Digital Dating (camera variety)
February 26, 2007 12:09 PM   Subscribe

When I take photos with my Panasonic DMC-FZ7, the date shows correctly on the LCD screen, but when the image file is moved to my computer (which also shows the correct time) it's off by five hours. [more inside]

I transfer the photos to my Mac (10.2.8) just by copying them to a folder on the desktop, via USB cable and the hard drive that appears called NO_NAME. No special software program.

Once there, the time each photo was taken is displayed, under Date Modified, as five hours earlier than it really was.

If I have a View column called Date Created in the window on my computer, the time shows as nothing, just three dashes (---).

If I take one of the image files with time displayed five hours off on the computer, and post it on Flickr, the time again is displayed correctly.

Coincidentally (?), I happen to live in a time zone five hours ahead of GMT (or I guess it’s now called UTC).

The Panasonic help desk said no way is it their problem, and they didn’t know what was happening. But I assume they aren’t as smart as AskMe.

As Marvin Gaye might say, “What’s going on?”
posted by LeLiLo to Technology (8 answers total)
Humm, well I think you're on the right track; it definitely sounds like a time zone issue.

Here's my theory. I think that the camera is set to local time, and either doesn't have a time zone, or is defaulting to GMT. The files are being written as [actual local time]+0, which to a system smart enough to know about time zones, is 5 hours different from [actual local time]-5. When you copy them to your Mac, the Mac is trying to do the right thing, and is taking that time (which it thinks is GMT) and converting it to the local time. But Flickr is just taking the value and posting it without conversion, depending on your camera and/or computer to have converted it correctly beforehand.

I'm not familiar with the DMC-FZ7, but I would look in there and see if it doesn't have an option to set the time zone. Otherwise, you might try importing the photos through something like iPhoto or Aperture, rather than copying directly, and seeing what they think the time is. Importing via Aperture/iPhoto and then exporting them as full-rez images shouldn't lose any quality, but it might fix any metadata issues.

If it still happens when you run them through iPhoto or Aperture, then you would have a good question to ask on the iPhoto or Aperture boards (either at Apple, or Flickr).
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:19 PM on February 26, 2007

Not a coincidence. This smells like the Timezone is not set in the camera (or least likely in the Mac.) Doublecheck those settings in the camera.
posted by dendrite at 12:20 PM on February 26, 2007

The manual for your camera is here. It doesn't look like your camera supports time zone information.

It could be possible that somehow the correct time is being written in the EXIF information embedded in each photo, even though the date modified isn't coming across properly.
posted by designbot at 1:11 PM on February 26, 2007

I have the DMC-FX07 and move photos off the same way as you. All three dates match. My camera has no timezone setting either. My Mac is running 10.4.8 (you're on an *OLD* Mac OS - almost 4 years old! Could that be the problem?)

I'm afraid you're going to have to experiment a bit. Check the timezone settings on your Mac. Try momentarily altering them and seeing how that affects how it sees the dates on the camera files. That wont completely narrow down the problem but it will verify that its a timezone issue and that the Mac is doing some sort of conversion.
posted by vacapinta at 1:32 PM on February 26, 2007

Thank you all. Sounds like some experimenting is in fact in order.

you're on an *OLD* Mac OS - almost 4 years old!

I spend so much time at MetaFilter I forget to go to the store...
posted by LeLiLo at 6:23 PM on February 26, 2007

Is the time off in the EXIF data, too? If it isn't, I personally wouldn't worry about it, as most [decent] photo apps nowadays go by that time instead.
posted by neckro23 at 8:28 PM on February 26, 2007

I didn't even know the term EXIF until, before posting my question, I looked around AskMe and read this question from December. I assume my EXIF data is (are?) O.K., and that's why Flickr includes the correct time when I post photos. Again, I'm looking forward to experimenting with the various suggestions posted.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:10 AM on February 28, 2007

I'm afraid you're going to have to experiment a bit. Check the timezone settings on your Mac. Try momentarily altering them and seeing how that affects how it sees the dates on the camera files.

Turns out that I can't change the time zones/dates using the camera at all, but if I momentarily tell my computer it's the wrong time (six hours ahead) while I download photos, everything comes out fine.

This should work at least until my computer learns how to tell time. Or I move up from OS 10.2.8.
posted by LeLiLo at 10:00 PM on April 1, 2007

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