Best timelapse cameras in 2024 for construction, events or speeding up nature

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Want to create beautiful timelapse footage of that house extension you're working on, or showcasing how your garden changes with the seasons? Then you'll need to buy a timelapse camera – or, as you'll discover in this guide, a video camera that is also capable of shooting timelapse imagery.

The best timelapse cameras take hundreds or even thousands of still photographs, repeatedly and at set intervals, then stitch them all together into a short video clip.

The results can be dramatic, perhaps even cinematic if you pick a good subject to record, and creating timelapse footage is usually a case of sampling setting up the camera, ensuring it won't move or be otherwise disturbed, and leave it to get on with its job for as long as you like (or as long as its battery lasts, of course).

Timelapse functions are found in a lot of today's cameras, and even in the camera app of many of the best cameraphones. But, while propping your iPhone up against the airplane window to record a timelapse as you takeoff on your next holiday works well enough, the cameras we've reviewed for this guide offer more functionality.

They can also be set up, plugged in and set to record for extended period of time – perfect for capturing the construction of a building, the blossoming of a flower, or the passing of stars through a clear night's sky.

Your smartphone works well in a pinch, but for creating beautiful timelapse photography you're going to want a proper camera. Key features to look for are of course image resolution and lens field-of-view, but also functions like timelapse length, battery life (as well as the ability to plug into a wall outlet or portable battery) and the ability to turn still images into a timelapse in the camera itself, rather than exporting to a computer first.

This guide includes dedicated cameras built specifically for turning photos into a timelapse, as well as a couple of the best action cameras that bundle timelapse photography as another string to their stabilised, 4K, HDR bow. There's also how to choose advice and FAQs at the bottom of this guide. 

Written by
Tim Coleman
Written by
Timothy Coleman

Tim is TechRadar's Cameras editor, with over 15 years in the photo video industry and most of those in the world of tech journalism, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with all things camera related. He’s also worked in video production with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare time to consult a non-profit, diverse stories team based in Nairobi.

The quick list

Want to get straight to the best timelapse camera for your needs? Use our quick round-up below to immediately find a timelapse camera that suits you – and you can read more about it by jumping to our full write-ups and explanations using the links.

The best timelapse camera in 2024

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The best timelapse camera for most people

Brinno TLC 2020 timelapse camera

(Image credit: James Abbott)
A versatile timelapse camera with a long battery life

Specifications

Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Field of view: 118 degrees
Display: 2in TFT LCD
Size: 60 x 70.6 x 42.4 mm
Weight: 87.5 g
Battery life: Up to 99 days (5 minute interval)

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use
+
Long battery life
+
Multiple shooting modes

Reasons to avoid

-
LCD screen is dark
-
No preview while shooting
-
Auto white balance is better than presets

The Brinno TLC 2020 is the timelame camera we recommend for most people. It strikes a good balance when it comes to cost, features, design and ease-of-use, while also offering flexibility via a wide range of accessory kits.

We’re fans of the compact, lightweight design of the TLC 2020, and how with its waterproof case and mounting options it can be used almost anywhere. Both long and short timelapse projects are achievable with this camera, and there are multiple shooting modes to help get exactly the shot you want.

The minimum focusing distance of 60cm means this isn’t a timelapse camera best suited to close-up shots – of flowers coming into bloom, for example – but zoom lenses are available separately, so such a project isn’t beyond the Brinno TLC 2020 entirely. We tested the camera with its standard-fit lens, but also with an IP67-rated waterproof case that comes as part of a kit of accessories. The case thoughtfully includes a compartment for silica gel, to help combat condensation during underwater use.

Despite there being a lot to like, the Brinno isn’t quite the perfect timelapse camera. In our testing we found the LCD screen to be quite dark, and it doesn't show a preview while shooting. We also found the camera’s automatic white balance is better than the presets on offer. And, while the waterproof housing works well, it doesn’t allow for the camera to be powered externally, so you’ll be limited by battery life when recording underwater. That said, a fresh pair of AA batteries can last up to 99 days, depending on shooting frequency; timelapses spanning days, weeks or even months are possible.

Overall though, this is a high-scoring timelapse camera that gets a lot right, is small and light, easy to use, and produces good results.

Read our full Brinno TLC 2020 review

The best timelapse camera for professionals

Enlaps Tikee 3 Pro+

(Image credit: James Abbott)
The best professional timelapse solution available

Specifications

Resolution: 4608 x 3456
Field of view: 220 degrees
Display: None
Size: 210 x 180 x 70 mm
Weight: 1.6 kg
Battery life: 12-36 days (15 minute interval)

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent 6K image quality
+
Remote access and uploading
+
Built-in battery and solar panel

Reasons to avoid

-
Trickier to use than other timelapse cameras
-
No controls on the camera
-
Expensive with software/web subscription

It isn’t often we give a product the full five stars and describe it as an “absolute professional powerhouse,” but that’s exactly what we said about the Enlaps Tikee 3 Pro+. Money no object, this is the timelapse camera to buy – but because money is an object for most buyers, and the Tikee weighs in at a hefty €1,500, this is a device recommended primarily for professionals.

If you’ve the cash to splash, the 3 Pro+ has dual wide-angle camera with up to 6K resolution, as well as Wi-Fi and 4G connectivity for remote access anywhere in the world. There’s even a built-in solar panel to keep the battery topped-up on longer projects, and for more demanding work an external panel is also available – albeit for an extra €459.

Costs also escalate when you sign up to Enlaps’ My Tikee subscription service, which has a sliding scale of cost and functionality. Subscriptions start at €59 per month or €420 per year, but cost more if you want to take advantage of Enlaps’ artificial intelligence dashboard and other backend features.

The camera is weatherproof without needing an additional case and there’s a slot for a SIM card to create a 4G connection in locations without Wi-Fi, plus a standard tripod thread for mounting. A data connection isn’t required, although the camera can only be controlled when either connected directly to the Tikee Remote phone and tablet app, or via a data connection to the Enlaps website. Images are stored locally to a MicroSD card, or uploaded on the fly if the camera has a Wi-Fi or 4G connection to the cloud.

Enlaps’ AI tools are particularly clever. The camera can be used to monitor variables like the time and position of truck deliveries on a construction site, or to check safety clothing like hard hats and high-vis vests are being worn by everyone on site.

Even at this price point, finding the perfect timelapse camera is tricky. One of the timelapses we shot for our review exhibited some strange distortion, likely the result of the slight barrel distortion the dual cameras create, along with the visible curvature of the earth in that particular timelapse.

Read our full Enlaps Tikee 3 Pro+ review

The best timelapse camera for simplicity

Brinno TLC 300

(Image credit: James Abbott)
If there's any easier-to-use timelapse camera, we've not seen it

Specifications

Resolution: 1920 x 1080
Field of view: 118 degrees
Display: Yes, 1.44in IPS LCD
Size: 64 x 52 x 107 mm
Weight: 140 g
Battery life: 100 days (5 minute interval)

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to use
+
Tilting lens
+
Long battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Only captures timelapses
-
Small screen
-
Lens is fixed when using waterproof housing

If you're looking for a timelapse camera that's easy to use, this is the one for you. During our testing we loved how simple the Brinno TLC 300 is to operate, along with its tilting lens and long battery life.

Instead of packing it full of features, Brinno has stuck with a 'less is more' approach for the 300, ensuring the camera captures good quality timelapses over long or short periods and in all weather conditions, thanks to the waterproof housing included in the BCC300-C kit tested for our review and priced at around $300.

This camera is powered by four AA batteries that are claimed to last for up to 100 days when shooting an image every five minutes. This means lengthy timelapse projects documenting how your garden changes through the seasons, or of the building of an extension, are certainly possible with this camera. Zoom lenses are available to buy separately, but cannot be used with the waterproof case.

This model is slightly larger and heavier than the Brinno TLC 2020 mentioned earlier, but still relatively compact. There's also a convenient tripod screw for attaching via clamps or suction cups to just about anything.

We found the 1.44-inch LCD screen quite small but bright and easy to view in sunlight, with the exposure shown on-screen true to what the timelapse will actually look like.  White balance cannot be adjusted, but there are three shooting modes available, called Day, Twilight and Night. 

Our only gripes with the TLC 300 are its lack of 4K resolution, and there being no remote control via smartphone, web or a dedicated controller. If those features are crucial to you, then you'll need to look elsewhere.

Read our full Brinno TLC 300 timelapse camera review

The best budget timelapse camera

Atli Eon timelapse camera

(Image credit: James Abbott)
An easy-to-use timelapse camera with app-based control

Specifications

Resolution: 2688 x 1520
Field of view: 72 degrees
Display: None
Size: 54 x 70 x 50 mm
Weight: 125 g
Battery life: 120 hours

Reasons to buy

+
Easy-to-use
+
Live preview in the app
+
Can be externally powered

Reasons to avoid

-
Timelapse resolution is only 1080p
-
White balance presets are slightly too warm
-
Fully app-controlled

The sub-$200 Alti Eon is our pick for those who want a timelapse camera on a budget. We like how easy it is to use, how you get a live preview of what’s being recorded through the smartphone app, and how this is a timelapse camera that can be powered externally for longer projects.

Simplicity is the name of the game here, with nothing more than a power button and a manual focus ring on the camera itself. The rest of the controls are handled via the aTLi Cam smartphone application, which talks to the camera via its Wi-Fi connection.

Small and lightweight, the Eon weighs just 125g with its battery installed, and measures just 54 x 70 x 50mm. The camera comes with a silicone lens hood for waterproofing and a UV filter, plus a mini tripod, a USB cable and a 16GB microSD – in other words, everything you need to start shooting your first timelapse videos.

Although simple, there are some useful features baked in. You can set the camera to only record at certain times of day – to capture a house building project during daylight hours while skipping nighttime, for example – while claimed battery life is up to five days. For longer shoots you can hook up external power via the camera’s USB-C port.

We found image quality isn’t as good as some smartphones, but that’s the compromise when paying a relatively small amount of money for a compact device like this. That said, there are options to manually adjust white balance, ISO and shutter speed.

Read our full Atli Eon review

The best action camera with timelapse function

GoPro Hero 11 Black

(Image credit: Future)
The Hero 11 Black is the social media king of action cams

Specifications

Resolution: 5.3K
Field of view: 155 degrees
Display: 2.27in touchscreen (rear) 1.4in (Front)
Size: 71.8 x 50.8 x 33.6 mm
Weight: 154 g
Battery life: Dependant on settings (external power possible)

Reasons to buy

+
Water resistant
+
Integrated mount
+
Dedicated timelapse modes
+
Can be powered externally for longer projects

Reasons to avoid

-
Timelapse not its primary purpose
-
Not great in low light
-
No lens options
-
Can struggle in hot environments

GoPro doesn't make a dedicated timelapse camera but we thought we’d include its latest flagship, the Hero 11 Black, since it has a timelapse mode that could well be enough for some users. Called TimeWarp 3.0, the GoPro’s timelapse function now incorporates the camera’s HyperSmooth digital stabilization technology and records at 5.3K resolution.

As well as shooting regular timelapse projects, the GoPro also has a couple of tricks for shooting particular types of timelapse. These are called Star Trail, Light Painting and Vehicle Lights, and are all rather self-explanatory. Want to record footage of the stars streaking across the night’s sky? Pick the Star Trail mode and the GoPro Hero 11 Black will get to work.

Also new for the 11th generation GoPro is the inclusion of the Enduro battery as standard, which claims to increase battery life by up to 38% and should help combat the adverse effects cold environments have on battery stamina.

We think the Hero 11 Black is the most feature-packed, user-friendly action camera around, and is particularly useful if you create content for lots of different platforms with varying aspect ratios, like YouTube and TikTok.

All that said, and despite the 11 Black’s beyond-4K capabilities, GoPro cameras still aren’t great in low-light situations, and when shooting at 120 fps can suffer from overheating, especially when not cooled by passing air.

Read our full GoPro Hero 11 Black hands-on review

The best alternative action camera for timelapse photography

DJI Osmo Action 3

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)
Masterful mounting and deeper diving make DJI's Osmo Action 3 a great value alternative to the GoPro Hero 11 Black

Specifications

Resolution: 3840 x 2160
Field of view: 155 degrees
Display: 2.25in (rear) 1.4in (front)
Size: 70.5 x 44.2 x 32.8 mm
Weight: 145 g
Battery life: Dependant on settings

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly convenient mounting
+
Weather resistant
+
Wider POV than the main competition
+
Excellent battery performance
+
Handy front touchscreen

Reasons to avoid

-
Limited dynamic range
-
Worse video quality than the best GoPro
-
No timelapse presets

If the GoPro isn’t the action camera for you, then allow us to instead offer the DJI Osmo Action 3. It has a wider field of view and better water resistance than its action camera rivals, and we found it to have excellent battery life.

We were also impressed by the Action 3’s incredibly convenient mounting system and handy front touchscreen. Headline features include a 12MP sensor that can shoot 4K video at 120 frames per second, a 155-degree field-of-view and DJI’s RockSteady 3.0 digital stabilization.

A timelapse function is also available. It lacks the extra features of the GoPro Hero 11 Black, but the results looked good in our testing. As with other content captured by the DJI, we found timelapses to be enjoyably expansive but with limited dynamic range and detail versus some of the competition.

Great timelapses aren’t a standout reason to buy the DJI Osmo Action 3. But if you want an action camera that can dive to 16 meters without an additional case, with a fantastic mounting system for fitting to tripods, helmets and handlebars, and has a wide viewing angle, this camera is a pretty good all-rounder.

Read our full DJI Osmo Action 3 review

How to choose a timelapse camera

How to choose the best timelapse camera for you

The biggest question to ask yourself is, do you want a dedicated timelapse camera, or a camera that also has a good timelapse function? If it's the latter then you will be best served by an action camera like the GoPro Hero 11 Black or DJI Osmo Action 3.

If, however, you want a dedicated timelapse camera, then your primary concern should be that of cost versus quality. If you want professional results and don't mind spending whatever it takes, then the Enlaps Tikee 3 Pro+ is a fantastic option, with 6K resolution, remote access, AI capabilities and even a solar panel for constant power.

But not everyone has circa-€2,000 to spend on a timelapse camera. If that includes you, then we recommend Brinno and either the BCC300 in which simplicity is key, or the TLC 2020 if you want a bit more flexibility. Both of these are easy to use, with a long battery life and compact form factor.


Which key features should you look out for?

As with all cameras, the sensor resolution and lens field-of-view are important aspects to consider before making a purchase. With timelapse cameras, key features to look out for include battery length, power options like the ability to attach an external battery or solar panel, and which shooting modes are available.

Along with shooting modes, look out for what options can be tinkered with to get the results you want.

Standard features of timelapse cameras include the option for picking your own project length (how long the camera records for) and the interval time between each image captured. Projects with shorter intervals use up the battery more quickly than those taking images more slowly.

Brinno TLC Timelapse Camera

(Image credit: James Abbott)

Some models let you adjust the white balance, ISO, shutter speed and other variables, but not all.

Lastly, look out for weatherproofing options if you intend to record for long periods outside, and check if plugging a power cable in reduces the camera's water resistance.

Can I use a GoPro?

Yes, you can. GoPros – and other action cameras, like the DJI Osmo Action 3 also highlighted above – have timelapse functions. GoPro leaned into timelapse more than DJI, as the latest Hero 11 Black offers a few different modes, including the ability to create timelapse footage of stars streaking across the night sky, or vehicle lights painting neon lights along a twisting road. By contrast, the DJI Osmo Action 3 has a simple timelapse mode with no additional features.

No action cameras can match the results of a dedicated timelapse camera, but they can be more cost-effective if you want a small, portable camera than can do a bit of everything. 

Can timelapse cameras be powered by an external battery?

Some can, but not all. The two Brinno timelapse cameras featured in this guide run on AA batteries. This may seem rather quaint in today's world of lithium-ion battery packs, but with no power-hogging components like Wi-Fi antennas and large, touchscreen displays, AAs are all some timelapse cameras need.

Enlaps Tikee 3 Pro+ time-lapse camera

(Image credit: James Abbott)

Others, like the Atli Eon, can be connected to external power while professional options like the Enlaps Tikee 3 Pro+ have an integrated solar panel for keeping the integrated battery topped up during extended recording sessions. 

How we test timelapse cameras

We test dedicated timelapse cameras over several days in different locations to see how they cope with different weather conditions and environments. The focus of our testing is the time-lapse functionality rather than any other features that may be available, although additional features have been covered in our reviews.

Several timelapse cameras attached to a tripod on a beach on a sunny day

(Image credit: Future | James Abbott)

Timelapse seqeuences captured range from 30 minutes to several hours depending on the interval frequency. Crucially, the battery life of these dedicated cameras can last several days and even months with those connected to solar power. It has not always been possible to capture sequences over extended periods that these cameras are capable of, but we have used long-term scheduling functionality to test ease of use and reliability.

With decades of photographic experience and having shot timelapse sequences with DSLR, mirrorless, compact and smartphone cameras, we've found dedicated time-lapse cameras much easier, providing straight out-of-camera videos without the need to process photos and convert them into a timelapse.