Four years ago, we heard about Brinno’s GardenWatchCam – a fairly simple weatherproof camera, designed for getting time-lapse footage of growing plants. Since then, the company has set about making more general-purpose time-lapse video cameras. Its latest offering is the 1.3-megapixel High Dynamic Range (HDR) TLC200 Pro.
Unlike the GardenWatchCam, or various other time-lapse-capable cameras, the Pro doesn’t simply shoot a series of jpegs that the user then has to stitch together into continuous video. Instead, it automatically converts its captured still images into frames of 720p video, which it records onto an SD card. When the contents of that card are then transferred to a computer, they show up as an AVI video file.
Because it’s an HDR camera, it’s able to simultaneously capture both bright and dark subjects within the same shot – ordinarily, cameras have to either overexpose one or underexpose the other. Its large pixel size also makes it very light-sensitive, as can be seen in the following video.
The camera comes with a manual-focus 14-mm/f2.0 112-degree CS-mount lens, although this can be twisted out and swapped with a variety of other available lenses. Whichever lens is used, it can be tilted into position by the user, and shots can be lined up on the LCD screen.
Utilizing control buttons adjacent to that screen, users are able to choose between a variety of scene, white balance and image settings, along with a number of time interval rates – this determines how fast the time-lapse video moves, and how much real-time activity is recorded. The Pro can be made to capture individual frames anywhere from once every fifth of a second to once every 24 hours.
Power comes from four AA batteries, or via a micro USB cable. Battery life varies greatly with the interval rate chosen, although at a rate of one frame every two seconds, approximately 240,000 frames can be recorded on one charge.
The Brinno TLC200 Pro is available now, for US$400.