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Best timelapse cameras in 2022 for construction, events or speeding up nature

Best timelapse camera - Brinno TLC2020 in use on a construction site
(Image credit: Brinno)

Investing in a timelapse camera is a great way to capture a matter of hours, days, weeks or months in a short clip. We've rounded up the best timelapse cameras around to help you find the perfect model for you, whether you want to document a bike ride, capture the unfurling of a rare flower, or record the construction of a new building. Whatever the subject, the growing popularity of timelapse is unarguable and your audience will be won over fast. 

Most cameras have some sort of timelapse function, enabling you to at least set an interval timer to capture a series of photos you can combine into a video form later. In fact, many phones have the capability to produce timelapses – iPhones have a particularly useful timelapse function in the native camera app, so it’s easy to get a taste for this form of creativity. 

Soon enough, you’ll find leaving your main camera (let alone your phone) capturing photos for extended periods of time isn't ideal. Some of the most interesting timelapse videos are captured over weeks, or even months – and having your main tech tied up for that amount of time just won't be practical. 

That's why buying one of the best timelapse cameras can be so useful. These cameras are built to last much longer than traditional cameras (although you may have to rely on old-fashioned batteries instead). They will also typically take weatherproofing and mounting seriously. Plus, many of the best timelapse cameras automatically process your collection of stills straight into a video clip for you. This prevents you from having to mess around with dedicated timelapse software yourself. 

Best timelapse cameras in 2022

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)
Best time-lapse camera for action

Specifications

Stills resolution (megapixels): 23MP
Video resolution: 5.3K
Video length: not stated
Data storage: Via Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC card, up to 256GB
Night vision: : Yes
Audio recording: Yes
LCD: Yes, Front & Back
Dimensions: 71 x 55 x 34mm
Power: 1720mAh rechargeable

Reasons to buy

+
Front and back screen for composing 
+
High-resolution 5.3K output

Reasons to avoid

-
Fairly expensive
-
Best prices if you buy from GoPro with GoPro Subscription

The ultimate action camera, the GoPro Hero10 Black can shoot about 70 minutes of 5.3K video at a luxurious 100Mbp. Time-lapse is just an extra feature, but still offers the choice of 0.5, 1, 2, 5, 10, 30 and 60-second intervals between frames (though, oddly, JPEG only for 0.5, 1 and 2-second intervals). The battery is bigger than the Hero8, too, so you can get longer timelapses than you might remember, though the processor in the Hero 10 does draw more power because of recognised usability flaws with its predecessor which, thankfully, have been resolved. 

While recording action, a fun way to play with time is TimeWarp’s real speed option; briefly hold a button and the time-lapse will slow to real speed and add audio. 

Other features when being used as an action camera include swappable lenses and in-built “HyperSmooth” image stabilisation and horizon levelling which works a lot like a gimbal-without-a-gimbal that even work in time-lapse, and the results are striking; if you go for a walk your footage will be free of the footstep bounce. Like all recent GoPros, it will also make micro-adjustments to exposure for a smooth light-to-dark time-lapse; no awkward 1/3rd stop jumps, and there is a dedicated Night Lapse mode with auto interval. Handy.

Recommended

(Image credit: Adam Juniper/Digital Camera World)
Best action time-lapse camera for interval variety

Specifications

Stills resolution (megapixels): 12MP
Video resolution: 4K
Video length: not stated
Data storage: Via Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC card, up to 256GB
Night vision: No
Audio recording: Yes
LCD: Yes (rear or dual optional)
Dimensions: 65 x 42 x 35mm
Power: 580mAh ,camera unit, or 580+1300mAh with Power Module

Reasons to buy

+
Can be used as tiny camera unit waterproof
+
A genuinely gorgeous piece of technology 
+
Versatile option to connect battery or vlogging  screen

Reasons to avoid

-
More expensive than predecessor
-
Only waterproof as lone camera unit or in case

DJI is on their second action camera and in both cases they’ve really surprised GoPro with new features. We can’t mention GoPro in a list without noting the possibilities the Action 2 offers as a timelapse device, not least the option to be worn very discretely with the new Magnetic Lanyard so the camera is nothing more than a lens on the chest (it’s about half the size of the GoPro).

The OLED touchscreen makes choosing interval & shooting duration painless ,while continually being provided with a calculated Video Duration. So, dial 10s Interval and 1h Duration and you’ll see a 00:12 Video Duration (assuming 60fps). OK, not entirely unique, but what does stand out on this screen is the variety of intervals you can use to get the perfect shot length; 0.5, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, 13, 15, 20, 30, 40 seconds. All these are available at 4K, 2.7K and 1080p and, of course, there is a built-in microphone and, like the GoPro, it is fully waterproof. 

TLC2020

(Image credit: Brinno)

3. Brinno Empower TLC2020

Best timelapse camera for construction projects

Specifications

Stills resolution (effective): 2MP
Video resolution: 1080p
Video length: up to 60 seconds
Data storage: MicroSD/SDHC/SDXC card, up to 128GB
Night vision:: Yes
Audio recording: Yes
LCD: Yes
Dimensions: 60 x 71 x 47 mm
Power: 4x AA batteries.

Reasons to buy

+
Wide range of accessories
+
Interchangeable lenses
+
2” screen

Reasons to avoid

-
AVI only
-
Waterproof casing costs extra

TLC200

(Image credit: Brinno)

The TLC2020 is not Brinno’s first timelapse camera, and this model does offer more than some of its predecessors while using the same interchangeable CS mount lenses, which some might already have in their collections. It can capture up to 82 days worth of footage (at one frame every 5 minutes) thanks to the option to add 2 extra batteries, and manufacturer Brinno offers a range of optional accessories including its jib-like BARD monopod/clamp, a waterproof housing and a smooth-moving motorized turntable. Setup is merciful to those not inclined to algebra, clearly indicating how many seconds of footage per hour will be shot in plain English on the rear-mounted monitor. If you want more guidance, mode names like “indoor event” and “detailed craftwork” help you choose the right speed. The produced video, however, is  in .avi format which will mean Mac users will need a conversion tool (but these are fairly easily found online).

4. Brinno TLC200 Pro

Best timelapse camera for enthusiasts getting started

Specifications

Stills resolution (effective): 1.4MP
Video resolution: 720p
Video length: up to 60 seconds
Data storage: SD Card, up to 32GB
Night vision: Yes (Pro version)
Audio recording: No
LCD: Yes
Dimensions: 64 x 106 x 46 mm
Power: 4x AA batteries or Micro USB

Reasons to buy

+
110 degrees of lens adjustment
+
Interchangeable lenses
+
HDR makes the Pro worth having alone

Reasons to avoid

-
Maximum video resolution is 1280 x 720
-
Waterproof casing costs extra

While Brinno offer devices with higher resolutions, the TLC200 and TLC200 Pro mark a more accessible starting point into timelapse photography while retaining the significant benefit of compatibility with Brinno’s lens system. You could buy one of these, add a compatible tele lens later, then use that lens with a more powerful camera (like the Empower TLC2020) when the job demanded it. (The waterproof housing is probably more essential than a new lens.) 

In exchange for the cheaper entry price, you get a smaller preview screen, just 1.4” (though that is enough to do the job) and – if you skip the ‘Pro’ model – you also miss out on HDR. The latter is an essential feature if lighting conditions will shift during your shoot. That’ll be worthwhile since (with either model) you’ll be able to get 40 day’s worth on camera capturing one shot every 5 minutes. This might even be the start of a new creative avenue for the kids, with optional triggers for stop-motion amongst the available accessories it could even promote patience. 

(Image credit: Technaxx )

5. Technaxx TX-164

Best timelapse camera for working time

Specifications

Stills resolution (megapixels): 2MP
Video resolution: 1080P
Interval: 3 sec - 24h
Video length: 3-120 sec
Data storage: Via SD or SDHC card, up to 512GB
Night vision: Yes, 18m
Audio recording: Yes
LCD: Yes, 2.4in
Dimensions: 115x147x75 mm
Power: 12x AA (or AC adapter)

Reasons to buy

+
Six months battery
+
Weatherproof
+
Accessibly priced

Reasons to avoid

-
Usability could be easier

This piece of German product design has a very specific purpose in mind; long duration timelapse, as evidenced by the 12 spaces for AA cells (4 beneath the electronics, and another 8 in the door). The unit is IP66 weather sealed when closed, so it can be mounted in harsh environments. Just like some German car brands, while the engineering feels firm, the menu system could be easier to navigate, though there is a real manual in the box alongside several mounting options and proportionally you won’t be spending that long with the menu. We appreciated the inclusion of a tree rope as well as a drillable wall bracket with ball joint with screws. The 2.4-inch LCD makes directing the camera simple, and there is also an LED flash to light the night mode with an 18m (60ft) range. It’s also very handy that the system isn’t picky about microSD cards, able to accept up to 512Gb.

(Image credit: Moultrie)

6. Moultrie Wingscapes TimelapseCam Pro

Best timelapse camera for close-ups like plants and birds

Specifications

Stills resolution (megapixels): 20MP
Video resolution: 1080p
Video length: up to 90 seconds
Data storage: Via SD or SDHC card, up to 32GB
Night vision: Yes
Audio recording: Yes
LCD: Yes
Dimensions: 245x152x92 mm
Power: 8x AA (or AC adapter)

Reasons to buy

+
 Can produce shallow-depth-of-field
+
Weatherproof
+
Accessibly priced

Reasons to avoid

-
Firmware updates could be easier

This is the specifically time-lapse version, but Wingscapes also produce a camera which is similarly friendly to close-up action but triggered – like the best trail cameras – by close-up action. Supplied with a mounting bracket for poles and a strap for trees, this device is very much designed to live in the outdoors. 

The intention that it should be focused on a specific location (a bird feeder or a growing flower) is hammered home by the fact the box also includes a tape measure for discovering the focusing distance. Yes, it’s a manual focus, but the lens grip has been surrounded by markings so setting the distance isn’t too challenging, and the fewer expensive features, the easier it feels to leave it outdoors for extended periods! That said, it has a powerful LED flash and the option to have 2 different time-lapse programs per day (perhaps a lower frame rate at night?), both nice extras. 

There is also ‘managed memory,’ which deletes the oldest images on the memory card if space runs out, rather than stopping altogether. If you’re always organized, you should never need this feature. You might want it disabled (which you can do). However, writing as someone more likely to copy images off than to remember to delete them after, I found it very useful.

(Image credit: ATLi)

7. aTLi EON

Best time-lapse camera for stand-out social posts

Specifications

Stills resolution (megapixels): 4MP
Video resolution: 1080P
Interval: 0.5sec - 24h
Data storage: Via Micro SD/SDHC/SDXC card, up to 128GB
Night vision: Low Light mode
Audio recording: Yes
LCD: No
Dimensions: 71 x 50 x 53mm
Power: 2050mAh rechargeable

Reasons to buy

+
Great accessories
+
Time Slice option
+
Long battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
4K would be nice

If you’ve been caught by the time-lapse bug on social but don’t want to tie up your phone, then it certainly feels like the EON is the camera built with you in mind. You might think the option of a white case verges on the condescending (if so, choose the more traditional black), but in truth it is features like the Time Slice that stand out. This is a single photo generated from strips of a time-lapse to show a day in a single still – very striking.

That’s not all, either. The camera is presented more as a set including a UV filter, case, lens hood and mini tripod. It is app controlled, so you’ll need your phone to get things going, but the app offers more than mere interval settings. You can tap to zoom on an area as you adjust the manual focus, check a live preview even as a shoot is in progress, or switch to an infrared mode. You can also switch to power-saving mode; in this case the battery is measured in days, not minutes, and the 2μm pixels and up to 1.4-sec shutter speed can help in low light.

Best timelapse camera: Brinno TLC130

(Image credit: Brinno )

8. Brinno TLC130

A timelapse device which beats action cams for portability

Specifications

Stills resolution (effective): 2MP
Video resolution: 1080p
Video length: up to 90 seconds / 64GB
Data storage: Micro SD
Night vision: No
Audio recording: No
LCD: Yes
Dimensions: 71 x 91 x 43mm
Power: Rechargeable li-po

Reasons to buy

+
Rechargeable battery
+
Outdoor waterproof IPX4
+
Versatile mounts like action cameras

Reasons to avoid

-
Only a couple of weeks at the limit
-
Fixed 138˚ viewing angle

The TLC130 is a compact camera, designed to be even more portable than the GoPro Hero, but still operate in a familiar way: using a rechargeable battery and microSD card. The TLC130’s power, however, is optimized around time-lapse shooting, so it can expect to manage six days at a 5-minute interval despite the tiny form factor, long enough to track some vacation events but perhaps not to follow the construction of a skyscraper. Power is also saved by eliminating a display; there are just two buttons and an LED though the power button doubles up as shutter for step videos. 

The real flexibility comes via the Brinno App, with features from edits and sharing to changing settings, all managed over Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and the resulting file is 1080P video. While some form of image stabilization (IS) would have been nice, the ability to capture a series of clips – step videos – is a nice option for action fans and this is an interesting alternative to an action cam for distance cyclists despite the timelapse focus.

(Image credit: Afidus)

9. Afidus ATL-200 HD

Best timelapse camera for flexibility, this camera can do long term and has optical zoom

Specifications

Stills resolution (megapixels): 20MP
Video resolution: 1080p
Video length: up to 90 seconds
Data storage: Ultra Micro SD, up to 128GB
Night vision: Yes
Audio recording: No
LCD: Yes
Dimensions: 71 x 91 x 43mm
Power: 4x AA (or Micro USB)

Reasons to buy

+
Instagram framing guide
+
PIR Motion Sensor included
+
IP65 weatherproofing

Reasons to avoid

-
Once started, you cannot use the app to stop a timelapse

With a standard tripod mount, a motion detector, HDR, and a zoom (with an effective 16-35mm focal length) the Afidus ATL-200 has potential for a wide variety of potential users. The Sony Exmor imaging sensor can produce 1080P, but setting it up isn’t too painful; there is autofocus (and macro) and the convenience of your phone’s screen via the Wi-Fi app for operation. If it turns out you’ve given the camera a great view, you can also shoot limited sections of continuous video at up to 30fps (720P) or 15fps for 1080p. 

The real purpose, though, time-lapse intervals, can be set from every second to every day via the well-featured app. This is also where one can choose Stars mode, and various other settings, and even pop up an Instagram-friendly square to frame your shot in so the resulting footage will work on square and 16:9 formats. Another handy feature is image alignment; if you move the camera (accidentally or to change the battery), you can load a previous shot and use it re-align the camera with the previous clips.

(Image credit: Enlaps)

10. Enlaps Tikee 3 Pro

Best timelapse camera with 4G for professional projects

Specifications

Stills resolution (megapixels): 20MP (6K)
Video resolution: 6K (via app)
Video length: Up to 24hr video
Data storage: MicroSD/SDHC/SDXC card, up to 256GB
Night vision: Yes
Audio recording: -
LCD: Uses phone app
Dimensions: 60 x 71 x 47 mm
Power: 4x AA batteries

Reasons to buy

+
Wide range of accessories
+
Built in solar panel
+
DNG or JPEG 

Reasons to avoid

-
Correct version for local 4G network needed
-
Processing via pricey subscription

The Tikee 3 Pro makes no compromises for professionals; it looks like a small rugged metal equipment case (which, essentially, it is), though corners feature two lenses and the lid has an embedded solar panel which should top the battery up (though the device will remain self-sufficient for up to 6000 stills without).

Control is not through fiddly keys but a pleasingly elegant app. It uses three presets (Short Term Burst, Short Term Event, and Long Term) from which shooting frequencies, hours of and days of operation and so on can be added. Images are sent to the user in batches in order to minimize battery use, and become accessible via a paid-for myTikee cloud account. 

Weatherproofing is IP66, so as long as it’s not underwater it should survive.

We liked that a long term and short term sequence could be created at the same time, and the 220˚ horizontal field of view is far more cinematic than the average GoPro.

Aerial Timelapse: Drones that can capture timelapse

If you’re interested in capturing a timelapse effect from an aerial perspective, that’s not a problem. Most new drones have some additional support for the effect. Clearly a battery-powered craft will not be able to maintain a position above ground longer than the drone can fly, but newer drones – like the DJI Mavic 3 – have around 40 minutes of useable flight time, making a visibly accelerated real world feasible.

In addition, since Mavic 2, DJI’s drones have been able to use what is called their Hyperlapse feature to orbit a certain point – or even a series of waypoints – and smoothly move the aircraft slowly enough for the timelapse effect to work, while keeping the lens on target.

Hyperlapse is not unique to DJI either; it’s now seen on Autel aircraft, including the recent Autel EVO Nano+.

What we look for in timelapse cameras

A timeplase camera has to be robust and stable to be able to leave wherever you desire to capture a vast array of visuals from cityscape timeplase that we often see in movies to great moving vistas of the landscape. 

Battery Life with these things is also a big consideration when picking out which one is best for you, some will be able to capture hours of footage, where others can capture days, weeks or even months in one clip. Many timeplase cameras have a multitude of features and within this guide you will find timelapse cameras for all budgets and abilities.  

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For nearly two decades Sebastian's work has been published internationally. Originally specialising in Equestrianism, his visuals have been used by the leading names in the equestrian industry such as The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), The Jockey Club, Horse & Hound and many more for various advertising campaigns, books and pre/post-event highlights.


He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, holds a Foundation Degree in Equitation Science and is a Master of Arts in Publishing.  He is member of Nikon NPS and has been a Nikon user since the film days using a Nikon F5 and saw the digital transition with Nikon's D series cameras and is still to this day the youngest member to be elected in to BEWA, The British Equestrian Writers' Association. 


He is familiar with and shows great interest in medium and large format photography with products by Phase One, Hasselblad, Alpa and Sinar and has used many cinema cameras from the likes of Sony, RED, ARRI and everything in between. His work covers the genres of Equestrian, Landscape, Abstract or Nature and combines nearly two decades of experience to offer exclusive limited-edition prints to the international stage from his film & digital photography.