I've been doing more and more time lapses lately, having fun identifying the right rate for different subjects. I've purchased an intervalometer, but the minimum interval between frames is one second.

Although I've been shooting with 2 - 5 second intervals (and usually JPEG, not RAW, simply due to the number of images) I wonder if there's any point to shooting faster than a 1 second interval ... and if so, whether the camera could "keep up" (including transferring images to flash memory). The T5i claims up to 5 fps ... but that's for a maximum of about six images before the buffer fills and it has to pause and write to flash.


In DPReview's tests (see the "Continuous mode" section), they were able to get a shooting rate of 2.5 JPEGs per second (or 1.4 RAWs per second) even in "buffer full" mode, which is the rate achievable for essentially indefinite shooting. Or put another way, you should be able to shoot a frame every 0.4s for ever - at least until your card fills up anyway. Do note that DPReview's testing uses a pretty much top of the range SD card - if you've got a cheaper card with lower write performance, you may not be able to replicate their results.


The maximum frame-rate is quoted for the internal buffer, so you wont get enough frames for much of a time-lapse. However, if you intend to produce a video, you can shoot for much longer by lowering the resolution. 8 and 4 MP are more than is needed for full 1080p HD and therefore will give you lattitude when producing a time-lapse for anything other than an Ultra-HD (4K) display.

At 4 MP, you can shoot up at 5 FPS for up to 21560 shots, when using maximum compression. With minimal compression, you can still get a respectable 3350 shots. At 8 MP, those figures become 4200 and 2150, respectively.

  • where do you get that numbers from? presumably that depends on the card size?
    – ths
    Oct 10 '14 at 11:27
  • Yes, obviously, you need enough space and a sufficiently fast card. The numbers come from Canon's technical specifications of the camera and based on their own undisclosed testing methodology. The exact numbers will also vary according to ISO and image details as they affect file-size.
    – Itai
    Oct 10 '14 at 21:40

The six frame limit of the buffer is for RAW files, but 22 frames for JPEG. That shouldn't be a problem is you're shooting 1 fps in JPEG, but 5 fps could be a different story.

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