Time-Lapse Technique for the Canon EOS Digital

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Time-Lapse Technique for the Canon EOS Digital
Sunrise and sunset are popular time-lapse subjects. (Photos.com/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

The Canon EOS features a series of digital SLR (DSLR) cameras that range from dedicated still cameras to those that also offer video-capturing capability. The Canon EOS line of cameras is often used for professional imaging work. Because of the high-quality photos a Canon EOS model produces, it is a preferred camera for time-lapse shooting.

Time-Lapse Shooting

A time-lapse shoot requires taking a single photo of a consistently moving subject at specific time intervals. When the photos are played sequentially, it leads to a faster progression of events that happen in the subject. If you are shooting a time-lapse footage of the sunset, you can show the completed setting of the sun at a very fast pace. Your camera should be locked in one position and it should not move for the entire duration of the shoot. Depending on how fast or slow you want the time-lapse footage to be, you must set the time interval when you should take each photo of your subject. For instance, you can take a photo of the sunset every 10 or 20 seconds for a period of 30 minutes or one hour.

Canon EOS Utility

Every Canon EOS camera is packaged with an installation software containing the Canon EOS Utility. This is very beneficial when shooting time-lapse photography, as it allows you to conveniently name and organise your photos according to your preferred file name and sequence order. It also makes it possible to control your camera for shooting using your laptop, which allows you to take photos for your time-lapse without pressing the camera's "Shoot" button. This lessens the risk of accidentally moving your camera from its locked position, which can significantly affect the quality of your time-lapse footage.

Image Capture Options

Shooting a time-lapse is best done with the highest resolution image setting for your photos. Canon EOS cameras have the image-capture options "Small," "Medium," "Large" and "RAW." While RAW provides you with top-notch flexibility in terms of what you can do with your photos, it is generally recommendable to use the "Large" option for time-lapse photos because of the high resolution it provides and the fact that time-lapse photos are not meant to be edited one-by-one --- which is the main advantage of using the RAW format. A few minutes worth of time-lapse footage can already use thousands or even tens of thousands of photos. This makes it impractical to have each photo edited.

Aside from the additional processing time required, RAW photos need a significantly larger disk space compared to JPG image files. This may result in a lack of memory card space when shooting long time-lapse shots.


An external device called an intervalometer attached to your EOS camera allows you to conveniently set the time interval for your time-lapse shots. This tells your camera when and how often to take each photo of your subject. For instance, you can tell the camera to take a photo over a five-hour period, a whole day or even a few days with time interval of a few seconds, a few minutes or a few hours for each shot. This makes it possible for you to leave your camera during the shoot, especially if you are shooting a time-lapse footage for a very long period of time.

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