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 Intervalometer setting confusion 
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Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:04 am
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Post Intervalometer setting confusion
Hi all,

I am a bit confused in terms of how to setup my intervalometer, having read some posts here.

I am using a cheap shoot Intervaloemeter for Canon, and set it is as follows :

Delay - 5s
Long - 30s (trying to do star scapes)
Intv - 3s (This is where I am confused)
n - -- (unlimited)

Now as far as I understand it, Long = exposure time which the camera is on Bulb and then fires for 30seconds, INTVL i set to fire every 3seconds, but I have read here that people set theirs up as LONG = 30s and INTVL 35seconds, to me that would be a 30 second exposure followed by 30 secoinds of nothing until the next frame, or am i incorrect?

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Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:11 am
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
A lot of intervalometers work in the sense that LONG and INTVL count down together. So when you set your LONG to 30s and your INTVL to 35s what you get is a 30s exposure with 5 seconds between triggers. So essentially what you want to be doing in order to set your INTVL to what you want is LONG+Desired Interval between shots=INTVL. Hope that helps.

--Christian Johansen

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Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:39 am
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
Ahh, I was not aware that they count down together. I will test this with my intervalometer this evening.

Which brings me to my next question, what if I am shooting stars at night, so 30 second exposure combined with a interval of 20 seconds between shots, how does it work when the INTVL is shorted than the LONG?

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Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:51 am
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
So having come home to test, my intervalometer appears to countdown independantly!

So, if I understand this right, I was right in my initial assumption that LONG = 30s and INTVL will be 3 (in the e.g) which will be 1 frame every 33 seconds.

Sound right?

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Mon Mar 04, 2013 10:54 am
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
Don't know about your intervalometer, but my "cheap Canon knockoff" works the way CJohanson described. If I set it as follows:

BULB (aka "Long") 30 sec
INT 33 sec

then it takes one 30 second exposure, waits 3 seconds and then takes another. In other words when INT = 33 sec, then it will attempt to take 1 frame every 33 seconds.

If you set the INT shorter than the BULB (which is a mistake), on my model it will take a 30 second exposure, then immediately (after about a 1 second camera delay) start another 30-second exposure.

If I actually wanted 30-second exposure + 20-second delay, then I would set INT = 50 - eg, one frame every 50 seconds.

EDIT: and of course you have to remember to put the camera in BULB mode, otherwise the exposure time will be whatever the shutter speed happens to be set to on the camera.


Mon Mar 04, 2013 1:27 pm
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
I have the Canon Intervalometer. For star tracks I set my 60D to 30 seconds and set the intervalometer this way.

Delay - 0s
Long - 0s
Intv - 1s
n - -- (unlimited)

The intervalometer trips the shutter every second, but once the shutter is tripped the camera exposes for 30 seconds. The camera never sees the shutter signal during the 30 seconds the aperture is open. As soon as it stops it is triggered by the next interval, which will be no longer than 1 second.

What you get is 30 second exposures no more than 1 second apart.

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Mon Mar 04, 2013 3:46 pm
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
Isn't this the same as

1) putting the camera in continuous drive mode,
2) setting camera speed to 30 sec, and then
3) holding (locking) down the shutter button on the cable release?

For me, this produces continuous 30-second exposures with as little delay between them as the camera allows - AND it doesn't use up any batteries on the intervalometer.
spitzerr wrote:
I have the Canon Intervalometer. For star tracks I set my 60D to 30 seconds and set the intervalometer this way.

Delay - 0s
Long - 0s
Intv - 1s
n - -- (unlimited)

The intervalometer trips the shutter every second, but once the shutter is tripped the camera exposes for 30 seconds. The camera never sees the shutter signal during the 30 seconds the aperture is open. As soon as it stops it is triggered by the next interval, which will be no longer than 1 second.

What you get is 30 second exposures no more than 1 second apart.


Mon Mar 04, 2013 5:16 pm
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
It would appear that my intervalometer, you set the length of exposure and then the ACTUAL time interval between frames :

http://www.davidkennardphotography.com/ ... view.xhtml

That is my exact intervalometer I am using.

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Tue Mar 05, 2013 1:27 am
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
jimre-temp wrote:
Isn't this the same as

1) putting the camera in continuous drive mode,
2) setting camera speed to 30 sec, and then
3) holding (locking) down the shutter button on the cable release?

For me, this produces continuous 30-second exposures with as little delay between them as the camera allows - AND it doesn't use up any batteries on the intervalometer.
spitzerr wrote:
I have the Canon Intervalometer. For star tracks I set my 60D to 30 seconds and set the intervalometer this way.

Delay - 0s
Long - 0s
Intv - 1s
n - -- (unlimited)

The intervalometer trips the shutter every second, but once the shutter is tripped the camera exposes for 30 seconds. The camera never sees the shutter signal during the 30 seconds the aperture is open. As soon as it stops it is triggered by the next interval, which will be no longer than 1 second.

What you get is 30 second exposures no more than 1 second apart.


You are correct. However, my Canon cameras do not have settings longer than 30 seconds. Also, the intervalometer has a countdown display. I have shot dozens of time-lapse with thousands of exposures and have yet to replace the intervalometer battery.

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Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:14 pm
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
Shooting RAW with a standard 32Gb CF card on my Canon 5DII. I set it on continuous shooting mode with an exposure time of 30 secs.The interval timer is set for 1 secs.
However you will find that your overall interval works out at 35 secs ie. 100 shots per hour!
This occurs because you Cannon does not expose for 30 secs but 32 secs, pus writing to card takes a couple of secs ( more when the card gets nearly full up) and the 1 sec set on your intervalometer.

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Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:12 pm
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
unozig wrote:
Shooting RAW with a standard 32Gb CF card on my Canon 5DII. I set it on continuous shooting mode with an exposure time of 30 secs.The interval timer is set for 1 secs.
However you will find that your overall interval works out at 35 secs ie. 100 shots per hour!
This occurs because you Cannon does not expose for 30 secs but 32 secs, pus writing to card takes a couple of secs ( more when the card gets nearly full up) and the 1 sec set on your intervalometer.


I usually shoot these in jpg and have timed the settings I use. The time from the beginning of one exposure to the beginning of the next is not more than 31 seconds. Will have to try it in RAW to see if there is an impact with that setting.

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Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:40 pm
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
I, at the moment, tend to leave 2 seconds between frames, my CF card is only a 600x and it tales a second or 2 to clear the buffer between shots. Also using jpeg, have not yet tried RAW im pretty sure it would take longer as the file sizes are much larger in comparison.

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Thu Mar 07, 2013 12:45 am
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
mongwopman wrote:
I, at the moment, tend to leave 2 seconds between frames, my CF card is only a 600x and it tales a second or 2 to clear the buffer between shots. Also using jpeg, have not yet tried RAW im pretty sure it would take longer as the file sizes are much larger in comparison.


If you use the settings I use, using an intervalometer you will always start the next exposure within 1 sec of the last one being processed which as I mentioned could take up to 35 secs. I just checked a typical starlapse I took, 102 shots per hour ie. 35.3 sec interval.
However my last starlapse, using Magic Lantern when the gap between end and start is 1 sec the interval became 37.0 secs.

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Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:09 pm
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
I think the issue with timings between shots comes down to how fast your storage card. I want to do a test this weekend and change from a 2 second delay to a 1 second and see of I hit a buffer problem. Using a 600x card vs a 800x card

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Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:42 am
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
mongwopman wrote:
I think the issue with timings between shots comes down to how fast your storage card. I want to do a test this weekend and change from a 2 second delay to a 1 second and see of I hit a buffer problem. Using a 600x card vs a 800x card


My test some time ago showed that your assumption is correct in terms of the card. I now use a 32G Class 10 card and my shots are 1 second or less apart from dusk to dawn.

RAW files are much larger than jpg. The problem for many cameras is that when using RAW at some point with faster shutter speeds the buffer in the camera can not keep up and will pause for a few seconds while it writes to the card and clears.

The shorter the time between shots, the less the gap will be in the star trails.

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Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:05 am
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
The smallest interval I've been able to get between star timelapse shots is about 0.6 seconds - and that's by using (M)anual mode (not Bulb), setting the shutter speed to 30sec, and using the "hold down the shutter in continuous shooting mode" method, rather than the intervalometer (most intervalometers will not allow an interval < 1 sec).

Just tested this on my 5D3 - based on EXIF capture time, I'm seeing exactly 32.6 sec for each exposure. BUT THE GAP IS ONLY 0.6 SECONDS. Not 2.6 seconds. What? Why?

Because "30-second exposure" is actually a lie - both on your camera and in the EXIF data! Shutter speeds really increase in powers of two (1,2,4,8,16,32) - but Canon & others have decided we can only deal with nice round "decimal" numbers like 15sec or 30 sec. So instead of the real exposure (32 seconds) they put "30 seconds" on the camera display, and write "30 seconds" into the EXIF. But it's really a 32.0 second exposure. That means the gap between exposures is 0.6 seconds. This corresponds exactly to what I'm hearing - less than 1 second between the sound of the shutter closing then opening again.

AstronomerRoyal (Little Bramper guy) measured some *actual* exposure times on a Canon, as follows:
viewtopic.php?p=17995#p17995

Just something to keep in mind if you're trying to get the smallest possible interval between long exposures. As long as you don't need >30sec (32sec) exposures, you may be better off NOT using the intervalometer.

Also - in continuous shooting mode, your CF card speed should have no real impact at these longer exposure times. 30 seconds between shots is WAY more than enough time to write a single large RAW file from the buffer on even the slowest CF card.


Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:58 am
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
jimre-temp wrote:
The smallest interval I've been able to get between star timelapse shots is about 0.6 seconds - and that's by using (M)anual mode (not Bulb), setting the shutter speed to 30sec, and using the "hold down the shutter in continuous shooting mode" method, rather than the intervalometer (most intervalometers will not allow an interval < 1 sec).

Just tested this on my 5D3 - based on EXIF capture time, I'm seeing exactly 32.6 sec for each exposure. BUT THE GAP IS ONLY 0.6 SECONDS. Not 2.6 seconds. What? Why?

Because "30-second exposure" is actually a lie - both on your camera and in the EXIF data! Shutter speeds really increase in powers of two (1,2,4,8,16,32) - but Canon & others have decided we can only deal with nice round "decimal" numbers like 15sec or 30 sec. So instead of the real exposure (32 seconds) they put "30 seconds" on the camera display, and write "30 seconds" into the EXIF. But it's really a 32.0 second exposure. That means the gap between exposures is 0.6 seconds. This corresponds exactly to what I'm hearing - less than 1 second between the sound of the shutter closing then opening again.

AstronomerRoyal (Little Bramper guy) measured some *actual* exposure times on a Canon, as follows:
viewtopic.php?p=17995#p17995

Just something to keep in mind if you're trying to get the smallest possible interval between long exposures. As long as you don't need >30sec (32sec) exposures, you may be better off NOT using the intervalometer.

Also - in continuous shooting mode, your CF card speed should have no real impact at these longer exposure times. 30 seconds between shots is WAY more than enough time to write a single large RAW file from the buffer on even the slowest CF card.


Maybe I have too much time on my hands?

I have done some tests to check the actual intervals using different intervalometer settings and camera settings and found the following. (I am using a Canon 60D with a Canon TC-80N3 Intervalometer.)

To check the difference in the exposure by intervalometer and camera.

1. Camera on Bulb with intervalometer set to expose for 30 sec = 30 sec exposure.

2. Camera on Bulb with camera set to expose for 30 sec = 32 sec exposure.

I have known that 30 sec exposures in camera were 32 sec. (1 sec, 2 sec, 4, 8, 16, 32.) This would be needed when converting a long exposure with a small aperture into a short exposure with a large aperture. Both time and aperture need to be 1/2 or 2X increments to accomplish the same equivalent. The difference between a 30 sec exposure and a 32 second exposure would be minor.

To check the difference in the intervals with different intervalometer settings and camera settings I did tests using 10 exposures. They were from the beginning of exposure 1 to the beginning of exposure 11(the time for 10 exposures and 10 intervals.) Auto focus was turned off, as was the preview. I tested with RAW and JPEG and got the same result.

1. On Bulb the intervalometer was set to expose for 30 sec. and a 1 sec intervalometer setting.
Result: Total time for 10 exposures = 310 seconds. Exactly what would be expected and what I commonly use.

2. On Bulb use the intervalometer to expose for 30 sec. and a 31 sec interval setting.
Result: Failure - First exposure made, no second, third exposure made, no fourth, etc..

3. Repeated intervalometer to expose for 30 sec. with 32, 33, 34 second interval setting.
Result: Same failure - First exposure made, no second, third exposure made, no fourth, etc..

4. In camera exposure for 30 sec.(which is actually 32 sec) and a 32 sec interval setting.
Result: Failure: First exposure made, no second, third exposure made, no fourth, etc..

5. In camera exposure for 30 sec.(which is actually 32 sec) and wired remote locked on.
Result: Total time for 10 exposures = 326 seconds. The longer period was a surprise.

The results using the intervalometer were what I predicted for my camera and intervalometer. The intervalometer will produce better results because the time between shots would be less. That would produce slightly smaller gaps in the star trails.

However, my bet would be that there is not enough difference in the exposure to make a big difference in the final image.

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Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:28 pm
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
spitzerr wrote:
5. In camera exposure for 30 sec.(which is actually 32 sec) and wired remote locked on.
Result: Total time for 10 exposures = 326 seconds. The longer period was a surprise.

Sounds like you've confirmed my results. 326/10 = 32.6 sec per shot. Each shot consisting of a 32 sec exposure plus 0.6 sec interval.
Last time I checked 0.6 sec was a shorter interval than 1.0 seconds :-)

You're correct that this likely makes no difference for the final result. Most of the "gaps" that I've gotten are actually artifacts of the blending-mode used to stack all the images. Floris van Bruegel has an excellent tutorial - and free Photoshop actions - that I've used to successfully stack star trail images without any gaps:
http://www.artinnaturephotography.com/g ... htarticle/


Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:00 pm
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
jimre-temp wrote:
spitzerr wrote:
Last time I checked 0.6 sec was a shorter interval than 1.0 seconds :-)/


My error on the interval. You are correct. I was thinking 2.6 forgetting the exposure was 32.

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Spitzer Photography
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Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:40 am
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
jimre-temp

I am looking forward to trying your star trail stacker. I have tried getting rid of gaps when I use longer lenses and have not had much luck with some other strategies.

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Spitzer Photography
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Mon Mar 11, 2013 7:51 am
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Post Re: Intervalometer setting confusion
spitzerr wrote:
My error on the interval. You are correct. I was thinking 2.6 forgetting the exposure was 32.
Same thing I thought when I first did this test. But it didn't jive with what I was actually hearing: less than 1 sec between shots. That's when I remembered the threads about 30sec shutter speed really being 32sec.


Mon Mar 11, 2013 8:54 am
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