Time-Lapse Camera Research

Since I ended up getting the raspberry pi set up with OctoPrint waaaaaaaay earlier into this project than I thought, I figured I might as well get time-lapse videos rolling. OctoPrint actually has a plug in for this called OctoLapse, so it seems at first glance all I need to do is purchase a USB camera.

I’m also glad my SD card slot had issues a few days in because it forced me to set up OctoPrint, which I absolutely love. It also prevented me from going down this rabbit hole to use the Rpi for only videos. I think the OctoPrint solution is definitely the way to go. If you haven’t set it up and you have the Monoprice Delta Mini Select V2 3D Printer, go see my blog on the subject!


I went with the Logitech C615 HD 1080p web cam because it is far cheaper to spend $30 on a web cam that is confirmed to work, than it is to drop $400+ on a DSLR digital camera that I have no idea how to use and will most likely be difficult to get up and running.


I decided to google “timelapse usb camera for octopi” which took me to this handy github guide that explains how to set it up. I’m hoping it’ll have comments or suggestions on what camera to purchase, but it will at least let me know what options I need to look for in a camera based on what the software can and can’t do.

Here are some key websites I went to when making my decision:

  • External Camera Forum
    • Apparently getting DSLR cameras to work is an ongoing issue, but a few users have been successful with their Canon D70 and Nikon D40 (which are about 10-20 times the cost of a nice web cam)
  • External Camera Configuring
    • If you do end up going with a DSLR (or already have one), then these seem to be the instructions to getting that up and running on OctoLapse / OctoPrint (good luck!)
  • Web Cam setup Video and Raspberry Pi Links
    • If you’re starting from scratch and don’t have a raspberry pi or web cam, then check out this video / post
    • There are tons of useful links and can help someone starting at nothing to get up and running
  • “Best Web Cam” forum post
    • This post has a lot of user opinion on the web cams they went with and why
    • This really sold me on going with a Logitch Cxxx web cam since they looked widely used and supported by the community
    • I’ve added a picture of the best “review” on the different Logitech cams, I ended up getting the C615 especially since it touted the “autofocus” feature and was 1080p
  • Web Cams known to work
    • This is a list of all web cams confirmed to work on OctoLapse
  • Web Cam settings
    • Once you get the camera home and set up, there will definitely be some tinkering with settings needed to get the best look
    • This is where I’ll start, but I am sure I’ll end up with a separate blog post on this subject entirely
We spent a lot of time reading today

I ended up going to Best Buy along with my girlfriend’s nephew who is heavily involved in digital media and I am thanking my lucky stars he came with. Apparently DSLR cameras are different than regular digital cameras, and I am positive he saved me a million hours of work and research since he confirmed going with the web cam was the right choice.  Thank you so much Dag!

Seriously you the best!

After getting home with the web cam, I set up a power strip so I could add lights to my set up. I had a clip on light I bought from IKEA that I clamped onto the printer, and a USB light that I have literally never used in the past 15 years, and threw that on the pi for some additional lighting (this is why you should hoard every piece of electronics EVER, you never know when you’ll need it!).

I have re-positioned the light since this picture, but this was the first set up with the web cam attached

For now I think I’m in a great place to continue printing and adding in this camera time-lapse functionality! Check out future blogs as I test the camera out and change around settings, and I’m sure troubleshoot all the issues that arise!

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