It’s been a while since I listed exactly what I’m using for time-lapse. So, after a couple requests, here it is. I’ve used Amazon affiliate links because I bought most of this stuff on Amazon. I’ve listed most of the prices I paid, which I think were generally fair amounts. If the price has risen since then, check other distributors or websites. And please leave a comment if you know of cheaper prices from reliable dealers.
Canon EOS 60D
The 60D is an odd fit between the amateur 50D and the professional 7D. I’ve shot with the 7D and would have a hard time finding much of a difference. The controls aren’t quite as intuitive and the 60D isn’t quite as tough. However, the 60D offers a whole lot of camera for around $1000 (body only).
The 60D also has a few features that separate it from the lower models. For example, the 60D shoots full 1080p video, although I suspect even the Rebel line will do this soon. The best reason I can suggest a 60D is because this beautiful time-lapse by Randy Halverson was largely shot with one.
Lenovo K330 77275DU Desktop
After years of faithful service, my Toshiba laptop began struggling under the weight of 1080p 30fps output from RAW files. So far, this new computer has been great. It has an Intel i7 processor, 12GB of DDR3 memory, 1.5TB of HDD space (which I’ve upped to 3Tb), and an ATI Radeon 6450 DX11 1GB. This should sound a little impressive if you’re reading this in January 2012, or horribly, horribly outdated if you’re reading it in February 2012 or later. I threw on a 24″ full HD LED monitor for a reasonable price that has more color shift than a true video or photo editor would accept, but it was half the price of better units.
I realize I’ll have to replace the video card at some point with a better model, but I wanted to make sure I had something with enough guts to upgrade it in the future. I haven’t done much serious work with this computer so far, but I’ll try to give an update in a few months.
Targus Digital TG-6660TR
I bought this at Radioshack on sale for $20 a few years ago. It’s currently listed on Amazon for $30. I’m sure there are plenty of reasons why an expensive tripod is far superior, but I haven’t had any problems with this baby so far.
Canon EF-S 18-55mm
This is the only lens I use for time-lapse. I’d like to buy something a little wider, but this lens has worked well for most landscape shots. The only reason I’d like a wider lens is to capture city scenes close up. I’ll probably rent a lens from borrowlenses.com and try it out before buying.
I bought this lens used for $100. I’d pay the extra money and buy a new one next time. I got lucky and was able to clean the dust from this lens but it’s possible it could have had a minor flaw I didn’t notice until after I had taken thousands of photographs.
Zeikos Circular Polarizer Filter
$5.86 with free shipping. What else can I say? If you’re going to use one all the time and have the money, invest in something better. If you want to play with a polarizing filter, the entry level to acceptable filters has dropped to the price of a couple lattes. Make sure to buy the one that fits your lenses.
Polaroid Variable Range Neutral Density Filter
I bought this a few months ago and still haven’t used it. A variable ND filter lets you block as much light as you’d like. The advantage of this for time-lapse is that you can take four second exposures in broad daylight to avoid problems like birds flying through your shot and to give blurry effects to people on the street. You can also use one of these to increase the f-stop of portraits to blur the background, which is a popular effect in photography these days.
RS-60E3 Remote Timer
Just a few years ago a timer like this would have cost over $100. I bought this one for $16 and it works just as well. Although the Canon 60D isn’t listed as compatible, it definitely works. You may need a different type of intervalometer if you own a different camera.
My Memory Card
Centon 32GB Class 10 SDHC
I don’t usually buy off brand memory cards, but this one was on sale at woot.com. Unfortunately, the sale is over so you’ll have to check back occasionally or buy one somewhere else. I used this one for the first time in December to capture the total lunar eclipse. It worked without a problem and was just big enough to capture the 30GB of RAW photos I took that night. I’ve also used it for HD video but had some trouble. It would occasionally stop recording after the first two seconds. I’ll buy a better, faster card soon and use this as a backup.
Odds and Ends
That’s it for my main equipment. I still use my Canon Powershot S3 IS, but it’s seen better days. I also have a telescope tripod with an equatorial mount that’s missing a motor but would be great for nighttime videos. Then there’s the random 2GB memory card floating around.
My major planned purchases include some sort of dolly system and maybe material for a crane. I have some motors and plan to make a cheap moving platform once I figure out a good way to control the motor speed. I’ve tried a 555 chip without luck and might just buy an Arduino microcontroller. Please let me know if you’ve had success with either method.