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Timelapse - How much can a camera take?

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Timelapse - How much can a camera take?
« on: 05 / June / 2008, 12:15:22 »
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I discovered CHDK last week, and having much fun with it already (THANKS!). I'm planning to do a lot of long timelapse projects, but read on other sites that camera's can only take a limited amount of shots due to the lifetime of the shutter. This would be anywhere between 50.000 shots to a few 100.000 shots for most DSLR's.

I use a Powershot S3 IS, and would like to know how if the same numbers apply to my (non-DSLR) camera. Also, are there any other limitations for extended time-lapse besides the shutter lifetime?

Thanks!

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Offline bmwman91

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Re: Timelapse - How much can a camera take?
« Reply #1 on: 05 / June / 2008, 12:39:26 »
I cannot really comment accurately on the lifetime of camera shutters.  My guess would be that non-SLR's last longer just due to there being less moving mass involved, but that is just a guess.

The real kicker with non-SLR digital cameras is the CCD sensor size.  The sensor is so much smaller that signal noise is very noticeable and had a large effect.  SLR's have CCD sensors with far more area, so they can capture a lot more of the desired signal (light from images we want to capture), so the ratio of signal to noise is much better.  Long exposures on point-n-click cameras (S3 is one) will work, but noise can be a real issue.  The anti-noise algorithms cameras use can also kill details (depends).  You might need to capture RAW's just to avoid that.

If you want to learn more about sensor sizes and stuff:
Sensor Sizes: Camera System: Glossary: Learn:  Digital Photography Review
Sensors: Camera System: Glossary: Learn:  Digital Photography Review
Noise Reduction: Digital Imaging: Glossary: Learn:  Digital Photography Review

Re: Timelapse - How much can a camera take?
« Reply #2 on: 05 / June / 2008, 15:14:05 »
bmwman91, thanks for your reply. Your assumption about the longer shutter lifetime of a Powershot seems to agree with this page: Granite Bay Software - PowerShot Cameras

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PowerShot models are actually better for time-lapse than EOS models because they are inexpensive and have fewer moving parts. EOS models have a complex shutter mechanism with a limited lifetime. Their superior resolution is not necessary when you realize that even high-definition video frame is only 2 mega-pixels. PowerShot cameras have a simpler shutter that last longer and more than adequate resolution for hi-def video.

However, I can't seem to find any guestimates on how long the shutter of a powershot will usually survive. Could anybody here with some more time-lapse experience elaborate on this further?

The noise en picture quality is not my concern for now.

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Offline wontolla

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Re: Timelapse - How much can a camera take?
« Reply #3 on: 05 / June / 2008, 15:42:14 »
My S3 counter says I have taken 34,000 pictures  :o



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Offline fbonomi

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Re: Timelapse - How much can a camera take?
« Reply #4 on: 05 / June / 2008, 17:04:38 »
my a570 says 48.034 shots since april '08  :D

Re: Timelapse - How much can a camera take?
« Reply #5 on: 05 / June / 2008, 17:14:29 »
And let's do the math...

Since we're talking "Time Lapse" that means pauses between pictures. Depending on the subject, this would traditionally be between 5-minutes and 30-minutes.

100,000 x 5 = 500,000/60 = 8,333 hours or 347 days or 0.95 years to shoot.

50,000 x 30 = 1,500,000/60 = 25,000 hours or 1,042 days or 2.85 years to shoot.

500,000 frames yields 4.6 hours of video.

1,500,000 frames yields almost 14 hours of video.

There are not many time lapse projects that will require this durability. When we shot the construction of a 50-story building at one frame every eight minutes, we intercut sections of other material, like actual construction taking place and edited the whole thing down to about 6 minutes of eye candy.

IMHO, 50,000 actuations should cover most situations.... 8)
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Offline wontolla

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Re: Timelapse - How much can a camera take?
« Reply #6 on: 05 / June / 2008, 17:17:37 »
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my a570 says 48.034 shots since april '08  Big Grin

800 shots per day
33 per hour
1 shot every two minutes!

When do you eat or sleep?
I got it!, you just use the intervalometer.

Talking about statistics, this is my 28 post. Although 1.3 posts per day is not that much.

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Offline fbonomi

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Re: Timelapse - How much can a camera take?
« Reply #7 on: 05 / June / 2008, 17:22:51 »
@cybercom:
Actually, other time-lapses (such as clouds) require a shot every few seconds...

@wontolla:
Yes, some of my 14-hours time-lapses are over 2700 frames each


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Offline wontolla

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Re: Timelapse - How much can a camera take?
« Reply #8 on: 05 / June / 2008, 17:45:16 »
There you go then, let's wait 3 days for fbonomi to reach 50,000 and he'll let us know whether his camera died or is still kicking.

Re: Timelapse - How much can a camera take?
« Reply #9 on: 05 / June / 2008, 21:06:26 »
There you go then, let's wait 3 days for fbonomi to reach 50,000 and he'll let us know whether his camera died or is still kicking.

ROFLOL!! :haha
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