How to choose time lapse cameras

August 4, 2022    4 min read

How to choose the best time lapse camera

Time lapse is an exciting genre, and many modern photographers are inclined to it.

Capturing time lapses is an exciting process - from picking a unique subject and shooting it in a fresh perspective to ultimately putting the images together - it's time-consuming but worth it!

Time lapsing may seem to be a tedious process, but with the right camera, the whole process of capturing time lapses can be a complete breeze.

So, how do you choose a camera for time lapse? 

For starters, you need to know your purpose for pursuing time lapse photography - are you doing it for fun? Or are you looking to pursue it professionally?

Then, you can pick any camera depending on your answer.

Beginners can start with a budget-friendly camera or a smartphone that allows you to explore, experiment, and understand how time lapses work.

Once you've got your basics right and wish to elevate your craft, you can invest in the high-end professional cameras - expensive ones with a fantastic set of time lapse friendly features.

Key Points to Consider

What camera is best for time lapse? Apart from the price, you also look into some crucial aspects when choosing a time lapse camera. Like:

  • Size of the Camera
  • Resolution
  • Durability
  • Compatibility With Other Accessories
  • Beginner Friendly Setup

1. Size of the Camera

The more compact and portable your time lapse camera is, the easier it will be to obtain a unique point-of-view.

Most time lapse videos are captured outside, so choosing a camera with a smaller size can be beneficial as you may want to house the camera in a weatherproof box while filming.

2. Resolution

You can start with a 1080p camera for good-quality broadcast footage. These cameras have just the right features to help you capture incredible time lapses for YouTube or clients.

But if you're looking to advance and capture higher-end footage, you should look for a 4k time lapse camera.

3. Durability

Time lapse videos are captured indoors as well as outdoors. For outdoor shoots, you need to have a camera that has a sturdy and weather-resistant build.

A rigid model can withstand external elements such as dust, water, and dirt.

4. Compatibility With Other Accessories

Look for a camera compatible with other accessories that make time-lapsing a breeze. These accessories include a tripod, intervalometer, lens hoods, filters, sliders, etc.

Initially, you may not require all these accessories, but as you progress in your time lapse journey, it's best to keep using this equipment to ensure you have the highest quality time lapse videos.

5. Beginner Friendly Setup

Lastly, look for a camera that comes with a simple, user-friendly setup.

For example, with a beginner-friendly time lapse camera, you'll master the basics quickly, making it easier to progress to advanced time-lapsing in no time.

Comparison of Different Time Lapse Gadgets

The best part about time lapsing is that you can start with just your smartphone. You can also use a time lapse camera that's crafted to meet the dynamic requirements of shooting a time lapse.

Action cameras come with a similar set of time lapse-friendly features, but have pros and cons, as you can read below:

  • Time Lapse Cameras
  • Action Cameras
  • Smartphones

Time Lapse Cameras


These cameras have a simple, user-friendly setup, making time lapse easy. In addition, they have a long battery life, allowing you to shoot long time lapses comfortably. Lastly, you can easily share videos instantly on social media and YouTube with these cameras.


The downside of time lapse cameras is that they come with a lesser number of built-in shooting modes.

Action Cameras


Action cams feature an excellent stabilization mechanism and multiple built-in shooting modes. In addition, they offer increased frame rates, making slow motion an option.


Action cameras have smaller batteries leading to less recording time. To shoot time lapse videos, the camera's battery must last at least three hours or more.



Smartphones are portable and compact and have a good set of time lapse-friendly features. You wouldn't have to invest in an additional camera for shooting time lapses.


But with smartphones, you tend to get distracted by the notifications. Plus, they are suitable for short-term projects only, considering battery and storage capacity.

Summing Up

If you're seriously pursuing time lapsing, investing in a time lapse camera is best.

But for starters, you can always begin with your smartphone or a camera that you already have, learn the tricks of the trade, and then invest in a time lapse camera.

You have many options even in time lapse cameras and come from top brands in different price ranges - pick one that works best for you and get going with your time lapse journey!