Timelapse photography: The answer

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Timelapse photography: The answer

hlantuit
Dear Cryolisters,

It took me a while, but here is a consolidated report on the feedback I
was provided with on timelapse photography. The report consists of a
short overview of my “findings”, of the original question, and of the
postings I received.
I removed the names of the individuals that have sent me their answers
in the list of postings below. Since the archive of the list is public
and the messages addressed to me, I thought it would be better to keep
it focused on the content of the postings and not to discard more
information. I would be happy to provide you with some help if you want
to contact the author of one post more than the other though.

A. OVERVIEW

The first thing is that I think that a similar request was circulated a
while ago on Cryolist and there might also be some relevant information
in the archive. Maybe Todd could confirm/infirm this?

In total, I got more than 40 answers. They came from a wide range of
countries, and the focus of the timelapse photography seemed not to be
limited to one topic or one region. You will see below that there were
references to setups in the Arctic, in the Antarctic and in mountains,
dealing with sea ice, glaciers, or permafrost.

I expected a wide range of models of cameras, but I ended with only six
commercial models, plus what I would call “self-made kits”. You will
find below a list of these models with the number of times they were
cited next to it.

Harbortronics Time Lapse Camera Package (11 times)
Moultrie / Wingscapes Timelapsecam 8.0 (10 times)
Self-made kits (9 times)
Pentax W series (5 times)
GoPro Hero2 (1 time)
Campbell Scientific CC5MPX (1 time)
Brinno TLC100 (1 time)

I have attached a summary table with some (incomplete) information about
each solution, and some quotes extracted from the postings.

The main criteria used to rank or to prefer one solution over the other
were temperature of operation, capacity to do environmental monitoring
and battery life. There are obviously many other criteria, but these
seemed to differentiate the cameras the most.

The most cited kit was the harbortronics one, which seems to be the
Rolls Royce of timelapse photography:
https://www.harbortronics.com/Products/TimeLapsePackage/
It is a kit, it is not tiny and is (very) expensive. It can, however,
operate at fairly low temperatures throughout the winter and seems to
offer the best output for environmental monitoring and photogrammetry.
It is basically a SLR Camera in a ruggedized box with a timer, from what
I understood. Price: 2650 $ Accessories on top.

The next most cited camera was the Moultrie / Wingscapes Timelapsecam
8.0. It is sold under different names and/or manufacturers, and I am not
sure which one is the “original one. This is it on the Wingscapes
website: http://www.wingscapes.com/timelapse-cameras/timelapsecam8
The camera sells for 110 $ online and has HD capability. It is not a
kit, so it is easy to handle. Everything is in the ruggedized plastic
enclosure. It works with off-the-shelf AA batteries, but its battery
life can be extended with an optional (and fairly cheap) lithium battery
coupled to a solar panel (on the Moultrie website). This seems to be
used by many groups in many different settings. The Brinno TLC100 camera
model, cited once, belongs to the same “category”. It is a small and
cheap but is not a SLR camera. Other game cameras could also work.

The Pentax W series are intermediate products:
http://pentax.ca/en/digital_compact/optiowg1gps/
These cameras are actual compact cameras that can be used for everyday’s
photography but can also be put on a tripod for timelapse photography.
These are weatherproof, and several of you have used them in fairly cold
locations. The major issue seems to relate to battery life. They are
slightly more expensive than the Wingscapes cameras, but can be used for
other applications. They are considerably cheaper than the Harbortronics.

The GoPro Hero or Hero2 does not seem to be the most adapted product for
the application. It is limited by the settings of the timelapse (max.
interval 60 seconds) and by the battery life. Several of you have
suggested or experienced connecting a battery to it to extend its
battery life. It seems to make very nice pictures and is robust. It can
be sold with a weatherproof kit and is in that case smaller and handier
than the harbortronics kit. It costs around 350 $

The Campbell Scientific CC5MPX is a typical Campbell product: It seems
to be very robust and adapted to very cold conditions. It has the
capability to log internally but is not entirely self-contained as it
required an external battery. From what I understand, it can also be
coupled to the Campbell loggers.
(http://www.campbellsci.ca/Catalogue/CC5MPX.html). I could not find any
price on the Campbell website, but I am guessing that it is not cheap.
The resolution of the camera seems outdated in comparison with the other
ones, and examples of pictures taken with it do not look very good.

In my original request, I specified that I wanted something
self-contained, easy to use and to deploy. For my application, the
Wingscapes camera is the best solution. It is cheap, so even if it
breaks down, I can replace it with another one.

Several of you have suggested customized solutions that do offer
valuable alternatives to the ones outlined above. I decided to put
forward only the commercial products available online, but I encourage
the reader to read through the postings below to find the references to
these original / self-made solutions.

Thank you very much once again for your feedback. This was much appreciated.

Hugues Lantuit


B. ORIGINAL QUESTION:

Dear Cryolisters,

After many hours of googling, I turn to Cryolist for advice.

I am looking for a timelapse camera for the field. Temperatures should
actually not be that cold (between -5°C and 20°C). We had some decent
experience in the past with cuddeback timelapse cameras made for
hunting. They were cheap, robust and worked for a long time.
I would like something similar or better, but with hd capability. It
should also be Very easy to use, meaning not a complex box where you put
a Nikon then connect it to three million dataloggers and network cables
and then hope that it will work. In other words, it should be one
self-containing device.
It should of course have an integrated logging capability (sd card or
whatever it can have).

I have looked at the Bushnell Trophy Cam:
http://www.bushnell.com/products/trail-cameras/trophy-cam/119437C/

and also at the GOpro Hero2 HD:
http://de.gopro.com/hd-hero2-cameras//

among others.

The Bushnell is almost perfect, except maybe for the picture quality.
The Gopro seems to have very nice picture quality but the battery would
run out fast, and the slowest timelapse mode is every 60 seconds.

Is there a camera out there that would stand on a tripod, have the
battery life and robustness of the bushnell and the picture quality and
size of the Gopro Hero2???

Thank you for your input.

Hugues Lantuit

___________________________________________________________________________

C. ANSWERS:

Hi,
we use harbortronic devices for years in the temperature range you
mentioned- so far we experiences no problems.
https://www.harbortronics.com/Products/TimeLapsePackage/

___________________________________________________________________________

Hi,

The HD hero camera has a USB port so I know it wouldn't be self
contained but if it also charges of USB then all that may be needed is a
5V external additional battery e.g.
http://www.portablepowersupplies.co.uk/portapow-usb-battery-pack/

I am not sure how well the Lithium Ion packs perform once they get cold
though.

___________________________________________________________________________

Hi Hugues,

I have maybe an option for you.
I used the following time lapse camera for monitoring glacier movement /
snow cover on glaciers:

https://www.harbortronics.com/Products/TimeLapsePackage/

The camera was out from May to October and worked properly. The setup /
programming is very easy. I used it for making pictures every 2 hours.
You might use a better lens, however, for my purpose it was sufficient.

___________________________________________________________________________

What will it be used to monitor? I have been using a 15MPx Pentax Optio
WG1. It is just an ordinary compact camera modified for basic scientific
purposes -- it is weatherproof to -10C, waterproof up to 10m,
shockproof, has some interesting settings (including a microscope mode
for close-up images of snow grains, for example) and has a time-lapse
function of up to 99 minutes. It can take HD movies of up to 30fps but I
have never used that myself. It also has a number of automatic outdoor
settings, including one specifically for photographing in snow and ice
which helps to limit overexposure and loss of detail.

It has a standard tripod / monopod / gorillapod screw on the base which
makes it very versatile for mounting. It is also lightweight and
portable enough to be attached to other equipment (or even gaffer-taped
to met towers or nearby trees). The battery will need charging or
replacing every 7 days or so, which may be a problem in really remote
areas. It takes a standard SD card. Image quality is more or less what
you'd expect from a standard compact digital camera.

___________________________________________________________________________

Depending on time intervals, a cheap alternative is the  Pentax OptioW60
(or whatever version is now current). I used  the Pentax OptioW30, it
had max 90 minute time lapse intervals,  battery is rated to -10C, and
we could easily get 200 shots before  swapping rechargeable batteries.
Could also jerry-rig an external battery pack for longer duration.
Picture quality was good as well.

___________________________________________________________________________

Salut Hugues,

some of my colleagues use this
http://www.wingscapes.com/timelapse-cameras/timelapse-plantcam and seem
to be very pleased.
I use the complicated solutions (i.e. digital camera in box with windows
and solar panel and batteries etc. and are much more expensive).

___________________________________________________________________________

Hi Hugues,

We are using DigiSnap Package by Harbotronics.
https://www.harbortronics.com/

they work extremely well in harsh conditions of Svalbard. I used them
for coastal zone monitoring and they survived one year (1 image per 6
hours).
You can also ask Ole Humlum and Hanne Christiansen as they are using
them in couple of
sites in Adventdalen.

___________________________________________________________________________

Hi Hugues

I remember vaguely that timelapse camera was in discussion on the list
couple years ago.  Several colleagues have pointed me on the package
offered by   https://www.harbortronics.com/Products/TimeLapsePackage/
I almost purchased one last year.  We have used so far only system
developed at our lab.

___________________________________________________________________________

Andy Wickert, a PhD student at Colorado has developed some nice, flexible
software/hardware that might be of interest....

http://instaar.colorado.edu/~wickert/atvis/

___________________________________________________________________________

Hi there - I have used Nikon Coolpix S550 and S560 cameras very
successfully in Svalbard down to minus 5 (at least) and had no issues -
they are one of the few point and shoot cameras that have a time lapse
function - you can set the interval to whatever you like and we used
cheap flexible waterproof housings with 2 small silica gel sachets
inside - no issues of any sort with damp, cold etc.

I can send you some sample videos and an image of our setup if that
would be useful?

___________________________________________________________________________

Core Jaskolski makes a great timer. It works with many cameras, uses
very little power and takes pictures only when there is enough light.
($600 US)

[hidden email]

The software is robust, and the camera will work.  Its being used with
both nikon and canon SLR cameras.

You have to build your own enclosures. We mimic the EIS boxes, they cost
about $500 US and take a half day to construct.

Its not totally simple, but is not a million wires and loggers either.
You get a very nice product.

___________________________________________________________________________

Hi Hugues,

Hanne Christiansen and I are using time lapse cameras from Harbotronics.
https://www.harbortronics.com/
they are reasonably small, have very good resolution, long lasting
batteries and a good timer. on the downside, like with any equipment in
the arctic, you have to maintain it quite well in order to get good
data. overall, the harbotronics cameras helped us monitor periglacial
processes around longyearbyen in great detail over the last couple of years.

___________________________________________________________________________

Hughes -

We have deployed pentax optio with a AC adapter rigged to provide more
battery power.  No housing is needed as the camera is designed to work
underwater also.  Only limitation is the 999 picture maximum.  We set
picture capture at 90 minute interval, so able to operate for summer season.
http://www.pentaximaging.com/digital-camera/?gclid=CK_U2N_BtK4CFUcGRQod8mLsxA

Also very happy with the moultrie game camera.  This lasted four months
on four lithium AA batteries @ 15 minute interval.
http://www.amazon.com/Moultrie-Game-Spy-Plot-Stalker/dp/B004ILNMIY/ref=sr_1_2?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1330014747&sr=1-2

___________________________________________________________________________

Hey Hugues, I have worked with   https://www.harbortronics.com/    and
they are really good. I have them shooting in the Arctic in the middle
of the winter with no issues.

___________________________________________________________________________

Hi Hugues,

I have been using PlantCams by Windscape. They are specifically designed
for time-lapse work and they have moderate picture quality and write to
an SD card so storage is almost unlimited. You can get a solar panel,
external battery attachment to go with them. They are about $100. I had
some early problems with several of them that quit after 6 shots so you
need to test them in the office for several days before deployment. You
can deploy them like popcorn. Amazon carries them. There is a newer 8mp
version TimelapseCam 8.0.

___________________________________________________________________________

Hi Hugues,

I recommend the Campbell Scientific CC5MPX digital network camera. With
the exception of a power supply, it is completely self contained in a
well-built enclosure. It can operate with very low power consumption and
log internally to an SD card. I have powered these by placing a 35Ah 12V
battery and charge regulator inside a pelican case to which a 5W solar
panel is attached.

I am now experimenting with the very inexpensive TimeLapseCam 8.0 sold
by Wingscapes. For long-term applications it also requires an external
power supply and I am trying what I described above.

I have had mixed successes with the Harbortronics time lapse systems.
Their intervalometers have bugs and don't like cold temperatures -
despite what they claim.

___________________________________________________________________________

I've had success with this, but not on a glacier. I think the operating
temp is 0-40, but not sure...

http://www.brinno.com/html/product02-tlc200.html

___________________________________________________________________________

Hi Hugues,

I've used compact canon digital camera with a CHDK script on it
(http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK). CHDK is a canon firmware hack which
allows you to control all the functions of the camera and write scripts.
For my application (detection of avalanches) I used some powershot A470
(see attached paper). They were hooked up to a solar panel and a 12 to 3
V converter thingy. They worked very well and were in a plastic box with
a plexiglass window to protect them from snow, wind and rain. Depending
on how long you need them, you could use a little solar panel and
battery, or just hook them up to a car battery. It's a very cheap and
reliable solution and gives you high resolution images.
You can write fancy scripts and turn off the screen, detect the amount
of light and all that stuff to save power. Or you can use a build in
script and just select the time between images.
I hope this helps. Let me know if you want more info.

___________________________________________________________________________

Greetings,
  If you are looking for easy to use inexpensive time lapse cameras we
have successfully used these for a few months in the Antarctic.  I do
not know how they compare to the other brands that you listed, but I was
really surprised. A colleague had used them in Greenland with good
success. They are cheap, you can use several of them and they come with
simple mounting hardware.

http://www.wingscapes.com/timelapse-cameras/timelapsecam8

___________________________________________________________________________

Hugues
Look at the game cameras that Moultrie Feeders produce. You can use Li
batteries and add a solar panel. 8MPixel, 16 Gb card - just over $200 total

___________________________________________________________________________

G'Day Hugues:

my mates at the Antarctic Division here in AUS have developed and
successfully deployed a very robust system over winters (see attached
paper)...

Newbery, K.B. and Southwell, C. (2009). An automated camera system for
remote monitoring in polar environments. Cold Region Science and
Technology 55: 47-51.

___________________________________________________________________________

Hugues,

I worked a bit with the Geopro. It gets it's charge from the computer
USB connection. So I cut the USB cable and hooked it up to a 5  V power
supply, backed by a big battery, that got around the power supply issue.
The Geopro has an automatic light setting, it tries to take pictures
that are have the same brightness. This means can be good if you just
want a picture, it can screw up a sunset timelapse because as the view
gets darker the camera increases the exposure to maintain the light. The
adjustments are pretty course, so you  can see when the camera changes
exposure.

The 60 second time lapse feature is a drag, don't know why they dont
build in some more options for special cases.

___________________________________________________________________________

Dear Hugues,

I can offer one more suggestion that fits your description of
"self-contained device" time-lapse camera.
You can take a look at the Moultrie line of cameras.  I suspect these
will be very similar to the Bushnell Trophy Cam, but it might be worth
comparing the specs in detail.
The specific model we are planning to use is this:

http://www.moultriefeeders.com/productdetail.aspx?id=mfh-dgs-ps

It is an 8Mp camera, and claims to be capable of HD-video playback.
One nice feature of these cameras: you can purchase an optional battery
pack + solar panel unit.
Thus far we have no experience with these in the field, but plan to
deploy ~10 this April & May at our field site. Based on tinkering with
them in the office for the past couple weeks, I can say that they are
very easy to use.  Setup and deployment is quite simple.

However, like the Bushnell, I suspect it will not have the image quality
of the GoPro.  The GoPro has a more sophisticated lens and higher
resolution.

Something to consider:  Since the GoPro charges it's internal battery
via USB, it's conceivable that you could rig up an external power
supply.  (Battery -> 5VDC regulator -> USB cable -> camera)

___________________________________________________________________________

Dear Mr. Lantuit
We are working with the time lapse camera system from Harbortronics and
we are very satisfied. The system is robust and easy to handle. Here is
the homepage:
https://www.harbortronics.com/
Best regards,

___________________________________________________________________________

Hi Hugues,

We have some here that are coming to the end of their use (at least one
of them I guess)...

We use Canon 1000D cameras, and a custom timer in a sealed aluminium
box. They've been working fairly reliably for the last 2 years (80%
up-time), though extreme cold (less than -15) is tough on the batteries,
and some in less sunny locations have suffered a bit as the solar input
was less than the drain from the charge controller. A word of warning,
since there's no remote data access, if something goes wrong you won't
find out until you next visit the camera - so they're better in
accessible locations.

I have an EGU poster with some details attached to this mail.

http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2010/EGU2010-5937-1.pdf

___________________________________________________________________________

Hugues,

we have used this in Greenland and antarctica and it worked fine !

http://www.territorialseed.com/product/12479/21/?r=LWGBASE

___________________________________________________________________________

We are actually working on similar issues here in the sea-ice physics in
Bremerhaven. We have been looking for different solutions for a while,
because we are setting up autonomous stations on sea ice and would like to
monitor them and the conditions around. But we did not get to the
"hunting-equipment". We now decided to use a Ricoh G700 and set this up with
an external power supply, which we have for the rest of our radiation
station anyway. Disadvantage of this system is, that it seems to use quite
some energy. We will likely deploy that early April for 2-3 month on
Svalbard.

We also found that the Bushnell Trophy Cam could be a great option for us,
and 5MP is at least for our purposes good enough.

___________________________________________________________________________

Hi Hugues,

In Tibet we used a Canon EOS D-60 together with a very standard timer,
both supplied by a 12V battery. It takes 6 pictures a day and stores
them in its SD card (32 gb)

We had very cold temperatures in winter and not a single problem with
this. See the movie here. You can also have more info in the following
extended abstract:
Maussion, F., Yang, W., Huintjes, E., Pieczonka, T., Scherer, D., Yao,
T., Kang, S., Bolch, T., Buchroithner, M., and Schneider, C. (2011):
Glaciological field studies at Zhadang Glacier (5500-6095m), Tibetan
Plateau, IASC Workshop on the use of automated measuring systems on
glaciers - Extended abstracts and recommendations, pp 62-68. pdf

The responsible person was Tino Pieczonka (TU Dresden,
[hidden email]), you can contact him directly if you need
more information.

___________________________________________________________________________

I believe James Balog has experience with this.  I would ask him:

http://www.extremeicesurvey.org/

___________________________________________________________________________

Dear Hugues Lantuit

We have had some great success with the a standard SLR camera inside a
weather proof enclosure. We have left one of these for 4 months over
winter in temperatures as low as -30C and everything worked really well.

We purchased our entire set from:
https://www.harbortronics.com/

These are a lot more expensive that the other options you have been
considering - but the big benefit is that you end up with high
resolution images that you can then geo / ortho rectify and extract data
from.

___________________________________________________________________________

Hugues,

the cameras you mention look quite good - certainly very simple to
deploy and operate - but the image quality might not be suitable for
quantitative environmental monitoring. An alternative would be an
SLR-type camera with timer/controller - we have had terrific success in
Greenland with the off-the-shelf systems made by Harbortronics
(https://www.harbortronics.com/Products/TimeLapsePackage/). Set-up is
easy and the solar panel allows for long periods of unattended operation
- your only limitation is the size of the memory card in the camera (we
have 16 Gb cards in our Pentax K-200D cameras, which give about two
months of images at 10 minute sampling).

Of course, the cost is about an order of magnitude more expensive than
the hunting cameras you mention. But the improved image quality might be
worth it, depending on your application...

___________________________________________________________________________

One of the researchers here in Fairbanks Alaska has had success using an
$80 PlantCam from http://www.wingscapes.com/ - he said he had good luck
in cold weather, down to at least -20.  They are also available on
amazon.com.  You've probably also heard from these folks, as they posted
their timelapse films on cryolist a few years ago, but check out
http://www.swisseduc.ch/glaciers/aletsch-livecam/index-en.html if you
haven't heard from the swiss yet.

___________________________________________________________________________

We were using once equipment from harbortronics in the cold temperature
version (Canon 1000D Rebel XS) in Antarctica.

This worked OK except for one camera with a Tamron lens. We are not
absolutely clear about the reason why the camera stopped taking pictures
about 5 hours after installation. One reason might be, because the lens
is not an original Canon lens, the contact between lens and camera is
not fully established once it has cooled down. Although we had it in
manual mode (which would not require a contact), the camera might check
if this contact works properly.

Just to keep in mind in case you are going to work with such a camera
and not original lens. But I am not quite sure (we would need to test it
in a cold chamber), not done yet. Would be interesting to know if
someone else had this problem.

We had the cameras also installed on Franz Josef glacier for 7 month, I
can send you the report once it is finished.

___________________________________________________________________________

Hi Hugues,

I have some experience using time lapse cameras in winter in the mountains
of British Columbia (snowy and cold) and in the summer in Alaska (wet and
cool).

Someone else may have suggested the package from Harbortronics:
https://www.harbortronics.com/Products/TimeLapsePackage/
It is a little more expensive and complex but seems to work pretty well.  I
have had it stop for inexplicable reasons but once reset it worked fine.

The Pentax Optio W-series cameras have an interval (time lapse) feature and
are weatherproof.  You could set one of these up on a tripod but I'm not
sure how long the battery would last.  It would probably only work for a
day or two if you were shooting every hour, but may run for a week if
taking only a few photos per day.  You may want to attach some larger
capacity battery for longer unattended shoot times.  For the work in BC I
used an Optio W-60 in a weather proof box I constructed with a Pelican
case.  In that snowy climate I needed to keep snow off of the lens so I put
a glass window in the Pelican case and put a hood over that.  I also wanted
to only check on the camera once every 1 or 2 weeks, so I had our
department technician set up an external battery that was charged by a
small solar panel.  This worked very well and the camera would run for
weeks as long as the storage card on the camera didn't fill up.

___________________________________________________________________________

Perhaps a little late, but... standard commercial grade cameras that I
have used for time-lapse work: Pentax Optios

The recent model, Optio WG-1, is cold-tolerant, waterproof, dustproof,
shockproof. 14Mpix, and has a very useful function to adjust a range of
settings and recall these in memory. Uses SD memory cards. Doesn't
capture RAW but very high quality RGB responses. In terms of battery
life - the supplied Pentax battery does well - on the green mode,
shutting the camera off between image capture, I've found battery life
of over 10 days with image capture intervals of 60mins. Officially, the
battery will last for 260 shots. We've also tried a little bit of clever
electronics (and silicon gel) to use a 12V gell-cell and step down to
the camera's requirements - this gave much longer life. The Optio has
1min to 99min interval shoot capability.

http://www.pentax.co.uk/optio-wg1
http://www.ephotozine.com/article/pentax-optio-wg-1-gps-digital-camera-review-16957

For a little more, one version of the model has a GPS in-built to tag
the images with coords.

Hopefully this is helpful.


--

__________________________________________________________

Dr. Hugues Lantuit
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
Telegrafenberg A43
Potsdam 14473
Germany

Tel: +49-331-288-2216
Fax: +49-331-288-2188
Cell:   +49-170-454-0677
email: [hidden email]
http://www.awi.de/People/show?hlantuit
__________________________________________________________

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Re: Timelapse photography: The answer

hlantuit
Dear all, I was reminded that the Nikon Coolpix S550 and S560 also have
a timelapse function. They seem to be pretty inexpensive. You would
still require to get a casing though.

Hugues

On 31.03.2012 11:17, Hugues Lantuit wrote:

> Dear Cryolisters,
>
> It took me a while, but here is a consolidated report on the feedback I
> was provided with on timelapse photography. The report consists of a
> short overview of my “findings”, of the original question, and of the
> postings I received.
> I removed the names of the individuals that have sent me their answers
> in the list of postings below. Since the archive of the list is public
> and the messages addressed to me, I thought it would be better to keep
> it focused on the content of the postings and not to discard more
> information. I would be happy to provide you with some help if you want
> to contact the author of one post more than the other though.
>
> A. OVERVIEW
>
> The first thing is that I think that a similar request was circulated a
> while ago on Cryolist and there might also be some relevant information
> in the archive. Maybe Todd could confirm/infirm this?
>
> In total, I got more than 40 answers. They came from a wide range of
> countries, and the focus of the timelapse photography seemed not to be
> limited to one topic or one region. You will see below that there were
> references to setups in the Arctic, in the Antarctic and in mountains,
> dealing with sea ice, glaciers, or permafrost.
>
> I expected a wide range of models of cameras, but I ended with only six
> commercial models, plus what I would call “self-made kits”. You will
> find below a list of these models with the number of times they were
> cited next to it.
>
> Harbortronics Time Lapse Camera Package (11 times)
> Moultrie / Wingscapes Timelapsecam 8.0 (10 times)
> Self-made kits (9 times)
> Pentax W series (5 times)
> GoPro Hero2 (1 time)
> Campbell Scientific CC5MPX (1 time)
> Brinno TLC100 (1 time)
>
> I have attached a summary table with some (incomplete) information about
> each solution, and some quotes extracted from the postings.
>
> The main criteria used to rank or to prefer one solution over the other
> were temperature of operation, capacity to do environmental monitoring
> and battery life. There are obviously many other criteria, but these
> seemed to differentiate the cameras the most.
>
> The most cited kit was the harbortronics one, which seems to be the
> Rolls Royce of timelapse photography:
> https://www.harbortronics.com/Products/TimeLapsePackage/
> It is a kit, it is not tiny and is (very) expensive. It can, however,
> operate at fairly low temperatures throughout the winter and seems to
> offer the best output for environmental monitoring and photogrammetry.
> It is basically a SLR Camera in a ruggedized box with a timer, from what
> I understood. Price: 2650 $ Accessories on top.
>
> The next most cited camera was the Moultrie / Wingscapes Timelapsecam
> 8.0. It is sold under different names and/or manufacturers, and I am not
> sure which one is the “original one. This is it on the Wingscapes
> website: http://www.wingscapes.com/timelapse-cameras/timelapsecam8
> The camera sells for 110 $ online and has HD capability. It is not a
> kit, so it is easy to handle. Everything is in the ruggedized plastic
> enclosure. It works with off-the-shelf AA batteries, but its battery
> life can be extended with an optional (and fairly cheap) lithium battery
> coupled to a solar panel (on the Moultrie website). This seems to be
> used by many groups in many different settings. The Brinno TLC100 camera
> model, cited once, belongs to the same “category”. It is a small and
> cheap but is not a SLR camera. Other game cameras could also work.
>
> The Pentax W series are intermediate products:
> http://pentax.ca/en/digital_compact/optiowg1gps/
> These cameras are actual compact cameras that can be used for everyday’s
> photography but can also be put on a tripod for timelapse photography.
> These are weatherproof, and several of you have used them in fairly cold
> locations. The major issue seems to relate to battery life. They are
> slightly more expensive than the Wingscapes cameras, but can be used for
> other applications. They are considerably cheaper than the Harbortronics.
>
> The GoPro Hero or Hero2 does not seem to be the most adapted product for
> the application. It is limited by the settings of the timelapse (max.
> interval 60 seconds) and by the battery life. Several of you have
> suggested or experienced connecting a battery to it to extend its
> battery life. It seems to make very nice pictures and is robust. It can
> be sold with a weatherproof kit and is in that case smaller and handier
> than the harbortronics kit. It costs around 350 $
>
> The Campbell Scientific CC5MPX is a typical Campbell product: It seems
> to be very robust and adapted to very cold conditions. It has the
> capability to log internally but is not entirely self-contained as it
> required an external battery. From what I understand, it can also be
> coupled to the Campbell loggers.
> (http://www.campbellsci.ca/Catalogue/CC5MPX.html). I could not find any
> price on the Campbell website, but I am guessing that it is not cheap.
> The resolution of the camera seems outdated in comparison with the other
> ones, and examples of pictures taken with it do not look very good.
>
> In my original request, I specified that I wanted something
> self-contained, easy to use and to deploy. For my application, the
> Wingscapes camera is the best solution. It is cheap, so even if it
> breaks down, I can replace it with another one.
>
> Several of you have suggested customized solutions that do offer
> valuable alternatives to the ones outlined above. I decided to put
> forward only the commercial products available online, but I encourage
> the reader to read through the postings below to find the references to
> these original / self-made solutions.
>
> Thank you very much once again for your feedback. This was much
> appreciated.
>
> Hugues Lantuit
>
>
> B. ORIGINAL QUESTION:
>
> Dear Cryolisters,
>
> After many hours of googling, I turn to Cryolist for advice.
>
> I am looking for a timelapse camera for the field. Temperatures should
> actually not be that cold (between -5°C and 20°C). We had some decent
> experience in the past with cuddeback timelapse cameras made for
> hunting. They were cheap, robust and worked for a long time.
> I would like something similar or better, but with hd capability. It
> should also be Very easy to use, meaning not a complex box where you put
> a Nikon then connect it to three million dataloggers and network cables
> and then hope that it will work. In other words, it should be one
> self-containing device.
> It should of course have an integrated logging capability (sd card or
> whatever it can have).
>
> I have looked at the Bushnell Trophy Cam:
> http://www.bushnell.com/products/trail-cameras/trophy-cam/119437C/
>
> and also at the GOpro Hero2 HD:
> http://de.gopro.com/hd-hero2-cameras//
>
> among others.
>
> The Bushnell is almost perfect, except maybe for the picture quality.
> The Gopro seems to have very nice picture quality but the battery would
> run out fast, and the slowest timelapse mode is every 60 seconds.
>
> Is there a camera out there that would stand on a tripod, have the
> battery life and robustness of the bushnell and the picture quality and
> size of the Gopro Hero2???
>
> Thank you for your input.
>
> Hugues Lantuit
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> C. ANSWERS:
>
> Hi,
> we use harbortronic devices for years in the temperature range you
> mentioned- so far we experiences no problems.
> https://www.harbortronics.com/Products/TimeLapsePackage/
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hi,
>
> The HD hero camera has a USB port so I know it wouldn't be self
> contained but if it also charges of USB then all that may be needed is a
> 5V external additional battery e.g.
> http://www.portablepowersupplies.co.uk/portapow-usb-battery-pack/
>
> I am not sure how well the Lithium Ion packs perform once they get cold
> though.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hi Hugues,
>
> I have maybe an option for you.
> I used the following time lapse camera for monitoring glacier movement /
> snow cover on glaciers:
>
> https://www.harbortronics.com/Products/TimeLapsePackage/
>
> The camera was out from May to October and worked properly. The setup /
> programming is very easy. I used it for making pictures every 2 hours.
> You might use a better lens, however, for my purpose it was sufficient.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> What will it be used to monitor? I have been using a 15MPx Pentax Optio
> WG1. It is just an ordinary compact camera modified for basic scientific
> purposes -- it is weatherproof to -10C, waterproof up to 10m,
> shockproof, has some interesting settings (including a microscope mode
> for close-up images of snow grains, for example) and has a time-lapse
> function of up to 99 minutes. It can take HD movies of up to 30fps but I
> have never used that myself. It also has a number of automatic outdoor
> settings, including one specifically for photographing in snow and ice
> which helps to limit overexposure and loss of detail.
>
> It has a standard tripod / monopod / gorillapod screw on the base which
> makes it very versatile for mounting. It is also lightweight and
> portable enough to be attached to other equipment (or even gaffer-taped
> to met towers or nearby trees). The battery will need charging or
> replacing every 7 days or so, which may be a problem in really remote
> areas. It takes a standard SD card. Image quality is more or less what
> you'd expect from a standard compact digital camera.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Depending on time intervals, a cheap alternative is the Pentax OptioW60
> (or whatever version is now current). I used the Pentax OptioW30, it had
> max 90 minute time lapse intervals, battery is rated to -10C, and we
> could easily get 200 shots before swapping rechargeable batteries. Could
> also jerry-rig an external battery pack for longer duration. Picture
> quality was good as well.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Salut Hugues,
>
> some of my colleagues use this
> http://www.wingscapes.com/timelapse-cameras/timelapse-plantcam and seem
> to be very pleased.
> I use the complicated solutions (i.e. digital camera in box with windows
> and solar panel and batteries etc. and are much more expensive).
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hi Hugues,
>
> We are using DigiSnap Package by Harbotronics.
> https://www.harbortronics.com/
>
> they work extremely well in harsh conditions of Svalbard. I used them
> for coastal zone monitoring and they survived one year (1 image per 6
> hours).
> You can also ask Ole Humlum and Hanne Christiansen as they are using
> them in couple of
> sites in Adventdalen.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hi Hugues
>
> I remember vaguely that timelapse camera was in discussion on the list
> couple years ago. Several colleagues have pointed me on the package
> offered by https://www.harbortronics.com/Products/TimeLapsePackage/
> I almost purchased one last year. We have used so far only system
> developed at our lab.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Andy Wickert, a PhD student at Colorado has developed some nice, flexible
> software/hardware that might be of interest....
>
> http://instaar.colorado.edu/~wickert/atvis/
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hi there - I have used Nikon Coolpix S550 and S560 cameras very
> successfully in Svalbard down to minus 5 (at least) and had no issues -
> they are one of the few point and shoot cameras that have a time lapse
> function - you can set the interval to whatever you like and we used
> cheap flexible waterproof housings with 2 small silica gel sachets
> inside - no issues of any sort with damp, cold etc.
>
> I can send you some sample videos and an image of our setup if that
> would be useful?
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Core Jaskolski makes a great timer. It works with many cameras, uses
> very little power and takes pictures only when there is enough light.
> ($600 US)
>
> [hidden email]
>
> The software is robust, and the camera will work. Its being used with
> both nikon and canon SLR cameras.
>
> You have to build your own enclosures. We mimic the EIS boxes, they cost
> about $500 US and take a half day to construct.
>
> Its not totally simple, but is not a million wires and loggers either.
> You get a very nice product.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hi Hugues,
>
> Hanne Christiansen and I are using time lapse cameras from Harbotronics.
> https://www.harbortronics.com/
> they are reasonably small, have very good resolution, long lasting
> batteries and a good timer. on the downside, like with any equipment in
> the arctic, you have to maintain it quite well in order to get good
> data. overall, the harbotronics cameras helped us monitor periglacial
> processes around longyearbyen in great detail over the last couple of
> years.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hughes -
>
> We have deployed pentax optio with a AC adapter rigged to provide more
> battery power. No housing is needed as the camera is designed to work
> underwater also. Only limitation is the 999 picture maximum. We set
> picture capture at 90 minute interval, so able to operate for summer
> season.
> http://www.pentaximaging.com/digital-camera/?gclid=CK_U2N_BtK4CFUcGRQod8mLsxA
>
>
> Also very happy with the moultrie game camera. This lasted four months
> on four lithium AA batteries @ 15 minute interval.
> http://www.amazon.com/Moultrie-Game-Spy-Plot-Stalker/dp/B004ILNMIY/ref=sr_1_2?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1330014747&sr=1-2
>
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hey Hugues, I have worked with https://www.harbortronics.com/ and they
> are really good. I have them shooting in the Arctic in the middle of the
> winter with no issues.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hi Hugues,
>
> I have been using PlantCams by Windscape. They are specifically designed
> for time-lapse work and they have moderate picture quality and write to
> an SD card so storage is almost unlimited. You can get a solar panel,
> external battery attachment to go with them. They are about $100. I had
> some early problems with several of them that quit after 6 shots so you
> need to test them in the office for several days before deployment. You
> can deploy them like popcorn. Amazon carries them. There is a newer 8mp
> version TimelapseCam 8.0.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hi Hugues,
>
> I recommend the Campbell Scientific CC5MPX digital network camera. With
> the exception of a power supply, it is completely self contained in a
> well-built enclosure. It can operate with very low power consumption and
> log internally to an SD card. I have powered these by placing a 35Ah 12V
> battery and charge regulator inside a pelican case to which a 5W solar
> panel is attached.
>
> I am now experimenting with the very inexpensive TimeLapseCam 8.0 sold
> by Wingscapes. For long-term applications it also requires an external
> power supply and I am trying what I described above.
>
> I have had mixed successes with the Harbortronics time lapse systems.
> Their intervalometers have bugs and don't like cold temperatures -
> despite what they claim.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> I've had success with this, but not on a glacier. I think the operating
> temp is 0-40, but not sure...
>
> http://www.brinno.com/html/product02-tlc200.html
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hi Hugues,
>
> I've used compact canon digital camera with a CHDK script on it
> (http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK). CHDK is a canon firmware hack which
> allows you to control all the functions of the camera and write scripts.
> For my application (detection of avalanches) I used some powershot A470
> (see attached paper). They were hooked up to a solar panel and a 12 to 3
> V converter thingy. They worked very well and were in a plastic box with
> a plexiglass window to protect them from snow, wind and rain. Depending
> on how long you need them, you could use a little solar panel and
> battery, or just hook them up to a car battery. It's a very cheap and
> reliable solution and gives you high resolution images.
> You can write fancy scripts and turn off the screen, detect the amount
> of light and all that stuff to save power. Or you can use a build in
> script and just select the time between images.
> I hope this helps. Let me know if you want more info.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Greetings,
> If you are looking for easy to use inexpensive time lapse cameras we
> have successfully used these for a few months in the Antarctic. I do not
> know how they compare to the other brands that you listed, but I was
> really surprised. A colleague had used them in Greenland with good
> success. They are cheap, you can use several of them and they come with
> simple mounting hardware.
>
> http://www.wingscapes.com/timelapse-cameras/timelapsecam8
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hugues
> Look at the game cameras that Moultrie Feeders produce. You can use Li
> batteries and add a solar panel. 8MPixel, 16 Gb card - just over $200 total
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> G'Day Hugues:
>
> my mates at the Antarctic Division here in AUS have developed and
> successfully deployed a very robust system over winters (see attached
> paper)...
>
> Newbery, K.B. and Southwell, C. (2009). An automated camera system for
> remote monitoring in polar environments. Cold Region Science and
> Technology 55: 47-51.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hugues,
>
> I worked a bit with the Geopro. It gets it's charge from the computer
> USB connection. So I cut the USB cable and hooked it up to a 5 V power
> supply, backed by a big battery, that got around the power supply issue.
> The Geopro has an automatic light setting, it tries to take pictures
> that are have the same brightness. This means can be good if you just
> want a picture, it can screw up a sunset timelapse because as the view
> gets darker the camera increases the exposure to maintain the light. The
> adjustments are pretty course, so you can see when the camera changes
> exposure.
>
> The 60 second time lapse feature is a drag, don't know why they dont
> build in some more options for special cases.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Dear Hugues,
>
> I can offer one more suggestion that fits your description of
> "self-contained device" time-lapse camera.
> You can take a look at the Moultrie line of cameras. I suspect these
> will be very similar to the Bushnell Trophy Cam, but it might be worth
> comparing the specs in detail.
> The specific model we are planning to use is this:
>
> http://www.moultriefeeders.com/productdetail.aspx?id=mfh-dgs-ps
>
> It is an 8Mp camera, and claims to be capable of HD-video playback.
> One nice feature of these cameras: you can purchase an optional battery
> pack + solar panel unit.
> Thus far we have no experience with these in the field, but plan to
> deploy ~10 this April & May at our field site. Based on tinkering with
> them in the office for the past couple weeks, I can say that they are
> very easy to use. Setup and deployment is quite simple.
>
> However, like the Bushnell, I suspect it will not have the image quality
> of the GoPro. The GoPro has a more sophisticated lens and higher
> resolution.
>
> Something to consider: Since the GoPro charges it's internal battery via
> USB, it's conceivable that you could rig up an external power supply.
> (Battery -> 5VDC regulator -> USB cable -> camera)
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Dear Mr. Lantuit
> We are working with the time lapse camera system from Harbortronics and
> we are very satisfied. The system is robust and easy to handle. Here is
> the homepage:
> https://www.harbortronics.com/
> Best regards,
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hi Hugues,
>
> We have some here that are coming to the end of their use (at least one
> of them I guess)...
>
> We use Canon 1000D cameras, and a custom timer in a sealed aluminium
> box. They've been working fairly reliably for the last 2 years (80%
> up-time), though extreme cold (less than -15) is tough on the batteries,
> and some in less sunny locations have suffered a bit as the solar input
> was less than the drain from the charge controller. A word of warning,
> since there's no remote data access, if something goes wrong you won't
> find out until you next visit the camera - so they're better in
> accessible locations.
>
> I have an EGU poster with some details attached to this mail.
>
> http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2010/EGU2010-5937-1.pdf
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hugues,
>
> we have used this in Greenland and antarctica and it worked fine !
>
> http://www.territorialseed.com/product/12479/21/?r=LWGBASE
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> We are actually working on similar issues here in the sea-ice physics in
> Bremerhaven. We have been looking for different solutions for a while,
> because we are setting up autonomous stations on sea ice and would like to
> monitor them and the conditions around. But we did not get to the
> "hunting-equipment". We now decided to use a Ricoh G700 and set this up
> with
> an external power supply, which we have for the rest of our radiation
> station anyway. Disadvantage of this system is, that it seems to use quite
> some energy. We will likely deploy that early April for 2-3 month on
> Svalbard.
>
> We also found that the Bushnell Trophy Cam could be a great option for us,
> and 5MP is at least for our purposes good enough.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hi Hugues,
>
> In Tibet we used a Canon EOS D-60 together with a very standard timer,
> both supplied by a 12V battery. It takes 6 pictures a day and stores
> them in its SD card (32 gb)
>
> We had very cold temperatures in winter and not a single problem with
> this. See the movie here. You can also have more info in the following
> extended abstract:
> Maussion, F., Yang, W., Huintjes, E., Pieczonka, T., Scherer, D., Yao,
> T., Kang, S., Bolch, T., Buchroithner, M., and Schneider, C. (2011):
> Glaciological field studies at Zhadang Glacier (5500-6095m), Tibetan
> Plateau, IASC Workshop on the use of automated measuring systems on
> glaciers - Extended abstracts and recommendations, pp 62-68. pdf
>
> The responsible person was Tino Pieczonka (TU Dresden,
> [hidden email]), you can contact him directly if you need
> more information.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> I believe James Balog has experience with this. I would ask him:
>
> http://www.extremeicesurvey.org/
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Dear Hugues Lantuit
>
> We have had some great success with the a standard SLR camera inside a
> weather proof enclosure. We have left one of these for 4 months over
> winter in temperatures as low as -30C and everything worked really well.
>
> We purchased our entire set from:
> https://www.harbortronics.com/
>
> These are a lot more expensive that the other options you have been
> considering - but the big benefit is that you end up with high
> resolution images that you can then geo / ortho rectify and extract data
> from.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hugues,
>
> the cameras you mention look quite good - certainly very simple to
> deploy and operate - but the image quality might not be suitable for
> quantitative environmental monitoring. An alternative would be an
> SLR-type camera with timer/controller - we have had terrific success in
> Greenland with the off-the-shelf systems made by Harbortronics
> (https://www.harbortronics.com/Products/TimeLapsePackage/). Set-up is
> easy and the solar panel allows for long periods of unattended operation
> - your only limitation is the size of the memory card in the camera (we
> have 16 Gb cards in our Pentax K-200D cameras, which give about two
> months of images at 10 minute sampling).
>
> Of course, the cost is about an order of magnitude more expensive than
> the hunting cameras you mention. But the improved image quality might be
> worth it, depending on your application...
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> One of the researchers here in Fairbanks Alaska has had success using an
> $80 PlantCam from http://www.wingscapes.com/ - he said he had good luck
> in cold weather, down to at least -20. They are also available on
> amazon.com. You've probably also heard from these folks, as they posted
> their timelapse films on cryolist a few years ago, but check out
> http://www.swisseduc.ch/glaciers/aletsch-livecam/index-en.html if you
> haven't heard from the swiss yet.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> We were using once equipment from harbortronics in the cold temperature
> version (Canon 1000D Rebel XS) in Antarctica.
>
> This worked OK except for one camera with a Tamron lens. We are not
> absolutely clear about the reason why the camera stopped taking pictures
> about 5 hours after installation. One reason might be, because the lens
> is not an original Canon lens, the contact between lens and camera is
> not fully established once it has cooled down. Although we had it in
> manual mode (which would not require a contact), the camera might check
> if this contact works properly.
>
> Just to keep in mind in case you are going to work with such a camera
> and not original lens. But I am not quite sure (we would need to test it
> in a cold chamber), not done yet. Would be interesting to know if
> someone else had this problem.
>
> We had the cameras also installed on Franz Josef glacier for 7 month, I
> can send you the report once it is finished.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Hi Hugues,
>
> I have some experience using time lapse cameras in winter in the mountains
> of British Columbia (snowy and cold) and in the summer in Alaska (wet and
> cool).
>
> Someone else may have suggested the package from Harbortronics:
> https://www.harbortronics.com/Products/TimeLapsePackage/
> It is a little more expensive and complex but seems to work pretty well. I
> have had it stop for inexplicable reasons but once reset it worked fine.
>
> The Pentax Optio W-series cameras have an interval (time lapse) feature and
> are weatherproof. You could set one of these up on a tripod but I'm not
> sure how long the battery would last. It would probably only work for a
> day or two if you were shooting every hour, but may run for a week if
> taking only a few photos per day. You may want to attach some larger
> capacity battery for longer unattended shoot times. For the work in BC I
> used an Optio W-60 in a weather proof box I constructed with a Pelican
> case. In that snowy climate I needed to keep snow off of the lens so I put
> a glass window in the Pelican case and put a hood over that. I also wanted
> to only check on the camera once every 1 or 2 weeks, so I had our
> department technician set up an external battery that was charged by a
> small solar panel. This worked very well and the camera would run for
> weeks as long as the storage card on the camera didn't fill up.
>
> ___________________________________________________________________________
>
> Perhaps a little late, but... standard commercial grade cameras that I
> have used for time-lapse work: Pentax Optios
>
> The recent model, Optio WG-1, is cold-tolerant, waterproof, dustproof,
> shockproof. 14Mpix, and has a very useful function to adjust a range of
> settings and recall these in memory. Uses SD memory cards. Doesn't
> capture RAW but very high quality RGB responses. In terms of battery
> life - the supplied Pentax battery does well - on the green mode,
> shutting the camera off between image capture, I've found battery life
> of over 10 days with image capture intervals of 60mins. Officially, the
> battery will last for 260 shots. We've also tried a little bit of clever
> electronics (and silicon gel) to use a 12V gell-cell and step down to
> the camera's requirements - this gave much longer life. The Optio has
> 1min to 99min interval shoot capability.
>
> http://www.pentax.co.uk/optio-wg1
> http://www.ephotozine.com/article/pentax-optio-wg-1-gps-digital-camera-review-16957
>
>
> For a little more, one version of the model has a GPS in-built to tag
> the images with coords.
>
> Hopefully this is helpful.
>
>
>
>
> _______________________________________________
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--

__________________________________________________________

Dr. Hugues Lantuit
Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
Telegrafenberg A43
Potsdam 14473
Germany

Tel: +49-331-288-2216
Fax: +49-331-288-2188
Cell:   +49-170-454-0677
email: [hidden email]
http://www.awi.de/People/show?hlantuit
__________________________________________________________
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