Time lapse photography is one of my favorite creative outlets, but it can be difficult to create with a small camera that doesn’t have a built-in intervalometer. The images you create with a time lapse will look more professional when you’re using a camera that has this feature built in.
[The Main Museum is supported by readers like you. Some links on TheMainMuseum are affiliate and we earn a small commission when you make a purchase at no additional cost to you. As always, all recommendations are based on performance and value for you]
Best Cameras For Time-Lapse Photography
A time lapse photography camera should have the ability to take pictures at pre-set intervals. This way you can choose the number of frames per second and how many pictures you want to take during a set amount of time. You can also use this feature to create a time lapse video in post processing. Check out some examples here.
Remote Control Options
Another drawback of using a small camera for your time lapse is that you might not be able to control it from a decent distance. Having a remote control for the camera will allow you to trigger the shots at intervals of your choosing from a distance. Remote control is especially helpful with long exposures.
Long exposures are really fun to create with time-lapse photography. Using a slow shutter speed will record light on the sky during the day, or in a dark room at night. With a long exposure, the sky will be filled with starfishes and the night sky will appear as if it’s all one big galaxy. Sometimes a long exposure can also leave trails of light behind cars or other moving objects.
High ISO cameras are great for low-light photography, but you might have trouble getting clear pictures in a dimly lit room or in the dark outdoors. Using a high ISO setting will help you get more detail during those low-light situations.
Time lapse photography is a nice way to combine two of my favorite things: taking pictures and creating content. I find that I often overstuff my camera bag with all sorts of gear, so a compact camera is particularly helpful in this situation.
Time Lapse Photography Ideas
To create a more interesting look for your time lapses, think about how you can play with light. A long exposure will contribute the majority of the video footage, so keep that in mind when planning your shoot. Consider using a slow shutter speed and setting the ISO to high to capture lots of detail during those long exposure shots. Another idea is to set up multiple cameras in different locations and set them to take pictures one at a time. This way you can use each camera to create a different element of your final time lapse video.
Top DSLR for Time Lapse
The Canon 30D is one of the best low cost cameras for time lapse photography, and can be purchased used for an affordable price. With its 10.1 megapixel sensor, the Canon 30D allows you to capture very detailed images. The camera has an intervalometer built in and it has a remote control option too. This camera can be used to create time lapse videos up to 4k by 2k resolution at a frame rate of six frames per second.
Why We Love It: The Canon 30D is an older camera, but it’s still one of the best for time lapse photography because of its high megapixels and 10-bit data. This allows you to create some very detailed videos, without losing any image quality.
What You Need To Know: The intervalometer on the Canon 30D is a little hard to work with. You will want to choose a preset that best fits your needs before you start shooting your time-lapse. This will save you from having to adjust any settings during the shoot.
Canon 5D Mark III
The Canon 5D Mark III is another great option for time-lapse photography because it has a full 1080p HD resolution. It has a full frame sensor that can take 12 megapixel shots and it allows you to shoot up to 6 frames per second. It has the ability to shoot at 30 frames per second. This camera also has an intervalometer built in, along with the remote control option. You also get many other creative options on this camera, like depth of field control, live view, and 1080p video.
Why We Love It: The Canon 5D Mark III comes with many creative features and professional options built in that allow for more time-lapse options. This camera is also available in a smaller body style for those who want to travel light with their camera bag.
What You Need To Know: The 5D Mark III is best used with lenses that have a large aperture for better low light performance. This camera is also very expensive, so make sure it’s going to be the right camera for you before you spend the money.
Best Mirrorless Camera for Time Lapse
The Sony A7s is a great camera for time lapse photography because it’s capable of shooting 12 megapixel images as well as 5-axis image stabilization. This sensor makes it very useful for low light situations and in the studio to create sharp images. It also has a solid body that is weather sealed and has built-in Wi-Fi, making it very convenient to use outside or in the studio. The camera allows you to shoot up to 6 fps and create beautiful 4k time lapse videos. It has an intervalometer built in for setting up multiple different shots, and it also has a Wi-Fi remote option.
Why We Love It: The Sony A7s is a great camera for time lapse photography because it’s high megapixel sensor allows you to get lots of detail in your images. The camera has built-in image stabilization, which comes in handy when you’re shooting long exposures or subjects that move during your time lapses.
What You Need To Know: Before you start shooting your time lapses, it’s important to get your settings in order. Make sure you’re using a remote, and choosing the right intervalometer preset. This will make it much easier for you to create a good time lapse video without having to worry about adjusting the settings on the camera during the shoot.
Best Dedicated Time Lapse Camera
The Brinno BCC200 is a multi-use time lapse camera that can be used to capture still images, time lapses, and videos. It’s has a built-in intervalometer for setting up multiple shots without using the remote. It also has a high megapixel sensor that allows it to shoot at up to 6 fps and takes great low light photos as well as videos. This camera is available in many different colors and wood combinations so you can get the one that looks best for your space or office.
Why We Love It: The Brinno BCC200 is an incredible multi-use camera that is great for time lapse and regular photography. You can set up multiple shots without using a remote, and the camera has built-in image stabilization for smoother video recording.
What You Need To Know: You can use the Brinno BCC200 in one of two different ways. The first is as a conventional time lapse camera, which allows you to set your intervalometer to capture photos while you are not working on your time lapse video. The second is if you don’t want to deal with the multiple exposures by setting the mode to Video Add & Subtract. This allows you to set up a video with the BCC200 and add or subtract frames from that video in order to create your time lapse video.
What to Look for in a Time-Lapse Camera
If you are interested in shooting time-lapse photography, you should choose the best camera to deliver the types of images you are looking for. A time-lapse camera will take individual images and combine them to make a video that shows how a landscape or an event moves and changes over time. For example, you might shoot the way clouds move or an evening at a party. Continue reading to learn what to look for in a time-lapse camera.
How Does a Time-Lapse Camera Work?
A time lapse camera is a type of video camera that takes one frame at a time and creates a movie or video by stitching these frames together at 30 frames per second. This means that if you took 1000 photos, your final product would last 1 minute and 1000th of a second. Most time lapse videos are shot at 24 fps, which allows you to play it back at the same speed as regular video footage.
One of the great aspects of time lapse videos is that since you are only capturing one frame at a time, you can control exactly what happens in that frame. For example, you can set your camera up to take 10 photos of a person walking across your flat screen TV and then create a movie where the person appears to walk from one end of the screen to the opposite end without causing them to actually move.
What Type of Camera Should You Use?
You have several different options when it comes to shooting time-lapse photography. You can use a DSLR camera, and this is often the most popular choice. This type of camera produces high-quality images and it is affordable. Another choice is a mirrorless camera, which has the benefit of being smaller than a DSLR. This type of camera is quieter and the technology is becoming more advanced. The third type is a camera that is specifically dedicated to time-lapse photography.
Look for the Ability to Shoot in RAW
If you shoot time lapse video, you should shoot in RAW format. This will give you maximum flexibility when it comes time to edit your clips. If you just shoot in JPEG format, the footage will be limited to a specific editing tool. In some cases you may not even be able to put it in full resolution. As a result of this limitation, shooting in RAW gives you the freedom to edit your clips however you want, instead of having to rely on a specific software tool that will only allow you to edit in a very specific way.
Choose a Camera That Produces Quality Images at Night
Although the idea of capturing light from a single moment in time may sound strange, it can be used to create some fantastic time lapse videos. Just think about how much light there is during a daytime scene in comparison to how little there is at night. You can use this light difference as a creative medium to show off the beauty of your city at night. This is also a great way to show off the characteristics of pinhole cameras. Shooting at night can produce some truly spectacular time lapse images, and it’s something that you may want to consider trying out.
Look at the Battery Life
You need to determine how much time you plan to cover in your time-lapse video. If you are going to cover a longer period of time, you will want to make sure that the camera has sufficient battery life. If the camera you choose doesn’t have a long enough battery life, you should consider a camera that can connect to a power bank. You will want to consider having an additional battery so that you can complete your session.
Consider the Memory Available
When you shoot time-lapse photography, you need to take a lot of images. You should look for a camera that has a lot of memory, and it needs to take pictures fast enough to cover the entire time-lapse. Some cameras offer more than one memory card slot, which is beneficial when you are shooting time-lapse photography. If you are shooting in RAW format, you will need more memory because these files are not compressed.
Consider its Durability
If you plan to shoot time-lapse photography outdoors, you will want a camera that is durable and weatherproof. Consider what your subject will be so that you can make sure the camera has the features you need. Some cameras are more durable and sealed against bad weather, and this is important for outdoor photo shoots.
Consider Your Budget
The cost of cameras can vary widely, so you need to consider your budget. As long as you buy a quality camera that has the features listed above, you will be able to produce time-lapse photography. Cameras with a larger sensor and higher ISO settings will improve your shots in low light. If your budget allows it, you might consider getting a high-end full frame camera.
It is important to note that your technique and skill as a photographer plays a role in the quality of your time-lapse photography. Buying the most expensive camera will not necessarily yield the best results if you haven’t learned the technique. You should also consider whether you want a dedicated camera for time-lapse photography or you prefer a camera that can perform other functions.
If you are looking to get started in time-lapse photography, you need a good camera. It is important that your camera be able to take quality photos in RAW format. This will ensure that you don’t lose any detail. If you plan to shoot overnight, you will want a camera with a high ISO to shoot well in low-light conditions. The Brinno is great if you want a dedicated time-lapse camera. When you compare the two Canon cameras, consider your budget. The Canon 5D Mark III is a high-quality camera, but it comes with a higher price tag. The Sony and the Canon 30D are great cameras for time-lapse, as well as other types of photography. No matter what your needs are, one of these four cameras will work for you.