The Essential Time Lapse Equipment for Stunning Videos

When it comes to creating stunning time lapse videos, having the right equipment is essential. From choosing the right camera to selecting the perfect lenses and tripod, each piece plays a crucial role in capturing the passage of time in a visually captivating way. In this article, we will explore the essential time lapse equipment that every videographer should have in their toolkit.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose a camera that offers manual mode and has a large sensor size for better image quality.
  • Wide-angle lenses are ideal for capturing vast landscapes, while zoom lenses provide versatility and creativity.
  • Invest in a sturdy tripod made of durable materials and consider its height and weight for stability.
  • An intervalometer is a must-have for automating the time lapse process, choose between wired and wireless options.
  • Ensure compatibility between the intervalometer and your camera model for seamless integration.

Choosing the Right Camera

Mirrorless vs DSLR: Which is Best for Time Lapse?

When it comes to choosing the right camera for time lapse photography, you have two main options: mirrorless and DSLR. Both types of cameras have their own strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to consider your specific needs and preferences. Motion blur is a common concern when shooting time lapse videos, and it can be influenced by the camera’s shutter speed and frame rate. With a mirrorless camera, you have the advantage of electronic shutters, which can help reduce motion blur and create smoother footage. On the other hand, DSLR cameras often have a wider range of lens options and better battery life, which can be beneficial for longer time lapse projects.

Considerations for Sensor Size and Resolution

When it comes to time lapse photography, sensor size and resolution play a crucial role in capturing stunning videos. The sensor size determines the amount of light the camera can capture, while the resolution determines the level of detail in the final image. Choosing the right camera with the appropriate sensor size and resolution is essential for achieving the desired results.

In terms of sensor size, larger sensors generally perform better in low-light conditions and offer improved dynamic range. This means that they can capture more detail in both the highlights and shadows of the scene. On the other hand, smaller sensors may struggle in low-light situations and may produce more noise in the final image.

Resolution, on the other hand, refers to the number of pixels in the image. Higher resolution cameras can capture more detail, but they also produce larger file sizes. Finding the right balance between resolution and file size is important, especially if you plan to shoot long time lapses or if storage space is a concern.

When considering sensor size and resolution, it’s also important to think about the type of camera you’ll be using. Mirrorless cameras are becoming increasingly popular for time lapse photography due to their compact size and versatility. They offer the advantage of being able to change lenses, allowing you to adapt to different shooting situations. Additionally, they are often lighter and more portable than DSLR cameras, making them a great choice if you’re planning to carry your gear in a camera bag during outdoor shoots.

The Importance of Manual Mode

When it comes to time lapse photography, manual mode is your best friend. It gives you full control over the exposure settings, allowing you to capture the scene exactly as you envision it. With manual mode, you can adjust the shutter speed, aperture, and ISO to achieve the desired effect. This is especially important when shooting in changing lighting conditions, as the camera’s automatic settings may not always produce the desired results.

One useful tool for determining the correct exposure settings is an exposure calculator. This handy device helps you calculate the ideal combination of shutter speed, aperture, and ISO for a given scene. By inputting the desired exposure value and the camera’s ISO sensitivity, the exposure calculator provides you with the recommended settings. It takes the guesswork out of finding the perfect exposure and ensures that your time lapse videos are properly exposed throughout the entire sequence.

In addition to using an exposure calculator, it’s also important to keep an eye on the histogram. The histogram is a graphical representation of the tonal distribution in your image, showing the distribution of brightness values from shadows to highlights. By monitoring the histogram, you can ensure that your time lapse videos have a balanced exposure and avoid clipping the highlights or losing details in the shadows.

Remember, in time lapse photography, manual mode and tools like exposure calculators and histograms are essential for achieving stunning results.

Essential Lenses for Time Lapse

Wide-Angle Lenses for Capturing Vast Landscapes

When it comes to capturing vast landscapes in your time lapse videos, wide-angle lenses are a must-have. These lenses allow you to fit more of the scene into the frame, creating a sense of depth and scale. They are perfect for showcasing the expansive beauty of nature or the grandeur of architectural structures.

Wide-angle lenses are designed to have a shorter focal length, typically between 14mm and 35mm. This wide field of view allows you to capture a wider perspective, making it ideal for landscape photography. The wider the angle, the more you can include in your frame, giving your time lapse videos a breathtaking and immersive feel.

When choosing a wide-angle lens, consider the aperture as well. A wider aperture, such as f/2.8, allows more light to enter the lens, resulting in brighter and sharper images. This is especially important when shooting in low light conditions, such as during sunrise or sunset.

To enhance the quality of your time lapse videos, look for wide-angle lenses that have been extensively researched and tested for optimal performance.

Zoom Lenses for Versatility and Creativity

Zoom lenses are a great choice for time lapse photography because of their versatility and creativity. With a zoom lens, you can easily adjust the focal length to capture different perspectives and compositions. Whether you want to zoom in for a close-up shot or zoom out to include a wide view, a zoom lens gives you the flexibility to experiment and get the perfect shot. Additionally, zoom lenses often have a wide range of aperture settings, allowing you to control the depth of field and create stunning shots with a blurred background or sharp focus on your subject.

Prime Lenses for Sharpness and Low Light Performance

When it comes to capturing stunning time lapse videos, prime lenses are a great choice for achieving image sharpness and excellent low light performance. These lenses are specifically designed to provide maximum sharpness and clarity, allowing you to capture every detail in your time lapse footage. With their wide maximum apertures, prime lenses also excel in low light conditions, allowing you to capture breathtaking nightscapes and star trails.

To further enhance the quality of your time lapse videos, consider investing in prime lenses with a wide focal length range. This will allow you to capture a variety of perspectives and compositions, from wide-angle shots of vast landscapes to close-up details of your subject. Additionally, prime lenses with a fast autofocus system can help you quickly and accurately focus on your subject, ensuring sharp and crisp images in every frame.

To make the most of your prime lenses, it’s important to use them with a sturdy tripod to minimize camera shake. This will help maintain the sharpness and clarity of your images, especially during long exposure shots. Additionally, using a remote shutter release or intervalometer can further reduce camera shake by eliminating the need to physically press the shutter button.

In conclusion, prime lenses are an essential piece of equipment for capturing stunning time lapse videos. Their ability to deliver exceptional image sharpness and low light performance make them a valuable tool for any time lapse photographer. Invest in a high-quality prime lens and pair it with a sturdy tripod and remote shutter release for the best results.

Sturdy Tripods for Stability

Choosing the Right Tripod Material

When it comes to selecting the right tripod material for your time lapse photography, there are a few factors to consider. Durability is key, as you want a tripod that can withstand the elements and provide stability for long exposure shots. Carbon fiber tripods are a popular choice due to their lightweight yet sturdy construction. They offer excellent vibration dampening properties, making them ideal for capturing sharp and clear images. Another option is aluminum tripods, which are more affordable and still provide decent stability. However, they may be heavier and less resistant to vibrations compared to carbon fiber. Ultimately, the choice of tripod material depends on your specific needs and budget.

Considerations for Height and Weight

When choosing a tripod for your time lapse photography, height and weight are important factors to consider. A tripod that is too short may limit your composition options, while a tripod that is too heavy may be difficult to carry around. You want to find a tripod that strikes the right balance between height and weight, allowing you to capture stable and steady shots without sacrificing portability. Look for tripods that offer adjustable height options and lightweight materials like carbon fiber or aluminum.

Additional Features for Convenience

When it comes to choosing a tripod for your time lapse photography, there are a few additional features that can make your life easier. One important feature to consider is the ability to adjust the height and weight of the tripod. This allows you to easily set up your camera at the desired height and ensures stability during long exposures. Another convenient feature is the inclusion of a built-in level, which helps you ensure that your camera is perfectly level for straight and balanced shots. Additionally, some tripods come with a quick-release plate system, allowing you to easily attach and detach your camera without any hassle. These features may seem small, but they can greatly enhance your time lapse shooting experience.

Intervalometers: Automating the Time Lapse Process

Wired vs Wireless Intervalometers

When it comes to intervalometers, you have the option to choose between wired and wireless models. Wireless intervalometers offer the convenience of controlling your camera remotely, allowing you to set up your time lapse shots from a distance. This can be especially useful when capturing time lapses in challenging or hard-to-reach locations. On the other hand, wired intervalometers provide a reliable and stable connection between your camera and the intervalometer, ensuring precise control over your time lapse settings. They are often preferred by professionals who prioritize accuracy and consistency in their time lapse videos.

Intervalometer Functions and Features

When it comes to intervalometer functions and features, there are a few key aspects to consider. First and foremost, you’ll want to ensure that the intervalometer you choose is compatible with your specific camera model. Different cameras may have different requirements, so it’s important to do your research and find one that works seamlessly with your setup.

Another important factor to consider is the range of functions offered by the intervalometer. Some models may offer basic features like setting the interval between shots and the total number of shots, while others may have more advanced options like exposure ramping or bulb ramping. Depending on your needs and the type of time-lapse photography you’re planning to do, you may want to opt for a more versatile intervalometer.

Additionally, it’s worth considering the user interface and ease of use of the intervalometer. You’ll want a device that is intuitive and user-friendly, allowing you to easily navigate through the settings and make adjustments as needed.

Lastly, don’t forget to check the build quality and durability of the intervalometer. It’s important to choose a device that is sturdy and reliable, as you’ll likely be using it in various weather conditions and environments.

In summary, when choosing an intervalometer for your time-lapse photography, make sure it is compatible with your camera, offers the necessary functions for your specific needs, has a user-friendly interface, and is built to withstand the demands of outdoor shooting.

Compatibility with Different Camera Models

When it comes to compatibility with different camera models, it’s important to consider the specific requirements of your equipment. Some intervalometers are designed to work with a wide range of cameras, while others may only be compatible with certain brands or models. Before purchasing an intervalometer, make sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure it will work with your camera. Additionally, it’s worth noting that some cameras may have built-in intervalometer functions, eliminating the need for an external device.


In conclusion, choosing the right camera, lenses, tripod, and intervalometer is essential for capturing stunning time lapse videos. Whether you prefer a mirrorless or DSLR camera, consider factors such as sensor size and resolution to achieve the desired image quality. Manual mode allows for greater control over exposure settings, resulting in more creative and professional-looking time lapses. When it comes to lenses, wide-angle lenses are perfect for capturing vast landscapes, while zoom lenses offer versatility and creativity. Prime lenses provide sharpness and excellent performance in low light conditions. Sturdy tripods are crucial for stability, and factors such as material, height, and weight should be considered. Lastly, intervalometers automate the time lapse process, and the choice between wired and wireless options depends on personal preference. Look for intervalometers with functions and features that suit your needs and are compatible with your camera model. With the right equipment, you can create stunning time lapse videos that captivate your audience and showcase the beauty of the world around us.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is time lapse photography?

Time lapse photography is a technique where a series of photos are taken at regular intervals and then played back as a video, creating the illusion of time moving faster.

What equipment do I need for time lapse photography?

To create stunning time lapse videos, you will need a camera, lenses, a sturdy tripod, and an intervalometer.

Can I use a smartphone for time lapse photography?

Yes, smartphones can be used for time lapse photography. There are many apps available that allow you to capture time lapse videos using your smartphone’s camera.

What is the ideal interval for time lapse photography?

The ideal interval for time lapse photography depends on the subject and the desired effect. Generally, intervals between 1-10 seconds are commonly used.

How do I choose the right camera for time lapse photography?

When choosing a camera for time lapse photography, consider factors such as sensor size, resolution, manual mode capability, and compatibility with intervalometers.

Do I need special software to create time lapse videos?

While there are dedicated software programs available for creating time lapse videos, you can also use video editing software to compile the series of photos into a video.