Time-Lapse Photography with a Panasonic Lumix GF1

One of my few complaints about the Panasonic Lumix GF1 is that it doesn't have a built-in intervalometer to take time lapse shots. But for about $50-$70 you can get a third party timer cable release that does the job quite nicely.

The Panasonic Lumix GF1 makes for a great little walking around camera, especially with the 20mm f/1.7 pancake lens. But one of my few complaints about it is that it doesn’t have a built-in intervalometer to take time-lapse shots. It seems like a pretty basic thing to include and presumably something that could fairly easily be added by a firmware update if Panasonic was so inclined. So far they haven’t been.

Update: The Panasonic Lumix GF2 is now available but unfortunately lacks a remote port, which means it’s not possible to connect a remote shutter release–there’s simply nowhere to plug it in. And like the GF1, it’s not possible to control the GF2 via tethering. So the remote shutter release method won’t work on a GF2 and to my knowledge there’s currently no way to use a GF2 for time-lapse photography. If you hear of anyone working out how to make it work please let me know

JJC TM-D Multi-Function Timer Remote Control

But for about $50-$70 you can get a third-party timer cable release that does the job quite nicely. There are a few variants, including the JJC TM-D Multi-Function Timer Remote Control, the RainbowImaging LCD Timer Remote Control, the RainbowImaging Wirelss LCD Timer Remote Control. The specific one I use is the JJC TM-D Multi-Function Timer Remote Control, sometimes sold under different listings online. The key thing to look for is the letter following the “TM-“. JJC also makes remotes for a bunch of other cameras with different connectors (details here), but the one that’s compatible with the GF1 is the TM-D. And it’s worth shopping around–the price varies quite a bit online.

While it’s not as flexible as some intervalometers–you can’t specify more than one shot per second, for example–it does work quite nicely.

What’s in the Box

Nags & Niggles

I do have a few quibbles with it, though. Firstly, it’s not as slender as it could be, which is mainly a concern because the big reason I carry around the GF1 in the first place is that it’s small. Secondly, and annoyingly, although you can set a number of activations, the maximum you can set is 399, which is fine for short clips, but not much good for longer ones. Of course, for longer clips it’s easy enough just not to set any limit and leave it running. But still, 399 seems rather arbitrary and there are times it’d be handy to have a higher number (999?) available. I’ve yet to see how long the batteries last in the remote, but will no doubt find out when I start experimenting with long-term time-lapse with the GF1 power by an AC power supply. And finally, the settings reset each time you turn it back on, so you need to reset each shoot.

Conclusion

But overall, I find it very handy to add time-lapse capability to my GF1. There are all sorts of times it’s not convenient to be carrying around a big DSLR, and the timer remote makes the GF-1 just that much more useful to me.

Specs From the JJC Website

  • Full functions supported as the camera shutter switch (with halfway or complete pressing)
  • Functions as a timer remote and can be programmed to function as an intervalometer
  • Design for group, macro, long exposures, continuous, motion shooting, etc.
  • Energy saving design
  • Timer delay: 0s to 99hrs 59min 59s in 1s increments
  • Exposure time: 0s to 99hrs 59min 59s in 1s increments
  • Interval: 0s to 99hrs 59min 59s in 1s increments
  • Power source: Two AAA-type batteries
  • Battery life: Approximately two months of continuous shooting with a delay of 5 min, an exposure time of 4 min 56 s, and an interval of 5 min.
  • Weight: 90g (without batteries)
  • Length of Cord: 90cm

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h2>Examples

Iwo Jima Memorial

This time-lapse snippet of the Iwo Jima Memorial (Marine Corps Memorial) next to Arlington National Cemetery was taken with the Panasonic GF1, 20mm f1.7 lens, a tripod, and a JJC TM-D Multi-Function Timer Remote Control.

19th and K Street


This time-lapse snippet of the corner of K Street and 19th Street in downtown Washington DC was also taken with the Panasonic GF1, 20mm f/1.7 lens, a tripod, and a JJC TM-D Multi-Function Timer Remote Control.

US Capitol


Taken with the Panasonic GF1, 20mm f/1.7 lens, a tripod, and a JJC TM-D Multi-Function Timer Remote Control.

More Tips & Tricks:

View Comments

  • Hi, GF1 is a nice camera, but maybe you have found some better solutions recently?

  • But will it activate the video mode in any of the Panasonic Lumix DMC cameras? I plan to get the Lumix DMC G3 and need to activate video mode with it. The G3 remote features are not that clear.

  • Hi David,

    thanks very much for sharing your knowledge with the rest of us. i have got now the JJC TM-G for my GF1 and it does exactly what you have described. the only additional thing i have added is a power supply to my camera (AC/DC) which lets me shoot without draining the battery, which might be an issue if you take time lapse for prolonged time. the power supply plugs into the battery compartment of the GF1 (looks like the battery) and into the battery charger unit and costs about $20. the power supply/battery is called DMW-DCC3. all the best and keep up the good work !

  • Hi David!

    Just wanted to say thanks for the review. Yours had the best info. Even JJC's 'specs' lacked the information that I was looking for. I wasn't going to buy it because of the 399 shot limitation but the unlimited option made up my mind.

    I almost started building my own intervalometer with the laptop's serial port!

  • Hello Felix,

    Hard to know for sure, but no, you shouldn't need to update firmware.

  • Hallo from Spain David, I Bought the JJC TMD model for my GF1 but I need some help. All in the display seems to work correctly but the camera don´t shoot a picture. Do I need to set the camera´s menu in any concrete way? Is necessary to install the new firmware to work with it? I´m afraid the shooter could be damage from store. THANKS A LOT

  • David,

    I bought the same timer (TM-D) for my Lumix G10K and I can't seem to get it to work? The user manual is very straight forward so that is odd to me. The G10K has a remote jack and the same sensor as the GF1 but I guess slightly different firmware. Any suggestions are welcome..

  • Hi. Grat post.

    Did you ever use any external storage device for the Lumix? Doing a long timelapse and the mem card isn't enough so I'm looking for alternative solutions.

    Thanks!

    • No, I'm afraid I haven't tried attaching external storage for capture. Is it possible? I'd be curious to hear what you learn about it.

  • Hi,

    I really enoyed the article. Is it possible to set the interval length but not the # of activations? Essentially, can you just keep triggering the camera at a set interval until it or the intervalometer run out of battery power?

  • In the two samples you show, which interval between exposures did you use? One picture each 10 seconds?

    They look great!

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