Time lapse photography is a technique that captures images at specific intervals to create a video that shows change over the course of minutes, hours, or days. You can use this technique to show movement or capture the change of weather and light over a landscape. Mastering this technique is easy if you have the right equipment.
Photo by Pexels (available under Pixabay license)
Best Time Lapse Cameras on the Photography Market
Here are a few products to consider if you’re looking for the best camera timelapse.
Canon EOS 30D: Best Overall DSLR for Time Lapse Photography
This older [amazon link=”B000DZDTKU” title=”Canon model” /] doesn’t include a video mode, but there is a consecutive shooting option, and you can use a timer to set intervals. You can capture short bursts of images in 3 or 5 fps, and the 8.2mp sensor delivers an impressive image quality for the price range. The 100 to 1,600 ISO range is suitable for capturing landscapes with changing or low light conditions.
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Sony A7: Best Overall Mirrorless Option for Time-Lapse
The [amazon link=”B00PX8CNCM” title=”Sony A7″ /] is a great buy with its compact design and full-frame 24.3mp sensor. It’s a mirrorless option with a performance that is comparable to a DSLR.
You can access time lapsing capabilities by installing the Sony PlayMemories app on the device. The built-in effects and scenes that come with the product will help you create a unique atmosphere.
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Brinno BCC100: Best Time Lapse Camera for Construction Photography
The Brinno BCC100 is ideal for construction work and other long-term projects. The battery lasts around two months, and the simple controls will help you capture stunning time lapse videos even if you’re new to photography. The camera takes one to four shots per second.
The aspherical glass lens delivers sharp images, even in low light conditions, and the 140° viewing angle helps you capture an entire construction site.
Brinno BCC200: Best Dedicated Time Lapse Camera
This dedicated time-lapses [amazon link=”B01B2NCHYA” title=”Brinno BCC200″ /] camera features an impressive battery life of 80 days, which is a long time. This product uses AA batteries instead of a rechargeable battery. The sturdy clamp and housing will protect the internal components.
There are a night mode and a 112° field of view angle for panoramic shots.
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YI Smart Dome Security Camera X: Best Cheap Time Lapse Camera
The [amazon link=”B01CW4AZDS” title=”YI Smart Dome Security Camera X” /] is ideal for recording a video if you need to see what your pets do at home all day. It features 360° coverage, night vision, and Full HD 1080p recording. You can also get alerts sent to your phone when it detects sounds or movement.
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The [amazon link=”B0060MVJ1Q” title=”Nikon D750″ /] is a full-frame DSLR camera with an impressive 24.3mp sensor. You can capture time lapse videos and photos in Full HD 1080p resolution, and the ISO range goes from 100 to 12,800. You’ll find a mode you can use for interval photography in the Movie Shooting menu.
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Sony Alpha a6000
This [amazon link=”B00I8BICB2″ title=”mirrorless camera” /] is ideal for interval photography with its 11-fps continuous shooting mode. The battery should last for 360 shots, and the ISO range that goes from 100 to 25,600 can adapt to changing lighting conditions for landscape videos. You can access more advanced interval settings by installing the Sony PlayMemories app.
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Canon EOS 80D
[amazon link=”B082WTX7RP” title=”This DSLR camera” /] can record videos and has a continuous shooting mode. You can choose between 3 and 7 fps for the continuous shooting mode, making it one of the most versatile time-lapse cameras. You’ll find a video snapshot mode that captures short clips, and another mode that records still photos at specific intervals in the Shooting menu.
The 24.2mp sensor delivers outstanding image quality, and the battery life allows you to take 960 shots for your project.
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This [amazon link=”B00GORMJTI” title=”Panasonic model” /] features a 12.8mp sensor and allows you to capture 4K videos. There is a dedicated mode for interval photography where you can adjust settings like the start time, image count, and more. You can also shoot a 4K video and extract stills from it.
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Olympus Tough TG-5
The [amazon link=”B0711C1R4X” title=”Olympus Tough TG-5″ /] comes with waterproof housing for shooting underwater. The 12mp sensor delivers excellent image quality, and you can record up to 20 fps. There is a built-in GPS and other sensors you can use to record additional information about the scenes you’re documenting. The dedicated menu makes setting up intervals and other settings easy to adjust.
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AKASO EK7000 4K Wi-Fi Sports Action Camera
This [amazon link=”B01LMVITSA” title=”action camera” /] records 4K Ultra HD images thanks to its 12mp sensor. It can shoot up to 30 fps and comes with a remote control device. You can capture stills in JPG format at different time intervals, including 2, 3, 5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds.
It’s sturdy and compact, and the two 90-minute batteries are ideal for longer projects.
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COOAU 4K Wi-Fi Action Camera
This affordable action camera features a 20mp sensor. You can use it to record 4K HD videos with a frame rate of 30 to 120 fps depending on the resolution. The [amazon link=”B07DWP3M46″ title=”COOAU 4K” /] has a dedicated mode where you can adjust interval speed.
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Crosstour Action Waterproof Camera
This [amazon link=”B074319MZZ” title=”waterproof device” /] is ideal for longer projects. There is a mounting system for stability, and you can use it to capture 1080p photos and videos. The 30 fps shooting mode is ideal for videos, and the 170° viewing angle helps you capture wider scenes. There is a timer you can use to delay a shot, but you will need to connect this device to an intervalometer for more complex projects.
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Brinno TLC200 Pro HDR
This time-lapse camera is easy to use. You can launch a recording with simple controls and will get a video with no need for post-processing.
The HDR 1.3mp sensor isn’t as performing as other cameras with time lapse, but this Brinno model works well in low light settings. The battery will last for 40 days if you capture one shot every five minutes.
Yi 4K Action Camera
[amazon link=”B01FU9ZIMU” title=”This action camera” /] lets you record 4K video in 30 fps, and you can easily adjust intervals thanks to the simple menu. There is a 12mp sensor, and a 160° viewing angle. The built-in live stream feature makes the product more versatile.
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Apeman Trail Camera
[amazon link=”B07WBWHWP7″ title=”This trail camera” /] blends in its surroundings, thanks to its camo design. It’s easy to use with its simple controls and LCD screen, and the night vision mode is ideal for capturing videos that last a day or more. You can record up to 30 fps and get Full HD 1080p videos, and the camera has different built-in modes, including interval recording.
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GoPro Hero 6
This [amazon link=”B074X5WPC5″ title=”popular action camera” /] is ideal for capturing videos and photos at specific intervals. There is a dedicated nighttime shooting mode. You can easily adjust the interval, and the video mode delivers 30 to 240 fps depending on the resolution you choose.
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Photo by Pexels (available under Pixabay license)
What Makes a Camera Ideal for Time Lapse Photography?
Here are some of the most important features to look for in the best camera to capture photos or videos over an interval.
- Time Intervals
The time interval determines how often the camera takes a picture. A continuous shooting mode of 3 to 7 fps is perfect for capture photos of rapid movements and action shots.
If you want to cover longer periods, look for adjustable intervals to take a picture every few seconds, minutes, or hours.
Capturing longer scenes requires you to set up your gear in one spot for hours and possibly days. Look for sturdy equipment with weatherproof and dustproof housing.
- Battery Life
A time lapse photography project requires you to capture several images over a long period. Your equipment has to stay on for hours, and capturing high-quality images can drain the battery. Look for a product with a performing battery or think about investing in a bundle that includes a rechargeable battery.
Most digital cameras use an SD or microSD card for storage. Keep in mind that you’ll probably have to invest in more storage for a longer project.
When Should I Use a Time-Lapse Camera?
Using this technique is an original way of telling a story. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Demolition and Construction Sites
Seeing the progression of demolition work or a construction project over the span of a few minutes is fascinating. These videos tell a story and can showcase the work of a construction company.
This type of project can capture a change in light or weather over a landscape. You can shoot a video of a sunrise or sunset or create a video of an area where you’re likely to see wildlife over the course of the day.
You can use a continuous shooting mode to capture a series of stunning photographs that depict movement. This method is an interesting way of showing specific poses and techniques, and you can edit them to create a video. You can use it to document a skateboard trick, ski jump, a dive in a pool, and other action shots.
People Also Ask
Here are some common questions about this photography technique.
- What is the best time lapse interval?
The best interval depends on the final length of your project and the duration of the time period you want to capture. Take a picture every one or two seconds for people moving, and adjust the interval between three and five seconds for a sunset. If you want to show changing weather, use a longer interval of 20 seconds or more.
- How many frames per second are good for a time lapse project?
If you want to capture a video, shoot 24 or 30 fps at specific intervals. If you want to create a time lapse photography project, you can shoot 3 to 7 fps and edit the shots together to create a video.
- How to change time lapse settings?
A lot of digital cameras have a time lapse mode you can find in the menu. You should adjust aperture and ISO settings, adjust the focus, and select the interval you want before you start recording your video.
- Does time lapse record sound?
Most cameras won’t record sound in time lapse mode. The sound usually gets distorted, which is why most creatives add music when they edit these projects.
Here are a few additional things to know about time lapse photography.
- What is the best camera for time lapse photography?
We recommend investing in a Brinno product to document longer projects like a construction site. For action shots, a GoPro is your best option. A Sony or Canon model would be an excellent choice if you want to experiment with this technique but want a versatile and performing product.
- Cheap time-lapse camera
You can find cheap cameras with a dedicated interval mode if you don’t mind sacrificing image quality or don’t need other shooting modes. The Yi Smart Dome Security Camera X is one of the most affordable time-lapse cameras we came across.
- Construction camera cost
Brinno is one of the best brands for documenting construction projects over the span of several weeks. These cameras for time lapse have adjustable intervals, simple controls, and long battery life. You can find construction cameras from this brand in the $200 range.
- Time-lapse cameras for plants
Capturing plant growth with a time lapse video is a fascinating experience. You can use any camera with an interval of 10 minutes to document this phenomenon. Make sure you use consistent lighting and keep your gear in the same spot.
Photo by Stux (available under Pixabay license)
- Brinno camera
Brinno is one of the best brands for long-term projects. Other cameras have more performing sensors and advanced controls, but Brinno makes cameras with batteries that can last for up to two months.
- Time-lapse digital camera
Many digital cameras have a time lapse mode. Using a digital model makes sense because these cameras can automate the process of taking shots at specific intervals, and the digital format makes it easy to edit the shots into a video.
- 24 hour time-lapse camera
If you want to create a 24-hour video, look for a product with a performing battery or rechargeable batteries. Look for a wide range of aperture and ISO values to account for the change in light over a 24-hour period and low light conditions at night.