What is Time Lapse on a Trail Camera?

what is time lapse on a trail camera

Time-lapse is a crucial feature that many people often overlook, but what is time lapse on a trail camera? When buying a trail camera, crucial features that most people consider include trigger time, battery, image quality, and recovery time.

In fact, it is one of the most underrated features of a trail camera. If you plan to invest your hard-earned money on a trail camera, then one crucial feature you need to consider before buying is the time-lapse.

But this feature often confuses many people. So what is time-lapse in a trail camera, and what are its benefits? In this article, we shed some light on what is time-lapse and its benefits.

What is Time Lapse on a Trail Camera?

Time-lapse is a mode of operation where the trail camera takes photos based on an interval of time. This means that the trail camera will take pictures regardless of whether there is anything in front of it or not. When you switch to time-lapse, you will automatically disable the camera’s sensor system.

As a result, the camera will take pictures at a certain time, based on the time-lapse program setting. It is important to note that time lapse does not detect motion or record video. Your trail camera will only take photos when on this mode.

What are the benefits of time-lapse on a trail camera?

It covers a wide area

Time-lapse has two main benefits in a trail camera. This crucial feature’s first benefit is that it covers a wider area than when the trail camera is on trigger setting.

For instance, when your trail camera is on a trigger setting of 20 feet wide detection range, it will not detect and capture a deer that walk outside that range. However, when you switch to a time-lapse setting, your trail camera will cover a much larger area, meaning you will capture images of animals that are beyond your camera’s trigger detection range.

When to switch to time-lapse, your trail camera will take pictures at certain intervals, meaning something does have to trigger the camera for it to take photos. This means that if there is something outside the trail camera’s normal trigger detection range, time-lapse will still capture it.

It provides valuable and timely information

Another benefit of time-lapse is that it provides valuable and timely information, especially when hunting or when used for surveillance or security purposes.

For instance, when hunting deer, time-lapse can help you know if deer are using a particular field and also where they are entering and exiting the field. Time-lapse allows you to set the camera over a wide area.

This is important because it allows you to know where the deer are entering and exiting the field, giving you a huge advantage. If you use the trigger settings, the deer must pass in front of the camera to trigger it.

As a result, you might miss out on crucial information such as the entry and exit areas, which are crucial when hunting. But with time-lapse, you can set a time interval of every 5-10 minutes to get crucial information such as entry and exit areas.

You can use this information to strategically place a ground blind, or a tree stand in the perfect location.

Disadvantages of Time-Lapse Mode

Only works during the day

Some trail camera time-lapse mode only works during the daytime. This is a huge set back especially for hunters, since most deer move mostly at night. If you want your time-lapse mode to provide 24 hours surveillance, choose a trail camera with 24 hours’ time-lapse surveillance.

Does not record video

The time-lapse mode only takes photos; it does not record videos. The fact that time-lapse occur at certain interval means that you can miss important information.

Does not detect motion

Because time-lapse is a series of photos, it does not detect motion.

Best Trail Camera Settings for Time-Lapse

If you want to get the best results when using the time-lapse mode, you need to ensure that you adjust the setting accordingly to get the perfect shots. Below are important camera settings for creating perfect time-lapse photos.


If you want to take perfect pictures when using the time-lapse mode, you need to choose an aperture that will keep your subject focused and provide sufficient light.

Adjust your aperture to achieve a perfect depth of field for your subject.

Shutter Speed

Shutter speed is also a crucial setting to consider when using time-lapse mode. The shutter speed that you choose should depend on the look you want to achieve.

For instance, if you want your photo to look sharp and capture moving subject clearly, you should choose a faster shutter speed.

Time-Lapse Interval

When you choose the time-lapse mode, your trail camera will take photos at certain time intervals. Time-lapse interval refers to the number of pictures that the trail camera takes within a certain time interval. If you want your trail camera to capture more photos, you need to choose a short time-lapse interval. On the other hand, if you choose longer time-lapse intervals, your trail cameras will take fewer photos.


Typically, the best ISO settings depend on light. When you set your trail camera on time-lapse mode, it is recommended that you set low ISO. This will help reduce graininess and noise. However, a low ISO requires a higher light setting.

If your trail camera is shooting your subject in low light, you need to choose a higher ISO to make your trail camera more sensitive to light.


When on time-lapse mode, it is recommended that you set your camera on manual focus instead of auto-focus. This will enable it to maintain a consistent focus on each shot.

If you put your trail camera on auto-focus, it will try to refocus on all new subjects between each shot, and that could affect the quality of your photos, especially when taking shots of fast-moving animals.

Final Thoughts

Time-lapse is a crucial feature that can help you get crucial information, giving you an upper hand when hunting. For instance, when hunting deer, time-lapse can help you cover a wide area and help you know deer entry and exit points. So, if you plan to buy a trail camera, don’t forget to consider this crucial feature.