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Nikon Professional Services

Technical Solutions | Z 7II/Z 6II TIPS

Time-Lapse Recording: Preparation and Basic Settings

This section focuses on [Interval timer shooting]. The settings for [Time-lapse movie] are essentially the same.

Advance Preparation

Ready a Power Source

  • Ready a fully-charged battery.
  • Where AC power is available, we recommend using an EH-7P charging AC adapter (available separately for the Z 6II, supplied with the Z 7II) or an optional EP-5B power connector and EH-5d, EH-5c, or EH-5b AC adapter.
  • We also recommend the optional MB-N11 power battery pack or MB-N10 battery pack, which when used with two batteries can supply power longer than the camera alone. With spare batteries, you can take advantage of the MB-N11 and MB-N10's "hot swap" feature to replace batteries while shooting is in progress, ensuring a continuous supply of power for even longer periods.
  • The camera can also be powered via USB by an Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD 45W power bank (recommended).

Ready Memory Cards

Ready memory cards with sufficient capacity after picking an image size, image quality (JPEG, NEF/RAW, or JPEG + NEF/RAW), total shooting time, and interval and taking a test shot to help you get an idea of the file size.

Set the Clock

Check that the camera clock is set correctly before proceeding.

Ready a Tripod

Use a tripod for time-lapse recording. Be sure to choose one that won't tip or blow over.

Before Shooting

Position the Camera

Choose a location, position the tripod, and secure the camera. Check that the camera is steady, the power cable unobstructed, and the power source within reach.

Check Framing and Focus

  • Take a test shot and check framing and focus.
  • Time-lapse footage shot with [FX (36 × 24)] selected for [Choose image area] in the photo shooting menu will be recorded at an aspect ratio of 16:9. We recommend that you switch briefly to [16:9 (36 × 20)] when framing shots.
Quick Image-Area Selection

Assigning [Choose image area] to the Fn1 or Fn2 button using Custom Setting f2 [Custom controls] lets you quickly switch image areas by holding the button and rotating a command dial.

Dealing with Condensation

We recommend using a third-party lens heater in settings where condensation is likely.

Basic "Interval Timer Shooting" Settings

We recommend the following [Interval timer shooting] settings when taking photos for time-lapse movies.

Interval Varies by subject (see this section)
Intervals×shots/interval
Exposure smoothing On
Silent photography On
Interval priority On
Focus before each shot Off
Options Time-lapse movie
Starting storage folder New folder:
Reset file numbering:

Interval

The recommended value varies by subject. See "Recommended Settings by Scene" for more information.

Interval Length

Some cameras from other manufacturers define interval length as the time between the end of one exposure and the beginning of the next. The result is that the time between one shot and the next varies according to exposure time. Nikon cameras, in contrast, define the interval length as the time from the start of one shot to the beginning of the next, ensuring that photos are taken at regular intervals.

Nikon Cameras

Other Cameras

Intervals×shots/interval

The recommended value varies by subject. See "Recommended Settings by Scene" for more information.

  • Only one shot can be taken per interval when [On] is selected for [Interval priority].

Exposure Smoothing

If [On] is selected, exposure will automatically be adjusted to minimize variations in brightness between one shot and the next.

  • The effects of exposure smoothing may not be visible if subject brightness varies markedly between shots. We recommend choosing shorter intervals for subjects prone to sharp changes in brightness.

Silent Photography

Select [On] to take pictures without sound or vibration from the shutter.

  • Selecting [On] does not completely silence the camera. Camera sounds may still be audible, for example during autofocus or aperture adjustment.

Interval Priority

Selecting [Off] for [Interval priority] assigns priority to ensuring that each shot is correctly exposed, even if this means that intervals must sometimes be skipped.

If [On] is selected, the camera will automatically adjust shutter speed as needed to ensure that each exposure is completed in the time available and no intervals are skipped. This option takes effect only in modes P and A. Pictures may be underexposed if time required for optimal exposure is longer than the interval.

Interval Priority Off
Interval Priority On

Focus Before Each Shot

Selecting [Off] prevents unexpected changes in focus while still ensuring you won't have to focus manually.

Options

If [Time-lapse movie] is selected, the photos will be used to create a time-lapse movie with an aspect ratio of 16:9. This lets you view the results on the camera immediately after shooting so that you can retake the time-lapse movie if required.

To perform exposure bracketing during shooting, enable [AE bracketing]. [Intervals×shots/interval] will automatically be adjusted to reflect the number of shots in the bracketing sequence. This feature can be helpful where brightness varies unpredictably. Shots taken at different exposures can also be combined in third-party software for use in HDR movies.

Starting Storage Folder

Select [New folder] to save each sequence of photos to a new folder created automatically when shooting starts. Each sequence of photos is saved to its own folder, making file management easier.

Other Core Settings

Photo shooting menu
Image quality* NEF (RAW) or JPEG fine
Image size Large
ISO sensitivity settings Varies by subject (see this section)
White balance
Set Picture Control
Metering Matrix metering
Vibration reduction Off

* [NEF (RAW)] gives you greater freedom to adjust settings to your liking while editing movies. The large size of the resulting files however makes [JPEG fine] the preferred choice when such adjustments are not required.

Monitoring Results During Shooting

If [On] is selected for [Image review] in the playback menu, each picture will automatically be displayed in the monitor or viewfinder immediately after it is taken. This helps you monitor exposure and focus. Note, however, that:

  • the interval between shots must be at least four seconds and
  • the drain on the battery will increase.