Back in December I backed a Kickstarter project for what looked like a pretty cool piece of timelapse tech: the Michron. Billed as a dead-simple intervalometer that worked with any camera and was configured through a smartphone, this little brick looked like it would seriously improve my timelapse workflow. I had been using the software intervalometer that is built in on Nikon cameras, but it was infuriating to configure and use. The Michron also promised to allow bulb ramping on my Nikon SLR, something which previously required much more expensive, complicated equipment. I also liked that, unlike other similar phone-based timelapse programs, it did not require the phone to remain plugged into the camera to run the sequence.
My Michron was shipped and delivered on time and I received it a few days before leaving for a short trip out to Salt Lake City. It arrived in a simple box containing the Michron, two cables for communicating with my phone and my camera, and a small cloth carrying bag. I plotted out several locations to timelapse around the city, packed my SLR, tripod, and put the Michron to the test.
Over three days of timelapse and landscape shooting, I was seriously impressed by the Michron. I was quickly able to figure out how to connect the device, program a sequence, and activate the Michron. My camera clicked happily away through the programmed sequence. The app is intuitive and it is easy to figure out how to configure the sequence, even when working with advanced features like bulb ramping. Bottom line, the Michron makes it dead simple to program and shoot a timelapse. The Michron fully delivered on what it promised in terms of functionality and design. At a cost that is less than most off-brand external intervalometers, the Michron is a no-brainer for anyone looking to start or improve timelapse photography.
I do have a few small complaints about the device, however. The housing is made out of thin plastic. Although this makes the device very light, it also makes it feel rather flimsy. Although I never broke it or felt like I was going to break it, the feel of the Michron does not suggest great strength.
I also experienced a few problems with using the device. Once a timelapse has been loaded onto the Michron and the sequence started, there is no way of stopping the sequence on the Michron. It will continue to command the camera to take pictures until it has finished it’s programmed sequence. It took some trial and error for me to figure out exactly the setting I wanted and I was unable to stop the Michron from shooting while I reloaded a new sequence. Once I knew to anticipate this, it is an easy problem to work around.
A few other minor problems surfaced with the design of the device. The smartphone has to be set to silent mode. The phone communicates with the Michron through the audio port. If the phone is set to anything other than silent mode, you will be blasted with the data the phone is sending played out in a series of blaring tones from your phone speakers. Not pleasant. Also be sure that your camera is prefocused and set to MF mode and does not have any sort of delay setting activated. Any of these settings can delay the interval between shots and cause problems with the timelapse sequence.
On my particular camera and L-bracket (Nikon D7000 and Kirk bracket) I was unable to attach the Michron cable to my camera without loosening the L-bracket. This is more a flaw with the design of the bracket than with the Michron, but it is worth noting and throwing an allen key into your gear bag.