I'm a time lapse fan, I like it a lot. The only problem with time lapse is that it uses the shutter and stresses the camera. If I do one time lapse per week, suppose 500 photos per session, it would be 2000 shots per month and 24.000 per year.

So I'm guessing there is a method to record a normal full hd video (25fps), then simulate time lapse removing 24 fps and using only 1 fps or, better, 1 frame each 5 seconds ...


3 Answers 3


See 'exposure time':

You can probably shoot 24p and add some frames afterwards, but it is a huge additional workload.

If you don't clear the sensor from the added charges when not exposing, you will also run into problems.

There might be a way to to exposure times in video that add up to the full time of recording, but I so far haven't heard about any camera that can run video on completely free fps settings. If you shoot video you will also be limited by the compression algorithm (you want RAW data) and the resolution, both of these are strong points of timelapses.

Your camera shutter is probably rated for more than 50000 clicks, so two years for your use is a nice thing. And most likely, if the exposures come in these packages of 500, the camera will last longer than that anyway.

  • 1
    Might be worth adding olegkikin.com/shutterlife to look up their body to see how the mech lasts. Nov 2, 2015 at 12:04
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    You can easily find cameras that will do this sort of arbitrary frame rate for video capture if you look to machine vision. Point Grey and IDS Imaging both have global shutter cameras which should work.
    – Mitch
    Nov 2, 2015 at 14:45

With Magic Lantern on a supported Canon EOS camera, you can reduce FPS down to 0.2, and even produce RAW video. The difference left is the smaller frame size of video vs. photo, but that might be irrelevant for time-lapse video production.

It also supports silent shooting, which doesn't flip the mirror, i believe.


You buy a camera to use it, so why not use it. What's the worst case scenario? The shutter mech dies... At which point you have 2 options, get a new body or fix what you've got.

You don't especially need the latest/greatest DSLR for timelapses so long as you have a decent lens you could probably pick something cheaply second hand and use that until it dies. Something with a half-decent sensor that you can hook an intervalometer up to will do you.

Or you can get it repaired when it dies... That's not likely to be hugely expensive, even if it's $250 it's not the end of the world for something you use every weekend.

But... If you're happy to shoot video (then video production SE may be better to ask) as an alternative to framegrabbing odd frames you'd be better off averaging groups of frames. I suspect you'd get quite an interesting (possibly smoother) effect that way, or even if you went a step further and overlapped the frame grabs, so pulling frames 1-50 into 1, 25-75 etc.

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