Fuji time-lapses: Variable vs fixed exposure


Variable vs fixed exposure


Left is variable exposure and right is fixed exposure. You can see that they produce two different results. You can see below that you REALLY want clouds in the sky or the gentle gradient of the empty sky really dithers and bands (in both video and GIF compression) and is less interesting.


  • The right was every 6 seconds for 11 minutes.
  • The left was every 10 seconds for 6 minutes.
  • There are clouds in the 2nd animation, but they are too subtle to be useful. On the drive to work, the clouds were very nice.

9 hour overnight time-lapses

Left is variable exposure and right is fixed exposure. (Left was shot to show several issues. In this case, the variable exposure is rather distracting.)


  • Both of these overnight shots were done in 2min intervals
  • Left is mostly 17-25sec exposures at f/5.6 ISO6400
  • Right is 30sec exposures at f/2.8 ISO800
  • The streaks were airplanes. (There are blinks along the streaks — small shooting stars would be too dim in these cases.)


Just like night exposures, fixed exposure gives you the most consistent results (when lighting is mostly consistent).


But sometimes fixed exposure is not an option like nearly anything with clouds or over a long period.


During 11 hours of daylight, variable exposure can look like this.

20170223 070051 30min 11hrs christmas cactus 600px 15fps giphy

The first and last frames were around 30sec – 3 sec, and the noon frame was 1/9. To avoid this, I would have to provide 11 hours of artificial light or somehow sync turning on the artificial light to when the photos would be taken.

But sometimes variable exposure looks great like in this cloudy sunrise.


The first frames started around 13 seconds and the last frames were 1/500 (at 30sec intervals).


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