Time-lapse images are an interesting way to present a scene. A time-lapse works better than filming, as you can set up the camera without needing to be around. The still images can also be a much higher resolution than the video file.
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.
In this article, we look at the best time-lapse cameras for all skill levels.
[Note: ExpertPhotography is supported by readers. Product links on ExpertPhotography are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, we make a little bit of money. Need more info? See how it all works here.]
The Best Time-Lapse Camera Options
There are two types of time-lapse projects; short-term or long-term. The short term would be setting up your system, capturing the sunset, and then packing up to go home.
A long-term project means setting up a system and leaving it to capture for weeks or longer. A construction project over a period of time, for example.
The Best DSLRs for Time-Lapse Photography
As the Nikon is a 46MP full-frame camera, it is one of the DSLRs with the best image quality on the market.
Although the Canon has a 33MP crop sensor, it can still compete with full-frame cameras.
Both have two options for making time-lapse movies. These are the time-lapse video shooting and the interval timer shooting functions.
Time-lapse movie shooting means you set an interval and the camera takes photos at it. It then makes a silent movie from the images.
Interval timer shooting is similar. The camera takes photos at a preset interval, creating the raw materials for a time-lapse. The main difference is that you need to import them into an external software to create and edit.
The Nikon D850 might be better in low-light conditions. Its full-frame sensor can capture more details.
However, the Canon EOS 90D is roughly half the price.
Mirrorless Camera for Time-Lapse Photography
There is almost no difference in print quality between DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. In some cases, mirrorless has fewer cases of blurriness due to the lack of a mirror flicking up and down.
The Sony is a full-frame camera, which makes it better for shooting in low-light conditions. The Canon has a crop sensor.
The Canon offers a higher resolution than the Sony, despite the sensor size difference. It has a 32.5MP sensor, while the Sony operates with a 24.2MP.
Both have a built-in intervalometer. This makes them being able to create stunning time-lapse video movies.
The Canon EOS M6 Mark II is the cheaper option. It is also smaller.
But both of them are much smaller and lighter than the DSLR options.
Both cameras are great, not only for time-lapses. The Canon is better for those who like to always have their camera as it’s more compact. The Sony is better among low-light conditions.
The Best Dedicated Time-Lapse Camera
The Brinno BCC200 is a dedicated time-lapse camera designed for long-term projects.
This product is perfect for professionals as well as beginners. It was created to be user-friendly.
The camera has a High Dynamic Range (HDR) image sensor. This is capable of producing those stunning 720p time-lapse videos. It will even work well under any lighting conditions.
The camera comes with a 19 mm f/2.0 glass lens, and there are extra CS-mount lenses that allow you to expand your gear.
The BCC200 Pro can provide a ready-to-view video. This cuts out the need for post-processing. Download the AVI video file, and away you go.
It uses a 112° field of view, so it captures a wider area compared to other cameras. The preview screen is handy, letting you set up your scene quick.
The Canon 90D will work well as a stand-alone, secondary camera for time-lapse videos. If you already have a Canon DSLR, then the lenses are interchangeable.
The Sony A7 III is a great camera through all disciplines, not only for time-lapsing. It’s the best all-around option.
If you are looking for a high-end option with the most advanced sensor technology, go for the Nikon D850.
For longer-term projects, the Brinno is the safest option for unattended usage.
Effortlessly create stunning time-lapse video and photos with our Total Time-Lapse course!