Apr 3, 2012

Put an Atomic Clock in Your Camera

Accurate Capture Time Matters!

Time is Important!

Most people will not care about the accuracy of the clock in their camera.  But for those of us who shoot with multiple cameras, or wish to sync our images with a GPS log, the issue is a lot more important.  For some, it will be enough just to get two cameras to agree on the time.  For others, having the accurate time recorded in each photograph may be essential (GPS log sync).

There are a number of reasons why our cameras' clocks are not accurate.  First of all, the clocks inside most all electronics will drift over time, often by a few seconds per week -- sometimes more.  In addition, most people forget to fix the clocks in their cameras when Daylight Saving Time begins or ends.  

The Two Camera Problem

Have you ever photographed a portrait session or an event using multiple cameras and then discovered afterward that your cameras' clocks were off?  Perhaps your second shooter arrived a little late for the  wedding and you didn't have time to sync your cameras beforehand, or perhaps you just didn't think of it until you started going through the images in Lightroom and found that you keep suffering from Déjà vu after every few images.

I ran into this problem right after my first wedding.  The clock in my second shooter's camera was way off from mine and it made the process of arranging the photographs very frustrating.

GPS Log Synchronization

Many people like to add GPS information to their photographs.  If your camera does not have a GPS device built in, one solution is to use a device which can create a log of everywhere it has been over a period of time.  The timestamps in the log will be based upon the clocks in the satellites, which are highly accurate.  If the time in your camera is incorrect, your photographs will not end up with accurate location information.  So, what if you just spend all day making photographs in many different locations and you notice, for the first time, that the time your camera recorded for each photograph is not even close to the actual time when you were at that location?

These problems can easily be corrected in post.  


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