During my trip to Death Valley, I experimented a little with timelapse photography using the MIOPS device. One of the moments, particularly at Zabriskie Point, was the one I did not miss and capture it at its full glory, while the light was constantly changing. At first, I set up my Nikon D810 to take pictures every 2 seconds, then I left the camera to go shoot a panorama with another one, as described in this recent article. After I came back, I saw that my camera captured a total of 1675 images. I reviewed some of the photos and really liked the fact that I captured so many different images and the transitions in between – from colorful pink clouds, to sun hitting the Manly Beacon. Since light conditions were changing so fast, I decided to shoot in Aperture Priority mode (see our article on camera modes), with ISO set to 100 and Aperture fixed at f/8. For the Zabriskie Point timelapse in the video, I used the Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E VR lens (obviously, with VR turned off). Since I already had plenty of images for my upcoming review, I decided to use the Sigma 24-105mm f/4 DG OS HSM Art lens. Boy, what a mistake!
First of all, I don’t know if it was my sample of the Sigma 24-105mm f/4 OS Art, or all of them are like this (I will be testing more samples), but this lens cannot yield sharp corners at infinity focus at every aperture. Even stopping down to f/11, the corners looked pretty soft on my D810. Second, the darn lens apparently has optical stabilization that cannot be fully turned off! I first noticed this when mounting my camera on a tripod – as soon as I would turn the camera on, the viewfinder would make a slight adjustment. And that’s with OS turned off on the lens! I really don’t understand why Sigma decided to do this, but it really annoyed the heck out of me. I still decided to go ahead and shoot the timelapse with this lens, thinking that framing would stay the same between the shots, as the camera was obviously constantly turned on. When I imported images into Lightroom and started looking at individual shots, they all were framed differently. Needless to say, my first timelapse sequence from both the first and the second scenes (from Saguaro NP and Joshua Tree NP) looked horrendous, with everything jumping from frame to frame. Thankfully, the “Warp Stabilizer” feature of Adobe Premiere Pro proved to be really handy in such situations – it did a great job at getting rid of the constant framing changes introduced by this lens.
That’s a huge disappointment. I am a big fan of Sigma Art series lenses and this is the first lens that really got me ticked off. Why Sigma? What’s the point of keeping OS on? Why don’t you allow turning it off completely?
If you are planning to do timelapse photography, I would strongly recommend against using the Sigma 24-105mm f/4 Art lens. Hopefully there is a way to fix this issue via a firmware update.
Hope you enjoy this timelapse. If you have a 4K screen, don’t forget to switch video quality on YouTube for the best viewing experience:
Hi Nasim. Beautiful job of the time lapse video. Just happens to be at my favorite part of North America.
Keep up the great professional work you always do.
PS. Any idea when we might see a full review of the Nikon 16-80 lens ?
I had the same issue with Sigma 17-70 OS and then found other people reporting it as well:
In my case, it was not eating battery much but framing was “jumpy” and many shots taken on tripod were not sharp.
I have used both the interval timing and timelapse mode on the D810 with varying results, the first choice for me is the interval timer, att least I was able to edit the frames and feel in command, the timelapse programe is good for easy setup and an OK result but there is no edit through LR CC that I could find, Did you consider using the Time Lapse facility Masim<
This is a YouTube,25 second time lapse photographed using 350 frames over a 2 1/2 hour period, Nikon D750, using 15 second exposure every 20 seconds, f/3.5, ISO 1600. The scene was photographed in November, 2015 in Namibia at the Okonjima AfriCats Sanctuary, Namibia. This is where orphaned cheetahs and leopards are rescued and raised.
The sequence was processed using LRTimelapse software from Gunther Wegner (www.LRTimepase.com) and Adobe Lightroom. . I am still in the learning stages of this software, and each attempt is better than the last.
Thank you Nasim for sharing yet another educational article. I have yet to take advantage of time lapse photography and you have motivated to do so. Also, thank you for mentioning your frustrations with the Sigma 24-105 f/4 OS Art lens. This past weekend I was going through some photos from a September fall color trip in Colorado. I a number of great photos but have the issues of poor focus in the corners and vignetting that seems to be getting worse. I’d love to hear your thoughts Nasim if you get the chance to test more samples and comparisons to other medium range zoom lenses. Thank you!
I don’t know if it’s only my copy of the D810, but I can’t seem to get the battery to last anywhere near Nikon’s claims. I dismissed this as Nikon marketing over-claiming, as this same problem happened with my previous D800.
I even use a vertical grip, which allows me to use Eneloop XX rechargeables. I can’t get more than 500-600 shots during a soccer game, with one charge. Yes, VR is on and I do a lot of focus tracking in between shots, but still…
Nasim, seeing your time lapses you must have taken thousands of shots for each video… how many shots did you take? What was your frame rate? Did you change batteries in between sets?
Thanks for the tip on the Sigma lens. I shoot a bit of time-lapse too and find that in general I am shooting wide open to avoid aperture flicker. So, I’m used to some corner softness especially on the night shots. I did not see that the resultant video you produced has bad corner sharpness. Did you crop to the center a bit (of course to 16:9) or sharpen as the softness is not noticeable to me? I did quite enjoy the saguaros at sunrise. Nice work on capturing the changing lighting conditions.
I use Lightroom together with LRTimelapse for my efforts. I have even been using Photoshop as my video editor to assemble the clips as it lets me work with the ProRes files (MOV format) and only render down to H.264 for posting to the web.
Dean, great point about the aperture flicker. For such situations, it seems like using an older manual aperture lens would work best, don’t you think? Yes, I did crop out the corners a bit for 16:9 ratio, but also keep in mind that the resolution is down-sampled from 36 MP to 4K video and sharpened too. Saguaros would have been even better if I spent a bit more time there. Sadly, I only had one sunrise on my way back and when I started hiking, I did not realize that there was a fence on the other side. I tried to use the clone stamp tool in Lightroom to get rid of the fence columns and white signs, but Lightroom sucks at copy-pasting spots, so I had to reset that.
Thanks for sharing your Horseshoe Bend timelapse. Looks like you use the same tools (Dynamic Perception) that my friend Dan Streit uses for those moving timelapses. It is a great rig, but boy, it is a whole bag of tools to carry. Not sure I could do that together with photography, although seeing what he does, it sure looks like a lot of fun.
I doubt using a manual aperture lens would work on a modern Nikon DSLR. Wouldn’t we need to turn the aperture ring to the higher F number before mounting it on? And then use the dial on the camera body to adjust aperture.
At least I had to do that with the ZF.2 lenses. It would be interesting if otherwise, so I can avoid flicker.
I love your site but lately I started to get the impression that you are taking “quantity over quality” approach when choosing your content. Neither photos nor the reviews here are as deep or high quality as they used to be. Bloggers feel the pressure to publish content as much as possible without caring much about the content, I hope you are not falling in to the same trap.
Would you present this timelapse in your portfolio? It is simply boring, almost nothing changes in %75 of the frames. 4K will not help this to be a good timelapse, and lack of sharpness of Sigma lens will not make anyone a bad photographer. Sorry, I have to be cruel to be kind, but I really want this site to be good, not just average.
Matt, thank you for your valuable feedback. I would never take quantity over quality – if there is no good content to publish, I won’t post anything. As for photos or reviews being poor, could you please provide examples of what you do not like so that I get a good understanding? Here is the link to our reviews section: photographylife.com/reviews
No, I would not present this timelapse in my portfolio. As I have stated in the article, I only experimented with timelapse photography, as it is something I have not really done before. Yes, it is indeed rather boring, since it is only 3 short sequences with nothing but cloud action. I don’t own or shoot with sliders and I don’t produce timelapses professionally. Just an attempt at capturing some movement, that’s all.
Lack of sharpness of the Sigma lens won’t make anyone a bad photographer indeed. But as I have stated in the article, the lens has a problem with image stabilization and I wrote my concerns for anyone who might consider the lens for timelapse or long exposure photography.
Please do let me know what content you are not pleased with so that I could get an understanding of what you mean. Examples of both images and links to reviews would help.
Nasim, move on. I don’t think your content is boring. I think a lot of readers realizes that your website is not cambridgeincolour.com and you don’t need to satisfies everybody b/c each person has different satisfaction. Absolutely some articles by you or your guests are boring to me but I still see a lot of people enjoy it. So it’s that my problem, it’s not your or your guests problem. You don’t need to write technical or genius article every time. I am happy to read your experience, your experiment, your opinion or anything you want to share with your readers.
Cambridge in Colour claims “ISO speed: controls the sensitivity of your camera’s sensor to a given amount of light” – so, be careful trusting it.
Nasim, I find myself constantly going to your site for new articles!! Thanks for all the hard work. In addition, thank you for your professionalism.
As a fun of the sigma art series ( own the 20,35,50 ) and a D810 user , I can’t agree wait you more on the 24-105.
I had it for 4 months could not get one image I wanted to keep.
AF issue that couldn’t be resolved by the USB Dock.
Sharpness issues all over the place ( not only in infinity)
OS that is bad compared to any other image stabilizion
I tried another copy it was the same , yet felt stupid cause all the reviews are positive! Thank you for your comments
Interesting observation about the Sigma 24-105 f4 lens. I have the 35 and 50mm Art lenses and my copy of the 24-105 excellent in almost every aspect — for a zoom I have no issues with it except when I tried to use it to shoot the Milky Way. I could not get a sharp photo despite turning off AF and image stabilisation. Now I know why. On long 20 second exposure it seems the optical stabilisation unit would not keep still (although it has been turned off).
YS, I did wonder what results I would get with long exposures, since the lens seems to be constantly “on the move”, even with stabilization turned off. That’s pretty frustrating – I have never previously seen such a problem on any other lens.
Thanks for the insight.
Most of my photos are landscape using tripod.
It expians my findings. Sadly my lens were average at best at all distances ( I double checked my galleries )
And I agree sharpness doesn’t create a picture yet lack of reasonable sharpness can kill one.
Thank you for your feedback Yair – looks like I am not the only one with this problem. Will need to investigate more before I can review this lens.
This is a bit of a bummer. I have been looking at this lens as an upgrade for my Sigma 17-70. I love the 17-70 as a light walk around lens and figured the 24-105 would be a little bit better range and provide a small bump in quality.
Maybe I will stick with what I have for now and enjoy the even lighter weight!
Very nice time lapse. I have been studying time lapse from Gunther Wegner’s course, LRTimelapse and it has taken me approximately 6 weeks to get semi-satisfactory results. I would like to send a clip of my best effort, recently taken in Namibia November, 2015. However, I do not see a place for attachment on this format.
Thank you Dale! You could upload your timelapses on YouTube or Vimeo and post the link here. Unfortunately, there is no way to directly attach files to the comments section…