How to Use the Date Stamp & Time Stamp Feature on the Nikon D3500

Remember those time and date stamps that you used to be able to get embedded in the bottom corner of your prints? The Nikon D3500 can do that too. Here's how it works.

Remember those time and date stamps that you used to be able to get embedded in the bottom corner of your prints? Back in analog days, before there was EXIF metadata to embed in files, those were useful for documenting when a photo was taken.

Well, you can do the same thing on the Nikon D3500. It hardcodes the date stamp and timestamp in the bottom right corner of the photo in bright orange letters.

It looks like this:

But what if you want to turn it off? Maybe you turned it on accidentally and now can’t figure out how to undo it. Or maybe you’re borrowing the camera from someone else, and they were using the option.

You can find the option under the Setup Menu (the wrench/spanner icon). What you’re looking for is the “Date Stamp” menu item.

The available options are:

  • Off
  • Date
  • Date and time
  • Date counter

It’s worth noting that disabling the Date Stamp option doesn’t mean that you no longer have access to information about when the photo was taken. Apps like Lightroom can easily read the EXIF metadata that’s included in the image file automatically, and you can even embed that information visually into derivative versions as part of the image processing workflow.

The Date and Date and Time options are pretty self-explanatory.

The final option, Date Counter, is less intuitive, and it’s not something I’ve noticed on other cameras before. It’s a countdown as well as whatever the opposite of countdown is (ie. something like D + 8 days). That is, it shows how many days until a future date or that have elapsed since a past date. You choose the reference date, obviously. Nikon gives the examples of tracking the growth of a child or counting down the days until a birthday or wedding. It’s one of those features that’s kind of neat, but I also can’t imagine ever actually using it. You can find more specific information on how to use the Date Counter feature in the Nikon D3500 manual.

Things Worth Knowing

The Date Stamp function only works with JPG images. It will not imprint on RAW (.nef) files.

The information for the date and time is derived from the information that you set. That is, when you set the camera up, you set the time and date (Setup Menu > Time Zone and Date).

And you can set the time and date to anything you like or as accurate as you like. So it’s not all that useful as any kind of forensic proof of when an image was taken. And if you’re traveling across timezones, it’s up to you to adjust the camera’s time accordingly (or at least, the time zone).

Cameras make for imperfect clocks, and I’ve found that many of them end up being fast or slow. So if the time information is important, you’ll want to check and reset the camera’s time and date periodically.

When one of the date stamp options is enabled, you’ll see an icon on the main kitchen-sink information screen (press the i button on the back of the camera to toggle it).

The date stamp is hard coded into the JPG and can’t be moved or removed. That might limit your options for cropping or displaying the image.

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