Short timelapse using the Nikon D90

Sure the D600 has a built in interval timer and even a built in timelapse video option, but I’m not too crazy about ramping up the shutter actuation on a new camera when my older D90 is begging to get more usage. The other reason the D90 is great for timelapse is that the raw files that come out of it are much smaller than the D600’s so it’s easier to process them and get them ready. Using RAW as opposed to the built in timelapse feature of the D600 has the benefit of correcting things white balance, and lifting shadows, etc. in post where as with the built in video feature, you’re stuck with whatever you get.

In order to use the D90 however, I needed to buy an intervalometer. I chose a knockoff, but not the cheapest knockoff and it works great. The trick is to get the correct interval. I used 10 seconds for this clip but feel that I should have picked 5 seconds since at 24 FPS, the clouds are moving a little too fast and it took a while to get it.

The other challenge for sunset is what to do when it gets dark…A certain instructor on a youtube video mentioned that he takes two different exposures – one for the light half and one for the dark half of the timelapse. The other question is HOW to expose for the dark half – if you change the aperture, you change the DOF. If you change the shutter speed, the motion looks different. The lesser of the evils seems to be the ISO which adds noise, but at the relatively lower resolution of an HDTV, it’s not as noticeable. For this, I only did the light half… Maybe the D600 would be the better choice for doing both halves.

Downtown Houston Skyline timelapse from Arie on Vimeo.


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