In April 2016, the Timelapse+ View took to Kickstarter in hopes of bringing a dream to reality. Thirty days and $130,000 later, the small black box was well on its way to becoming a marketable product, and now, it’s nearly ready to ship to general customers. Like other intervalometers, the View takes control of your camera to automate the time-lapse process, but it has a few unique abilities that make it stand out.
Designed for sustained operation in all conditions, the View’s rugged exterior is dust and moisture resistant and can be easily operated with gloved hands. Some functions, like waking up the device and accessing preview mode, can also be controlled via touch-free gestures. The battery promises over 15 hours of life, but it also accepts external power when necessary. Camera support is listed as just Canon, Nikon, and Sony at this time, but Timelapse+ confirmed to Digital Trends that the View will also work with the Panasonic Lumix GH4 and GH5.
Compared to some other camera controllers on the market, the View isn’t exactly the most elegant thing to look at. It’s a bit bulky and industrial, a design that puts function before form, but users will likely be OK with this. It makes up for its staid exterior with a rich and capable feature set.
On the front of the device lives a small LCD screen. The screen not only displays the menu options for dialing in time lapse settings, but can also be used to play back images from the camera. This is where one of the View’s novel features comes in: Users can preview their time lapse footage as it is being shot. Whether you’re three, 30, or 300 exposures into your sequence, you can watch it at any time. This is a great way to check that your interval is properly set before wasting hours waiting for the final time lapse.
Want to control the View and preview your time lapse on your phone, instead? Yep, there’s an app for that. You can set interval, exposure, and even focus from your mobile device and see a live preview at 24 or 30 frames per second. What’s more, the upcoming $60-per-year View.TL service will let users access and control their cameras from anywhere in the world over the internet. This may be something most photographers can live without, but it’s a great option for long-term projects such as construction jobs and environmental monitoring. Currently, a Wi-Fi hot spot is required for the service, but support for USB cellular modems is planned.
Perhaps the View’s most interesting feature, however, is its advanced auto exposure ramping controls. Rather than take a simple meter reading before each exposure and adjust as necessary, the View analyzes the thumbnail from each saved frame to determine whether or not it’s properly exposed. Then, in addition to making smooth in-camera adjustments, it writes exposure correction data into an XMP sidecar file that can be read by Adobe Lightroom. This enables seamless transitions through different lighting conditions.
The most obvious use for such a feature is in shooting day to night sequences. Here, the View again takes things a step further by underexposing night time photos by one stop. Thus, night looks like night, rather than appearing at the same brightness as daylight scenes. It can also ramp the interval time to allow for longer exposures at night. Users also have the freedom to alter any default settings and reprogram the device to their heart’s content.
The View also integrates with Dynamic Perceptions NMX 3-axis motion controller with a keyframe editor built right into the mobile app. Users can set start and end points for the motion path and even keyframe focus changes if necessary.
At $365, the View is aimed at time lapse enthusiasts and professionals, but assuming it performs as advertised, that’s likely a small price to pay for the amount of time it can save such users. Pre-orders are open now with units expected to ship by the end of January.