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I am looking for a camera or set up that can take photographs of small insects at a set interval after being set up and left.

Ideally:

  • Can be set to take a photo every ten minutes
  • Long battery-life (up to 24 hours)
  • Cable of macrophotography or lens can be swapped to a macro lens
  • Somewhat weather resistant - not necessarily water resistant
  • Small and relatively inexpensive

I have looked into a GoPro but they seem to have a short battery life. Right now I am looking at the Raspberry Pi VR220 camera and wondering if that could work.

More Detail: I am a researcher in Alaska, and I am hoping to take photos of insect larvae moving on a leaf over a period of time to produce a sequence of photos. Ideally this would look like 1 image taken every 10 minutes over the course of 24 hours, but if that's not possible up to 1 image per hour could potentially work. The camera would be set up and left outdoors and on a stand or attached to the tree. It doesn't need to be capable of picking up images in the dark because it will only be dark a couple hours per day. Is there any set up that could do this or something similar?

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For macro you can also add a close-up lens in front of the standard lens (usually using the filter thread) so that doesn't limit you to interchangeable lens cameras, good compact/superzoom cameras (cheaper/lighter) could also do the trick. And if they have a smaller sensor you will have more depth of field.

There are weather covers for camera+lenses that make a decent job.

If the camera has a contact for a wire remote, there are many remote controllers with an integrated timer.

Popular cameras can receive a dummy battery which is powered from an external source, which can itself be a much bigger battery (for instance a USB battery pack). But with the right set up DSLRs can be very battery-efficient.

Don't under-estimate the need for light. Macrophotography is done with very small apertures to achieve sufficient depth of field, and while larvae aren't speed daemons what they lay on can be shaken by wind so you may not be able to use slow shutter speeds, so aim for cameras that can use high ISOs without adding too much noise.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ To add to your comment about dummy batteries. The magic term to search for is "Battery eliminator". \$\endgroup\$
    – Peter M
    Nov 8, 2023 at 14:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've never seen one referred to as a "battery eliminator". I've frequently seen "dummy battery" used to describe them. Type in the type of battery a cameras uses and tag "dummy battery" onto the end and all kinds of results will be returned. Canon officially calls them a "DC Coupler" which must be combined with an "AC adapter" to power them via wall outlets. \$\endgroup\$
    – Michael C
    Nov 12, 2023 at 17:52
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What you want is certainly possible, but the "relatively cheap" aspect makes it difficult. I would look at cameras made specifically for observation/time lapse. There are some categorized "construction cameras".

For example, Brinno makes several models that seem to meet your requirement; and they offer inexpensive weather housings for them as well. But you might need to add an accessory diopter for macro level photography.

But most of these types of cameras use small sensors, and often of relatively low resolution... suitable for documentation and 1080 HD video, but maybe not scientific level study.

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