Do You Need a Special Camera for Time-Lapse Photography – 2023 Guide


Time-lapse photography is such a magical thing when you do it properly. Many amateurs can’t decide if they need a professional camera for these shots, or they can do it all using their smartphone settings and some editing apps too.

Time-lapse is a really cool technique and if you’ve been wondering what exactly you need for such a thing, we must tell you that you can do it with your phone. But if you plan to dedicate yourself to professional photography, you will need a DSLR camera, a tripod, and other accessories that will allow you to focus and follow what is happening, and in the end, get a great photo or video masterpiece.


But what is time-lapse?

Time-lapse is actually a normal recording that is later speeded using your phone or computer software. Many smartphones nowadays have an integrated function. If you use an iPhone, you will find the option in the camera. Some Android phones have the integrated option, but also many exceptional apps to speed up the process for you.

This way, you create an interesting video by speeding up the display of something that may be difficult to watch in real display speed. Time-lapse can be used for purely technical reasons, but also for artistic and aesthetic reasons.


Making time-lapse videos on your phone is not that difficult. The app does everything for you. You only need to point your phone at what you want to capture and be patient. The procedure is the same as when you record a normal video, but when you record a time-lapse you need to keep your hand more still and not make sudden movements with the phone camera.

Do you really need a special camera for time-lapse masterpieces?

As you can see, today you can create exceptional time-lapse videos using your phone, even if you don’t have the latest Samsung or Apple model. Even budget-friendly smartphones can be turned into a great time-lapse cameras, and capture exceptional movements.

But, if you still need a camera for time lapse, you should always look for what’s the best on the market.

Even when you don’t plan on professionally capturing this type of video, we can say you can literally nail the process, and provide exceptional content for those who enjoy it.

How to record a time-lapse video?

You have many ways to use the built-in option on your phone. Just put your phone in a quiet place and focus on what you want to capture. Whether it’s clouds or birds, you need to secure the camera to a tripod or other surface where it won’t move. In this way, you get that photorealistic display of movements of certain elements from the footage.

Sometimes you may also need an intervalometer, especially if you use professional photography equipment. This is useful if you don’t even have a time-lapse option on your phone, but in that case, we recommend you find a suitable app for that purpose.

If you decide to use professional equipment, then a tripod is a must. No matter how prepared you are, cameras are sometimes really difficult, and shooting takes a lot of time and patience.

The good thing is that at any moment of these video files you can render a photo, which you will then merge into a high-quality file and use the way you want.

Auto or manual time-lapse setting?

The existence of integrated options makes our work much easier. But many professional photographers insist that it is always better when you set the intervals yourself and choose at which moment to take pictures and record. Of course, lighting is also a very important factor, especially if you rely on natural light.

If you’re new to all this, it might be better to start with your smartphone. Later you can try out how you do with a DSLR camera and its settings.

Of course, you need a lot more experience to perfect this part of filming and photography.

However, the whole process could be reduced to a few easy steps:

  1. Choose an aperture that will keep the subject in focus and let in enough light. In this way, the depth of the frame is achieved. You can experiment in different ways to get interesting effects.
  2. Choose the shutter speed, depending on what you actually want to achieve in the end. With this mod, you choose how to display those moving objects, such as vehicles or people. Most often, the standard shutter speed is 1/100, but for moving objects, 1/50 or slower is better.

  1. For time-lapse it is best to use low ISO to reduce any noise from the photo. Of course, this depends mostly on how sensitive your camera is to light and how dark it actually is in the environment where you are shooting.
  2. Set the time-lapse interval to your preferred FPS. This way you can focus on all moving objects in a given interval and create a timelapse that suits your portfolio.
  3. Focus is very important. Try to avoid autofocus. Adjust this setting manually to get a beautiful and usable video for you.


As you can see, you can easily record time-lapse videos with your mobile phone, and it will turn out really great. With this, we conclude that you don’t need a special camera for this purpose. But if you plan to do this kind of photography professionally, or even make money from selling these kinds of works, it would be a good idea to invest in good equipment first. This means that you need to have a camera with adjusted settings and additional equipment that will allow you to do this kind of recording.

And then everything gets easier. You just have to get used to the way time-lapse cameras or mobile settings work and everything will be as it should be.


Do you like the idea of capturing exceptional time-lapse content and exporting it as photos? We hope we helped you with this.