Question about film cameras that take time lapse.?

Older vintage cameras have a shutter release you can attach a plunger to and then open the lens for as long as you like for time lapse In modern electronic film cameras how do I tell if it has a open shutter setting? I want to do black and white time lapse with 35mm. Thanks for reading!


First --- Time Lapse photography -- We image something over time like a flower, watching it open an blossom. We do this by taking a series of pictures, say, one every hour, over the period of a few days. We then show them, one after another. We thus see the action over a period of minutes. This is called Time Lapse. A time exposure is a single exposure. We somehow hold the shutter open for a prolonged time. The usual range is 1/1000 thru 1 second. A time exposure can be just over 1 second to perhaps hours. Most modern cameras have a setting that allows prolonged exposure. Vintage cameras have a B shutter setting that holds the shutter open while you maintain pressure on the shutter release. Some have a T setting for Time, The T setting keeps the shutter open without the need to apply pressure. Many vintage cameras do not have the T setting. For these models we use a cable shutter release with a screw knob that keeps the pressure on the shutter release until you loosen the screw knob. Many modern digital cameras have allow a setting that allows for time exposure. All you need do is study the specifications of various cameras you might purchase.

Martin S

Look for a "B" on the shutter speed dial. Almost every film camera has it. This allows the shutter to stay open as long as you depress the shutter release button. Older camera designs also had a "T" setting which opened the shutter at the first press of the release and closed it on the next one. Very handy, as you did not have the shutter release all the time. You might also want to have a cable release as Alan has already described. Depending on the camera you will need either a mechanical one or elctric/electronic one. Electronic remote releases offer additiona functionality like time lapse which the camera itself might not have. Goggle your camera plus remote cable release

John P

You have got the wrong name. "Time lapse" is many photos taken over a long period with the camera fixed in one position, so that you can "speed up" a process by looking at a slow process much faster. For instance - a flower opening. You are asking about "time exposure" or "long exposure time" - keeping the shutter open for several seconds to get a photo in poor light. Almost all "serious" film cameras of any vintage have a "B" setting (also possibly "T") which keeps the shutter open as long as you keep your finger on the button, or if you have a lockable release. In modern electronically-controlled shutters you will almost certainly need a special electronic release made for that model of camera.


Old film SLRs have a Bulb setting that allows you to keep the shutter open for as long as you want and you can do it without the remote shutter release cable. The advantage however of using that remote cable is to avoid camera shake. Modern digital SLRs have the same feature. They have that same Bulb setting and have either a port for connecting an electronic remote cable or a wireless remote control. The Bulb setting is indicated as B on the shutter dial of film SLRs and as B on the mode dial of most dSLRs. With dSLRs, Bulb may also be found in the shutter settings as the longest shutter time (slowest speed).


What camera are you looking at and what do you specifically mean by "vintage" and "modern" FILM cameras? I had a Cannon AE model that could take auto pictures of various lengths by just adjusting the shutter time (Down to 2 seconds). Electronically I could take pictures linger with adaptive equipment (Driver) and manually I could use the bulb release you mentioned. However, the AE series is 30+ years old so is that YOUR definition of "vintage" ??