Cheap intervalometer / time lapse camera
November 28, 2012 8:21 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a cheap camera with an intervalometer / time lapse function.

A friend wants to mount a camera on his boat and set it to take a picture every minute or five minutes or so. He wants something cheap enough that if it falls overboard it won't ruin his day - he's thinking $50. I can find lots of cheap cameras by Vivitar and other brands at that price, but it's not always possible to tell from the listings which ones can do time lapse.

Anyone have a cheap camera that can be set to automatically take pictures every so often?
posted by echo target to Technology (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I just noticed these cameras in a Lee Valley catalogue that showed up in my mailbox. About a hundred dollars, and maybe kind of primitive, but they look like they'd fit the bill.
posted by Flashman at 8:44 AM on November 28, 2012

Maybe not $50 but there are a number of Canon point-and-shoots that third party firmware can be loaded onto. I believe time lapse is part of the feature set.
posted by thewalrus at 8:49 AM on November 28, 2012

Get a used Canon that CHDK supports. From the support page: "CHDK is free software for some (not all) Canon PowerShot compact digital cameras. CHDK gets loaded into your camera's memory upon bootup (either manually or automatically). It provides additional functionality beyond that currently provided by the native camera firmware.
CHDK is not a permanent firmware upgrade: you decide how it is loaded (manually or automatically) and you can always easily remove it."
posted by Sophont at 8:51 AM on November 28, 2012 [4 favorites]

Seconding CHDK. You can likely pick up a used or old-but-new Canon point-and-shoot for $50 if not cheaper, and CHDK will definitely do what you want.

It can take a bit of fiddling though; so do be aware of that.
posted by brentajones at 9:22 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

The Pentax WG-1 is waterproof, crushproof, etc. and also has its own intervalometer. It sells for a little over $100 at Target, IIRC, but you could get one used for cheaper, I'm sure.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:52 AM on November 28, 2012

Response by poster: I like the CHDK option, and it's what I'd use if I were doing it myself. I'm not sure my friend's going to want to fiddle with it much, though. I'll keep it in mind, but I was hoping there's something that would do the trick out of the box.

Maybe it's one of those 'effective/cheap/easy to use, pick any two' things.
posted by echo target at 9:52 AM on November 28, 2012 [1 favorite]

While I'm favoriting CHDK, be aware that the "H" stands for "Hacker". If you're not computer-savvy, or don't enjoy messing with finicky text menus, pick an out-of-the-box solution.

Or, find a camera that accepts external trigger cables, and buy a cheap intervalometer online - they start around $10.
posted by IAmBroom at 12:45 PM on November 28, 2012

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