I'm thinking of shooting star trails using the stacking method this summer, but am puzzled by the instruction manual for the D7000, and information I have read elsewhere concerning the MC-36 interval timer. With the MC-36, you can set the duration of the exposure under "Long", and then set the number of intervals,the number of exposures, and the time delay between each exposure. For the D7000 built in interval timer, there is no option to enter the exposure time. If I should choose to have one exposure per interval, 4 minutes and 2 second intervals, and 23 intervals ( throwing some random numbers out there),would my shutter speed be approximately 4 minutes? Or would the camera decide how long the shutter speed should be ie 30 seconds, and then just wait to trip the shutter when the next interval time was due? Sorry If I appear to ramble, just not sure how to pose the question in a briefer manner. In case anyone is wondering, I do not have the MC-36, but am wondering if I need it.
#1. "RE: Interval timer in D7000" In response to Reply # 0
Seattle, WA, US
With the D7000 interval timer, the exposure time is set independently of the interval system, using either manual mode or any of the other auto or semi-auto modes. The catch is that you need to make sure that your interval is long enough to contain the exposure(s) in each interval.
Since the camera has a max exposure setting of 30 seconds, if you need something longer, a programmable remote will be needed. However, the MC-36 is not compatible with the D7000.
---------+---------+---------+---------+---------+ Joseph K Seattle, WA, USA
#3. "RE: Interval timer in D7000" In response to Reply # 1
Thanks, JosephK. I plan to use manual for both exposure and focus settings. I was afraid I would be limited to 30 seconds per exposure, but was hoping I was wrong and that the interval timer would let me set longer exposure times somehow.. Do you know if there is a 3rd party intervalometer that would work with the D7000, since the MC-35 won't work with it ?
#2. "RE: Interval timer in D7000" In response to Reply # 0
As Joseph said, 30s is the longest shutter speed possible using the built-in intervalometer. (Actually, the shutter speed is 32 seconds when it's set to 30 seconds.) That will be sufficient for star trails if you shoot at f/2.8 and ISO 1600.
Simply set the shutter speed for 30 s. Then set the intervalometer interval to 33 seconds and the number of shots as desired.
#4. "RE: Interval timer in D7000" In response to Reply # 2
Thanks for responding jbloom. I have a wide angle lens that is 2.8, so will work with that. The tip for setting the interval to 33 seconds is appreciated. Any idea of approximately how many individual exposures I may need to take? I had been thinking of about 23 shots of 4 minutes each and seeing what that looked like. If my exposures are only 30 seconds long, will I be taking 184 exposures instead,(8x23) or do you think I should throw all of these numbers out the window and try somehting else ?
#5. "RE: Interval timer in D7000" In response to Reply # 4
It rather depends on what you are looking to get in your image. Since you are doing star trails, each frame pretty much stands alone; you're just stacking them so as to see the path. Here is an example I shot a couple of weeks ago, consisting of about 120 frames -- a little over an hour's worth:
But you may want to reduce the exposure so as to get trails from only the brightest stars and then get a longer trail by taking more images for a less "busy" image. Of course, if you take too many images you can always just not use some. So in general, I'd take more than I expect to need.
Now, you did say star trails, so I assumed that's what you meant. But if you mean to take deep-sky shots, where the camera is moved to track the stars as they move, that's a different subject. For that, I would not recommend using the internal interval timer. You really want longer exposures for that kind of stacking, which you can do with an external intervalometer... or just manually with a stopwatch. There are numerous third-party intervalometers available. (I believe any that claim compatibility with the D7000 should also work with the D7100.) I haven't used any so can't give a specific recommendation, but here's a quick Amazon search:
#6. "RE: Interval timer in D7000" In response to Reply # 5
Wow ! That is a very impressive image. Thanks for sending it along. Looks like I'll be experimenting with around 120 or so exposures then. I think I will try this before purchasing a third party intervalometer Thank you for sending along the link. Did you do the stacking with raw images or convert to jpegs first ? Your image has given me inspiration to forge ahead with this project. Have been thinking about it for years, but haven't attempted it yet.
#7. "RE: Interval timer in D7000" In response to Reply # 6
I shot the images in raw, then opened up the first one, adjusted it in Adobe Camera Raw and copied the settings to the remaining images. Then I used the Adobe Bridge "Load Files into Photoshop Layers" tool to bring them into Photoshop for touch-up and stacking. (Touch-up consisted of fixing a few frames where extraneous light sources lit up parts of the scene.)