with Courtney Slazinik
Interval Timer VS. Wireless Remote
Gear, Lifestyle

Are you ALWAYS behind the camera so you are hardly ever in pictures with the ones you love? Sadly, I think most photographers would say YES! Which is why I now to use my interval timer.

If this describes you then it sounds like it is time for you to get a wireless remote! Before you buy one, check into the features your camera has, though….it might save you some money!

When my wireless remote broke, Sarah Wilkerson with Clickin’ Moms was so sweet to tell me about a camera feauture I had known nothing about! I quickly returned the new remote I had just purchased an hour before & have been using the interval timer ever since. I truly had NO idea the interval timer existed nor did I know it was on both of my camera bodies.

Positives about the interval timer

-No remote to hide in your hand.
-Allows you to be more candid with your images. Carry on with what you are doing while it snaps your picture which allows you to get pictures looking more “in the moment”.
-It’s kind of fun to hurry to your place once you set your camera up.
-Ability to set how many shots will be taken.
-Since you are in such a hurry, you can capture some fun expressions in your little ones face(s).

Positives about the wireless remote:

-Waste less shots because you can take one picture at a time.
-Can be slower about getting ready for shots.
-Don’t have to get up to adjust the camera settings in between each series to get it to start shooting again.
-Allows you to be more deliberate with your shooting.

Both are fun to try! I am perfectly happy with the interval feature though & don’t think I will be purchasing a wireless remote now. I like that it’s fun, spontaneous, quick & candid. I do appreciate the pros to a wireless remote though, too, & know there are definite perks….so basically you just figure out what is for YOU & start featuring yourself in some of your own pictures!

We all want to see your pictures when you try this!

Which cameras have an interval timer?

Lots of camera bodies have this feature! In doing some research it looks like these Nikon lines have the interval timer: Nikon D5000, D7000, D200, D300, D300S, D700, D2, D2H, D2Hs, D2X, D2Xs, D3, D3s, D3x, then also the newer bodies released this year: D8000, D4, etc.

Although some of the other bodies may not come with this feature already a part of the body, you can still take time lapse photos with cameras that do not contain this feature internally. You will need the software: Camera Control Pro 2 (for Nikon) then you can follow the steps from there to learn more.

Here’s where I need a little help. Being a Nikon shooter, I’m not sure if some Canon bodies have this feature. I have done research on it but keep getting mixed messages so I don’t want to lead you astray! If you have some insight on Canon’s & whether or not they have the interval timer feature, we’d love to hear from you!

How to set up interval timer on a Nikon:

-Go to menu >
-Shooting menu >
-Scroll to the VERY bottom of the menu
-Select the last option “interval timer shooting”

Tips for the interval timer:

-Set the camera up on the tripod or somewhere safe you have chosen.
-Find something to focus on that is in the place you & your subjects will be before you begin your series.
-Start with 5 shots before increasing to more so you can check on whether your settings are good, your focus is sharp, you like your composition/ framing etc. THEN increase your shots to more.
-Sometimes I take up to 15, 20 or 30 shots X 9 rounds at a time which seems like a lot but I try to be as natural as possible while the camera shoots off sporadically to capture some candid shots.
-Give yourself 10 seconds to get in place…I sometimes count out loud to keep track of how much time I have left! Usually 10-20 seconds in between intervals/ sets.
-It is set in days/ hours/ minutes…so 10 looks like 10″ then you set the number of intervals.
-You can also set the start time by the clock instead of seconds (which I have never done). Just make sure your camera’s clock is set accurately.

The images I posted are by no means a work of art but they show you how much fun I have had using this feature & that it has gotten me in some pictures with my little guy (finally)! The first one was taken with the wireless remote. ALL other images were taken with the interval timer feature.

Have YOU used either a wireless remote or the interval timer system? Which do you like better?

Read more about taking your own picture and why:
Self portraits – get in front of the camera
I am beautiful

  • April 19, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Hi! Thanks for the great post! 2 questions: 1.) Does the Canon 5D Mark II have the interval timer? Just got it and don’t know much about it yet (moved up from the 40D) 2.) How can you determine the number of photos on the interval timer? My 40D has that option but I didn’t know you could change the number of clicks at one time. Is that what you meant? Feel free to email me if you prefer:) Thanks!

    • April 19, 2012 at 11:04 PM

      Unfortunately the 5D does not have a interval timer. It’s one fun feature I really wish it did have! :) But you can buy a wireless remote that does it.

    • April 21, 2012 at 1:31 AM

      Erika – can you tell me how to set up the interval timer on the 40D? I haven’t been able to figure it out yet! (Or should I say I haven’t been able to take the time to try and figure it out yet!) :)

  • Amy
    April 19, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Great post! I had an interval timer on my old camera, but just discovered it before the whole camera died… Now I’m getting a new camera (hopefully tomorrow!) but it doesn’t have one… Thankfully I can get a remote for it for about 20 bucks! Definitely fits in my budget. :-)

  • Kim
    April 19, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    I know my Canon 7D has a timer. It can delay 2 seconds or 10 seconds. I can also set my shooting from one shot to a cluster of three. But I am honestly not sure if I can do more than that. I think I will just stick to my wireless remote.
    Thanks for the info. Now I am curious if my camera can do it.

  • April 19, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    I LOVE all your shots! Since Canon is lame and didn’t put interval timers on their 5D I bought a wireless one that does it for me. Haven’t tried it out yet but am hoping I have a opportunity soon!

  • April 20, 2012 at 1:34 AM

    Great post; I’ll have to do some research on whether the Canon has an interval timer.

  • April 20, 2012 at 4:55 AM

    Thank you for this tip! And I’m so glad to get great advice from a fellow Nikon shooter (seems as though everyone has a Canon, lol). I have a D5000 and have been addicted to the remote, because a normal 10 second, 1 shot timer does not seem to do the trick. It is hard to keep that remote out of a shot! I will be fixing up my hair today and heading out with the kiddo to take some pics with my newfound knowledge :)

  • April 20, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    My Canon XSi has a timer with a delay of 2 or 10 seconds. With the 10 second one you can have it take one photo or 3. I may still get a wireless remote anyway.

  • Liz
    April 24, 2012 at 12:26 PM

    My Canon Rebel XS has the interval timer but I have only used it with the 1 shot, though I think it can do 3. But it’s a pain to have to get up and click it again for 1 (or 3) shots, only. I am sort of baffled that the lower end models (like my XS) have it but after reading these comments see the 5D’s don’t. Why would Canon do this??

  • Laurie Flickinger - Contributor
    April 26, 2012 at 3:33 AM

    I love this Kelly! I really need to learn how to use my interval timer! Your images are awesome!

  • Lydia Stuemke
    May 21, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Can you think of any options on a NIkon D3100? It doesn’t do a wireless remote or interval timer that I can find. My husband just deployed and I feel panicky to think of not being in any pictures while he’s gone! Any ideas?

    • Courtney
      May 21, 2012 at 6:53 PM

      Sorry to hear that hubby is deployed! That is never fun! I believe the D3100 has the regular timer you can use. You should be able to set it on continuous shot so you could snap a couple before heading back to reset it. Yes, it is slightly annoying. Wireless remotes are fairly inexpensive and may be worth looking into. I know I had one for my Nikon D90 that was only $20. Good luck with the deployment and DEFINITELY get in front of the camera and send your hubby plenty of pictures :O)

      • Lydia Stuemke
        May 22, 2012 at 1:28 PM

        Thanks so much, Courtney! I’ll play with it more and see about the continuous shot. I know a cord remote could be an option, but the cords sure aren’t very long :/ Unfortunately, the D3100 doesn’t have the wireless remote capability. I originally had the D3000 and it would work with a remote but Best Buy did some work not the flash and lost my camera and replaced it with the 3100. Now I’m regretting letting them replace it with that model. Thanks for the help!

  • Savanna
    October 20, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    Does the Canon 5D mark ii have interval shooting?! I am looking into buying it very setiously but can not find any where if it has this feature, my pentax has this feature and i use it all the time! I don’t know what i would do without it!

  • karresa grant
    May 4, 2013 at 11:01 PM

    on the canon rebel xsi there is a timer/ continuous sign across from the AF button, select the timer button/ continuous button then move arrows over to self-timer 2 sec/ self -timer continuous

  • Generally I do not learn article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very compelled me to take a look
    at and do it! Your writing taste has been surprised me.
    Thanks, very nice post.

  • Sara
    July 19, 2013 at 11:40 AM

    I don’t know if that question was already answered, but yes, Canon cameras have interval timer.
    My Canon EOS has 5 options: Single Shooting, Continuous Shooting, Self-Timer (10 Secs), Self-Timer (2 Secs) and Self-Timer: Continuous (which takes up to 10 shoots starting after 10 seconds).

    In Canon cameras it is called “Drive mode” and you can set it up by just pressing the left arrow. The Drive Mode panel will be open then.

    Nice blog you have here! I’m learning a lot!

  • may
    August 1, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    Thank you for this article! I wanted to ask if you leave the camera focusing mode on manual, single or continuous while using the interval timer (D700).

  • Melinda
    January 17, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    I’m so happy to know this! We went on vacation last summer and I was only in a few of the several hundred pictures we took because it was too hard to get in the picture. Thank you!

  • Mel
    February 3, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    Old thread, i realize, but for Canon users: install the free firmware Magic Lantern. This will blow you out of the water. It was designed originally for the cinematography capabilities on the canon, but you can set an endless interval timer on it with a variety of options, timing and even time-lapse. GET IT.

    **I do not work for, represent, did not create, help create and am not associated whatsoever with Magic Lantern or any of its developers, etc. I’m just a mom with a camera like you, but you won’t regret it.

  • June 9, 2014 at 9:26 PM

    I am by no means a pro, but I have a Nikon D5100 and have used both a wireless remote and the interval timer. I like both to be honest, but usually forget to use the interval timer. The only time I used the interval timer was on Christmas morning so I could be in some pictures while my daughter was opening presents from Santa. They weren’t that great but I wasn’t going for pro-style pictures. Lol! I was perfectly happy with snapshots type pictures of that morning. But now I do want to try to take some better ones with the timer. We’re due for some family pictures so maybe I’ll try then :)

  • Julie
    June 9, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    I shoot manual and back button focus… Can I still do this?? Having troubles with setting up… Nikon d7100.
    Thank You!

  • Angela
    June 10, 2014 at 1:03 AM

    I don’t know if this has been said but Canon will do interval timing. It is available with the software that came with your camera. Downside is that it has to be hooked up to your computer while taking the interval shots. My brother in law was able to do interval shots Christmas morning using this software.

  • Chi Phan
    April 8, 2021 at 10:07 PM

    What is the best focus setting for use on Interval timing on Nikons?

    • Courtney Slazinik
      April 9, 2021 at 5:44 PM

      I place my setting on one of the subjects in the photo before I hop in.

Leave a Comment