If you Google giant pumpkin time lapse you will see there are some pretty cool time lapse video out there showing a pumpkin growth from a seed right through to maturity.

Brinno Garden Watch Cam

It wasn’t long ago that time lapse cameras were something only professionals had the chance to use. With advancements in all areas electronic, cheaper components and the need for more people to film things over long periods of time time lapse cameras are now affordable for the masses.

What is a time lapse camera?

A time lapse camera is a camera that takes an image at a set time period, anywhere from seconds to minutes to hours. Once all of these images have been taken they are stitched together and a movie is made, not unlike how stop motion films are made.

Why would you want a time lapse camera?

A time lapse camera lets you take incremental images of something that takes a while to complete. This can be the construction of buildings, people at events or things growing in your garden.  Giant pumpkins are a great subject for time lapse as you can see the complete growth over many months in just a couple of minutes like this:

Benefits of using a dedicated time lapse camera

  • A dedicated time lapse camera is considerably cheaper then getting a DSLR camera set up in it’s own enclosure (like cheaper in the thousands of dollars kinda way)
  • It has been built for a specific purpose with features that means it is up to the task with less worry. They are easy to setup and use.
  • They can last a long period on a set of batteries

Features to look for in a time lapse camera

  • Find out if it is weather proof by itself or if it needs an extra enclosure to cover the camera
  • Check out what temperatures the camera can operate in, if you are in a particularly cold climate you might find the stated battery times might be less
  • Find out what intervals the camera can take photos at, will these work with what you are wanting to do a time lapse of.
  • What are the mounting options for the camera, will you be able to mount it easily or have it in a place where it will work for your time lapse.
  • What batteries or power requirements does the camera take? Will you need to change the batteries often?
  • What are the storage options? Are the images stored on memory within the camera or can they be stored onto an SD card. If it does store to an SD card what is the maximum size card it can take, and how many images does that equate to?
  • What is the lens set up on the camera? Is it a macro lens for small close up things, a fish eye lens, is it fixed or can the lens be changed if needed?
  • Some cameras stitch together the photos into a movie within the camera itself, no other program or knowledge is required.

What types of time lapse cameras are there?

Time lapse can be done with a DSLR camera in conjunction with a special camera rig to provide movement if needed to get amazing results like this:

In this post I will be  talking about the small self contained units whose main purpose is to just do time lapse. There are 3  main companies I came across with time lapse cameras suitable for the home gardener, giant pumpkin grower or anyone else wanting an easy to use cost effective time lapse camera.

Brinno

Day 6 Outdoors

Wingscapes

What type of cameras do they offer?

Brinno TimeLapse Camera Lineup

Garden Watch Cam

Brinno Garden Watch CamGardenWatchCamera Open

Pros:

  • Cost effective
  • Easy to use
  • Uses flash drive not SD cards
  • Wide lens view of any gardening area

Cons:

  • Only 8gb max storage
  • No screen

Other features:

  • 7 different selectable time settings
  • Mounted onto a stake
  • One set of batteries lasts 6 months with an hourly photo being taken
  • Macro view option allows you to focus on an individual flower, or small
    area 20 inches away from the camera
  • Time and Date Stamped JPEG Photos
  • 2GB Flashdrive and batteries are included with the camera

Demo Video of the Brinno Garden Watch Cam

Brinno TLC100

Brinno TLC100

The Brinno TLC100 TimeLapse camera is listed on the Brinno website, but I can’t easily see it for sale anywhere.  It also has what appears to be the exact same specs as the gardenwatch cam above.  It just seems to have a different colour to the outside of the case.

Pros:

  • Cheap
  • Easy to use
  • Used flash drive not SD cards
  • Wide lens view of any gardening area

Cons:

  • Only 8gb max storage
  • No screen

Other features:

  • 7 different selectable time settings
  • Mounted onto a stake
  • One set of batteries lasts 6 months with an hourly photo being taken
  • Macro view option allows you to focus on an individual flower, or small
    area 20 inches away from the camera
  • Time and Date Stamped JPEG Photos
  • 2GB Flashdrive and batteries are included with the camera

Brinno TLC200

Brinno TLC200TLC200 with cover

Pros:

  • Wide angle lens can be attached
  • Has an LCD preview screen on the back
  • Rotatable lens
  • Has the ability to be powered externally, 5v micro USB
  • Has an extension port for accessories
  • Auto generates timelapse video

Cons:

  • Needs an outdoor enclosure to make it fully waterproof (not included)

Other features:

  • Has a bunch of accessories (purchased separately) – bike cam holder, weather resistant housing, wide angle lens, motion sensor, wall mount, stop motion camera release button.

Video shot with the Brinno TLC200 TimeLapse Camera

@giantsquash shared this video of 12 days growth with me via Twitter


Brinno TLC 200 F1.2

Brinno TLC200-f1.2

The Brinno TLC200 F1.2 TimeLapse camera is pretty much identical to the TLC200 above with the only real difference being that the lenses aperture is f/1.2 and not the f/2.8 as in the TLC200 version.  It also has a wider field of view at 140° instead of the 59° found on the TLC200 model.

With a lower aperture it is more suited to shooting images in low light.

Pros:

  • Ideal for low light situations
  • Has a wide field of view as standard
  • Has an LCD preview screen on the back
  • Rotatable lens
  • Has the ability to be powered externally, 5v micro USB
  • Has an extension port for accessories
  • Auto generates timelapse video

Cons:

  • Needs an outdoor enclosure to make it fully waterproof (not included)

Other features:

  • Has a bunch of accessories (purchased separately) – bike cam holder, weather resistant housing, wide angle lens, motion sensor, wall mount, stop motion camera release button.

Video shot with the Brinno TLC200 F1.2 TimeLapse Camera


Brinno TLC 200 Pro

Brinno TLC200 Pro

The Brinno TLC200 Pro is the top of the line timelapse camera that brinno makes.  It comes with a standard F2.0 lens with a 112° field of view.  It also has the ability to use interchangeable lenses using the CS mount interface, these can be expensive with some lenses costing more then the camera itself.

Pros:

  • Ideal for low light situations
  • Has an LCD preview screen on the back
  • Rotatable lens
  • Has the ability to be powered externally, 5v micro USB
  • Has an extension port for accessories
  • Auto generates timelapse video

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Needs a case to make it waterproof

Video shot with the Brinno TLC200 Pro TimeLapse Camera


Day6 Timelapse camera lineup

Day6 Plot watcher

Day-6-PlotWatcher-Camera

The Day6 timelapse cameras are marketed towards hunters wanting to find where wild game are and if they come into the area.  But there are many uses for such a camera, recording giant pumpkin growth is one of them.

Pros:

  • Cost effective solution
  • Time and date stamps each image
  • Auto generates timelapse video
  • Comes with gamefinder software to help view images taken

Cons:

  • No LCD screen on camera
  • Only 4 interval settings

Day6 Plotwatcher Pro

Day-6-PlotWatcher-ProPlotwatcherPro Open

The Day6 Plotwatcher Pro takes things up a notch from the plotwatcher, it has double the amount of batteries for longer run times, a built in LCD screen to see what it is shooting and the ability to use a zoom or wide angle lens.

Pros:

  • Light or time based on and off function
  • Security cable ready for better security when left outside
  • Temperature and moon phase on each image taken
  • Long run time between battery changes, in some cases up to 1 million images can be taken.
  • Zoom and wide angle lens capable
  • Comes with gamefinder software to help view images taken
  • Has an external power supply port

Cons:

  • Only comes in one color
  • Quite large compared to some other cameras

Day6 Plotwatcher Pro Sample Video


Winscapes Timelapse Camera Lineup

Wingscapes Timelapse Cam

Wingscapes Timelapse Cam

The wingscapes cameras have been around for a while and offer great value for money.  I unfortunately couldn’t get the specifications button for the cameras to work when checking out their website.  I also couldn’t view the operation manual for the camera.  Not sure if it was a problem with the site, or something wrong with my computer (although I did try multiple browsers and computers with no luck)

Pros:

  • Cost effective solution
  • LCD Screen for menu control
  • Time, date, moon phase etc stamped on photos

Cons:

  • No screen to check shots

Wingscapes TimelapseCam Sample Video


Wingscapes TimelapseCam Pro

TimelapsecamproTimelapsecampro open

Pros:

  • 10 Megapixal camera
  • Added flash for night shots
  • Variable focus
  • Supports external battery power and solar panel

Cons:

  • Takes 6 x C size batteries

I couldn’t find a specific video shot with the pro version to show you.

How much are the timelapse cameras?

Prices vary greatly between the products and I haven’t included any prices as they can differ depending on where you live and where you will buy your camera from.  To get an idea on price I’d suggest checking out Amazon which gives you a good indication of price as well as being able to read reviews from people that have already used these camera.  Take into consideration the cost of any accessories you may need to get the most from your camera.

What camera is right for you?

I think for a lot of people it will come down to cost, a timelapse camera is great for documenting something over time but is probably not an item that you would use all the time.  So picking a camera with all the features you want, without the need for buying other items to make it work in your environment is probably as good start.

What camera would I pick?

Without having a hands on play with any of the cameras and not knowing anyone with one to check out it I can’t personally recommend any.  But I do like the look of the Day6 PlotWatcher Pro camera.  And here’s why:

  • It uses easy to find standard AA batteries (decent battery life too)
  • It has an inbuilt LCD screen to help check shots and make setup easier
  • It is security cable ready to help prevent theft of the camera
  • It can start and stop either based on light or time
  • It takes a nice wide shot taking in a large area

While this camera is marketed and made for hunters, I think it would work well in the situation I would want to use it for.  Although any camera I have listed in this post would work just as well I’m sure.  This is just my personal choice from all the information I have read.

What camera do you have or what camera would you want?

Do you have a timelapse camera?  What type do you have?  Or what camera do you want?  If you can answer any of those questions or you think there is a camera I have missed and should have on the list, then let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.