discussion / Camera Traps  / 19 April 2022

Time-lapse camera trap recomendations

Hello camera trap gurus, I am searching for recommendations for a cheap (<90USD), rugged, and durable time-lapse camera for studying glacial melt. I've already been experimenting with the KiloCam, but looking to see what else people have experience with! 

Hi Meredith,

Try looking into Arribada Initiative's open-source time-lapse camera. It has been monitoring penguin colonies in Antarctica. It's a very affordable option and was designed for polar conditions. 

I wrote an article on Arribada's website about the latest deployment which you can read here. An article should also be posted on WildLabs soon. After the last deployment, one camera wasn't able to be recovered for three years. When it was finally collected, we found three years of images. 

You can contact @Alasdair for more information and try to get your hands on some. We'd love for them to be used in more locations.

Good luck!

Wow, I'd not come across the Kilocam before. What a cool piece of kit! Not remotely helpful to your question sorry (I honestly don't know of a cheaper, better option anyway), but could be the basis of a very cheap, time-lapse camera-collar...

Hi Meredith

We used some cheap Browning trail cams to record grey seal behaviour on the Farne Islands over the last autumn as a timelapse. We recorded an image every 1 min during the pupping season, which you probably don't need not need to record glacial melt, and they performed brilliantly. The batteries (8 x Lithium AA) lasted the whole of the season, from Mid October until the end of December, but we had to periodically swap the 32Gb SD cards as they would fill up after about 3-4 weeks. We also had to tape over the movement detector as that function still works even when timelapse is in operation. 

At the end of the season, we switched to every 2 min to pick up the final waifs and strays and to get some info on the moult, but, due to logistical reasons, we didn't have the chance to replace the batteries, nor could we change the SD cards. Even so, one of the cameras lasted until mid April i.e. over 6 months on a single set of batteries. We only had one of the eight cameras break and that was because a seal went over the top of the camera wrenching it from is anchorage point and eventually into the sea! It did get washed up but was in a sorry state after all that!. The others were all working perfectly and were ready for the seabird season.

Happy to provide more info if you need it


Hi Meredith,

Here's a little more information about the Arribada cameras. They are solar powered and received enough power in the Antarctic winter continue photographing.  We programmed them to take an image every hour, which might frequent enough for you to monitor glacial ice. Even with 3 years of continuous monitoring, the memory card did not fill up. I think they are priced a little higher than 90 USD, but they can stand alone without maintenance for a long time. Depending on how remote your field site is, that might be beneficial.

We can send over some of the sea ice images we collected. They're fun and interesting to look at if nothing else.