We’ve all seen it…the short video showing the magic of a flower blooming, the movement of the sun and moon as night becomes day, and day becomes night; and even the construction of a building from the ground up. Days, hours and minutes compressed into seconds, an effective lapse of time – that’s time lapse photography.
In its simplest form all you need is a camera plus an intervalometer (either as an accessory, like the Neewer timer, or one built into your camera) to take control and shoot a predefined number of photos at various intervals of time. The result: a collection of single images, which when sequenced together and played back becomes a single video event.
The Brinno TLC200 Pro is a solidly built, fully self-contained compact time lapse camera system with an interchangeable focusing lens. Not only does it come with 4AA batteries but it also includes an SD media card, so it’s ready to use right out of the box.
What We Liked
It’s easy and it’s fun! What’s more, it has some practical (commercial) applications as well. Brinno obviously has had time to get things right providing a very simple but clever menu that you can navigate through. You choose how often to take a photograph (the interval) and because, unlike most systems it automatically combines all the images into a video, it also lets you select the playback rate. A calculator on their website helps you determine the ideal settings for your subject.
There are controls for white balance, image quality, type of scene, exposure, start timer and more so you can fine-tune your images. The 2.8mm f/2.0 lens (19mm equivalent) can be pointed straight up and tilted down to about 45-degrees for aiming purposes while you are looking at the image on the rear LCD control panel.
What We Didn’t
The lens that comes with the TLC200 Pro is very wide and in addition to some of the distortion associated with using a superwide lens close to objects it has a very pronounced barrel effect. The further you get away from the subject, or for subjects without straight lines distortion is not so obvious – you just need to know it is there and either work with it, or work around it.
Interestingly the biggest challenge presented has nothing to do with the TLC200 Pro, it’s the fact that you have to really plan for your time lapse video — and you may have to wait days, hours and/or months to see the final image.
Pop the TLC200 Pro into an accessory ATH120 Weather Resistant Housing, mount it via a standard ¼-20 tripod thread, press three buttons, aim and walk away for a month. That’s the beauty of the TLC200 Pro and a testament to Brinno’s engineers – unlike any other camera we’ve used it’s not only simple to set, the specs claim it can run unattended for up to three months. Try doing that with a smartphone.
While we couldn’t plan any elaborate time lapse photos, we can attest to the fact that after a few weeks of on and off shooting the battery indicator hasn’t budged from full power.
If you want to have fun, have ever been curious about time lapse, or actually have clients who need to see a long term event take place in a matter of minutes, the TLC200 Pro is a worthwhile $200 investment.