Sock Drawers, Laundry, and Camera Timestamps

Derrick Story
3 min readSep 8, 2022

Of the many parts of life that require maintenance, our cameras are among the easiest to take care of, and are often overlooked.

Maybe it’s because they’re out of sight, nestled in a shoulder bag, never demanding attention — like the quiet kid in the back of class who’s never called upon.

In truth, cameras don’t need much care. Keep a fresh battery on hand, stash a spare memory card, and you’re in good shape. That is, except for one thing: the internal clock.

The what?

Yes, you know, the timestamp thing, which probably doesn’t seem important until you cover an event with multiple cameras, such as with your smartphone and a mirrorless.

The smartphone will always apply the correct date and time to a picture because it’s connected to the Internet. So when you upload images to the computer, they’re in the right order. It’s a bit more dicey with cameras.

Some of them communicate with your smartphone, and they most likely will have an accurate timestamp. Yay! But many models require that you manually set the internal clock, which you did do once… when you first got it.

None of this would make any difference if we didn’t do crazy things like travel to different timezones. Again, with the smartphone, no problem. It knows where you are and adjusts the clock. Your camera, not so much.

Even if you don’t travel, those of us who live in states with Daylight Saving enjoy not one, but two opportunities to get our cameras out of sync. That is, unless you never pay attention to the time change. Then your clocks are only wrong half of the year.

The result of this mayhem is that your images will be displayed in all manner of disheveledness in your photo library because apps that organize pictures do so chronologically. An out-of-sorts library is very annoying to those of us who like our rooms tidy.

So what’s to be done?

If you have a newer camera, I would start by checking to see if you can keep it in sync with your smartphone. Typically, this is set up in the companion app on your mobile device. I like this option, if available, because it adjusts your camera through timezone travel and Daylight Saving.