I reformat cards in-camera (never until I have two copies, and
    sometimes a backup on DVD). The problem here is that this is an
    end-of-day routine, at which point it is too late to change the camera
    time if we changed into a different time zone that day. Still, if the
    cameras at least match, it is a lot better than when they don't.
     
    Craig Johnson, Nov 12, 2007
    #12
  13. Craig Johnson

    Richard H. Guest

    Craig Johnson wrote:
    > 3. Even if I forgot to change the time zone on the laptop, at least
    > if all 3 cameras we use are synched the same, it's easy for me to use
    > a utility to adjust the exif data by an hour. What drove me nuts was
    > interlaying all the pictures together when we went through the Panama
    > Canal (for one instance), and having one camera about 3.5 minutes off
    > the other. I finally found some pictures showing a clock in them and
    > was able to put in a pretty good offset to adjust one camera to match
    > the other.



    Hi, Craig.

    I don't think there is a utility for this - if you find it, let me know.
    I use an alternative that isn't as easy as plugging the camera into
    the PC, but it works very well, and after-the-fact too... we do it all
    the time to sync multiple cameras down to the second. It's far more
    accurate than you can set through the menus.

    Just take both cameras and click the shutter on both simultaneously. If
    you want highly accurate time (not just sync'd time), point the camera
    at a highly accurate clock when you do this. This gives you a reference
    photo for how much the cameras need to be adjusted.

    When you download the images, put their files in separate directories.
    Using a tool like ExifTool, read the timestamps on the 2 reference
    photos, calc their offset and figure out how much to adjust each camera.
    (ExifTool is an open source set of Perl scripts.)

    To read out the timestamps with ExifTool:
    perl exiftool -DateTimeOriginal MyPhoto.nef

    This adds exactly 3 minutes to every image in the current folder:
    perl exiftool -overwrite_original -AllDates+=00:03:00 .

    And this syncs the filesystem date with the EXIF timestamp
    perl exiftool "-DateTimeOriginal>FileModifyDate" .

    With this, neither camera needs to keep the right time, and you can
    adjust to any timezone you wish, without having to remember to do it
    ahead of time.

    Cheers,
    Richard
     
    Richard H., Nov 13, 2007
    #13
  14. Craig Johnson

    H.S. Guest

    Richard H. wrote:

    > Hi, Craig.
    >
    > I don't think there is a utility for this - if you find it, let me know.
    > I use an alternative that isn't as easy as plugging the camera into the
    > PC, but it works very well, and after-the-fact too... we do it all the
    > time to sync multiple cameras down to the second. It's far more
    > accurate than you can set through the menus.
    >
    > Just take both cameras and click the shutter on both simultaneously. If
    > you want highly accurate time (not just sync'd time), point the camera
    > at a highly accurate clock when you do this. This gives you a reference
    > photo for how much the cameras need to be adjusted.
    >
    > When you download the images, put their files in separate directories.
    > Using a tool like ExifTool, read the timestamps on the 2 reference
    > photos, calc their offset and figure out how much to adjust each camera.
    > (ExifTool is an open source set of Perl scripts.)
    >
    > To read out the timestamps with ExifTool:
    > perl exiftool -DateTimeOriginal MyPhoto.nef
    >
    > This adds exactly 3 minutes to every image in the current folder:
    > perl exiftool -overwrite_original -AllDates+=00:03:00 .
    >
    > And this syncs the filesystem date with the EXIF timestamp
    > perl exiftool "-DateTimeOriginal>FileModifyDate" .
    >
    > With this, neither camera needs to keep the right time, and you can
    > adjust to any timezone you wish, without having to remember to do it
    > ahead of time.
    >
    > Cheers,
    > Richard



    Nice! That's clever.

    ->HS
     
    H.S., Nov 13, 2007
    #14
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