Interval Timer Shooting: Time-Lapse Photography with the Nikon D5200

With Interval Timer Shooting on the Nikon D5200, you can set the camera to automatically release the shutter at intervals ranging from seconds to hours apart. This feature enables you to capture a subject as it changes over time — a technique commonly known as time-lapse photography — without having to stand around pressing the shutter button the whole time.

Here’s how to take advantage of this feature:

  1. Set the Release mode to Single Frame.

    You can also use either of the continuous modes, but the camera still takes one shot at a time, just as if you had selected Single Frame. Quiet Shutter Release mode is also possible; however, the Self-Timer and remote control modes aren’t compatible with Interval Timer Shooting.

  2. Display the Shooting menu, highlight Interval Timer Shooting, as shown on the left in the figure, and press OK.

    The screen on the right in the figure appears.

    image0.jpg
  3. To begin setting up your capture session, highlight Now or Start Time.

    • To start the captures right away, highlight Now.

    • To set a later start time, highlight Start Time.

  4. Press the Multi Selector right to display the capture-setup screen.

    If you selected Start Time in Step 3, the screen looks like the one in this figure. If you selected Now, the Start Time option is dimmed, and the Interval option is highlighted instead.

    image1.jpg
  5. Set up your recording session.

    You get three options: Start Time, Interval (time between shots), and Number of Times (total number of shots recorded). The current settings for each option appear in the bottom half of the screen, as labeled in the figure.

    At the top of the screen, little value boxes appear. The highlighted box is the active option and relates to the setting that’s highlighted at the bottom of the screen.

    For example, in the figure, the hour box for the Start Time setting is active. Press the Multi Selector right or left to cycle through the value boxes; to change the value in a box, press the Multi Selector up or down.

    A few notes about these options:

    • The Interval and Start Time options are based on a 24-hour clock. The current time appears in the bottom-right corner of the screen and is based on the date/time information you entered when setting up the camera.

    • For the Interval option, the left column box is for the hour setting; the middle, minutes; and the right, seconds. Make sure that the value you enter is for a longer time than the shutter speed you plan to use.

    • For the Start Time option, you can set only the hour and minute values. Again, the Start Time option is available only if you selected Start Time in Step 3.

  6. When you’re done setting up the capture options, press the Multi Selector right until you see the On and Off options on the screen, as shown in this figure.

    image2.jpg
  7. Highlight On and press OK.

    If you selected Now as your interval-capture starting option in Step 3, the first shot is recorded about 3 seconds later. If you set a delayed start time, the camera displays a Timer Active message for a few seconds before returning to the Shooting menu.

A few final factoids:

  • Interval Timer Shooting isn’t available for Live View photography. The menu option is disabled any time Live View is active.

  • The card access light blinks while Interval Timer Shooting is in progress. It’s the little light just above the Delete button on the back of the camera.

  • To interrupt Interval Timer Shooting, turn off the camera. Or move the Mode dial to a different setting.

  • Menus are disabled while the interval sequence is in progress. You can’t access the control strip of the Information screen either. If you display the Information screen, you see the message Interval Timer Shooting on the screen.

  • Autobracketing, high dynamic range (HDR), and multiple-exposure are disabled features when Interval Timer Shooting is active.

  • If you’re using autofocusing, be sure that the camera can focus on your subject. It will initiate focusing before each shot.

  • When the interval sequence is complete, the Interval Timer Shooting menu option is reset to Off. The card access light stops blinking shortly after the final image is recorded to the memory card.

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