Interval timer shooting with z6ii


Senior Member
Never done interval timer shooting before. Now want to make the effort to Milky Way shots later this week. So took a little experiment (daytime landscape) for five shots in intervals of 5" for 1/350 exp each (shutter speed). Image size=medium. Image quality=RAW+fine Jpg*. The result was fine. Original thought: it will take about one minute at least to finish the sequence (image review off and NR off). Surprisingly, it actually took exactly 25" to end. It looks like that 3~4" is enough for everything (data transfer, etc) the camera needs after a shot exp. Now the real MW shots will be (I assume) 8" exp. Can I expect the interval length 8+4 = 12" to be safe? or better make it 15"?

For the experiment, I set "Focus b4 (each) shot" to OFF, and the result looks ok (set to focus at infinity). Is this the right setting? Just want to make sure.

Appreciate all comments including other factors/tips to consider for Interval timer shooting.

BF Hammer

Senior Member
Here is my experience taking Milky Way photos.

Go all manual mode. Manual focus, no auto-ISO, and manual exposure mode. ISO 1600 or 3200 is a pretty good first try at a location. Don't sweat the ISO noise, that should disappear if you do an exposure stack. And prepare to take a minimum of 60 shots, 100 shots even better.

Focus by zooming in the liveview on the back of the camera on a single star, and adjust focus until it is at it's smallest. You are then at true infinity focus, you can now aim anywhere. Your exposure time is going to be limited by your focal length in order to prevent star trails. I had best luck at 15 seconds with 20mm, I was a bit too slow at 25" with a 15mm lens. 20 seconds would have worked there. Shoot wide open aperture, hopefully f/2.8 or less if you have it.

I can't stress enough, more exposures you take to stack, the better the Milky Way detail. If you think 20-30 is going to be plenty, start looking at what the pros like Allyn Wallace are doing.

Couple of other pointers: October is past the peak Milky Way core season, best months in the north are June-July, even though there is less night. The B4 setting is about autofocus behavior so should not be stopping photos when in manual focus mode.
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