Lots of reviews for the new LRT Pro Timer 3 by Gunther Wegner have been popping up recently within the time lapse community. Each one of them praises this nifty little piece of equipment. But is it really so good that everybody instantly needs to buy one? Luckily, Gunther kindly sent us one of his units for testing.
So, let’s take you on a journey to find out whether the LRT Pro Timer 3 is the right choice for you.
(Spoilers: This intervalometer definitely has the potential to become the Swiss Army knife for time lapse artists around the globe. But it is not the best fit for everybody.)
About the LRT Pro Timer 3
When researching time lapse photography, you will come across the name Gunther Wegner sooner rather than later. He is the inventor of the best time lapse software out there, called LRTimelapse. However, today we are here to talk about his latest invention: the LRT Pro Timer 3.
The story behind this tidy little device is as follows. Common intervalometers haven’t changed over the past ten years. And Gunther wasn’t entirely happy about this. Especially since common intervalometers lack of a lot of settings Gunther wished they had. As a result, he took matters into his own hands and developed the LRT Pro Timer, which has all the settings he wanted.
Starting as an open-source project, which he documented in his blog (in German), he soon got lots of messages from people asking him whether they could buy his timer.
Why is the LRT Pro Timer 3 different to others?
The LRT Pro Timer 3 has a lot of cool and unique features. Covering each and every one of them would go beyond the scope of this article. However, we decided to cover the ones that stand out the most:
- No unnecessary delays due to autofocus signals: Common intervalometers usually send out two signals for one picture: one for autofocus (even though you are using manual focus) and the other to trigger the picture. As a result, when shooting at a fast interval, the screen instantly turns black after the first picture because your camera is already autofocusing for the second. This results in no visual feedback between photos when shooting time lapse. The LRT Pro Timer fixes this problem. By keeping the autofocus signal to a bare minimum, the timer leaves the camera ready for visual feedback and operation for as long as possible.
- Store your custom time lapse settings: You can store your custom shooting settings (interval, number of shots and more) as defaults in the timer.
- Interval ramping: You can smoothly change your shooting interval from one value to another over a definable time. This is especially useful for shooting sunrises or sunsets. You can start with a longer interval (= longer shutter speed) and ramp down to a much shorter interval.
- Periodic time lapses: You can program the timer to shoot during a specific timeframe every day. As a result, you can use it as a timer for shooting construction sites.
- Scheduled shooting: The LRT Pro Timer 3 has a battery-powered, real-time clock, which enables scheduled time lapse shoots.
- Shortest interval settings possible: Intervals (starting at 0.5 seconds and via a little workaround even at 0.4 seconds) can be defined in 0.1-second steps.
- Two camera ports: You can trigger two cameras at once.
- Big screen for feedback: The LRT Pro Timer 3 gives you tons of useful information on its screen. Therefore, you are always aware of where you are and what’s about to come. It feeds you information such as how many shots were fired, how many more to go, how long the resulting time lapse video will be, how long until shooting is finished, etc.
- Unique hardware design: Gunther chose to build in an OLED display with rich contrast, which is readable in any conditions from bright sunlight to the pitch black of night. It is powered by a built-in Li-ion battery, which is charged via Micro-USB. All hardware components were successfully tested at -20°C / -4°F. For operating, there’s just one large rotating and clickable knob, which lets you operate this device even with gloves on.
There are plenty of very cool astro settings which are not even mentioned here. We hope that we will be able to do a whole article about testing the LRT Pro Timer 3 for astro time lapses later this year. Sign up for our newsletter to be notified once the article is out. You can read about all the features here.
What do we think of the LRT Pro Timer 3?
To keep it short and simple: we love it, but not only because of its well-thought-out design and its countless cool features. What makes the LRT Pro Timer 3 truly unique to us is the idea behind it. This was started as an open-source project. This proves that the intention behind the LRT Pro Timer 3 wasn’t to make money, but instead to create an intervalometer that everybody can build and improve by themselves.
Furthermore, by building up LRTimelapse, Gunther has proven that he is highly responsive to feedback. He fosters his own community and asks for feedback, improvements and features that time lapse artists would like to see in his products. And we expect that this was the case for the LRT Pro Timer project.
Versions 3 and 2.5 will receive future firmware updates, which will not only include bug fixes, but also great new features. That means you won’t have to buy a new intervalometer – just update yours as soon as a new firmware update is available.
Is this the right intervalometer for me?
Okay, enough of all the praise. Yes, there is a little downside to this that means this intervalometer is not the right choice for everybody out there. With a price tag of €189 (Germany) / $249 (USA), it is definitely not a purchase you’ll make without thinking.
Pro Tip: The LRT PRO Timer 2.5 is basically the same with a smaller display at a more affordable price. It will be updated with future firmware updates as well. So if you are on a budget maybe purchasing the 2.5 is the right option for you! Take a look at this list to find the right seller for you (for the LRT PRO Timer 2.5 as well as 3).
We would like to end this article with the comparison we used at the beginning. Yes, the LRT Pro Timer 3 has the potential to become the Swiss Army knife of time lapse photography. However, when starting out with time lapse photography on a budget, you might just need a simple knife at the beginning without any screwdriver, saw or scissors. When dipping your toe into the water of time lapse photography, there is no shame in using a simple, cheap intervalometer at first and upgrading to the LRT Pro Timer 3 later on.
However, if you are serious about time lapse photography, we can definitely recommend Gunther’s LRT Pro Timer 3. It is a great piece of equipment, which we fell in love with instantly. And it has a place reserved in our backpacks for the foreseeable future!
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