Tricks with using a Nikon SLR

I am starting to use a Nikon D3100 with iStopMotion 3.1. I have already found some gotchya’s so I thought I would start a discussion to share what I’ve learned. Maybe I can save someone else some time.

I found that my image was intermittently shifting by a pixel or so as the program ran the time-lapse. The images were fine, but the offset was just off, like someone had slightly bumped the camera. The camera was not moving - tripod mount on a concrete floor. The image shift was often enough to make my project unworkable.
I went to the OSX utility image Capture and took some pictures from there - same problem. This was not a problem with iStopMotion.
I went through the manual and found a ‘feature’ called Vibration Reduction (VR). It is meant to help stabilize your picture taking if you have shaky hands. That was the problem! You turn VR off from a switch on the lens. I switched it off and my time-lapse is now steady as a rock.

I was experimenting with how fast I could take time-lapse pictures. I can get down to 5 seconds between shots. On the Nikon, I am using the image format of JPEG small (2304 x 1536) and ‘fine’ resolution. When creating my iStopMotion project, I chose ‘Custom…’ format and set the identical frame size. That saves a bit of time when transferring each image on capture. It does not have to resize the image. The images I am getting are stunning! Very good in low light. The project sizes are gigabytes but the quality is worth it.

@LynnFog: Thanks for sharing your experience. Your findings are also true for other DSLRs and I hope many users can benefit from this! If you do stopmotion or timelapse there are even more options to take an eye on: Lock down your camera as much as you can! Set your camera to manual focus, manual aperture, manual white balance, manual exposure time. If your camera is not locked down on those values it will decide for each of them by its own, it will do so frame by frame differently! Usually this results in some color and brightness flickering when playing back your movie.

does anyone know if I can use the Lumix GH2 for Isopmotion using the HDMI output. Seems no reason why not?

@anaxaton6: To capture HDMI on a Mac you will need a 3rd party hardware. If this hardware happens to have an QuickTime driver we certainly can use it as a video source, no matter what will come in via the HDMI input of that hardware.

sorry didnt make myself clear. I want to use the GH2 as a source for Isopmotion -I’m not bothered about HDMI necessarily -at the moment the software cant see the camera when connected via the USB lead- in other words I want to use the GH2 instead of the webcam. Can this be done?

According to the “devices tested by users” list ( http://www.boinx.com/istopmotion/support/inputdevices/ ) it should work. Maybe you have to set it into the PTP mode?

GH2 is not on that list