LRTimelapse Pro-Timer Free – the best Intervalometer for Timelapse

marcofama

Time Lapse Network Founder
Staff member
The LRTimelapse Pro-Timer is a free Open Source DIY Intervalometer for timelapse, macro and astro photographers. I’ve developed it as a DIY Project and I’m sharing the build instructions with you for free. This intervalometer fulfills all my current requirements for shooting my timelapses.

I’ve started this intervalometer project because I couldn’t find a single intervalometer on the market that could satisfy all of my needs as a timelapse and astro photographer.



The LRTimelapse Pro-Timer Free works with any camera that has an analog remote trigger port. With very few exceptions, that’s every camera. It is based on an Arduino microcontroller, an LC-display and a small circuit board.

I’m making the necessary firmware, as well as the construction guidance, available to you free of charge. Furthermore, Christian Steinkrüger kindly developed a housing especially for this project. He also provided the 3D printing data free of charge. If you do not have access to a 3D printer you can, use any 3D printing service or ask Logodeckel.de, if they’d ship to your country.

The assembly of the LRTimelapse Pro-Timer Free is simple and should not take more than one or two hours. Apart from some hardware (more on that below), you will need an electronics soldering iron, a little bit of practical experience, or the help of somebody who has experience soldering, but it’s really nothing major.

This makes for a nice project on a free Saturday or Sunday, out of which you will get a useful tool and I am pretty sure that you will also learn something.

What can one do to improve an intervalometer?
There are hundreds of intervalometers available on the market. If you are immersed as deeply in timelapse photography as I am, you will soon find several disadvantages with them, such as:

  • Unnecessary delay in triggering the autofocus signal (more can be found here) and other unnecessary delays which restrict the shooting interval;
  • No indication of the number of the shots already taken;
  • The remaining time will often not be displayed when you set the number of total shots;
  • No way to change the interval smoothly over a certain period of time while shooting (Interval-Ramping);
  • No way to completely switch off the Display during the timelapse;
  • Intervals can only be set in full seconds;
  • No real short intervals/ dark-times possible (the dark-time is the interval minus the exposure time);
  • The devices are sometimes powered by proprietary batteries that are not easily available;
  • The release cable is not removable;
  • No ability to attach the intervalometer to the camera forcing you to hang it from the camera;
  • Complex programming and operation, especially in dark conditions;
  • Buttons which are hard to use in the dark, or when wearing gloves.
These are all issues that I’ve experienced with intervalometers I have purchased or that my workshop participants brought with them.

Cons of a smartphone-based solution for triggering the camera
There are some clever smartphone based solutions that meet some of my requirements, but my practical experience shows that the smartphone isn’t the perfect tool either to trigger the camera for timelapse. Some reasons for this are:

  • For reliability it should be a cable-based solution, but then I would have to attach my smartphone to the camera. To prevent it hanging from the cable, I would need some extra holder;
  • Wireless solutions aren’t reliable enough to trigger the camera. There is always the risk of the connection getting disconnected;
  • A long timelapse shoot will drain the smartphone’s battery, so most likely, the smartphone will not survive the day before the it goes flat or requires it’s own external battery;
  • While shooting, I can’t use my smartphone for other purposes such as taking photos, checking email, finding the next location, controlling the camera via Auto Holy Grail etc.;
  • Smartphones won’t always guarantee an accurate timing of the intervals. Often one does not really get accurate intervals because the apps don’t have total control over the phone. The mobile operating systems can slow them down at any time, put them to sleep, or even quit completely. Unfortunately, you cannot have a total reliability on this..
When shooting the Holy Grail, I use my smart device to adjust the camera settings automatically with qDslrDashboard’s Auto Holy Grail – but for the reasons mentioned above, I do not use it to trigger the camera.

These are system-related disadvantages, making such solutions unusable for me in practice.

Based on these thoughts I decided to design and build my own intervalometer. My goal was to build an intervalometer which meets all my requirements while also being cheap and easy to build for everyone.



Advantages of the LRTimelapse Pro-Timer Free
  • Fastest intervalometer I’ve ever used.
  • Zero delay between capturing images (except the time the camera needs to store the image).
  • Intervals adjustable in steps of 0.1 seconds.
  • Stepless interval-ramping (adjustment of the interval) on any intervals over any time.
  • Toggle Illumination on/off with just a press of a button.
  • One mode to capture an infinite number of pictures, in this mode the captured pictures will be counted and the elapsed time displayed.
  • or you can capture a given number of pictures, then remaining time and number of pictures left will be displayed.
  • Ability to attach the LRTimelapse Pro-Timer onto the hot shoe of the camera.
  • Easy to operate.
  • Large buttons, that are easy to feel and operate in the dark – even with
  • Ability to trigger a motion controller with slave mode such as NMX or Emotimo Spectrum. This allows you to use the interval ramping even while shooting timelapse with motion control.
  • Open Source software and case – this means only material costs for you.
  • Community project that means a lot of fun!
Ready for a small do-it-yourself adventure? Here we go!



 

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