Definition: Intervalometer

Definition: Intervalometer  | Glossary entry


A shutter release unit (normally a remote shutter release) that provide the ability to shoot shots at regular intervals is an intervalometer. These can be quite sophisticated providing time lapse potential for wide ranges of times from microseconds to many days or even months between shots. They can also be set to fire at specific times in some cases.

Most DSLRs have the option to plug in a remote shutter release of various kinds. These provide a wide variety of functions.

An intervalometer can be set to fire in the following ways:

  • Continuous fire of a pre-set number of exposures (including one exposure only if desired).
  • Continuous fire at regular timed intervals until manually stopped
  • Continuous fire at regular timed intervals until auto stopped stopped
  • Continuous fire between set date/times at regular timed intervals
  • Continuous fire at regular timed intervals from time of shutter button press until a preset date/time.
  • Continuous fire at regular timed intervals from time of shutter button press until a preset time period has passed.
  • Other variations (which may include some of the above and random events, variable intevals etc.).
  • Fire once (or more) at a given date/time in the future (normally beyond the range of the cameras own self timer).

Some cameras have an intervalometer built into the software. Check your manual for specific details.

An intervalometer is different to the self-timer built into most cameras. The self timer will normally fire once after a period of time from the pressing of the shutter button. An intervalometer will fire regular exposures for a continuous period.

Research your requirements before considering purchase. There are a range of different specifications available according to make and manufacturer. Prices vary considerably depending on the specification and functions available.

As always, check the compatabliity of your intended purchase with your make and model of camera before you spend your money.

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By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.

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