Use ‘Remote Camera Control’ for Intervalometer with Sony A7 / A7R

I’m getting more into time lapse photography, and for a while, have been shooting star trails in the night skies. Before I switched to the Sony A7, that was an easy proposition with my Canon 7D: Connect the wired remote, configure my settings in Manual mode, lock down the shutter on the remote, and let ‘er rip. With the A7 and A7R, it’s not so simple, being as there IS no wired remote. The wireless remote (RMT-DSLR2) works, but you have to press the shutter button every time. For a three hour session, that could amount to several hundred button presses, which gets tiring.

The best solution for getting intervalometer functionality with the A7 / A7R right now is to use Sony’s ‘Remote Camera Control’ application on your Mac or PC and connecting to your camera via USB. I’m a Mac guy, so the screenshots below show it running on OS X Mavericks, but it looks and works the same on Windows.

sony-remote-camera-control-mac-1

Sony ‘Remote Camera Control’ Mac Application

Changing Camera Settings on Sony A7 / A7R

You have access to change virtually all the camera settings from within the ‘Remote Camera Control’ app. Just click on one of the fields at the top and use the + and – buttons to adjust their values. If you want to shoot in Continuous (or Speed Priority) mode, just hold your mouse button down on the shutter to fire multiple shots. The following is a list of all the settings you can change from within the app, without having to touch the camera:

  • Aperture
  • ISO
  • Shutter Speed
  • Flash Exposure Compensation
  • Shooting Mode
  • White Balance
  • Color Temperature
  • Quality and Image Size
  • Aspect Ratio
  • DRO / Auto HDR
  • Color Filter
  • Picture Effect

Configuring Intervalometer for Sony A7 / A7R

While we can all agree, the intervalometer functions on the ‘Remote Camera Control’ app aren’t perfect, it sure beats all the other options I listed above. You have two options to configure:

  • interval length between frames
  • total number of shots
sony-remote-camera-control-intervaolmeter-mac

Sony ‘Remote Camera Control’ Intervalometer Settings

What’s missing? A little help with calculations would be nice. Only after you start the sequence does the app display the total session length. If you go into it knowing you want to shoot for 3 hours total with images 8 seconds apart, you’ve got the following math to do before you can actually configure the intervalometer:

3 (hours) x 60 (min/hr) = 180 minutes
180 minutes x 60 sec/min = 10,800 seconds
10,800 / 8 sec. interval = 1,350 total frames

After you’ve started the sequence, you’ll get a new window that shows you the actual start and end time of your session, a countdown timer between individual frames, and the total number of frames captured.

sony-remote-camera-control-intervalometer-a7-a7r

Sony ‘Remote Camera Control’ Intervalometer Status

Once nice thing about using the ‘Remote Camera Control’ app as an intervalometer for the A7 / A7r: you don’t need a memory card in the camera while you’re shooting. Even if you have one inserted, the camera writes the files to the connected Mac / PC in a directory you specify. It’s a small thing, but it cuts down on post-processing time later and you’re ready to import your images into Lightroom straight away.

Resources for You >>

Download: Sony ‘Remote Camera Control’ for Mac

Download: Sony ‘Remote Camera Control’ for Windows

Related Reading >>

Using Sony NEX Lenses with the new A7 / A7R

Sony ‘Smart Remote Control’ Mobile App with A7 / A7R

About Mike Beauchamp

After a divorce, losing his job, selling his house, a tumultuous relationship and subsequent breakup, Mike sold 80% of his belongings, put another 18% in storage, and packed the remaining 2% into a backpack and hit the road. Mike is currently a vagabond of sorts, traveling the world with only what he can carry on his back. He has two objectives in all of this: to photograph the most beautiful places on Earth and to finally take the time to get to know himself. You can follow Mike on Twitter (@mbchp) for more frequent updates.

2 Responses to Use ‘Remote Camera Control’ for Intervalometer with Sony A7 / A7R

  1. Nick Brickett says:

    Great tip! I’ve also done a short blog discussing accessories to help with A7 time lapses, specifically how to extend power and shoot while on vacation with a mobile device
    http://nickbrickett.com/2014/02/tools-of-the-trade-timelapse-on-the-sony-a7/

    Cheers
    Nick

Leave a Reply

Please use your real name instead of you company name or keyword spam.