D810 Time Lapse (movie)

Started Aug 8, 2014 | Discussions thread
Paul Richman
OP Paul Richman Veteran Member • Posts: 4,004
TL Tips Update

I'll list the tips I've learned so far. See also pp. 223-228 in the D810 manual. I’ve added a few more to my movie, so here’s the latest link:


Don’t forget to take some stills if you’ve got a good scene!


1) Adjust TL settings in the TL menu (p. 224).

To get the smoothest video and longest movies, I’ve been using 1 sec intervals. Today, I experimented with 5 sec intervals (see Tip 9 below).

2) Adjust Movie settings / Frame size/frame rate.

To get the best quality movie, I’ve been using 1080p at 60 fps (1920x1080; 60p). Today, I experimented with 24p and 30p, to get a longer movie and checkout smoothness and quality. Smoothness was fine for this (clouds), but I find I prefer the faster speed of 60p.

I have also set the Movie Quality to High, although I suspect this is not used.

3) Use a tripod and fully charged battery.

4) Compose and set exposure through the OVF (not LCD) as you would for any still shot, using M, S, A or P mode. (A few minor restrictions are listed in the manual, p 226.) Exposure compensation works fine (S, A, P). Remember, TL is just a series of still shots, automatically put together by the camera into a TL movie.

5) For consistent coloration, don't use auto WB.

6) If your focus point is fixed, focus on it and switch to MF. (The D810 will attempt to focus for each shot. I've had 15m TL's ruined because the D810 was unable to achieve focus often during the sequence, when my focus point was on a cloud and I was using point focus.)

7) Close your OVF to prevent stray light from affecting your image.

8) Check your composition in movie LV on the LCD, since the top and bottom will be chopped to movie aspect. Recompose as needed. (Exposure settings will change to movie settings, but just ignore this.) Then start the TL in the TL menu.


9) While shooting, monitor your scene.

If your TL interval is over 4-5 seconds, then you will see brief LCD image reviews (provided Image Review in the Playback menu is set to On). In this case, you can monitor your TL on the monitor, but the reviews are so brief that I don’t find this terribly useful.

Otherwise, monitor visually (not through the camera as you won't see anything there). Stand behind the camera and note where the subject (clouds in my case) is relative to the camera/lens.

If you think the scene has moved too much away from your composition, stop the TL and check. You can always quickly restart it.


10) I'm using iMovie and its auto Enhance button right now. Pretty basic, I suppose, but it does allow you to combine multiple TLs (or portions of TLs) with nice transitions and music. It also has a useful "upload to Utube" feature.


The D810 has been tested to 200,000 shutter releases. I suspect it will do more than twice that. The tested amount will give you 333 minutes of 1080P TL at 60fps. YIKES! How much does it cost to replace a used up shutter mechanism?

Hope this helps someone else get started. At least, it's helpful for me to write this down so that I don't forget!

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Paul Richman
Pixels By Paul
"There's a good picture nearby. Find it. Take it. Share it."

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