Best Time Lapse Camera

Best Time Lapse Camera

To pick the best time lapse camera, you have to know which characteristics are the most important when searching for a model of this type. I’ve chosen 10 good ones and recommended time lapse cameras for all budgets that are perfectly suited to time lapse video recording.

10 Best Time Lapse Cameras

top 3 best time lapse cameras

Let’s start this time lapse cameras review by explaining the meaning of the term itself. Time lapse is usually a short video that consists of separate images taken at set intervals over a certain period. It can be taken with most cameras and doesn’t require a video recording mode. You may even do it with the help of a time lapse mobile app.

When browsing through the web, you’ve probably seen videos of breathtaking locations, rapidly-changing beautiful scenery and fast moving clouds. You can also find interesting footage of a single landscape shot throughout the day. This way, you get to enjoy the mesmerizing changes occurring between early morning, daytime and nightfall. You can clearly see how lighting transforms the atmosphere of the photographs. In this review, I’ll go through 10 time lapse cameras that excel at creating time-lapse videos.


1. Canon 80D

canon 80d time lapse camera View Prices on Amazon
Pros+
  • Convenient tilting touchscreen display
  • High image quality up to ISO 3200
  • New 45-point AF system
  • Accurate and fast autofocus in Live View and video recording modes
  • Built-in WiFi and NFC modules
Cons-
  • Doesn’t support UHS-II memory cards
  • Lacks an integrated GPS
  • Low ISO values in JPEG produce slight monochromic noise
 

The Canon 80D is a semi-pro camera with time lapse. It has an impressive AF system with a 45-point viewfinder and Dual Pixel CMOS technology for Live View and video recording. I’m also impressed with its ergonomics, as it doesn’t take up a lot of space while being easy to control. The rotatable touchscreen is awesome if you’re a traveler.

As a time lapse video camera, the Canon 80D stands out thanks to its auto mode that allows for creating time-lapse footage quickly and easily without having to edit it afterwards on a PC. You can change all the necessary settings in the menu, and the camera will unify all the images after the shooting is finished. The videos made by this time lapse camera are saved in Full HD format with 25fps and ALL-I quality. All photos are saved on the memory card individually and you can either use them separately or edit them into a time-lapse video on your computer.

Recommended camera lens:

Sigma 17-50mm f/2.8

This lens is designed for digital cameras with an APS-C image sensor. Taking into account the crop factor, the focal length of this lens is in the 25-75mm range and covers the most convenient and frequently used camera settings.

 

2. Sony a7R III

sony a7r iii time lapse camera View Prices on Amazon
Pros+
  • Operable ISO up to 12,800
  • Articulating touchscreen
  • High-quality video recording in 4K and Full HD
  • Two SD card slots, one with UHS-II support
  • High-capacity battery
Cons-
  • Expensive for beginners
  • Clunky menu with some confusing contractions
  • Slight delays when using the menu
  • Using compatible apps can be inconvenient
 

Sony a7R III is among the most multifunctional cameras on the market and is capable of recording the best time lapses. It has a continuous shooting mode with 10fps, uninterruptable eye-tracking autofocus, and a buffer that can contain eighty 42MP RAW images, which is mind-blowing. Regarding time lapse shooting, I always use manual mode since otherwise, a change in the scene may result in the camera’s exposure meter picking a different setting. This can lead to irritating flickering when individual video frames have different exposures, which will make even the best camera for time lapse look bad.

Moreover, manual mode allows me to control different photography aspects better, such as depth of field, exposure length, noise, etc. By the way, the settings for this time lapse camera allow you to reduce burst shooting mode speed to one shot per second, turning it into a time lapse.

Recommended camera lens:

Sony FE 16-35mm F2.8 GM

It is the leading wide-angle zoom lens from the Gold Master series for the Sony time lapse video camera. It offers fast focusing, a wide angle and is light weight for travelling.

 

3. Brinno TLC200 Pro

brinno tlc200 pro time lapse camera View Prices on Amazon
Pros+
  • Simple setup and very user-friendly
  • Highly customizable shooting settings
  • Cheap
Cons-
  • Video quality limited to 720p HD
  • Lacks IoT functionality
 

The Brinno TLC200 Pro impressed me with its battery life. It’s powered by 4 AA batteries that should last for up to 80 days if you use this time lapse camera during daytime and warmer seasons. The battery life also depends on the set interval and exposure length. For instance, the camera can work for about five days when shooting during the daytime with short exposures and two-second intervals. When using evening or night modes, the battery life is reduced even more. By the way, the quality of the images taken at night is rather disappointing since they turn out very noisy and low-detailed. That’s why I usually take pictures with the Brinno time lapse camera during the daytime.

I use it as a garden watch camera to keep track of animals that come out of the forest. Besides, the TLC200 is perfectly suited for landscape time-lapses. Additionally, it allows you to choose from four shooting modes and white balance settings. This model creates AVI videos in 1280x720 resolution automatically from the captured shots. While such a resolution is decent, it’s not enough to be called the best camera for time lapse video.


4. Sony A6500

Sony a6500 time lapse camera View Prices on Amazon
Pros+
  • Image quality at high ISO settings is great
  • RAW format has a broad dynamic range for better video editing
  • Impressive video recording functionality
  • Can be charged via USB
Cons-
  • Lacks a headphone input
  • Complicated menu layout
  • No built-in RAW processing
 

Whenever I need to shoot a time-lapse video with a Sony camera, I use the Sony Timelapse app. It costs money but offers expanded functionality and settings that simplify the process of recording videos with this time lapse camera. I’d like to note that you can launch and set up the program in a couple of clicks, and the offered results are amazing. Sadly, this app is limited to 990 frames per shoot. Regardless of your goal, I suggest you always set the maximum shooting speed. This guarantees that the video quality won’t suffer from unexpected shot changes.

By the way, I like that you can choose the result you want to get – finished video, video and separate images, or just the photographs. Saving time-lapses as videos is very useful for travelers, since they don’t have to spend time editing them. Another thing I’d like to mention in this time lapse camera review is that the a6500 has a 24MP matrix, which means the footage will be of high quality and offer a clear, highly-detailed image even at night.

Recommended camera lens:

Sigma 16mm f/1.4

This wide-angle lens for mirrorless Sony E cameras with an APS-C sensor has a focal length of 24mm equiv. to 35mm and a lens speed of f/1.4. This model is a godsend for mirrorless cameras and time-lapse cameras owners who were waiting for a lens with such a high lens speed.

 

5. Olympus Tough TG-5

Olympus tg-5 time lapse camera View Prices on Amazon
Pros+
  • Sturdy body
  • Clear and crisp images
  • Convenient tracking system
  • Fast burst shooting mode
  • 4K video support
Cons-
  • Poor picture smoothing at higher ISO values
  • Clunky zoom control
  • Unintuitive UI
 

TG-5 is a crushproof lightweight time lapse camera with a weather-sealed body that protects it from dust and moisture. Such characteristics allow you to take the best time lapses in any weather conditions and bring the TG-5 with you anywhere. Moreover, the camera is operable at temperatures down to -10oC since that opens up opportunities for recording winter landscapes.

This model’s functionality includes a time lapse mode with 4K and 720p support and a high speed mode (1080p, 720p, and VGA support). This time lapse video camera is powered by a Li-ion battery, with one charge lasting for about 340 images or 50 minutes of video if all the modules are on. Luckily, you can charge the battery via USB. That means that you can charge this travel camera when using it, which increases the overall shoot duration.


6. GoPro HERO6

gopro hero6 time lapse camera View Prices on Amazon
Pros+
  • 4K video with up to 60fps
  • Video stabilization
  • Improved picture quality
  • Waterproof up to 10m underwater without a case
Cons-
  • Poor battery life
  • Low sensitivity level
  • Limited settings
 

Allow me to begin this section of my time lapse camera review by saying that the HERO6 has an impressive integrated time lapse mode that automatically creates videos from your photos. Using it is simple and all functions can be set in a couple of touchscreen clicks. This time lapse camera also features a Nightlapse mode that excels at capturing the beauty of the starry sky. The only drawback is that any presence of lighting, even during the night will lead to overexposure.

By the way, if you plan to record long videos with this camera for time lapse, you can use an external battery or power bank. In this case, the actual size of the battery doesn’t matter. What matters is its quality and that its capacity corresponds to the characteristics described. That being said, the water-resistant body of this camera isn’t designed for external connectors. That’s why I had to drill a hole on its side manually to connect a USB cable.


7. Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7

Panasonic lumix dmc-g7 time lapse camera View Prices on Amazon
Pros+
  • Excellent image quality up to ISO 1600
  • A movable touch-screen
  • Good quality of OLED-viewfinder
  • Useful Wi-Fi feature
  • 4K video recording
Cons-
  • The body is made of plastic
  • Battery capacity is medium
  • Average performance at high ISO
  • Some problems with panoramic shooting
 

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7 is a good mirrorless camera for travel. The most important element of this camera is a Live-MOS micro standard sensor. The 16MP image converter can work on sensitivity between ISO 200-25600. An electronic shutter comes into action with a speed of 1/16000 seconds. This time lapse camera can take eight images per second in the mechanical shutter mode. However, with the help of the electronic shutter and 4K serial shooting mode, you can shoot 30 frames per second.

By the way, this kind of time lapse shooting may last for half an hour. The DMC-G7 comes with a large and detailed VF, well thought-out control elements and a touch-screen. This time lapse camera has perfect focus, even in low light. Besides, I managed to record a night time lapse video, which I really like. Moreover, this camera gives an opportunity to manually regulate all the modes, which influences the final image.

Recommended camera lens:

Panasonic Lumix G II Lens 20mm f/1.7

If you want to shoot at night, this lens is definitely for you. It has a large aperture ratio which is equal to f/1.7 and is designed for mirrorless cameras.

 

8. Olympus OM-D E-M1

Olympus om-d e-m1 time lapse camera View Prices on Amazon
Pros+
  • Quick and precise AF
  • Fast and efficient built-in Wi-Fi
  • Water, dust and frost proof body
  • High detail, both in the middle and in the corners of the frame
Cons-
  • Video mode is only appropriate for amateur shooting
  • You need to manually regulate the stabilizer for more efficient work with third-party lenses
 

The Olympus OM-D E-M1 produces photos and videos of excellent quality. The EM1 is the best camera for time lapse with the built-in 5-axis tilting touch screen, amazing VF, EP5 focus peaking, VF4 and the ability to take 10 frames per second. This camera is good for time lapse thanks to diverse settings and simple operation. Moreover, this time lapse video camera allows for taking great pictures even at night.

I managed to take short videos during video shooting and moving without any extra equipment, as the built-in stabilizer works magnificently. However, to achieve much better results, I additionally stabilized videos in the video editing software on my computer.

Recommended camera lens:

Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO

It is an ideal lens for Olympus cameras, as its permanent aperture f/2.8 at all focal distances is compatible with the innovative technologies in these cameras. With this lens, you will get excellent photos in any genre, from any distance and under any light condition.

 

9. Canon EOS 7D Mark II

canon eos 7d mark ii time lapse camera View Prices on Amazon
Pros+
  • Serial shooting speed is 10 frames per second
  • High-quality images up to ISO 3200
  • Works with two memory cards of different types
  • Full HD shooting
  • Long battery life
Cons-
  • The screen lacks touch control
  • Display doesn’t tilt
  • No 4K video
  • Relatively high price
 

Thanks to its speed and reliability, the Canon EOS 7D Mark II is considered to be one of the best time-lapse cameras suitable for street, action and sports photography. Its ability to focus for videos in bad light and its built-in GPS receiver make it popular among photographers. Though it doesn’t achieve full-frame sharpness of the image in poor light conditions, the field reduction aided by the APS-C sensor put it almost in the first place among the most in-demand time lapse cameras for sports and wildlife photography.

Compared with previous models, the 7D Mark II offers time-lapse shooting without the need to buy the Canon Timer Remote Controller TC-80N3, which is quite expensive. In fact, there were doubts about the time-lapse capability of the 7D. The thing is that some of the documentation pointed out that this camera can take about 1~99 frames. But it turned out that the 7D Mark II may be programmed to take as many shots as you need, which gives me the opportunity to call it the best time lapse camera for an affordable price. I also like the ability to work with two memory cards of different types, additional settings, built-in GPS-receiver and large battery capacity.

Recommended camera lens:

Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L

It is a premium class lens, relatively lightweight and compact in comparison with zoom analogs. It offers perfect contrast, conveys halftone gradations well and draws an image with a proper shape, distorting it only a bit. In most cases, such distortion doesn’t require any correction.

 

10. Sony A7

Sony A7 time lapse camera View Prices on Amazon
Pros+
  • Perfect image quality up to ISO 3200
  • High speed and large buffer
  • Manual full HD camera shooting
  • A shutter with an electronic front blind
  • A large and crisp electronic VF and tilting monitor
Cons-
  • No direct choice of AF point
  • Takes some time to turn on
 

It is a mirrorless camera system that takes great quality photos. It photographs silently and is more lightweight. The Sony A7 is among the best time lapse cameras because of its ability to shoot in low light and at night too. The ISO goes up to 6400 and may be expanded up to 25600. The Sony A7 differs from standard mirrorless systems with its full-frame CMOS sensor, which gives your shots perfect resolution. You can shoot in RAW, thus reducing the time spent editing. Most of all, I like the Wi-Fi connectivity that helps you transfer your time lapses easily and quickly.

Recommended camera lens:

Sigma 70mm f/2.8 Art

This lens with a 70 mm focal length is optimized for close distance shooting. It is a macro-lens with a 1:1 coefficient of magnification. As for time lapses, this lens captures really many details and provides excellent sharpness.

 

List of 10 Best Time Lapse Cameras

Image Camera CHARACTERISTICS  
сanon 80d
Canon 80D
  • 24.2 MP
  • CMOS Sensor
Check PRICE
sony a7r iii

Sony a7R III
OUR CHOICE

  • 42MP
  • BSI-CMOS
Check PRICE
brinno tlc200 pro
Brinno TLC200 Pro
MOST POPULAR
  • 1.3 MP
  • CMOS
Check PRICE
sony a6500
Sony A6500
  • 24.2 MP
  • APS-C Exmor Sensor
Check PRICE
Olympus tough tg-5
Olympus Tough TG-5 Camera
FOR TRAVEL
  • 12 MP
  • Hi-Speed Image Sensor
Check PRICE
gopro hero6
GoPro HERO6
  • 12 MP
  • 1/2.3-inch Sensor
Check PRICE
Panasonic lumix dmc-g7
Panasonic Lumix DMC-G7
  • 16 MP
  • Micro Four Thirds Sensor
Check PRICE
Olympus om-d e-m1
Olympus OM-D E-M1
FOR BEGINNERS
  • 20.4 MP
  • Live MOS Sensor
Check PRICE
canon 7d mark ii
Canon 7D Mark II
FOR PROFESSIONAL
  • 20.2 MP
  • CMOS Sensor
Check PRICE
sony a7
Sony A7
  • 24.3 MP
  • APS-C
Check PRICE

How to Choose the Best Time Lapse Camera?

You don’t need the most expensive camera for time-lapse photography. The main thing you must pay attention to is the capabilities and features it should offer:

1. Ability to Take Pictures with Certain Intervals

best time lapse camera

Some cameras offer an interval shooting right in the camera settings. If there is no such a feature, you can look for alternative firmware for your camera which has this option.

2. High-Resolution Sensor

best time lapse camera

The field of time-lapse shooting matters a lot. For example, photos of some event that are taken in excellent daylight will differ from astrophotography images shot at night. Of course, you may take time lapse photos with any camera, but remember that image quality is the most important factor. That’s why I recommend you only choose cameras with high resolution sensors.

3. Battery Life

best time lapse camera

Take this factor into consideration and think about how much time you need for a single photo session. If you are going to shoot for long, it would be better to buy time lapse camera with a larger battery capacity or with the ability to connect external batteries or power banks.

4. Memory

best time lapse camera

Your camera should offer as much memory as possible, as you are going to take more than 400 images. Moreover, it must be fast to avoid interrupting the process because of the buffering speed. Personally, I recommend the camera with time lapse that supports two-card connectivity.

5. Reliable Construction

best time lapse camera

This factor also depends on your preferences. If you intend to shoot on a sunny day, any camera will do. However, if you plan to organize a long time-lapse shoot, when you are not always near your camera (for instance, in a building), I recommend you buy moisture and dustproof devices.

6. Remote Control

best time lapse camera

You need it to minimize the shaking of the camera during shutter release. An ideal variant for you is a remote control with a built-in timer that can be programmed. You may search for original ones, but remote controls from a third party manufacturer will be also suitable.

7. Connection

best time lapse camera

Connect your camera to a laptop or computer and control it with the help of utilities. But first of all, check the ability of your camera to be remotely controlled from a computer.


Ann Young

Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more

creative cloud all special offers creative cloud all special offers