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Time lapse photography warning...


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Although interest in time lapse photography of cockroaches is almost non-existent, I thought I'd post this warning anyhow.

Be very careful if you use a DSLR camera. The shutter life can easily be exceeded by frequent time lapse sequences. 100,000 to 300,000 shutter clicks may sound like a lot but a series of long sequences can easily exceed that.

It's disturbing when you discover you have rendered your $800 camera inoperative. Don't ask me how I know this.

Carry on.

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The worn out camera is a Nikon D80. Shutter repair is easily accomplished, but it will cost at least $200...low priority, for now.

A digital video camera will work well, if it has time lapse capabilities. Using software to extract the frames for a time lapse would be a big PITA, though. I think the high end GoPro cameras can do it, but they may be overkill...you don't need audio and the battery life would be insufficient. I don't know if you can use a webcam and software to create a time lapse, but then you need to have the camera tethered to a computer.

The best solution I've found thus far is the Brinno TLC200 Pro, available from Amazon at about $200 (read all of the reviews first). It's outrageous, with better low-light performance than the Nikon. True plug&play...after recording your time lapse you simply remove the SD card and view the AVI video. No video editing software to fiddle with. If you see something interesting in your video you can use IrfanView to extract the individual frames. You'll need a big hard drive...50GB file folders are not uncommon.

I really like the time lapse process...you can leave the vivarium undisturbed and observe their behavior at your leisure. Molting, mating, feeding, whatever...you have a good record. Apparently my B. Orientalis don't care much for pizza or the Reese's Mini peanut butter cups.

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