aNewDomain — I guess I came into my review of Brinno’s TLC200 Pro HDR Time Lapse Camera a bit compromised: I fully expected it to wow me. I put the device through its paces. Along the way, I learned a lesson or two about the power of first impressions.
Here’s my TLC200 Pro HDR Time Lapse Camera review.
The TLC200 Pro HDR out of the box:
Out of the box, I was immediately impressed by the TLC200 Pro HDR’s compact size. It is surprisingly small, about the size of little digital voice recorder. And the best thing about that size is how convenient it is to take along with you. No problem fitting this little gadget in your camera bag.
The design is simple, but it feels solid and not at all cheap. It comes with a 4GB SD card for storage, two AA batteries and the ability to mount onto a tripod. There is no power cord included, but that’s not a huge deal. Any standard micro USB cable will power it.
And then I saw it in action.
Right away, I noticed the TLC200 Pro HDR is super easy to use. All you have to do to start a time-lapse recording is hit the capture button. Or you can set it to delay for up to several hours.
Say you know a storm is coming later in the afternoon. You can easily set up your camera to capture the weather ahead of time. You’d be catching the storm clouds dramatically rolling, in a video of up to 30 frames per second.
Because the TLC200 is an HDR time-lapse camera, it’s capable of capturing video with varying light sources. Bright sun, midday sun or dim street lamps — it will all work.
Unfortunately, the quality of the images I shot with the Brinno TLC200 Pro HDR is pretty lacking.
My images tended to look like 640X480 VGA videos on playback. That was disappointing. I’d hoped for a higher-resolution video.
Plus, the images captured on my test device had artifacts.
These were especially noticeable on my daytime captures.
The pixels were pretty blotchy in certain areas of the images I captured, too.
The low light images I captured weren’t so horrible. They weren’t great, either. But, after seeing the full-sun images, these were a lot better than I expected. The fact that this is an HDR camera means more light can get in. This has the effect of brightening low-light images and does make them slightly more viewable. But there was still image noise in the pictures I captured with the TLC200. I’d expected more noise on my low-light shots. Tiny mobile camera sensors make getting light to your images harder. That’s why you get the noise.
The Brinno TLC200 Pro HDR’s price tag, at $205, makes this camera a poor value, overall. Its tiny .33-inch camera sensor just isn’t going to get you the high-quality shots you’d expect at such a price.
Your smartphone is going to be just as capable of capturing time-lapse images — and it’ll even outperform the TLC200 if you’ve got a good time lapse photo app like Lapse It. And for just two bucks you can upgrade the free app to the pro version.
The bottom line:
As I said, at $205 the TLC200 is just not a good bang for the buck value. I recommend you use that money to buy a smartphone tripod, if you don’t have one. Then you’ll have the same time lapse capture capabilities that the TLC200 offers you. Brinno did a great job coming up with an extra-compact device, but it’s just not a great value. Better luck next time, Brinno.
Below, check out my video demo of the TLC200 in action as compared with the time-lapse capture I did on my Nexus 6. Feel free to share your experience and advice with time-lapse cameras and software in the comments section below — or email me at Ant@anewdomain.net.
Per Brinno’s site, here are some of the key specs for the Brinno TLC200 Pro HD Time Lapse Camera:
1.3MP 1/3″ HDR Image Sensor
HD Time Lapse Videos at 1280 x 720
Accepts Interchangeable CS Mount Lenses
Includes 19mm Lens (35mm Equivalent)
Fast Aperture: f/2.0
1.44″ TFT LCD Monitor
120° Lens Tilt
Time Interval: 0.3 sec – 24 hr
Powered by 2 AA Batteries
Includes 4GB SDHC Card, Supports Wi-Fi
Images: Ant Pruitt for aNewDomain, All Rights Reserved.