Building a compact timelapse kit

When I think about heading out to shoot timelapses, one of the things that often puts me off is lugging a load of gear around. At very least you need a camera, tripod, intervalometer and probably an ND filter too. I've finally found a set up that I can carry any time I take my camera out which means I'm always ready to shoot little timelapse clips!

My compact timelapse kit

My compact timelapse kit

Tripod

You can't shoot a timelapse without a solid base, unintentional movement will trash your timelapse shot. 

Manfrotto 709B paired with the Peak Design Capture Pro

Manfrotto 709B paired with the Peak Design Capture Pro

There's few options here, but i've opted for the compact Manfrotto 709B (Amazon) it's a neat little tripod that folds down nice and small, plus it's impressively strong. It holds my D810 and pretty much any lens I own without a problem. The size is a bit limiting, but this is about having a handy kit that I can use at any time. Another option could be the GorillaPod but I'm not a fan, it's much more bulky and I find it awkward. 

I've added my Peak Design Capture Pro to the screw mount on the Manfrotto ball head, it makes it super quick to attach my camera as I always have the Peak plate attached to the bottom.

Intervalometer

Triggertrap's MD3-DC0 kit. Find the kit for your camera here.

Triggertrap's MD3-DC0 kit. Find the kit for your camera here.

I'm a little biased on this one, but I think that the Triggertrap Mobile Kit is the perfect intervalometer for the job.

The Mobile Kit it's self is super compact and weighs next to nothing and as it uses the smartphone to do all of the hardwork, there's no worrying about another battery to charge. If you're like me and use an iPhone, chances are you'll be carrying a battery pack on you anyway, so I don't really worry about the iPhone's battery.  

Another option would be to use the built in timelapse/interval shooting mode in your camera, but a word of warning, on Nikon this ignores a lot of your settings so can be more trouble than it's worth (I've blown two decent shots because of this now).

Camera

The 16-35 is super versatile making it perfect for this kit

The 16-35 is super versatile making it perfect for this kit

I'm using my D810 and the Nikon 16-35 f/4 VR or the Nikon 35mm f/1.4G. Neither of which is compact but the whole idea of this set up for me is to be able to shoot high quality clips when I'm out and about with my camera, which means I'll already be carrying this beast!

The files from the D810 are incredible, there's so much dynamic range and resolution to play with which makes it perfect for shooting timelapse. The one downside is that the raw files are pretty huge, but a couple of large cards helps mitigate that.

That said, I'd love one of the A7 series cameras (A7RII please) and that would help cut the weight down big time, plus the quality of the files from the A7RII are pretty spectacular

ND Filter

This is super important for really smooth timelapse. As it's best to shoot with a shutter speed of 1/2 the interval, the ND filter lets you get the shutter speed you want. I use a 10 stop ND which can some times be too much. A decent variable ND would probably be a great addition to this kit!

The full set up

The full setup fits nicely in any of my bags and I could even throw the accessories in a pocket and the camera over my shoulder to go bag free. It's going to be fun experimenting with this little set up to see what sort of shots I can capture. I think using the tiny little tripod is going to force me to be creative with the shots!