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Thread: Point and Shoot timelapse?

  1. #1

    Point and Shoot timelapse?

    I am considering doing some time lapses for a vacation. The main purpose will be for family.

    I figure, because they burn so many frames on an entry level dSLR (rated at 50 000 actuations), can anyone think of any reasons why I shouldn't use my old point and shoot, if it has the right focal length?

    They would be landscape time lapses. From what I understand, point and shoots have a higher depth of field.

    It's a 3.2 megapixel Canon Powershot S30.

    The only drawbacks that I can think of are resolution and lens defects. I'm unsure about how worried I should be though... it will still produce a video superior to HD formats and it will never go to print.

    Will the lens be sufficient for a high quality video? Is there any site that does tests on point and shoot lenses like photozone.de does for dslrs?

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Point and Shoot timelapse?

    Quote Originally Posted by alextor View Post
    Will the lens be sufficient for a high quality video? Is there any site that does tests on point and shoot lenses like photozone.de does for dslrs?
    Hi Alex,

    Most camcorders have pretty small lenses, so I doubt this will be an issue.

    Try Steve's Digicams, is it this S30?

    I wondering what time interval (minutes, hours or days), plus how you are going to trigger regularly and power it (possibly for extended periods)?

    Cheers,

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    Re: Point and Shoot timelapse?

    A power adapter?
    Where will this be set up?
    Or am I getting the wrong gist...........

  4. #4

    Re: Point and Shoot timelapse?

    I believe the S30 has a time-lapse feature through computer software when attached to the computer.

    I don't have a power adapter for it. I might attempt to switch the battery half way through without moving the tripod... not totally sure.

    @ Dave: You say that its a small lens, which it is. But what bearing does this have on image quality?

    Do you think that shooting the time-lapse with the point and shoot would produce a noticeably poorer video when shown on a large monitor?

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Point and Shoot timelapse?

    Hi Alex,

    I might attempt to switch the battery half way through without moving the tripod.
    Unfortunately, the battery flap is beside the tripod bush, so I'm not sure about that, and have you a spare to swap with while the first is charging?
    Have a look at the pics on the review link I sent. Since you have the camera (I assume), can the battery be charged "in situ", or is it a standalone charger?

    @ Dave: You say that its a small lens, which it is. But what bearing does this have on image quality?
    "Most camcorders have pretty small lenses, so I doubt this will be an issue" is what I actually said, but it is surely accepted that point and shoot cameras have small sensors with limited quality, and since these cameras are not going to be built for a commercially acceptable price with a lens that's much better quality than the sensor, so the two sorta go together.

    That said, I believe their sensor size, resolution and probably lens are bigger and better than camcorders in the bottom end of the consumer camcorder market. However, broadcast, professional and semi-pro cameras have bigger sensors and lenses to improve their quality.

    Do you think that shooting the time-lapse with the point and shoot would produce a noticeably poorer video when shown on a large monitor?
    What you're suggesting is perfectly reasonable, it may just be that for extended periods, that camera, without a PSU is not the best choice. The camera's still resolution, at its max of 2048 x 1536 is still much better than most HD video, but beware insufficient light and avoid using a high ISO.

    Unfortunately, you haven't told us what you're wanting to achieve in terms of time between exposures, number of exposures or frame rate of replay (which will determine how long each shoot lasts when viewed).

    Let's work something out now; let's shoot "Today in the living room", a one minute movie running at 24 frames/second on replay, so you need 60 x 24 images = 1440, divide that by the 12 hours of room occupation, that's 120/hour, or 2/min, one every 30 seconds. But the battery won't last that long

    Since the camera is capable of being driven by software for remote capture, MAYBE it will power from the USB (but I'm guessing). I think you'll need to read the camera or software manual to see how it works I'm afraid.

    Hope that helps,

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    Re: Point and Shoot timelapse?

    Out of interest, I'm wondering if the sensor on a P&S camera would have any overheating issues if left on for several days? Canon advise that DSLR sensors can heat up after a relatively short time.

  7. #7

    Re: Point and Shoot timelapse?

    Thanks for the info.

    • I do have a spare battery.
    • The battery needs an out-of-camera charger
    • Battery isn't charged by USB
    • I'll probably be taking about 1 shot a minute for 8 hours (if I have the discipline.. lol..)


    Indeed the battery power is an issue. I will attempt to create a mechanism of raising to camera so I can swap out my batteries while on a tripod.

    I guess I just need to try it out. I won't be taking this video for a good month, but when I do I'll be sure to post a link.

    Thanks!

  8. #8

    Re: Point and Shoot timelapse?

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Out of interest, I'm wondering if the sensor on a P&S camera would have any overheating issues if left on for several days? Canon advise that DSLR sensors can heat up after a relatively short time.
    I never considered this. I will look into it.

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    Re: Point and Shoot timelapse?

    Quote Originally Posted by alextor View Post
    I never considered this. I will look into it.
    It's probably not an issue - just wouldn't want you to come back after a few days to discover you've got a youtube hit: a timelapse sequence of a camera destroying itself!

    I made a timelapse once (with a video camera) of a few of us tearing down a small old glasshouse - was quite a fun exercise

  10. #10
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    Re: Point and Shoot timelapse?

    Hi Alex,

    Thanks for the answers,

    Since my last post I was just looking at the Steve's Digicams review, one of the pages is specifically about what the software does, with screen shots..

    Looks like you won't need too much discipline, I think it should take the pics by itself.
    BTW, even if it doesn't charge the battery, the USB may keep it going, especially if you turn off camera's LCD. I think try it and see, you've plenty of time. Or look for the optional ACK700 power adaptor on e-bay?

    If you haven't been to the link yet, you should.
    Also bear in mind I still haven't read the review, there could be more useful stuff there too.
    On the first page is a drop list to the different pages, or follow the Next links near the bottom of each page. These aren't too obvious, what I sent isn't the whole story, only the first page of 8.

    Two more thoughts;
    1) 60 x 8hrs, that's 480 pictures, even at 15 frames per second, this is only 32 seconds of runtime, or am I mis-understanding the playback intention.
    2) Memory card size, I wonder if relevant with PC attached, but I reckon that's quite a large one reqd unless you downsize or go with LoQ jpg. You'll have to work it out from typical Superfine jpg at max resolution and multiply by the 480.

    Regards,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 25th April 2009 at 09:54 PM. Reason: added two more thoughts

  11. #11

    Re: Point and Shoot timelapse?

    To give you more of an idea, the time lapses would be for small "title page" / "introduction screens" for a family slideshow. So yes, they will be very limited in length, despite wanting to capture a very large amount of time. The "time lapse ratio" will be significant.

    Thank you very much for informing me about the power adapter. It's very good to know I have that option.

    Indeed, I think that using the computer software, the pictures are saved directly to the computer. So, it seems all bases are covered.

    Thanks for all your help!

  12. #12
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Point and Shoot timelapse?

    You're welcome Alex,

    As someone often said (on a TV show I probably shouldn't admit to having watched);
    "I love it when a plan comes together"

    Cheers,

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    Re: Point and Shoot timelapse?

    Alex,

    Does your intervalometer software perform the assembly of the individual frames into a video file format ?

    My Voigtländer Vitoret RM6.0 point and shoot does have a built in intervalometer, but the results still are a sequence of individual images.

    I do shoot time lapse with my Sigma SD14 and I use VirtualDub to assemble the frame sequences into AVI files.

    Another factor that you need to control is exposure and if set on auto, you may end up with a flicker caused by the camera trying to adjust to changing light from frame to frame.

    Will the Sun ever be in direct view at any time during your time lapse, such as a Sunrise or Sunset ? Most point and shoot, and dSLRs when in Live View mode, leave the imager open to all the light captured by the lens. If the Sun enters the field of view, you run the risk of damaging your camera. An advantage of a traditional SLR, whether analog or digital, is that the mirror normally directs incoming light to the viewfinder optics. (Just take precautions if you are looking through the viewfinder at such times.)
    Last edited by Steaphany; 27th April 2009 at 09:15 PM. Reason: Adding additional Information

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