Night Sky Time Lapse

Started Apr 11, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Cy Cheze
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Night Sky Time Lapse
Apr 11, 2012

The D5100 and higher-priced Nikons come with a built-in intervalometer. Why other brands don't offer the same, but come replete with odder gimmicks, heaven knows. Remote timers or invervalometers may cost less than a cheap lens, but omission from the camera itself, which would require only a small feature in the firmware, seems odd.

My only experience with time lapse is with a HDC-SDT750 videocam. It allows one to select a frame rate: 1 per 1, 10, 30, or more seconds. However, the shuter and aperture speeds are stuck in auto mode, so the effect works for daytime, or even sunrise or sunset, but can't capture anything at night other than the moon or well-illuminated objects. It won't capture stars or stellar clusters. Obviously, that will require a DSLR or some other advanced camera.

Questions:

1) Is the battry life of a DSLR compatible with a multi-hour time lapse project? Does a 15 or 30 second time exposure for each shot drain lots of juice? Even with an A/C adapter or battery grip, do lots of successive time exposures entail a sensor heat problem?

2) Do the built-in Nikon and alternative external intervalometers behave about the same in this regard? Or are some more power-hungry and heat-yielding than the others?

3) Does any brand of DSLR come bundled with software that stitches shots into a 2k or higher video sequence? I know this is possible with video editing software, but the files are imported at 1920x1080 resolution, which makes it difficult to zoom or crop without instant IQ loss. Manual cropping of hundreds of large files, on the other hand, without resulting in jerky results in video, would be very hard work. The alternative would be to use a tele lens when shooting, but that would limit the swath of sky you could cover and the time one could track a particular formation, without a tracking tripod of the telescope variety.

Thanks for any instruction or advice.

Nikon D5100
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