Question: How do different time intervals for timelapse cameras affect their required maintenance?

cherylh is asking a question about timelapse
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by cherylh | May 15, 2017 05:30 | #14190

What I want to do or know

Fair Tech Collective folks are investigating options for configuring cameras to monitor oil refineries.

We're curious how choices of temporal interval for timelapse cameras correlate with their maintenance needs, e.g. frequency of battery changes, including in different climates? (These cameras would be in the San Francisco Bay Area.)


It's been a while since I've flown my cameras, but my suggestion is to try you cameras and get develop your own data for what you can expect out of your cameras and batteries in the temperatures you'll be taking data in. For example in the CA Bay Area, or in Belize, my A1200s shoot for >1 hour on a pair of AAs, at 1 second intervals but I've not checked to see if get longer durations at less frequent intervals. On the other hand my SX260HS, gps enabled, gets like 20 minutes from the NB-6L batteries. @cfastie flies in Alaska from time to time and may have more infpo on temperature effects.

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Point and shoot cameras typically last a few hours when running on batteries. Trail cameras typically last a few months to a year because they enter a low-power sleep mode between photos. The endurance varies a lot among brands and models, in part because some have deeper sleep modes than others. There is also two orders of magnitude difference among camera models in the power required to take a single photo.

So the answer to this question depends on what camera you use. If you have a camera with a hungry sleep mode, it will run the batteries down quickly regardless of how often photos are taken. If your camera has a deep sleep mode, it will last much longer if fewer photos are taken.

If nighttime photos are taken, 10% to 40% more power is used to illuminate the flash or infrared lamps. Motion detection probably uses more power than timelapse.

If you are taking one photo every hour, a typical battery life could be 4 months to a year or more. More frequent photo capture will shorten battery life by an amount that depends on the camera and how it is used.

There are some relevant data here, although it is not clear how reliable they are or how to interpret them.


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Thanks so much! Very helpful...

I can post again once we've figured out which options we're going with.


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