Best Time Lapse Cameras of 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

A time-lapse is an incredibly fascinating way to show a scenario or scene. There's no doubt that a scene that changes or moves over time is one of the best topics to photograph. However, to create truly captivating time lapse videos, you need the best time-lapse camera. 

Finding the right model can be an extremely difficult and time-consuming task, especially if you've never made this particular kind of video before. To help you make the correct decision, this guide includes reviews of some of the best models available today, what to consider before purchasing one, and the best uses of a time lapse camera.

Comparison Chart of the Best Time-Lapse Cameras

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Comes with features like loop and time lapse recording
  • Can be controlled from up to 10 meters away
  • Equipped with 7 layers of optical glass lens
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Controls are easy to understand and use
  • Equipped with very fast trigger speed
  • Able to take very good shots at night
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Cheap Time Lapse Camera
  • 8 infrared pearls allows better nighttime video recording
  • Can differentiate between and pets
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Best Time Lapse Camera for Construction
  • Batteries are hardy and can last up to 4 months
  • Durable housing allows safe outdoor use
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Easy to control camera and frame shots
  • Waterproof ability up to 100 feet
  • Battery can operate for up to 90 minutes non-stop
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

What is a Time-Lapse Camera?

To put it simply, a time lapse camera compresses real-time actions taking place over long periods of time, such as the changing seasons or the construction of a building.

No matter the subject, time lapse photography is based on capturing a series of images at regular time intervals. These photos are then combined into a continuous sequence, turning them into a video file.

The final result is a faster-than-normal playback video that's similar to a fast-forwarded version of all the events in the video. Most time lapse videos are recorded with the camera placed in a fixed position, but auxiliary gadgets can also be used to introduce zooming or panning.

What Makes a Camera Great For Time Lapse?

The most expensive option won’t necessarily be the best option available. It's advisable to consider the features and capabilities a unit offers before purchasing it. Some features that make a camera great for time lapse include:

Ability to Capture Images With Certain Time Intervals 

Quality time lapse cameras provide an interval shooting option in the settings. If the unit does not have this feature, you'll need to find alternative firmware that offers this option. 

Reliable Construction 

If you're planning on shooting on a clear, sunny day, then any camera will do the trick. However, if you're organizing a long time lapse shoot where you're not always close to the camera, it's better to go for a dustproof and moisture-proof model. 

Long Battery Life 

Make sure you consider how much time you're going to need for one photo session. Since time lapse usually requires shooting for long periods of time, quality models are designed with larger battery capacities or can be connected to power banks or external batteries. 

Bigger Memory

Cameras that offer as much storage space or memory as possible are ideal. Since you're going to capture more than 300 images, it's further advisable to get a fast model so that the process is not interrupted. 

Quick Take - Best Time Lapse Cameras

Before we dive into our review, here are the best time lapse cameras:

  1. COOAU 4K Wi-Fi Action Camera
  2. ​​APEMAN Trail Camera
  3. YI Smart Dome Security Camera X

Review of the Best Time Lapse Cameras

Finding the best time lapse camera is nothing less than a challenge. To help you excel at making flawless videos, the following are detailed reviews of some of the best models available in the market:

COOAU 4K 20MP Wi-Fi Action Camera External Microphone Remote Control EIS Stabilization Underwater 40M Waterproof Sport Camera Time Lapse with 2X1200mAh Batteries and 20 Accessories

PROS

  • Includes an extra battery and over 20 different accessories 
  • Smart anti-shake program improves video stability and fluency 
  • Comes with an external microphone and is waterproof up to 30 meters
  • Can be controlled remotely from 10 meters away using the remote control 
  • 7 layers of optical glass lens capture 20MP photos and ultra HD 4K videos

CONS

  • Does not include a wall charger 
  • Time and date need to be reset after changing the battery 

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers loved this unit, with one user stating that the image quality was better than some high-end cameras. They loved the waterproof casing and found the unit to be extremely easy to use. While most users stated that the 4K videos were crystal clear, some reported that the LCD screen did not have 24fps. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This model stands out to us because of its exceptionally high-quality videos and photos. It's designed with a motion sensor that predicts and identifies movement, ensuring every captured photo is sharp and clear. It further comes with numerous different attachments and accessories to enhance the performance of the unit, including clips, an extra battery, and mounts.

Who Will Use This Most

If you want to capture yourself doing extreme sports, like skiing, parachute jumping, or playing ball, then this model is the one for you! Since it's waterproof up to 40 meters, it can also be used to capture deep underwater scenery. The external microphone further makes it ideal for places where it's inconvenient to collect sound, or there's too much noise, such as cycling.

Bottom Line

Designed with 7 layers of optical glass lens and an upgraded chip, this model ensures a rich video resolution. Able to capture incredible and vivid footage, the camera offers almost all the functions you'll ever need. Although it allows you to capture stabilized time lapse videos, the lack of a wall charger might be disappointing for some.

APEMAN Trail Camera 20MP 1080P Wildlife Camera, Night Detection Game Camera with No Glow 940nm IR LEDs, Time Lapse, Timer, IP66 Waterproof Design

PROS

  • 2" color LCD screen enables users to instantly view images 
  • Records excellent 1080p videos and captures 20MP photos
  • Provides a dustproof and waterproof performance with minimal condensation 
  • Snappy recovery time and 0.3s ~ 0.6S trigger speed ensure you don't miss the action 
  • 940nm IR LEDs capture night-time video and images without disturbing wild animals

CONS

  • Does not include batteries or a memory card 
  • Only supports SD cards with a storage capacity of up to 32GB 

What Recent Buyers Report

This model has received a large number of positive reviews. Users found it easy to set up and use and found the programming screen easy to navigate. They liked its build quality and were particularly impressed with the metal claps that held it closed. However, some customers stated that the night-time pics were poor, while some reported that the unit stopped working after a few months. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This model captures clear images, whether it's during the day or night. It is extremely user-friendly and incredibly easy to use as well. However, it stands out from its competition because of its password lockout option. This feature protects your camera and images, making the unit useless to anyone who doesn't have the password.

Who Will Use This Most

A powerful tool designed for hunters, this model will help make your search for prey easier. It can also be used for farm monitoring and preventing strangers from entering the farm. Ideal for wildlife lovers and researchers, it can further be used to monitor wildlife. Lastly, the unit also works as a home monitor, making it perfect for home security.

Bottom Line

All in all, the APEMAN trail camera captures excellent photos and videos. Its quick recovery time and lightening-speed trigger speed ensure you don't miss any of the action. So, if you're looking for a time lapse camera that's not too complicated to handle and use, then this model is the one for you!

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

PROS

  • Extremely easy to set up
  • Backed by a 1-year warranty
  • Capable of a 95° degree tilt and a 340° rotation
  • Can compress 6 hours of recording into clips of 5-30 seconds
  • Eight 940nm infrared pearls record high-quality videos at night 

CONS

  • Scheduling is very limited 
  • Does not have a motion detection zone

What Recent Buyers Report

The majority of the buyers were satisfied with their purchase, with users stating that it had accurate motion tracking and crisp video quality. They loved its responsiveness and said that it was easy to connect to the app. However, some customers were disappointed with the plastic housing, while some reported that the colors appeared faded and washed out. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This model is capable of a 340° rotation, so it can easily track anyone walking across a room. Its 2MP CMOS sensor and glass lens capture sharp daylight video, with good color and exposure and minimum motion blur. Lastly, the Yi mobile app is responsive, easy to navigate, and innovatively designed as well.

Who Will Use This Most

The Dome X is ideal for recording time lapse video, though they'll have to be manually set up by the user. Its two-way audio feature also enables users to use it as a pet camera. Since its abnormal sound detection will immediately notify users if it detects a baby crying or glass shattering, it's the perfect security camera as well.

Bottom Line

This unit packs plenty of amazing features in a small package, including good motion tracking, free six-second alert videos, a well-designed application, an interesting Cruising mode, and generally nice video. However, its ability to distinguish humans from pets might be disappointing for some.

Best Time Lapse Camera for Construction:
Brinno BCC100

PROS

  • 4AA batteries can last up to 4 months 
  • Compact, lightweight, and wire-free model is extremely easy to set up
  • IPX4 weather-resistant rating ensures durability, reliability, and longevity
  • Comes with a 1-year limited warranty and 30-day money-back guarantee
  • F1.2 aspherical lens delivers higher images quality and better low light recording 

CONS

  • Moisture buildup can sometimes fog the lens up 
  • Users cannot check the unit to see whether it's working without stopping the filming of the current project

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers liked this model and stated that it recorded good quality video. Users found its battery life to be outstanding, the setup to be extremely simple, and the interface to be user-friendly. They were also impressed with its build quality, with one user stating that it endured rain, wind, and hail. However, some customers stated that it sometimes didn't turn on, while some reported that it produced corrupted files.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Being the best time-lapse camera for construction, this model stands out to us for several different reasons. Firstly, it can capture and convert thousands of images into a short video instantly. Secondly, it can capture 270,000 frames with a single set of batteries. Lastly, its IPX4 weather-resistant housing allows users to record both outdoors and indoor projects.

Who Will Use This Most

This model is the perfect camera for construction and demolition projects. Its F1.2 low light lens enables users to record in low light, capturing the details lost in the dark. Its 140-degree field of view further allows them to capture more of the construction site. 

Bottom Line

To put it simply, the Brinno BCC100 is undoubtedly the best camera of its kind for construction. Boasting an amazing battery life, it allows you to capture the entire construction site without missing any detail. However, the inability to check up on the unit without stopping the filming may be inconvenient for some.

Editor's Pick:
AKASO EK7000

AKASO EK7000 4K WiFi Sports Action Camera Ultra HD Waterproof DV Camcorder 12MP 170 Degree Wide Angle

PROS

  • Rechargeable 1050mAh batteries ensure a longer battery life
  • Splashproof remote can be used to control the unit from a distance
  • 170° wide-angle lens captures a more expansive and wider field view 
  • Built-in HDMI and Wi-Fi enable users to edit and share their videos in minutes 
  • Offers different shooting modes, including burst photo, time lapse, and loop recording

CONS

  • Field of view cannot be changed 
  • Does not have image stabilization 

What Recent Buyers Report

Most people who invested in this unit were satisfied with its performance and recommended it to other people as well. Users stated that it recorded high-quality 1080p footage and was easy to carry around. While most customers did not report any problems when using it underwater, some complained about the poor sound quality. Some buyers were also disappointed with the video quality in low light conditions. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

With this model, you can record 4K videos at 25fps and capture 12MP still photos. Its battery life is equally impressive. The 1050mAh battery lasts a bit longer than one and a half hours at 4K and 1080p. It's also Wi-Fi enabled, so you can easily connect the unit to your tablet or smartphone. Lastly, the included accessories enable you to mount the unit wherever you want.

Who Will Use This Most

If you want an action camera without spending too much money, then this model is the one for you! Since it's waterproof up to 98ft, it is suitable for outdoor activities like water-skiing, surfing, diving, drifting, and swimming.

Bottom Line

All in all, the ASAKO EK7000 is one of the best time lapse cameras available today. Its Burst photo mode captures an incredible 30 frames per second, while its Time Lapse mode automatically shoots photos at set time intervals. However, the lack of image stabilization leaves much to be desired.

When Would I Use a Time Lapse Camera?

Carefully planning your shoot and choosing a subject that changes over time will undoubtedly make for a more engaging and interesting result. This can be anything like the bustle of a busy city, a change in the weather, or the setting of the sun. Some more uses of these cameras include:

Demolition and Construction Sites 

Time lapse can be used as a monitoring technique on demolition and construction sites. Since the camera can capture images at regular intervals, it enables users to see the changes, progress, evolutions, or any necessary work done at each stage of construction. 

Landscape Photography 

Time-lapse cameras can be used to show the movement of clouds and stars. They can also be used to capture how a scene dramatically changes over time, such as between different seasons or from one type of weather to the next.

Basically, time-lapse photography can be used to tell a stimulating story about landscapes that a single photo might not be able to capture. 

Action Photography 

A time lapse camera can also be used to record activities, sports, and all kinds of adventures. Since they're easy to carry around, they can help capture snowboarding, surfing, mountain biking, and everything in between. 

Conclusion 

When it comes to choosing the best time lapse camera, the most expensive one isn't always the right choice. Your decision should be based on the features and capabilities offered by the unit. All the aforementioned models are excellent cameras, so make sure you go through them all before making your purchase!

People Also Ask

Choosing the best time lapse camera is no easy task. To ensure you make the correct decision and to clear away any confusions you might have, here are some of the most frequently asked questions:

What is the Best Time Lapse Interval?

Different subjects have different intervals. 1-second intervals are ideal for fast-moving clouds and moving traffic. 1-3 second intervals are suitable for sunsets, sunrises, and crowds. Lastly, 15-30 plus second intervals are perfect for stars, moving shadows, and construction projects.

How Many Frames Per Second is Good For Time Lapse?

A high-speed camera can capture hundreds of frames per second. Normal video shoots almost 25 or 30 frames per second. Time lapse videos can be shot at anything from one frame per second to a single frame every couple of hours.

How Do I Change Time Lapse Settings?

Since you'll be capturing hundreds of photos, it's important to maintain consistency from one photo to the next. For this, you'll need to choose an aperture and a shutter speed that works well with the chosen subject. The same settings should be used for all the other photos. It's also advisable to use a fixed focus for time lapse videos.

Does Time Lapse Record Sound?

As the name suggests, time lapses faster in time lapse mode. Thus, audio is not recorded, because it would be completely unintelligible at time lapse speeds.

What is the Best Frame Rate For Time Lapse?

The most common time lapse frame rates are 30 fps, 25 fps, and 24 fps. If you're just starting with time lapse photography, it's better to go for a video that lasts 30 seconds at 25 fps.

Share to Pinterest