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Unusual Timelapse Flicker
  • Having some issues with a Nikon D600 that I have been using for timelapses recently. I am getting exposure flicker throughout the timelapse and I can't seem to figure out the problem.

    Of course all manual settings: ISO, APERTURE, and SHUTTER Using an old manual Nikkor 24mm so setting f-stop on the lens itself Using the D600 internal intervalometer Shooting raw

    Unfortunately the only thing that got missed was the camera was accidentally set to auto white balance. However, I selected a specific white balance in Camera Raw in After Effects and that should apply to all of the images. Would auto white balance affect exposure?

    The only other possibility I can think of is that I had a mild variable-ND on the lens. I doubt it would have moved but maybe it was shifting somehow with each exposure?

    I've got some more trouble shooting to do but thought I'd ask to see if anyone has had a similar issue. I haven't had this issue with previous timelapses I've done with Canon 60D and 5Ds so I'm concerned it's an issue specific to the Nikon D600 but I guess it could be user error too.


  • 7 Replies sorted by
  • Half of the shot is blue sky. Could the polarizing nature of variable-NDs be a contributing factor? Never heard of the issue before but it just popped into mind.

  • The only other possibility I can think of is that I had a mild variable-ND on the lens. I doubt it would have moved but maybe it was shifting somehow with each exposure?

    Variable ND consist from polarizing filters. You can have some changes in light properties that can cause flicker.

  • Are you shooting individual exposures as stills? I had this problem on my D200. The problem is that even while using an AI or AIS lens, the camera only closes down when the exposure is taken.Shooting at any stop other than wide open creates flicker.

    A solution is to use an ND and only shoot wide open, or if your camera has it as the D200 has. In a menu there is a setting to let the aperture be controlled by the lens ring and not the camera body. On the D200 it's on menu page f5 under aperture ring.

    Look here, about 3/4ths of the way down the page: "For lenses with aperture rings, determines whether the sub-command dial or the aperture ring should actually control aperture"

    Look for that setting in the D600. Then shoot a short test to be sure.

  • Thanks @CFreak but I am using a fully manual lens to avoid that very issue.

    I think @Vitaliy_Kiselev is right about the vari-ND. Will have to do more testing to confirm but I'm leaning that way.

  • Two other possible causes:

    • light leak through OVF, which is usually small but can be visible at long exposures.

    • problems with shutter timing, which can happen if shutter and mirror mechanisms are getting worn out.

    The latter seems unlikely if it's a new unit, but it's worth checking shutter actuation counter just to be sure.

    OVF light leakage can be tested, for example, by shooting a sequence of long exposures with lens cap on and aiming colored light into OVF during shooting. If the color gets into images, OVF leaks.

  • @Xenocide38 seriously dude, It's still an issue.

    Maybe you could post a little more info on your set up.

    Even with your fully manual lens (FYI, Nikkor AI and AIS are fully manual lenses) this can happen. The camera ONLY sets the aperture when the exposure is taken, and it's mechanical and never hits it in exactly the same place.

    To rule this out with your fully manual lens, do this simple test:

    Set you aperture to something mid range, say f8, then looking at the front element of the lens, so that you can see light coming through the eyepiece now pointed away from you, click off an exposure and watch as the iris opens and closes. If you see that happening, then that's your problem. Every SLR still camera does it this way. Wideopen for a bright viewfinder and shallow DoF for quick focusing, then stopped down for exposing the image. Often the user doesn't know this is happening.

    If you see your iris set 100% of the time and it doesn't move when you click off an exposure then yes, that a 100% fully manual lens, like a cine lens.

    To turn a stills lens (Nikkor mount) into a 100% fully manual lens on a Nikon body you have to cut off the little lever on the nikkor mount on of the lens. Some serious timelapsers do this mod to their lenses, but it makes using them for shooting still images a bear. I DO NOT recommend you do this.

  • I think you can avoid the iris being moved by not twisting the lens completely on when you mount it - I believe that is a well-known trick in the time-lapse scene...