I want to shoot a timelapse sequence of a sunrise using my Canon 200D. It does support a timelapse video mode, but the settings are quite limited - I can either set everything manually, set auto-exposure for the first shot only or set auto-exposure for all shots. If I try shooting in the first two exposure modes I get the obvious problem of the scene getting too bright as the sun comes out in the sky. If I set the camera to auto-exposure on every shot I get uneven lighting as the exposure meter doesn't guarantee a smooth gradient.

I've read online that the solution to this issue is to use a bulb intervalometer, which essentially let's you fine tune how quickly the exposure changes between shots. However devices that support this are quite costly (300$+) and I'd rather not invest in them right now. Is it possible to achieve the same effect by connecting a phone or a laptop to the camera and using a piece of third-party software?

Here's an example of what I'm trying to achieve

  • 1
    You might have better luck finding software that takes your sequence of auto-exposure images and adjusts the exposure in each one to create a smooth transition.
    – Caleb
    Oct 13 '17 at 14:54
  • 1
    Never tried doing this before, but would a graduated ND placed at the horizon line solve for allowing a more consistent exposure from foreground to sky as the sun comes up?
    – OnBreak.
    Oct 13 '17 at 15:05
  • @Caleb I've thought of that too but couldn't find it after a quick search. Oct 13 '17 at 15:08
  • @Corey a graduated filter solves a different problem. I need to get the sky to evenly transition in color between shots, avoiding any visible 'jumps' Oct 13 '17 at 15:10
  • @NikitaSokolsky - gotcha - would love to learn more. Do you have a link to something you're trying to replicate?
    – OnBreak.
    Oct 13 '17 at 15:11

One option is:

  • Get a manual lens, probably a cinema lens, or one that does not "snap" too easily.

  • Make your calculations on the aperture range.

  • Make calculations on how are the increments you need to make.

  • Change the aperture manually.

  • Shoot in raw so you can make micro adjustments in post.


Buy a simple intervalometer from Amazon. Expose each frame for half the time of the interval between frames to get smooth results.

  • 1
    You misunderstand the question. OP isn't asking about smooth video motion. He's asking about smooth exposure transition because the large change in light levels during a sunrise or sunset.
    – scottbb
    Feb 26 '18 at 2:24

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