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.

blue time lapse of stars

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.

Brand
Best Overall
Canon EOS 30D
Best Mirrorless
Sony A7
Best Cheap Pick
YI Smart Dome Security Camera X
Product
Canon EOS 30D 8.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
Sony Alpha a7 IIK E-mount interchangeable lens...
YI Smart Dome Security Camera X, AI-Powered 1080p...
Resolution
8.2 MP
24.3 MP
1080p
Image Stabilization
Rating
Best Overall
Brand
Canon EOS 30D
Product
Canon EOS 30D 8.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
Resolution
8.2 MP
Image Stabilization
Rating
Price
Best Mirrorless
Brand
Sony A7
Product
Sony Alpha a7 IIK E-mount interchangeable lens...
Resolution
24.3 MP
Image Stabilization
Rating
Price
Best Cheap Pick
Brand
YI Smart Dome Security Camera X
Product
YI Smart Dome Security Camera X, AI-Powered 1080p...
Resolution
1080p
Image Stabilization
Rating
Price

Canon EOS 30D: Best Overall DSLR for Time Lapse Photography

This older 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.

Canon EOS 30D 8.2MP Digital SLR Camera (Body Only)
  • 2.5-inch LCD display
  • 8.2-megapixel CCD captures enough detail for photo-quality 16 x 22-inch prints; Large monitor that...
  • High- and low-speed consecutive shooting (5 frames and 3 frames per second, respectively)

Sony A7: Best Overall Mirrorless Option for Time-Lapse

The 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.

Sony Alpha a7 IIK E-mount interchangeable lens...
  • World’s first 5 axis in body image stabilization in a full frame camera
  • Use your favorite lenses without blur from camera shake; High 50 Mbps bit rate XAVC S21 format...
  • Capture stunning images with full frame, 24.3MP resolution. Lens Compensation: Peripheral shading,...

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 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.

Brinno BCC200 Time Lapse Camera w/Mount &...
  • SUPERIOR: Battery life up to 80 days using only 4AA batteries, ideal for capturing extended time...
  • TIME LAPSE VIDEO:Superior quality and reliability for your small or large projects while working...
  • EASY TO USE:: Time-lapse function is automatic and ready to use while home from school. Time-lapse...

YI Smart Dome Security Camera X: Best Cheap Time Lapse Camera

The 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.

YI Smart Dome Security Camera X, AI-Powered 1080p...
  • IMPORTANT ALERTS ONLY + STAY CONNECTED: Differentiates humans and pets from moving objects,...
  • LET THE LENS DISAPPEAR + FUN TIME-LAPSE: The YI Dome Camera X’s unique eyelid design lets the lens...
  • COVER EVERY CORNER: Most of our customers have this camera set up and running in five minutes or...

Nikon D750

The 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.

Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body
  • Full frame 243 megapixel CMOS image sensor and expeed 4 image processor
  • Full HD 60/50/30/25/24p video
  • Built in Wi-Fi connectivity and compatibility with the WT 5a + UT 1 communication unit

Sony Alpha a6000

This 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.

Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera 24.3MP...
  • Advanced 24.2MP back Illuminated 35 millimeter full frame image sensor
  • ISO 100 25600 (expandable to 51200). Lens compatibility: Sony E mount lenses
  • Hybrid AF with 179 point focal plane phase detection and 25 contrast detect points

Canon EOS 80D

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.

Canon EOS 80D Digital SLR Camera Body (Black) and...
  • The EOS 80D camera’s Intelligent Viewfinder helps bring the thrill of SLR photography with each...
  • The Intelligent Viewfinder displays AF points and AF mode, has a grid display, a horizontal...
  • One Touch SSD is a mini USB 3.0 SSD featuring a lightweight, textile design for busy days and...

Panasonic LX100

This 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.

PANASONIC LUMIX LX100 4K Point and Shoot Camera,...
  • Superior light capture with large, multi aspect micro four thirds sensor
  • Fast f1 7-2.8, 24-75 millimeter, Leica DC zoom lens, for producing shallow depth of field (DOF) and...
  • Full hybrid photo experience with 30p 4K Ultra HD video and 4K photo mode; Please Refer User Manual...

Olympus Tough TG-5

The 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.

Olympus TG-5 Waterproof Camera with 3-Inch LCD,...
  • New 12 MP Hi speed image sensor for improved low light performance and noise reduction
  • Dual Quad Core TruePic VIII Image Processor and special features is action track sensor system, zero...
  • Field sensor system with GPS, Manometer, Compass, and temperature sensors; Battery Life :...

AKASO EK7000 4K Wi-Fi Sports Action Camera

This 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.

AKASO EK7000 4K WiFi Sports Action Camera Ultra HD...
  • 4K Ultra HD action Camera. Professional 4K 25Fps & 2.7K 30Fps video with 12MP photos at up to 30...
  • Wireless wrist remote control sports camera. With a wrist 2.4G remote, you can capture the world in...
  • Longer battery life. AKASO EK7000 action camera comes with 2 rechargeable 1050mAh batteries. Each...

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 COOAU 4K has a dedicated mode where you can adjust interval speed.

COOAU 4K 20MP Wi-Fi Action Camera External...
  • 【Ultra HD 4K 20MP Action Camera】- This action camera adopts the newest upgraded chip, 7 layers...
  • 【EIS Stabilization and 40M Waterproof】- Smart anti-shake program is embedded in the chip....
  • 【Built-in and External Microphone】- Comes with external microphone which helps a lot in places...

Crosstour Action Waterproof Camera

This 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.

Sale
Crosstour Action Camera 1080P Full HD Wi-Fi 14MP...
  • FULL HD VIDEO AND PHOTO RESOLUTION - 14MP 1080P ensures you capture high quality pictures and videos...
  • SUPPORT PC WEB CAMERA FUNCTION - With the function of webcam, it enables you to have online meeting,...
  • 30 METERS WATERPROOF PERFORMANCE - With the solid and durable waterproof case, you can dive into...

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

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.

YI 4K Action and Sports Camera, 4K/30fps Video...
  • Superb Image Quality – Records 4K/30fps (100mbps), 2. 7k/60fps, 1080p/120fps, 720p/240fps video,...
  • Long battery life – high capacity rechargeable lithium-ion battery records up to 120mins of...
  • Intuitive touchscreen UI - built-in 2. 2” high responsive LCD Touchscreen with 640 x 360 high...

Apeman Trail Camera

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.

Sale
APEMAN Trail Camera 16MP 1080P No-Glow Infrared...
  • 【High RESOLUTION PHOTO and VIDEO】- 16MP resolution and FULL HD 1080P video automatic day/night...
  • 【INSIVIBLE NIGHT VISION SHOOTING】- The fully automatic PIR sensor and 26Pcs 940nm Infrared...
  • 【AMAZING TRIGGER SPEED】- The lightning-fast trigger speed of less than 0.5 seconds with 1 to 3...

GoPro Hero 6

This 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.

Sale
GoPro HERO6 Black — Waterproof Digital Action...
  • Hero6 black automatically sends your footage to your phone where the app turns it into a quikstory...
  • With 4k60 and 1080p240 video, Hero6 black delivers 2x the performance compared to Hero5 black with...
  • With our most advanced video stabilization yet, Hero6 black captures super smooth footage, whether...
city time lapse

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.

  1. 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.

  1. Design

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.

  1. 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.

  1. Storage

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.

Landscape Photography

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.

Action Photography

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.

Additional Questions

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.

flower time lapse

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.