2

If I want to take one picture every 30 minutes (and don't get a live view from camera), can I keep my DSLR camera on during the day for two or three years? I use an adapter instead of the camera's battery, so I haven't any problem in this area.

14
  • as long you turn off the function that turn the camera off over time, I would guess it should be ok. just remember to change the memory card
    – Yao Bo Lu
    Jan 16 '14 at 9:28
  • 1
    You can't change a memory card without turning the camera off.
    – Michael C
    Jan 16 '14 at 9:33
  • 2
    A raspberry Pi may be worth looking into as the computer that the camera tethers to if you don't have a computer available already Jan 16 '14 at 9:50
  • 5
    @MichaelClark: I pull the SD card out on my Nikon DLSR while it's running with no issues. You shouldn't and you can't different things. Jan 16 '14 at 9:53
  • 1
    @MichaelClark no. My Nikon d40 (very old and simple, I know) allows you to open it and change it's card whithout turning it off. Jan 16 '14 at 11:10
4

Yes, you can keep your DSLR camera on for two or three years based on the following assumptions:

  • Your particular model DSLR includes an option that allows you to disable any 'sleep' option that is enabled by the factory default settings.
  • Your memory card has sufficient capacity to hold that many photos taken at the 'Image Quality' you have selected. Obviously, lower resolution and higher compression will allow you to store more images on the same card. Assuming 10MB per image, it would take a little over 170GB per year. File sizes of 500KB per image would only require 8.5GB per year.
  • The camera is capable of being programmed to take an image once every 30 minutes, either internally or via a remote timer. In the case of the remote timer, the power supply of the timer would need to be sufficient to last the entire term of the project.
  • Alternately, if your DSLR is capable you could shoot with the camera tethered to a computer with enough free storage space to store the image data. An option to transfer each image to the computer from the camera's image processor rather than storing it on the camera's memory card would be required. The computer would need to be sufficiently stable to run uninterrupted for the entire term of your project.
  • The operating environment is within the manufacturer's recommendation, preferably near room temperature and the exposure time for each frame is typical at less than 30 seconds. If the exposure time is longer or the operating environment falls outside manufacturer recommended parameters, then the likelihood of issues would significantly increase.
  • The electrical circuit supplying the camera's power adapter with current is uninterrupted for the entire term of your project. In the case of tethering, the same would be required of the circuit supplying power to the computer.
12
  • For your last point I'd probably tether to a laptop (ensuring it has no sleep/hibernate mode enabled) or to a computer running off some sort of UPS, and power the camera via the UPS to minimise any power cut threat. Jan 16 '14 at 9:49
  • thanks Michael. And another question: Would it damage the camera if I disable "sleep" option and keep it ON? any damage I mean. I don't know some thing like heating or damage the sensor or any thing else. Jan 16 '14 at 9:50
  • 1
    modern DSLR don't turn off, they are always running, just normally is a low power state. The power switch is just a message to turn the UI on, for example this can be seen by putting a SD card in the Nikon while it's off, and the green LED glows while it checks the card, or you put a battery int he camera, while off, if it a non-brand battery the UI pops up to tell you so. More to this, my friend leaves his Cannon turned on in his camera bag, always, and surprise it takes photos when the shutter is pressed. Jan 16 '14 at 9:56
  • Since your question already eliminated the use of Live View, that wasn't addressed in the answer. Any issues related to heat will be determined by the operating environment and exposure time for each image. If the operating environment is anywhere near room temperature and the exposure time for each frame is typical at less than 30 seconds, there should be no issues. If the exposure time is longer or the operating environment falls outside manufacturer recommended parameters, then the likelihood of issues would significantly increase.
    – Michael C
    Jan 16 '14 at 10:04
  • 3
    @SimeonPilgrim That must be an awful large camera bag if a cannon will fit in it.
    – Michael C
    Jan 16 '14 at 10:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.