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04-28-2012, 11:59 PM   #1
Heie's Avatar

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Time Lapse Help...

So I got it in my head that I'd like to do a time lapse video, and I think it would be pretty cool since the days have some extreme weather changes - from SUUUNNNNYYYY in the morning to "am I back in Florida?" thunderstorms around noon, to "WHERE ARE MY SUN GLASSES?!" sunny in the late afternoon. Not kidding either lol

But I thought it would be pretty cool to do, and I have a view questions as well as a few tips/pointers I discovered in my research that I will post here just to get confirmation that I am on the right path:

1) Use a tripod

2) Use a power source, however since I only have batteries at my disposal, turn off every unnecessary function - shake reduction, electronic level, noise reduction, instant replay, auto focus, etc.

3) don't use a grip with both batteries because, although it will last longer in one spurt, if doing an all day thing, you need the ability to recharge a battery while the other is firing (I have 3 total batteries)

4) 1080p is 1080x1920 px, so a 2.1 (or in the K-5's case) 3 mpx photos are more than sufficient to be used for full res and high quality movies, freeing up your memory card for THOUSANDS of more photos. For example, my 32gb SD card takes 922 RAW at full resolution on the K-5, whereas it can hold over 5000 3mpx files.

5) Cover the eyepiece to prevent light from entering through the OVF


1) Is there a way to make the file save in a lowered resolution, but still RAW? Like I said above, 3mpx is way more than enough to cover 1080p, however it seems like the K-5 doesn't have the ability to save raw files in a lowered resolution. Sure I could turn on RAW+, however then that defeats the purpose of opening up more card space for photos. I only have one 32gb card, so it's not like I could swap in the middle of the shoot, and I know that I would seriously screw up the interval (create a large gap) if I imported 922 RAW files midway into the shoot, as it would not be an instantaneous process (especially on my little netbook).

2) If there isn't a way to save a lower res RAW file which is what I suspect), then what about just shooting jpeg for the entire time lapse? I understand the differences between jpeg and RAW, so I don't need to be schooled up on those, however will it make that much of a difference for a time lapse video where you aren't assessing any sort of real IQ like you would in a stand alone photograph? Will I lose a significant amount of quality (other than the most significant, in my opinion being the white balance adjustment) if I shoot all jpeg versus doing all RAW and then converting to a downsampled jpeg in lightroom?

3) If I do use just jpeg, then what should the AWB be set to. I have seen many different sources recommend against AWB, however if the light during the day is going to constantly change, and I won't have the ability to alter it in post, then what should the setting be?

4) What settings do you recommend? I have just discovered TAv mode (I preferred Av 95% of the time, but I'm experimenting with the other workings of the K-5 lately), and I wonder if that would be better for time lapse since I can keep the shutter and the aperture constant, however depending on the ambient light (outdoor timelapse), the ISO would automatically adjust. So at face value, it seems TAv is the way to go.

4)a) If i do use TAv, would the ISO actually be changed throughout the shoot, or will the entire time lapse be depending on the initial photo's settings?

4)b) If I do use TAv, then what about the changing light levels during the day? Would it actually capture the changing light to accommodate sunrise and sunset versus midday, or would the ISO setting (assuming it changes from shot to shot) neutralize it to the point where you don't really notice the different times of day? What about setting a maximum Auto-ISO range from 80-400? or 80-800? or 80-3200?

5) What about Manual instead of TAv? Or would the one, constant ISO setting prove too restrictive for the light levels of an entire day?

6 Should I use mirror lock up, or does that not matter since the shutter speeds are fast enough? Can you even combine MLU with interval shooting?

7 What is a good "sunrise to sunset" interval? I was thinking every 30 seconds. If I combine that into an actual video, and 15fps (too high/low? what is a typical time lapse fps?), for an 18 hour day, that would require 2120 photos and would become 144 seconds long as a video clip. Just to check, my math is:

2 photos/min * 60 min/hour * 18 hours = 2160 photos / 15fps = 144 seconds in length

8) How do I circumvent the 999 max photo limit in the interval shooting feature on the K-5? I know about pk_tether, however 1) I don't have it, and 2) since it will probably rain, I don't want to leave my laptop outside during the shoot. My thoughts were to just calculate when the first interval would expire, and then be there to start it again for another 999 (or however many).

9) What are "camera flickers" that I keep reading about that I need to remove/mitigate?

10) Combining the photos - is it really as simple as, once they are all processed and colocated within the same autonomous folder, combine them as frames in a video to whatever specified framerate you desire? Also, what program do you recommend? Any issues with Windows Movie Maker? I have heard of VirtualDub and TimeLapse Assembler, but not much about them other than that. Video editing is one thing that I am very new to.

11) I don't have any manual glass (see my signature) however I have heard that using autoglass could deteriorate the shutter/diaphragm blades over 1000's of actuations. I have spent a lot of hard earned money that I cannot afford to replace the high quality lenses that I have, so if this is true, I'd rather not cause any damage to my DA* 16-50 (which is the lens I was planning to use for this) just for a 2 min video. Can anyone confirm/deny this?

12) What about a Circular Polarizer? I have one for my 16-50, but would you recommend putting it on? If so, during the entire timelapse? Or what about just take it on and off so the effect is only applied during the sunniest parts of the day? Or would that screw with the gradual change in exposure and colors that occur over the course of the entire time lapse?

That's all I can think of for now (lol, yes I realize that's a lot, but I always do a very thorough research whenever embarking on something brand new), and I thank you very much for helping me understand how to optimize my time lapse efforts.

Many thanks,

04-29-2012, 03:29 AM   #2
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Anvh's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 4,616
You don't have low res RAW so you need to shoot in JPEG, doubt you will see much differnce

WB i would use daylight, that looks the most natural

with TAv the ISO change to keep the exposure the same so use M

You can use PKtether to trigger the camera and collect the photos, so if you have a decent hard drive you can use RAW

I use after effects for assembling

if you're worried about the blades then use the lens wide open, no blade actions then.
And don't know how you come with the number of 1000, i once hit that in one day so that would mean the lens would be broken....

Don't use poll because the angle of the light changes during the day and so will the effect of the filter.
04-29-2012, 08:13 AM   #3
panoguy's Avatar

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QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
7 What is a good "sunrise to sunset" interval? I was thinking every 30 seconds.

8) How do I circumvent the 999 max photo limit in the interval shooting feature on the K-5?
Depends on what you are taking photos of. 999 photos (~75 sec. interval) will be fine to show the atmospheric changes of a single day, unless you also want to show people/ vehicles moving around. Do a test of your subject (1 hour) and look at the results at your intended fps. Really, 2 minutes @ 15 fps is kinda tedious to watch if you weren't the photographer... just sayin!

Failing all that, get a cheap external interval timer/shutter release.

QuoteOriginally posted by Heie Quote
11) I don't have any manual glass (see my signature) however I have heard that using autoglass could deteriorate the shutter/diaphragm blades over 1000's of actuations.
Simply not true. There is no "wear" difference between 1000 aperture actuations in a year or in a day - I put 10,000+ on a single DA lens last year! Your biggest problem (in an Afghan summer) with an old manual lens would be heat liquifying the internal grease and putting oil on your aperture or elements, but modern lenses use lubricants with a higher breakdown temp. Pre-focus, set body (& lens?) to MF, maybe use a rubber band to hold the cam/ring if zoom creep is an issue.

Some practical things to think about:

- Will you be around to "monitor" the setup?
- Will dust/sand/rain be blowing onto the lens? Use a UV filter and wipe it every so often.
- If you pull the battery or card during an interval, it will stop. Practice restarting it!
- Use a wider angle (like 16mm) if that fits your vision. DOF is greater at wider angles, so you can use a wider aperture throughout, and faster shutter as light fades.

Last edited by panoguy; 04-29-2012 at 12:06 PM.
04-29-2012, 07:09 PM   #4
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Essdubbya's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Glenorie NSW
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Posts: 42
Get a GoPro2

I gave up using my K7 and realized that my Gopro 2 (1080P) does a more than adequate time-lapse which you can show at 50fps (Pal) or 60fps (NTSC) - I think that's right
Also if you get 2 of them and the 3D kit you can shoot and edit in 3D - cool eh?
And you can take the photos in the rain and heat.
You don't even need a tripod with the mounts you get
I might sound like I have some affiliation with GoPro but I am just an enthusiastic user.


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