Not normally an important question this becomes relevant when you start doing time lapse, which means very large numbers of pictures taken.
Consider a 1 hour time lapse at one shot per 5 seconds, that’s 720 frames for the one hour.
Particularly I’m concerned about camera models which do not have time lapse built in, so the manufacturer had a different expectation of what the total number would be that you achieve.
The camera makers have their own estimates of the total shutter life of each camera, however a more interesting exercise is actually collecting data on this and that has been done here http://olegkikin.com/shutterlife/
I encourage you to look up your own model, then see how many you are up to now, then do some simple calculations to know how much of your camera life you are using up by doing time lapse before getting started.
Although shutters can be replaced the general consensus is that it doesn’t make sense from a cost perspective.
You can use ExifTool by Phil Harvey to check your shutter count (instructions here), or upload an unedited jpg to flickr and look at the extended properties of the image.
If a one hour time lapse is 720 frames that is about 0.7% of the life of my D40 shutter.
Check out Whiternoise over at Hexus.net who has this great post about building a hardware timelapse device using programable chips. He has posted circuit diagrams and great shots of the plastic breadboard set-up.
Looks like a real fun project if you like that type of DIY – the electronics with wires and solder type – and if your Nikon DSLR is one with an IR receiver for a remote; e.g. works with a ML-3.
I thought that this was going to be a major limitation — the battery life of the camera — as while connected via USB the camera is constantly “on” and never goes into a sleep mode.
However while I was doing recent testing with the Nikon D40 time lapse I started with a full battery and took schedule shots every 5 seconds for about an hour, and at the end the battery still said 100% full. Both via the camera icon, and via the battery meter in my script.
So obviously some power has been used, but very little apparently. While this is good news it is also a bit puzzling so I’d love to hear your experience with it.
My batteries are not brand new or anything, I’ve taken many thousands of frames with the D40 and swap between two original Nikon EN-EL9 Rechargeable Li-ion Batteries. So far they have given me great service, and they last longer than the D300 batteries even though those are physically larger.
If you have made any time lapse vids using my script and they are publicly available (youtube, etc) I’d love it if you’d post a link! I’ve still not done anything interesting with it — I have a few ideas but never the right time to sit there with camera and computer for several hours. Sadly nothing worth seeing from where I live or work and even the sky has been cloudless for days so I can’t do the “clouds streaming across the sky” thing.
Anyway if you have had better luck, or better ideas, than me lets have a look!
Yes, at last, I’ve implemented — admittedly very very basic and boring — but still functional — time lapse. If you have a D300 or other camera with time lapse built in then this is boring, but for those of you with D40 and similiar then this gets you what you need to do all those fun time lapse videos.
Persistent download directory
It now remembers the directory you selected and stays with it when you restart the application.
File name prefix
This field allows you to specify something to prefix the file names with. The idea is that you use it when shooting a lot of people, say at a school or fair, and as each person comes up you can just type in their name, shoot a few shots, then change the name for the next person. Then each file name will have the person’s name on it.
Reconnect camera without restarting
If you need to reconnect the camera; say the usb cable came unplugged, or you forgot to change to M mode before starting, you can now just click again on Select Camera” rather than restart the script.
Ok so that’s pretty much it — plus some small tweaks and bug fixes. I’ll write or do a video soon with some howto time lapse, and how to actually turn it into video using free tools.
Until then, Happy New Year!
PS. If you’ve found this site and/or my scripts helpful, please do help to spread the word by telling a friend, posting a message on a forum, blogging about it or similiar — the more people who hear about it the better! Thanks very much for your help which I greatly appreciate.