An area of photography I have become hooked on recently is 'time lapse'. I watched a film called Koyaanisqatsi which was briiiant and from that moment I was hooked on time lapse! Up until a few years ago unless you have been able to afford an expensive camera capable of taking one frame every second or so - and for many thousands of seconds it is beyond the reach of ordinary mortals!. Even the latest pro-am video cameras seem to have ommitted the time lapse feature from their specifications. My old Sony HI-8 did have some facilities but never down to individual frames and my experiments with it lacked the smoothness I wanted to achieve. Now this has changed.
I first used the Nikon 990 for Time Lapse with settings of 640 x 480 and shot low compression JPG's pressing the exposure button every 5 seconds. I was able to get about 650 images from a 64 meg card. Then using Adobe After Effects I imported the set of JPG's and ended up with my first cloud time lapse sequence. You could probably use some other Video editing package such as Premiere - as long as it can export to AVI or Quicktime. In the early days I had to get it to play on the slowest computer I had to put the images through a Photoshop Action script reducing the size to 320 x 240.
Later I started to use an interesting device from the States -the DigiSnap (http://www.Harbortronics.com) It is a tiny gizmo that is linked to the 990 with a USB to serial lead. It can remotely control the zoom on the lens and set in progress a time lapse sequence. Ideally to get a really smooth cloud sequence a frame rate of 1 every 2 or 3 seconds is best, but I have now done several with the DigiSnap that look pretty cool. As the clouds did not have much detail for jpeg compression I managed once to get 1950 shots from a 64 meg card at about 15 shots per minute.
This test sequence was shot on the Nikon 990 using a 64 meg card in 2001.
The 1283 images were shot at 640 x 480 high compression JPG (file size about 40kb each). The 990 was controlled by the DigiSnap. The images were loaded into After Effects and rendered out in various sizes.The best quality AVI was some 576 megs. The AVI here was reduced to 160 x 120 (high qual) using the indeo5.10 codec. File size now 780 KB
This was a longer test sequence -1616 pictures at 640 x 480 on the 64 meg card, the Nikon 990 again being controlled by the DigiSnap.The uncompressed AVI was about 1.3 gigs but this version at 160 x 120 is 838 KB (Indio 5.10 Codec 50% compression)
Just over 500 pictures in this Nikon 990 sequence. The original images reduced in After Effects and saved using the Indio 5.1 Codec.File size is 791 KB
Early Nikon 990 Time Lapses
Time Lapse Dimage A1
I did some experiments in Time Lapse photography using the Dimage A1. Because the existing internal time lapse settings are totally unsuitable for cloud time lapse for my first experiment for the M6 sequence I just pressed the shutter release button on the camera which was firmly entrenched on a tripod. I use the 640 x 480 resolution saved at the smallest jpeg. I was able to get 30 images per minute - every two seconds or so. However it is a bit of a nuisance so now I have got a remote control lead and for the second sequence at Chatsworth I was able to manually release the shutter from a distance away from the camera and obviate the possibility of any camera movement. I am now awaiting the release of the new Dimage 'capture' software but from what I gather from Minolta this no better with the time lapse settings. Pity - as with the lowest settings the camera is capable of a continuous stream of images at about 30 a minute.
I am afraid in order to keep file sizes down they are quite small but you will get the idea
Nikon D70 Time Lapse

As a big fan of time lapse I soon tried out the D70 and used several methods.
1. Using Nikon Capture on a laptop and taking an image every three seconds at the lowest resolution and basic jpg. However Capture needs a USB2 port on the laptop and as mine only has standard USB I was losing frames so that was not fully succesful.
2. Then I just pressed the button every three seconds and that can be quite tiresome after 30-40 minutes! But it workd well.
3. I then got the infra red remote but the main drawback in using this method is that the sensor on the camera is on the front and can be masked by the body and lens. Not much thought has gone into this design. However I have now found I can bounce it off a piece of silver paper stuck on the body - not the most elegant of solutions though. I have posted an example just to the right. The AVI uses the DIVX codec.
The advantage of the 'higher low res' 1500 x 1000 of the D70 rather than the 640 x 480 of the Dimage is I can now zoom into sections of the image whilst rendering the time lapse in Adobe After Effects without losing quality.

Time Lapse 2.9 megs AVI DIiVX Codec
Nikon D200 Time Lapse
a 10 sec 320 x 240 time lapse of Jodrell Bank - one shot every 5 seconds. The AVI has been compressed using XviD mpeg-4 Codec to keep the size down
The Nikon D200 has a built-in intervalometer where you can set the total number of shots and the interval between them. Below are a few examples.
up early for this dawn sequence at Angkor Wat Cambodia
Page in progress -more to come
More 990 time lapses can be seen HERE - shot in the USA