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Author Topic: File time errors on 5DmkIII body  (Read 1105 times)

Robert Welch

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File time errors on 5DmkIII body
« on: April 08, 2012, 05:39:03 PM »
I have a new 5DmkIII body and simultaneously used it with a 7D body for 3 weddings to date, shooting some photos with one camera then switching to take some shots with the other and back again, some shots being taken within seconds of each other on the two different cameras. There seems to be an issue with the 5DmkIII recording the accurate capture/creation times on the files. So far, all 3 weddings have shown the same problem, the 5DmkIII files are showing earlier creation times compared to the 7D files. I've never had any problems with the 7D syncing up with other cameras (I have a 1DmkIII and a 40D that I previously used at weddings together with the 7D, all 3 of those cameras sync up just fine). The time difference seems to vary, I've seen shot times vary between the two cameras from just over a minute to 4-5 minutes difference, when they should be no more than seconds apart, with the 5DmkIII files showing earlier creation times than the 7D. I have more files to examine in terms of the differences, but so far I'm not seeing a consistency with the differences, and the internal camera clocks have been and remain in sync with the clock I set them by (my computer which I check against Time.gov online). I've checked the cameras before and after each wedding, and they have yet to be more than 1 second out of sync with each other. I've also checked the CR2 files on the CF card, and the JPGs on the SDHC card, and they both match times, so it's not a file type issue with the 5DmkIII.

I'm thinking there is some kind of error within the camera when checking the clock to write the creation times on the file. I've seen other owners have mentioned this problem on some other forums, so I'm not alone it seems. I haven't seen anyone mention the problem on this forum yet, so thought I'd mention it here.

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File time errors on 5DmkIII body
« on: April 08, 2012, 05:39:03 PM »

prestonpalmer

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Re: File time errors on 5DmkIII body
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2012, 08:49:44 PM »
Thats no error.  Its totally normal (although frustrating).  Camera clocks on Canon's are not very accurate.  I sync the clocks on all my cameras to the second before a shoot, and within days they will be many seconds apart, or more.  I have just made a habit of syncing all camera clocks on all my cameras immediately when I take them out of the bag for wedding photography, or any shoot.  The cameras will even have different times at the end of the wedding!!! (usually by only a few seconds) I suspect it has something to do with battery voltage?  Or removing a battery from the body?  I'm not sure.  Either way, I sync up 2x 5D2's a 5D3, a 7D and 40D before each shoot, and they always vary, unpredictably in timestamps within a few days.  Its frustrating, but rather than waste your time on it, sync your cameras before each shoot.  If you forget to do that, take a picture of the same object with all your cameras at the exact same moment at the end of the shoot, then use LR4 to adjust the time-stamps on the cameras that are off your "baseline" camera.  (I always use the most expensive camera as my master clock, all others sync to that time.

Dan Ernst

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Re: File time errors on 5DmkIII body
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2012, 09:35:13 PM »
I have the exact same issue with my 5d3 as RobertWelch. I used it at two events, with two of my other cameras, a 1Ds3 and a 5d2. I set the time on all three cameras to within half a second before every event. I use 600X Lexar CF cards, format them in camera before the event, and shoot in raw only. I switch between my three cameras very quickly, often taking photos within a couple seconds after switching. I imported all the photos into Lightroom and sorted by capture time. I noticed that the 5d3 images were sometimes out of order.

Prestonpalmer reports inaccurate clocks that drift slightly. I concur. But I've used three cameras simultaneously at events for years, and have never had a problem with image order as I've had at the past two events with my new 5d3. I synchronize all the clocks before every day's event, and they usually stay fairly accurate within that day, even the 5d3. When I noticed the problem, I started checking the clocks after each event, and have found them all to be within a second of each other. So clock drift is not the issue here, at least not for me.

I conducted some tests, setting the 5d3 clock to my watch, then photographing the watch and comparing it to the encoded time. I found that if I shoot right after setting the time, or after reviewing a previous image on the screen, the time encodes correctly, right to the second. But if I shoot from a blank screen (as I normally do), the encoded time starts to drift, anywhere from a few seconds to half a minute EARLIER than the time displayed on the watch. It's not consistent, but the encoded time is always earlier. I've seen as much as a 36 second difference. I took about 40 photos in one test, and all of the shots taken right after visiting the time screen or reviewing a previous photo were encoded correctly. But almost all of the photos taken after that were off by varying amounts.

I suspect that this is a software problem, and that the encoding algorithm is not referring to the clock for each image, but somehow keeping its own time, inaccurately. Then occasionally updating its time from the clock.

I think this is a problem that typically only an event photographer would notice. When using a single camera, who's going to notice that the encoded time is slightly off (unless you are a clock aficionado)? Therefore I wonder how prevalent, yet unnoticed and under-reported, this problem is on the 5d3.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2012, 09:37:44 PM by Dan Ernst »

Robert Welch

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Re: File time errors on 5DmkIII body
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2012, 09:49:47 PM »
I just did a test, taking photos of the clock on my computer. This seems to be a burst issue from what I'm seeing. If I take photos in a series of shots, within a second or two each, then I see the effect where it will record the "Shooting time" as being prior to the time on the clock in the photo itself. If I wait 30-60 seconds or more, and just take one shot with a gap of 30-60 seconds before another shot, then the "shooting time" (as shown in the info for the photo in DPP) is accurate to the time displayed on the clock in the photo. An interesting observation is that when I do a burst, the "shooting time" associated with the file meta data seems to be about 3-5 seconds after the previous files' shooting time, no matter what the gap happened to be, which can be 30 seconds or over a minute in my tests. I've tried this with 2 cards in the camera, Lexar 400x CF card & Sandisk 45/MBs SDHC card, or just one card in the camera, and I've tried both RAW & JPG files, seems to act similiar no matter what, although it may be worse when writing to both cards simultaneously (the time needed to 'recover' the proper time before taking another shot may be longer in this configuration, though I've not done enough testing to be sure).

Anyway, this is what I'm seeing so far, wonder if this is just some number of cameras rather than a problem for all of the 5DmkIII cameras, as a few have reported it happening but not all.

Dan Ernst

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Re: File time errors on 5DmkIII body
« Reply #4 on: April 24, 2012, 05:03:09 PM »
I just updated the firmware in my 5d3 to v1.1.2, and repeated my timestamp tests. It seems to have fixed the problem.

Mt Spokane Photography

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Re: File time errors on 5DmkIII body
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2012, 09:44:44 PM »
Canon has listed this as one of the fixes in the new firmware version, glad to hear it works right now!

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Re: File time errors on 5DmkIII body
« Reply #5 on: April 24, 2012, 09:44:44 PM »