Development of a self-sufficient time-lapse camera

Enlaps

New time-lapser
Dear TLN members,

We are developing a time lapse camera (www.enlaps.fr) able to be self-sufficient during months, years thanks to a solar panel and a specific algorithm to reduce the energy auto consumption of the equipment.

The camera will be also able to send the pictures over a 3G modem.



We are in the development phase, so the specifications are not frozen and we would be really pleased to take into consideration your inputs.
It would be preferable that each picture be around 1 Mo (in order to be able to send them through the telecom network).

What is for you the minimum requirement for :
- the sensibility (ISO)?
- the image format (jpeg, RAW, ...)?
- Resolution minimum ?
- Anti-flickering?
- any other specific technical requirement for the best time lapse experience!


Thanks for your help!
Enlaps team
 
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marcofama

Time Lapse Network Founder
Staff member
Shared this project with the Italian community too... let's try gathering some good feedback
 

Zoeperkoe

Active time-lapser
Since you seem to have a prototype already, can you share anything on stuff like the lens you're using, the kind of camera, etc.? Usually, I think, long-term timelapses are shot with regular dSLRs for which a special weather-proof case is built. How does your device compare to that?
 

Enlaps

New time-lapser
Hi,
The aim is to have the best compromise between the weight of the pictures and the quality. This is why for the prototype we are using 2x "smartphone like" cameras (5 MPx, 2592 x 1944) with a fish eye lens. Then we do a fusion of the 2 images. Is these specs suitable to your uses?

Our product is complementary to a dSLR, it is cost effective, 100% self sufficient, weather-proof and connected (for remote set up and to load the pictures).

Regards,
Enlaps
 

daduxio

New time-lapser
Hi! Love the idea! I'll try to answer to all of these questions!

What is for you the minimum requirement for :
- the sensibility (ISO)?
6400 ISO would be great but I think 3200 it's a great compromise if noise remains low.

- the image format (jpeg, RAW, ...)?
Raw, in my opinion I will never use a JPEG sequence for a professional use. Here a good sensor makes the difference.

- Resolution minimum ?
If the two 5Mp cameras produce a 4k final image I think 2592 x 1944 on a single camera is enough.

- Anti-flickering?
Indifferent for me but great for those who don't want to spend so much time in post!

- any other specific technical requirement for the best time lapse experience!
It needs to have an attachment for the tripod.
Provide an EF lens mount :) just kidding, even if...

These are my personal opinion, hope this feedback will help you with your project!
Dario
 

Enlaps

New time-lapser
Hi! Love the idea! I'll try to answer to all of these questions!

What is for you the minimum requirement for :
- the sensibility (ISO)?
6400 ISO would be great but I think 3200 it's a great compromise if noise remains low.

- the image format (jpeg, RAW, ...)?
Raw, in my opinion I will never use a JPEG sequence for a professional use. Here a good sensor makes the difference.

- Resolution minimum ?
If the two 5Mp cameras produce a 4k final image I think 2592 x 1944 on a single camera is enough.

- Anti-flickering?
Indifferent for me but great for those who don't want to spend so much time in post!

- any other specific technical requirement for the best time lapse experience!
It needs to have an attachment for the tripod.
Provide an EF lens mount :) just kidding, even if...

These are my personal opinion, hope this feedback will help you with your project!
Dario
Thanks a lot Dario for these inputs, we are selecting the sensors and we will keep you informed when it is more advanced!
Don't worry we have integrated a standard camera thread for your favorite tripod or others nice devices ;) !
 

toxictabasco

Time-lapser
I don't know if a stand alone Time Lapse (TL) camera without a interchangeable lens will sell to high resolution hard core time lapsers. If you notice, cost is not much of an option for those who are serious into TL. And they will use the best they can with other camera support equipment to get the shots they desire. Also, the trend of camera technology is going mirrorless, with super high ISO, and high resolution over 24mpx.

On the cost effective side, there are small mirrorless like the Sony RX100 m4 and Panasonic LX100 that shoots 4K video, has time lapse and a 12mpx resolution with a fast f/1.7 tof/2.8 fixed zoom lens. And there are the Action Cams like GoPro, Sony, and others that will shoot decent time lapse with a fixed fisheye lens. So those technology companies price cheap, and have unlimited budgets for R&D and advertising. And they innovate/upgrade their products every year with better and better technology.

However, another market is the security industry that makes security cams. They would benefit from a high resolution time lapse camera that can shoot at 1/2 second interval with high ISO, and fast shutter with good lenses that will shot details of a criminal's face.

I use several cameras when I go out shooting TL. But if I was to replace any of these, the future TL device would need the following:
1) ISO usable at 6400 for night TL long exposure with low noise, and perform in 100 degree weather.
2) Built-in intervalometer with bulb ramping ability, and bulb mode that starts at 1 min.
3) Zoom lens from 14mm to 70mm with aperture of f/1.8 or f/2.8
4) High resolution APS-C sensor with minimum of 24mpx, color bit depth 14, and shoots in a RAW format with various compression rates to choose from. And the ability to shoot 14mpx JPEG.
5) A processor that will be able to keep up with the sensor for 4K video and not overheat.
6) Good battery performance. Shoot over 1200 TL photos on a single charge like my Nikons.
7) A light weight package under 3pounds and the ability to shoot 4K video.
With technology giants like Sony and Panasonic driving the photo/video industry, I'm sure, a camera like this will be available in a year or two. All for under $900.

At any rate, cameras are specific personal tools that's different for every photographer/videographer. Each chooses their tools for what they want to accomplish. Most if not all the new technology devices come with TL built in. Nevertheless, a stand alone TL device that is easy to operate may be ideal for the masses who want to get into TL.
 
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Enlaps

New time-lapser
Thanks for your feedback,

I don't know if a stand alone Time Lapse (TL) camera without a interchangeable lens will sell to high resolution hard core time lapsers. If you notice, cost is not much of an option for those who are serious into TL.
You are right for the high res hard core tilmelapsers. Top notch dslr and mirroless cameras are the best choice for this use.
And I agree also with the proposal of cost effective compact cameras that can perform well also in short term TL.

As a team of timelapsers too, we tried to think about the limits of the current solutions, among others, we mainly identitfied 3 :
- Power supply : The battery lifetime is not long enough to perform mid-term or long term TL (>10h)
- Storage : Memory card capacity can be a blocking point, still for mid/long term, even with expensive hi-cap cards.
- Weatherproof design : Without using custom enclosure, you can't let your favourite dslr outside for a cloudy /rainy day of shooting.

For our product, we try to work on these 3 points, and do some technical compromises, to get something well balanced between images quality, cost, and side functionnalities.

1) ISO usable at 6400 for night TL long exposure with low noise, and perform in 100 degree weather.
2) Built-in intervalometer with bulb ramping ability, and bulb mode that starts at 1 min.
3) Zoom lens from 14mm to 70mm with aperture of f/1.8 or f/2.8
4) High resolution APS-C sensor with minimum of 24mpx, color bit depth 14, and shoots in a RAW format with various compression rates to choose from. And the ability to shoot 14mpx JPEG.
5) A processor that will be able to keep up with the sensor for 4K video and not overheat.
6) Good battery performance. Shoot over 1200 TL photos on a single charge like my Nikons.
7) A light weight package under 3pounds and the ability to shoot 4K video.
With technology giants like Sony and Panasonic driving the photo/video industry, I'm sure, a camera like this will be available in a year or two. All for under $900.
All the technical specs can still evolve, but I can give some previews of what we are targeting now, refering your points :

1) and 2) These features are linked to night TL features, we are thinking about the best compromise for all low light conditions, I can't give so many details for now, but will let you know asap. High temperature performance will be one of our focus point.

3) We will choose a fixed wide angle lens, around 15mm (Eq. 35mm). This will allow us to use a fixed focus lens, with a aperture around F/2.8 (And perhaps F/2).

4) For a TL dedicated device, we will probably select a smaller format, like 1/2.3 (Action cam sensor size). following the feedback we got, we will chose an higher resolution than suggested in our firsts posts above, we will probably select a sensor around 8 to 10 Mpix, so around 14 to 18 Mpix for the finalized merged image. In any case, enough to be able to create 4K timelapses. The output format is not freezed yet, but it's definitely going to be adjustable, depending if you want to take the benefit of the 3G connection (Medium res file needed), or store only on the card (Hi-res possible).

5) We don't plan to integrate a video mode, therefore overheating will not be a problem for us.

6) Will be one of our best benefits, as our integrated solar cell coupled with hi-cap battery will provide us either a really long timelapse capability or a no-limit timelapse capability, depending on the solar power on site and the chosen interval.

7) We have worked to reduced dimensions and weight, and we will be around 2 pound, and 30% smaller than the initial design. I just updated the picture on top of the post.

At any rate, cameras are specific personal tools that's different for every photographer/videographer. Each chooses their tools for what they want to accomplish.
That's true ! I will add that for our target (Mid and long term TL), it can be a benefit to avoid holding a DSLR for days or weeks in the same spot, as it can be used for other things !
 

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