Time-lapse photography is one of the coolest things you can do with any camera. Even mobile phones now have time-lapse features and apps you can use to take some pretty cool time-lapse captures. The problem with time-lapse photography is the “time” it takes to capture all the necessary pictures that make up a time-lapse. This is where the Michron time-lapse module from Alpine Labs for DSLR’s comes in extremely handy. First let’s define what a time-lapse is then we’ll get into the review. Wikipedia has this to say about time-lapse:
Time-lapse photography is a technique whereby the frequency at which film frames are captured (the frame rate) is much lower than that used to view the sequence. When played at normal speed, time appears to be moving faster and thus lapsing. For example, an image of a scene may be captured once every second, then played back at 30 frames per second; the result is an apparent 30 × (24 [cinema] / 25 [PAL] / 30 [NTSC] frames per second) times speed increase. Time-lapse photography can be considered the opposite of high speed photography or slow motion.
The Michron is a simple and small device, perfect for throwing in your camera bag to run and find a nice setup for a time-lapse. It comes with the device itself, an AUX cable and camera interface cable dependent on your camera model. Setup is easy and all instructions fit nicely on a 3×5 card very simple to understand and run your first time-lapse. The nice thing about the Michron time-lapse is you can set it and walk away to let the Michron and camera do all the work. Now you might ask: why the Michron if you can do this with your smartphone? For starters, DSLRs are going to give you a better quality image than a smartphone, dependent on the lens you use. Using a DSLR and the Michron will free your smartphone up for whatever you need your smartphone for, rather than tying it up for an hour or more taking pictures. Finally using a DSLR gives you better control over camera settings than a smartphone, although some apps do give you great options. The Michron hardware is excellent and super-easy to use and setup.
The software is also very easy and simple to use. There’s no actual software for your computer or camera, the software is an iOS or Android app that can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Plays Store. There’s a simple mode that has some presets to upload to the Michron device and are super easy for novice users. Or there is an advanced mode for photographers who want to use Time Delay, Interval Ramping, Bulb Ramping and a variety of HDR settings. Setup and use of both the hardware and the software is so simple you can have your first set of pictures in a matter of hours (once your camera is done snapping them). During my last few weeks with the Michron we had an absolutely miserable time for any good weather. Most of the past few weeks has been overcast and dreary with very little sun. I managed to get a few time-lapse’s but none good enough to showcase what the Michron is capable of. I managed to get one that I uploaded to YouTube for you to see what it can do and I’ll add more over the coming weeks to see if I can capture more with this awesome tool. I included a few Michron examples from other YouTube users so you can get a better look though. After you’re done taking the time-lapse sequence you’ll need to export those photos to an image editing program (I used Photoshop) to compile them into the actual final product. You can probably use GIMP or some other image editing software, I will have a How-To on using Photoshop to do this process in the next few weeks.
At $59 the Michron is an excellent and budget-friendly way to start taking time-lapse photography with your DSLR. The hardware and software are both very easy to setup and use there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t consider this device if you’ve ever thought of doing time-lapse with your DSLR. I’m excited to take this into the city sometime in the summer to really test it out and see if I can get a few time-lapse’s and compile them into a nice short. The Michron get’s five stars up and down and all around highly recommended! Hit the link after the videos to grab yours! Be sure to choose the correct one for the camera you are using.