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What is the Best Time-Lapse Camera? (Top 5 Picks!)

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You don’t have to buy a specific time-lapse camera to take amazing footage. Many modern cameras offer the facility, and others can be used with an interval timer. This is a short round-up of some cameras that make the time-lapse genre easily accessible.

You do not have to look for a fast frame-per-second rate, speedy autofocus, or a tracking system. What is important is a high-resolution sensor, the ability to shoot in RAW, and work well in low light.

Our top pick combines amazing go-anywhere capabilities with simple time-lapse and hyper-lapse shooting:

GoPro Hero11 Black
GoPro Hero11 Black
Time-lapse and hyper-lapse don’t come any easier than this.
Price from $399.99
Shop 2 Offers

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What are the Best Cameras for Time-Lapse Photography?

This review looks at cameras for short-term time-lapse. Films that cover days, weeks, or months, like construction projects, use more specialized cameras. Before we look at the cameras in more detail, here’s a table with a summary of their features.

Camera Name
Why We Love It
Price
GoPro Hero11 Black
Our Top Time-Lapse Choice
  • Incredible still-photography resolution
  • HyperSmooth image stabilization for smooth video recording
  • Waterproof down to 33 ft (10 m) without extra housing
  • Best battery life from a GoPro
  • Fantastic 5.3K video resolution for vivid action footage
from $399.99
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Nikon D850
Best Full Frame DSLR for Time-Lapse
  • Fantastic overall image quality
  • Excellent 3D continuous AF tracking
  • Sharp 4K / 30p Ultra HD video
  • Long, 1,840-shot battery life
  • Durable, weather-sealed construction
from $2,496.95
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Canon 90D
Best APS-C DSLR
  • Excellent 32.5 MP APS-C sensor
  • Decent frame rate of 10 fps
  • 4K / 30p Ultra HD video
  • Good, 1,300-shot battery life
  • Live View and Dual Pixel autofocus with eye detection
from $1,199.00
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Sony a7 III
Best Mirrorless Camera
  • Quick and accurate 693-point AF
  • Lightweight for portability
  • Records stunning 4K video
  • Wide ISO range with a low setting of 50 ISO
  • Outstanding dynamic range and low-light performance
from $1,698.00
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DJI Action 2
Most Adaptable Camera
  • 4K video at 120 fps
  • Maximum 240 fps at 1080p
  • Waterproof to 33' (10 m) without a case
  • Modular design
  • Flexible mounting options
from $688.00

Now, starting with our top pick, let’s look in a little detail at our recommendations.

1. GoPro HERO11 Black

from $399.99
GoPro Hero11 Black
Brand GoPro
Megapixels 27 MP
Sensor Size 1/1.9"
Field of View 155
In-body Stabilization Electronic Image Stabalization
Max Video Resolution 5.3K
Slow Motion Speed 8x
Wi-Fi Yes

The GoPro HERO11 Black makes time-lapse and hyper-lapse video super easy. Hyper-lapse is a time-lapse movie where the camera is not in a fixed position. GoPro calls its time-lapse “TimeWarp” and the software does a great job of smoothing out the changes in exposure.

The other thing the GoPro smoothes out is camera-shake. The HERO11 is probably unmatched in its image stabilization. It is almost unbelievably smooth, and horizon leveling can now keep the horizontals remaining that way, even as the camera rotates 360 degrees.

Added to this it the ease with which you can attach a GoPro almost anywhere—there’s even a harness for dogs—giving you a wealth of possibilities limited mainly by your imagination.

2. Nikon D850

from $2,496.95
Nikon D850
Brand Nikon
Sensor Format Full Frame
Lens Mount Nikon F FX
Megapixels 45.7 MP
In-body Stabilization No
Autofocus Points 153
Maximum ISO 102,400
Frame Rate 7 fps
Video Yes
Screen Size 3.2"

The Nikon D850 is not just an excellent pro-level DSLR, with all the features and capability you would expect. But it also has a built-in intervalometer and time-lapse movie shooting modes. The former allows you to take pictures at set intervals, then process them at a later date into a movie. The latter combines the images in-camera for ease of use.

You might want to choose the interval timer for capturing the best quality, or for processing individual frames (which are normal photos).

In every other respect, this is an excellent camera. It has a wealth of lenses to choose from, a top-quality sensor, and AF capability. You won’t be limited to time-lapse photos if you have the Nikon D850 in your bag.

3. Canon EOS 90D

from $1,199.00
Canon 90D
Brand Canon
Sensor Format APS-C
Lens Mount Canon EF/EF-S
Megapixels 33 MP
In-body Stabilization No
Autofocus Points 45
Minimum ISO 100
Maximum ISO 25,600
Frame Rate 10 fps
Video Yes
Screen Size 3"

The Canon EOS D90 has the same time-lapse options as the Nikon. The main differences are in size—both of the sensor and body. The Canon has a 32.5 MP sensor, but it is APS-C rather than full frame.

One benefit of this is that the camera is lighter and easier to mount in places that might be appealing for a time-lapse video. It has similar advantages to the Nikon—a huge range of lenses available, highly-regarded AF and metering systems, and uses far beyond the one genre of time-lapse.

A great choice of camera which also includes the benefit of time-lapse photography.

4. Sony a7 III

from $1,698.00
Sony a7 III
Brand Sony
Sensor Format Full Frame
Lens Mount Sony FE
Megapixels 24.2 MP
In-body Stabilization Yes
Autofocus Points 693
Minimum ISO 50
Maximum ISO 204,800
Frame Rate 10 fps
Video Yes
Screen Size 3"

Lots of people are fans of the Sony a7 III, and video is one of its main strengths. Its built-in intervalometer opens up the world of time-lapse as well. The full frame sensor produces images of the highest quality, and its low-light performance is excellent. This is important, as time-lapse really seems to come alive at night.

Like the other cameras in this review, the Sony a7 III is not a one-trick pony. It handles still and video photography with style, and it is a reassuringly well-made camera. Image quality is excellent, and its 693-point autofocus system is quick and reliable.

There aren’t as many E-mount lenses as you’ll find for Nikon and Canon cameras, but there are more than enough to meet your needs. And the Sony will deliver on a daily basis as an excellent camera whatever your needs.

5. DJI Action 2

from $688.00
DJI Action 2
Released 2021
Megapixels 12 MP
Sensor Size 1/1.7"
Field of View 155
In-body Stabilization Electronic Image Stabalization
Max Video Resolution 4K
Slow Motion Speed 8x
Depth Rating 10 m
Wi-Fi No

Like the GoPro, the DJI Action II combines amazing image stabilization and super-easy time-lapse. It also comes with a range of modular options from front-facing screens to magnetic mounting systems. For time-lapse on the go or in tough environments, it’s a great alternative to the ubiquitous GoPro.

Other features such as 4K video at 120 fps or super slow-motion 1080p at 240 fps are great for action camera enthusiasts.

There are almost limitless ways of mounting the DJI Action II, allowing time-lapse photography in all sorts of unusual places.

Conclusion

There are all sorts of ways of getting into time-lapse photography. If you’re looking to buy a camera with time-lapse as the main feature, you won’t go far wrong with our top choice. It can produce jaw-dropping images in the most difficult of situations.

GoPro Hero11 Black
GoPro Hero11 Black
Time-lapse and hyper-lapse don’t come any easier than this.
Price from $399.99
Shop 2 Offers

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