Need utility to set Nikon camera date/time

Discussion in 'Nikon' 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
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  2. PictureProject Transfer or Nikon Transfer can synchronize the camera
    clock. It's the only thing I use Transfer for.
    Jeffrey Jones, Nov 1, 2007
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  3. Unfortunately, neither are what I'm looking for.
    Ineresting point - but I want my photos to show the local time when I
    took them.
    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
  4. 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
  5. Cool - found the function. Now if only I can figure out how to launch
    just that part, quickly.
    Craig Johnson, Nov 1, 2007
  6. 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
  7. Craig Johnson

    Richard H. Guest

    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.

    Richard H., Nov 13, 2007
  8. Craig Johnson

    H.S. Guest

    Nice! That's clever.

    H.S., Nov 13, 2007
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