5 Nikon D3000 Time Lapse Tips For Better Photographs!

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In the age of social media, time-lapse videos are all that anyone can talk about. And if you’re interested in recording their own time lapse videos, then the Nikon D3000 is the best camera you can ask for. It contains incredible features that will help you make the best time lapse video you can ask for. This camera has everything you need for professional photography and videography from its powerhouse imaging sensors to its built-in focus systems. 

The D3000 comes with a DX-format CCD sensor that captures images at 10.7 megapixels. Such a string sensor and high resolution will give you incredibly detailed and clear visual imagery, which will help you create an aesthetically pleasing time-lapse video. The camera also comes with a 3 inch LCD screen where you can monitor everything that is recorded. This screen can also be turned off while recording to save some battery. 

With all this, the Nikon D3000 also has a self-cleaning imaging sensor that helps you avoid any kind of dusting or clogging inside the camera. It uses special cleaning mechanisms to make sure that the mirror inside the camera stays clean so it can capture the perfect images for your time-lapse videos. In fact, its built-in EXPEED imaging processor also helps you with the fast processing of burst shots and large RAW files. So, you have many great options when you start working on this camera. 

Here are 5 tips on using the Nikon D3000 for time lapse photography. 

Use Manual Mode

When doing time-lapse photography, you must use the manual mode on your camera so that you’re in full control of whatever you’re shooting. Shifting to the manual mode allows you to set the camera on your preferred ISO, aperture, and shutter speed, reducing the flickering that may happen in auto mode. You can easily access the manual mode of any camera by rotating the dial, mostly located on top of the camera beside the flash. 

Removing flickering is very important when shooting for a time-lapse video. Since recording time-lapse videos is a long process, it is also likely that the surrounding environment (light) changes as you shoot throughout the day. These changes would be automatically registered on auto mode and will be corrected/balanced by the camera. The balancing would require the camera to constantly shift the ISO and aperture levels, which will cause flickering in the final time-lapse video. This is why using the manual mode is recommended as it will help keep the lighting and shutter speeds consistent throughout the course of the shoot. 

The Nikon D3000 has a great manual mode. It is easily accessible through the LCD screen and can be altered as per your liking. It also has a great range of functions to choose from. This camera comes with an ISO range of 100-1600 (with an expansion up to 3600). The ISO range is entirely alterable to whatever number you choose to have it on, so is the aperture and the shutter speed for this camera. 

Keep Batteries Charged

A time lapse video requires lots of pictures or lengthy videos to be recorded. These pictures and videos are then compiled and compressed so that they can play at a faster speed. However, to do that, you must have a camera that can take many pictures or record longer videos. You will have to keep your batteries charged at all times so that you don’t miss a shot. It is important because otherwise, you may lose important moments essential for the video’s fulfillment. 

There are many ways through which you can make sure that your camera batteries are fully charged. You can buy a couple of extra battery packs that come separately for most DSLRs. This way, you will have a good backup to record everything you need. Additionally, you can also get a portable charger to charge your batteries if one runs out of charge. In fact, most cameras also come with a battery saving mode, so you can use that function to make sure that your camera remains alive to shoot all your content for the time-lapse video.   

The Nikon D3000 comes with a removable battery option. This means the batteries on this camera are not fixed but can be removed and charged externally. So, you can buy additional batteries from the Nikon store and use them alternately for a longer shoot. Although, with this camera, you can shoot hundreds of images and hours worth of videos on their own as well.  

Use RAW Format

Using the RAW format is a wise decision, and many time-lapse photographers recommend it. This is because a RAW file, although heavy in size, can give you a lot more room to edit your images and contain a lot more information than the standard JPEG file. When recording a time-lapse video, you will need as much detail in your images and videos as possible. Most of it will only come if you have your primary sources as RAW files. 

For example, if you’re shooting a sunset time-lapse and you want to edit some images from the shoot. However, your computer does not give you access to the coded version of the images. This may be because the pictures are not in a RAW format but instead in JPEG. A RAW file will allow you to fetter with the very binary code of the image itself, while a JPEG won’t. Even in terms of editing, the RAW file will edit in a much better fashion than a JPEG.  

The Nikon D3000 allows you to have the option of choosing between a RAW file, a JPEG file, or both simultaneously. Most people opt for the RAW + JPEG option. It allows them to keep most of the information about the image through the RAW file and can easily access the JPEG file at their disposal. 

Get Comfortable

As is mentioned several times above, a time-lapse video is a long process. You may have to sit in one position for hours or leave your camera at a site overnight just to record the rotation of the earth. Hence, you have to start planning your comfortability with such long periods. You have to be mentally prepared to wait for hours on end for the recording to be finished or for the photographs to be taken. You may have to repeat certain processes several times, which may seem monotonous, but are essential for a good time-lapse video. 

Additionally, you may have to travel long distances to find the perfect spots for photography or videography. Most of the time, time-lapse photography is done outside the city, especially if you’re shooting landscapes and skies. For this reason, you should be mentally prepared to travel long distances so that you can find that one location to shoot from. You may have to wait in the car for hours on end or even spend the night in a cabin or a tent. So, you should always prepare for ways to get comfortable in such situations.  

The Nikon D3000 is a great camera to get comfortable with. It has incredible features that help you navigate the camera quickly and allow you to spend more time on your photography than the technical details. It comes with a 1/4000 sec shutter speed and can operate in a range of temperatures (32-104 degrees Fahrenheit). So, it is the best companion for outdoor shoots.  

Lock Focus

Time lapse photography is very often a subject-focused form of photography. This means it focuses on a particular moving subject like the sun, the cars on the street, a growing plant, or a changing landscape. So, you must maintain a strong focus from the camera onto your subject’s location. Locking focus is the best way to make sure that you don’t lose your video to a blurry visualization. Most cameras have a subject-tracking or lock-focus option available in the AF modes. 

It is important to lock focus for several reasons. For example, if you’re recording the building of a house from the ground up, you may need to leave your camera on the site for several days. Since the house building process is long, it may be wise to lock focus on the house or manually set the focal length to the house’s distance. This way, you will not lose your recording to a blurry screen. Instead, you will get a clear and defined video of the house’s construction, which you can turn into a time-lapse video. 

You will get many great focus options on the Nikon D3000. With the 420 exposure metering zones and 11 autofocus points, you will have ample room to select your subject of photography. In fact, with its several TTL phase-detection points, you can also make the entire landscape your subject, so no detail will be lost. It also lets you shoot at 3 fps with full focus. All these features combined will give you a great time-lapse video to show your friends and colleagues.