MAY, 2013

The latest trend in Time-lapse photography is to have the camera in motion while shooting. To accomplish this the camera needs to be mounted on a track for a perfect linear motion moved using a pulley system connected to a variable slow moving motor that shifts the camera very slowly from one end of the Track to the other adding a nice parallax effect.

At long last I have acquired a piece of equipment that I have been yearning to buy for quite a while now. Having experimented a little more recently with Timelapse Photography I realized that without a slider a little bit of dynamic is missing in the films. That’s where the Digislider comes in. Normally such a piece of kit is pretty expensive but from the England based company the complete setup with a high torque motor & controller is available for around €650. A bargain as it turned out as the build quality is super.

On the left, the manual winder and on the right the motor with controller.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

Ordering the slider from Digisliders website is a breeze, you just have to round up that what you need as individual components & add these to the shopping cart. Three days later, my parcel, a long Cylinder was delivered & after unpacking everything I realized that I was going to have fun building this thing. If you haven’t the time or patience for this then I’m afraid you will have to bite into the sour apple and go for something more expensive that is ready to use. In any case it took me 2 hours to assemble the many small parts into something resembling the original product. I was in luck, everything fitted & I even used every piece that had been supplied without having anything left over :-)

The only disadvantage is…..weight and bulkiness, it should fit in the suitcase though.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

“Three days later, my parcel, a long Cylinder was delivered & after unpacking everything I realized that I was going to have fun building this thing.”

As I was finished & quite proud of my own handwork I was itching to try it out & mounted the Digislider to my Gitzo 3540XLS tripod & mounted my older, much used but trusted D300 to the carriage. I then ventured into the garden & after finding a spot on the patio with the complete length of the garden in the viewfinder I positioned one of our garden chairs to the side with the back rest protruding into my composition from the right at a distance of around 1,5m. I set the camera to Manual exposure, focussing & white balance with an Aperture of f2,8 & a shutter speed of 1/40th. Next I programmed the camera over its menu a timelapse of indefinite duration with a shot every 5 seconds. The controller was set to move, stop, shoot, move 2mm every 3 seconds. Using f2,8 & placing the chair close by results in a nice depth of field look with the chair nice & soft out of focus & the garden itself sharp as a knife.

I can’t wait to test this on holiday somewhere interesting.

Photograph by Douglas Stevens Photoviewz

So much for the theory, time for the practice. After a programmed 2 minute preparation pause the camera started shooting automatically & through the cable connection between the camera & controller once an exposure had been made the carriage moves automatically 5mm further & took the next shot. After 20 minutes waiting time & approx 400 shots in RAW format the camera has travelled the complete rail distance of 75cm. My first test worked just fine, even my wife was impressed.

The second piece of luck came the following day in form of a beautiful blue sky with some lovely fluffy clouds. The evening before I went out for a short bike ride and discovered a field full of blooming Sunflowers, the ideal setting for a timelapse film. The following afternoon I gathered my equipment at home, putting the Digislider into a very useful tripod bag from Manfrotto & proceeded with my bike to the Sunflower field. The sun was behind me which made everything perfect. I did two different sequences & within this time I got quite a sunburnt neck from the sun but it was good to be outside in the fresh air doing my thing with my new toy.

For those of you interested in the product, here is the link to the Digislider Website: http://www.digislider.co.uk/

Have fun.

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