There will be times when you need to be careful of camera shake in your image. At other time, you will need to take many images, one after the other.
At other times, your scene requires a very long exposure. This is where an intervalometer comes into play.
Read on on what it is and how to use it.
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What Is an Intervalometer
An Intervalometer is an important device that should be part of your camera gear. It has a few uses in aiding your photography, the main one being for time lapse photography.
This device is a wired cable release with a timer. The timer allows you to capture hundreds of images over a certain period of time.
These images can be set with intervals. Say you wanted to capture a scene with moving objects. A short interval between images captures more movement.
By plugging this gear item into your camera, you control the rate and speed of your photography. The best thing is, once you set it, you can do something else.
The Canon Intervalometer Neewer LCD Timer Shutter Release Remote is one of the best. It acts as the shutter control for your digital cameras.
How Does an Intervalometer Work
This device has many important features. Below we can see the important ones.
- Locking Mechanism – The device locks so that the photographer doesn’t have to hold the shutter release. This could be for minutes or hours at an end.
- Self-Timer – The first shot in a sequence is set to start after a period of time.
- Shot Interval Timer – Intervals between shots can be as long as 100 hours.
- Exposure Length – Each shot comes from the cameras’ shutter speed setting or ‘Bulb’ mode. And it captures exposures up to 100 hours long.
- Number of Shots – Some models can photograph up to 99 images, others 999.
- Reduced Camera Shake – As the photographer doesn’t need to touch the camera, camera shake is minimalised.
All these are important for different reasons, as we see below.
When Should You Use an Intervalometer
An intervalometer is important in helping the photographer. It does this by capturing images across many different fields of photography.
Time-lapse photography relies on many images shot of the same scene. This happens over a certain period of time. These are then stitched together. And you can create a time-lapse videos from tens, if not hundreds of images.
Cinematic videos come to us at the frame rate of 24 images a second. So, if you want to create a 10 second video, you will need 240 images. This is almost double for slow motion videos.
To create a time-lapse without a intervalometer is difficult. It would mean the photographer would have to click the shutter release 240 times. Depending on your scene, this could be an image every second or every 10 seconds.
An intervalometer allows you to set the amount of images and intervals. It then captures the images for the photographer, leaving his hands free. This is beneficial for many reasons.
By using the intervalometer, you are able to lock the shutter mechanism. This tells the camera it should keep photographing. Without constant action from the photographer.
First, it saves your hands and frees them up for warm tea or other work. Second, the intervals will stay constant. This means that you don’t need to keep track of their count in your head.
Third, and the most important, it reduces the amount of camera shake. When a photographer presses the shutter release on the camera, there is a slight movement.
This movement is exemplified over long periods of time. And with the use of larger focal length lenses. For time-lapse images, this device acts a remote shutter release.
Studio or on-location portrait photography can benefit by having an intervalometer. This device allows you to stand away from your camera, and not having in front of your face 100% of the time.
By standing away from your camera, you are able to take the attention away from it. You can offer personal and connectable directions in posing.
This method also reduces the camera shake from capturing images over a short period of time. This device will let you capture as many frames-per-second as your memory card allows.
Long exposures are also better with a Canon or Nikon intervalometer. It allows the camera to use the ‘Bulb’ mode without constraint.
Without an intervalometer, it can become frustrating. You would have to hold down the shutter release. This could be anything from 10 seconds to a few hours.
By using the intervalometer, you can key in the length of the image, and ‘press and lock’ the shutter mechanism. Everything is then done automatically, freeing the photographers’ hands.
Try star trail photography. Intervalometers work great there.
How to Choose an Intervalometer
Intervalometers come in all shapes and sizes. There are intervalometers from Canon, intervalometers for Nikon and others for mirrorless cameras.
There’s even apps you can download and use.
There are a few other ways you can use an intervalometer with your camera. Either with these separate remote timers, or with integrated remote timers.
A few camera models already have intervalometers integrated inside. A few examples of these are Canon’s 7D Mark II, Nikon’s D300, Olympus’s OM-D E-M10 and Fujifilm’s X100T.
Is an intervalomter is important to your photography? And you are looking for a new DSLR or mirrorless system? If so, consider these instead of a handheld device.
We recommend the Neewer LCD Timer Shutter Release Remote.
This model is an external device, and lets you set the timer. This can be from anywhere between one second and 100 hours.
This intervalometer for Canon comes with a 90 cm cable. For those who are looking for wireless remote version, we recommend the Pixel TW-283.
This model is perfect for those who want to step away from their camera. This might be due to the location. Or if you’re using several cameras, for example, in capturing astrophotography.
An intervalometer is an essential item of gear for any photography field you wish to capture. When shooting time lapse photography, you can’t do without something that captures sequences of images.
As you can use these intervalometers for many areas, you’ll see the benefit straight away. This may be down to reducing camera shake, or being able to focus on something else while capturing.