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Old August 29th, 2007, 09:28 PM   #1
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Digital Still Camera for Time Lapse Video

I've been looking into getting a digital still camera for a minute to do time lapse photography. It would really help out on a project I'm working on. I would like a camera with high resolution, so that I can tilt and pan in post, preferably high enough resolution so that when I go HD I'll still be able to tilt and pan a bit in post.

I've looked at the Canon Mark I, II, & II cameras. I know that they are a little overkill for this, but they offer the interval exposure that I'm looking for. The drawback is that they will only do 99 exposures, which even in a 24p sequence will only render just shy of 4 seconds. If I'm going to commit the time, energy and funds to this I'd at least like the option of recording for a longer clip.

I think there are external actuators that can be hooked up to digital still cameras that don't have the 99 frame limit, but I can't for the life of me find the actuator. And I think the actuator is the first piece of the puzzle that I need to find, then I'll find a camera.

And just to throw a wrench in the post - If possible I'm looking for a Canon DSLR that will work so that I will eventually be able to swap lenses with my XL2.

Any ideas? Or am I dreaming?

Thanks,
Kevin
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Old August 29th, 2007, 10:18 PM   #2
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How about the Canon LC-5 Wireless Controller Set?

A few other thoughts for you. Don't get a 1 series because they have interval exposure. They have weather sealing, good high-iso performance (1dm3), and full-frame (1ds). Those are the only features that may help your timelapse shots. (The rest of their features would be a boon to the rest of your photography, though, obviously.)

You also don't need 1Ds-series resolution, as even 10 megapixels would give you enough resolution to crop, pan, zoom, overcome the bayer filter, and still output 1080 lines. If you'll be doing wide-angle low-light timelapse (cities, stars, etc.), you'll need a full frame (like the 5D) and Canon's fast wides, like the amazing 35mm f/1.4.

The new Wireless File Transmitter WFT-E2 might be nice for your application, I don't know. (A 16GB card or two may be all you need.)

I generally prefer a fixed exposure with highlights blown at the start. Shoot RAW, of course. I'm sure you'll work out your own post workflow. I throw my lot in with Bibble.
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Old August 30th, 2007, 12:58 AM   #3
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OK, any of the DSLRs from Canon will do the job. You will want an external power supply of course instead of the battery.

For the least expensive option, a good used Digital Rebel, XT plus this
http://www.astromist.com/palmdslr.html
and a cheap used Palm Pilot device and you have your setup.

If you want extreme control, high price and direct storage to a controlling computer, get the new 40D and its wifi grip. This will allow complete control over everything and you might be able to write scripts to change exposure manually during the sequence or other things.
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Old August 30th, 2007, 10:56 PM   #4
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Nikon D200 has an intervalometer and any Nikon connected to a computer using Nikon Camera Control software. Superb results.
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Old August 30th, 2007, 11:55 PM   #5
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Here is the link to a TL i did with my Nikon D50 on my way back from FL to OH. I only took about 1000 pictures. Not that it really has to do with what your talking about, just wanted to share

http://www.nbfilms.us/videos/FL%20TL.mov
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Old August 31st, 2007, 10:49 AM   #6
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I shoot time lapses with my xti and a remote. I just put the camera on continuous and lock down the shutter release with the remote. This only works because I use longer exposures, so it doesn't fill up the cache. If that is what you are looking for, this is a cheap and easy solution.
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Old August 31st, 2007, 11:51 AM   #7
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You don't need a fancy camera to do time lapse. The average digital camera today with a 6 megapixel sensor will create a higher resolution sequence than my HD camcorder. What you do need is software to control the shutter connected to a PC. I did an amazing Time Lapse sequence with my Canon G2, a 6 year old camera.
Visit this website before you spend money on an expensive camera.

http://www.granitebaysoftware.com/

D Kane
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Old August 31st, 2007, 12:10 PM   #8
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Canon includes software for timelapse shots for free with their DSLR cameras.
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Old August 31st, 2007, 01:26 PM   #9
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I was trying to find a solution that didn't involve a computer. Some sort of small controller device.

Les - Thanks for the tip on the Palm Pilot solution. I've got an old Palm V from about 5 years ago. If I can find the charger, and it has a recent enough OS then I may be set.

Thanks for the help all. I do appreciate it.

Kevin
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Old August 31st, 2007, 02:22 PM   #10
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Kevin,
You didn't state the interval you want to shoot at and for how long. The Canon intervalometer http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...r_TC_80N3.html
will only do 99 exposures in a group but if that amount of exposures would happen over a time span where you could easily keep resetting the timer you'd be set.
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Old August 31st, 2007, 05:41 PM   #11
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I'm looking at doing a time lapse starting at just before sunrise and ending after sunset. While the TL camera is going I would like to move around with my video camera and shoot some regular speed images of various landmarks, etc. so that when edited together everything matches. So I'm looking at the TL camera as an unmanned camera for the duration. Or at least to the point where I can con someone sitting with it, with instructions as simple as, "Don't let it get stolen."

As for the frequency of exposures, I'm looking at compressing an hour into a minute. The exposure count would be around 960. Resetting the timer every hour and a half would be too cumbersome, especially if I can find/afford/rent multiple units for the project.

Thanks again,
Kevin
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Old August 31st, 2007, 06:02 PM   #12
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Kevin,
Try this, looks like it will do what you want.

https://bmumford.securewebsites.com/photo/camctlr.html
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Old August 31st, 2007, 08:05 PM   #13
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It's EXACTLY it! Do you own one or how did you come across it? If only the rotation table wasn't $1300... But I can live without it for now.

Thank you... but really what search string did you use? I've been searching on an off for weeks.

Thanks,
Kevin
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Old August 31st, 2007, 08:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Randolph View Post

Thank you... but really what search string did you use? I've been searching on an off for weeks.
No Worries; I Googled intervalometer and it came up at the bottom of the first page. I've never seen one but I remember reading about it on another photo site in an article about photographing lightning.

Let us know how it works.

-JL
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Old August 31st, 2007, 08:55 PM   #15
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Here is another option for controlling a DSLR for time lapse sequences. I use it with a Nikon D80. Works great and is very versatile with regard to number of frames, etc.

http://www.pclix.com
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