Nikon D7000 – The Time Lapse Shooter’s Friend

I have lots of cameras but one of my favorites is the Nikon D7000. I particularly like using it when I make time-lapse shots. It has a built-in interval timer so unlike when I use my Canon cameras, I don’t have to buy or attach any extra equipment. Out of the box, the D7000 is ready to shoot time-lapse movies.

Here are some best practices for using the D7000 for time-lapse.

1. Set up your camera. It’s a little-known fact that the D7000 won’t let you enter the interval timer function if you haven’t set your camera’s date and time. I had a friend who spent hours following my instructions trying to shoot a time-lapse and we found out he never set up the date and time and that fixed his problem.

2. Make sure you have a fully-charged battery.

3. Use a sturdy tripod and ball head.

4. Frame your shot.

5. Set your camera to manual and set your exposure and ISO.

6. For faster time-lapse creation in post use JPG fine. If you want the best quality, have the time and experience, shoot in RAW mode and batch correct the RAW files before sending them to your time-lapse software.

7. Configure the interval timer…

a. Select a start time
b. Pick an interval
c. Select the number of intervals
d. Select the number of shots per interval

It’s easiest to set the start time to “NOW” which means that once you have the timer set up and fire it the camera will immediately start making images for the time-lapse.

You should experiment with how often you want the camera to fire. This will be a function of how long you want the end time-lapse movie to be. One interval is easiest for beginners.

If you’re shooting in bright light be sure to cover the viewfinder during long time-lapse shooting periods. Nikon includes a device to do this called the DK-5 but if you’re like me you’ve lost it so use black gaffer’s tape or duct tape to block out the light that can get into the camera through the viewfinder.

Then press the button and let the D7000 do its magic. While many Nikon cameras have the same capability, I find the D7000 to be affordable and it still maintains very high quality images.


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About scottbourne

Founder of Professional photographer. Author. Speaker.

Posted on August 19, 2011, in Gear, Time-lapse and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. I love the D7000. I rented it for a big shoot earlier this year and it blew me away. I did want to mention that I own the D5000. It too has interval timing built-in and is a cheaper alternative for those looking for this feature. You can’t go wrong with either camera.

  2. You forgot about hacked frmwares such as the CHDK and Magic Lantern projects.

    The scripting in the firmwares can be super advanced, for instance being able to do intervalometers with exposure variances for varying light conditions like sunsets and sunrises.

    • I forgot? Really? Nope – I didn’t forget. I don’t think it’s relevant and I don’t think it’s a good idea to use those hacks. I know people who have bricked their cameras using them. But then again this was a post about Nikon not Canon so not sure how it’s relevant.

  3. LOL, I did my first time lapse with a D7000 about 8 weeks ago. Took 4000 shots of a Cincinnati paddling event. To make editing easy I use Picasa 3 to first tune the first shot and then copied the edits to the rest of the shots in the series. Easy! Then I used Picasa3’s built-in time lapse movie function to pick the number of frames per second and exported it. Easy again! and Picasa 3 is free from Google. Here is that video (again my first)

  4. I never realised that the D7000 could do this, a simple firmware option that should be on all modern cameras. It might be easy to add an external an external intervalometer on land but I’m having to look into constructing a very small home made unit that will fit inside a underwater housing for a Canon 7D.

    Canon really do need to take note, Nikon provide far more options on-camera and the CKDK “hacks” exist to provide simple, cheap to add features, that Canon do not. Incidentally, since CKDK does not modify the camera firmware itself and removing the memory card defaults to the Canon firmware I’d be very surprised if anyone has bricked their camera unless they were trying to make CKDK a permanent installed option?

    • Steve maybe the dozen or so people who contacted Photofocus when they bricked their cameras trying to install CKDK were telling me a lie – I’d be very surprised if that were the case. But let’s not have this thread get hijacked over CKDK. It’s about Time-Lapse and the D7000. Thanks.

  5. I would love your opinion on the D7000 vs the D700. I do portrait and extreme sports photography so I need good ISO, but I also need fast shutter speed. I am not ready to buy a D3 and was talking to a camera guy who said I would be happier with the 7000 and that surprised me because I always heard it was an “entry” camera. What do you think?

  6. thank you for this info, it’s something i really want to try. i’m a D7000 user but still have soooo much to learn!

  7. I have been looking for a tutorial on this subject with this camera. I own a D7000. The only issue is, I am fuzzy on the terminology. Under “Interval Timer” on the Shooting menu I realize the first screen is “now” or “start time”, self explanatory. The next screen is “Interval” and there are 3 boxes which I am having a hard time grasping what to set here. It is box : box ‘ box ” Are you able to clarify what increments these stand for? Then there is “Select intervals X # of shots. Could you explain that? Believe it or not I am no slouch with photography but I have never used an interval timer before and as much as I fiddle with it, I can not wrap my head around these settings. I would really appreciate it.

  8. Nice 4 part tutorial here on Youtube

  9. Hartmut "hase" Semken

    Isn’t the internal timer limited to 999 shots taken?
    Of course, this will burn through a set of LR6 batteries and then some.
    But is there a way to create longer series – I mean, two SD-cards should easily store thousands of pictures at a resolution good enogh for video?