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How to Record Timelapses on the Sony a7S II

Sony cameras support additional add-on “apps.” that give you additional functionality not originally included with the camera. This allows the camera to be really flexible and future-proofs it against newer trends or desires from camera operators. Time lapse, while not natively installed on the a7S II, is one such feature that can be easily added via the Apps functionality.

Download and Install the App

There are two ways to go about installing the Timelapse App onto your Sony a7S II. In the video above, we show you how to install directly from the camera. This article will explain how to install from your computer. Feel free to choose whatever method feels right to you.

From your computer, the first step is to go to PlayMemories Camera Apps on Sony's website. Here you will see a monster pile of add-ons. But right there in the top row is Time Lapse. Go ahead and click on it.

You can read some of the features, check the footage samples, and when you are ready, click “proceed to purchase.” Unfortunately, you cannot actually download from their site immediately. Instead, they force you to download their installer software, which will then let you purchase the time-lapse app. Just follow their instructions through the install process.

Plug in through the USB port on the side
Plug in through the USB port on the side

Now you are ready to connect the camera to the computer via the USB port on the side. If you use Mac, and you have problems getting the computer to recognize your camera, try going into the camera’s toolbox menu, opening the USB Connection option, and change the setting from Auto to MTP Mode. Again, follow the install instructions.

When you are finally done, turn the camera off and disconnect it from the computer. You have now installed Time Lapse functionality onto your camera! But how do you use it?

How to use it

With your upgraded a7S II in hand, press the menu button and scroll over to the applications list under the menu with four boxes for an icon. You should now see Time Lapse as an option here, so select it.

You should immediately be presented with a live view again, where you can compose your shot just as you normally would. But press the menu button, and you will find some significant changes under the hood. Instead of going to the standard menus you are familiar with, you will instead be taken to a custom menu filled with timelapse-specific options. 

The first step is to choose a Theme - Options include automatic presets like Sunrise, Miniature, but of course you can always just select Custom. Press enter to select the one you want. 

You can choose if you want to record straight into a video, which is hands down the most convenient option, or you can simple save a series of stills, which gives you much more resolution and, if you shoot raw, much more color to work with in post. Set the interval between the frames, set the number of shots you wish to take, and notice how the duration of the final product changes as you do so. Press enter when you are ready to return to the preview screen. If everything is ready to go, press shutter button to start!

If you are shooting a time lapse of any meaningful length, you will quickly find that the battery life of the camera to be an unwieldy constraint. This is a perfect time to look into extending the battery life of your a7S II. There are many ways to go about it, and we cover a few of the best in this article over here.

Happy time lapsing!