Outdoor time-lapse camera

We have a large perennial garden that we’d like to capture in a series of time-lapse photos. We’re already behind the curve season-wise, but given the impending eruption of colours, it’s not too late.

I’ve occasionally seen wildlife boxes and whatnot, but don’t know what to look for. I’ve found reviews and comments on posted time-lapse images, but nothing on cameras. Any suggestions for criteria? Brand recommendations?


From what I hear, a laptop + webcam is the easiest way to get something like that going. No idea on brands though. If you happen to have that lying around, it’s usually easy to get started.

We’re hoping to mount this outside, preferably on the roof. The gardens are somewhat large, so a good vantage point is important–none of the windows take in the whole thing. To give an idea of the scope, thisis a shot of the center of it. Hence we’re looking for something with a good/decent camera, a wide angle lens, and weatherproof.

What kind of budget are we talking about?

You can get a waterproof shell for many DSLRs, and pair that with an intervalometer such as the Canon TC-80N3 (or a cheap knockoff thereof)

On a smaller budget, you might try a point and shoot digicam that has a timelapse feature built in. Some (generally high-end) digicams come with this feature.

Also, there is a firmware hack called CHDK that you can apply to Canon point and shoot cameras to add intervalometer functionality.

Doubled ziplok bags around your point and shoot will probably be OK.

If you could set up the timelapse indoors (try a wide-angle or fisheye lens!) you don’t have to worry about weatherproofing and you can also attach the camera to A/C power so you don’t have to worry about the battery.

Good question. Anticipating somewhere between $100-$200, but that’s a wee bit flexible if the end results would be worth it.

Problem with a waterproof shell for our DSLR is wanting to use it for other things. Even if it’s mounted somewhere, taking it in and out will likely throw off the angle enough to be jumpy. I’ll look into pricing out a basic DSLR, a case, and an intervalometer—let’s see how ebay works out.

The digicam idea is good too—I didn’t think to match those terms in Google. It seems there are a few out there that combine all-weather housing and interval shooting. My quick glance only shows settings up to 3-minutes, but there could be more. The Canon/CHDK combination is also worth looking into.

I also have a wireless-enabled NAS that ostensibly is set up to connect to security cameras. That’s a whole other avenue to look at.

So far, I was hoping that something like this would have everything I needed/wanted, but don’t know if they’re gimicks that will be a letdown or exactly right and I’m overthinking things.

You can buy security cameras that work with wired or wireless networks and can be set for n shots every second or minute or hour, where n is an integer. I have some from Panasonic that are nice - Amazon has them. I have a BL-C121 that would work, for I think about $130. For more you can get one that aims and zooms.