Long exposure settings for Star Trackers using intervalometer

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Jeff Bondono Regular Member • Posts: 376
Re: Long exposure settings for Star Trackers using intervalometer

Balint Kordovaner wrote:

Hello all!

I am looking for somebody who might be able to help me out in this one...
I cannot figure out what are the best settings to use an intervalometer + DSLR + startracker for continuous long exposure shooting while using features which are eliminating all the vibrations.

I will give you an example:

I would like to use my Nikon D500 + Sky Watcher Star Adventurer Pro + Rollei intervalometer for several 1-2 minute exposure using Mirror Up mode + Electronic Front Curtain Shutter and a 1 second Exposure Delay Mode to make sure my shots are as sharp as they can be. Also I would like to avoid using Live View due to energy consumption.
For some reason this combination is not working.

Any advice or idea is appreciated.



I have zero experience with any of the equipment you're asking about, but here's how I'd do this with the gear I use:

1. First I'd put the camera into Manual Focus mode, and use Live-View to focus on the stars. Zoom in as much as possible to achieve the smallest stars possible.  Take a test exposure and zoom in on the result to be sure focus is good.  Then you might want to tape-down the focus ring on the lens (and the zoom-ring if you're using a zoom lens) to lock everything down.

2. The settings within the camera are used to lock the mirror up, turn on Electronic Front Curtain Shutter, set-up the 1-second exposure delay mode, and turn off the live view display.  Those things have nothing to do with the intervalometer or the SkyWatcher -- they're just camera settings.  You should also turn off Long Exposure Noise Reduction within the camera for now, if it has that setting.  If you decide you want it later, you must double the interval setting I'll explain later.

3. Set the camera into Manual Exposure mode, set appropriate aperture and ISO. Set the shutter speed to Bulb Mode (B), so the camera exposes for as long as the shutter is "held down" by the intervalometer.

4. I attach my intervalometer to the rig with a rubber band on one of the tripod legs, so I set the intervalometer delay to about 5 seconds, to be sure that after I press Start on the intervalometer, the legs have a chance to dampen.

5. Set the exposure duration (might be called Long or Bulb or BU, depending on your intervalometer) to 1 minute or 2 minutes, whatever exposure length you want. Let's assume 1 minute.

5. Set the interval between exposures (Intvl or INT) to 1 minute and 5 seconds. This gives the camera time to write the exposure to the SD card and to account for the 1-second exposure delay mode. If you use Long Exposure Noise Reduction, you'll need to add a minute to this interval, to give the camera time to take the second dark exposure.  Not recommended, instead study up on dark frames and use those instead.

6. Set the number of exposures (N) to the number of exposures you want to take.  I usually set it to the maximum (399) and manually turn off the intervalometer when I've gotten enough exposures.

7. Start the intervalometer by pressing the Start button, then walk away and let the camera/drive/intervalometer do their work.

8. Once you've gotten enough exposures, press the Start button again to Stop the intervalometer.

Best Luck!

 Jeff Bondono's gear list:Jeff Bondono's gear list
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