fbpx

Frequently Asked Questions

Got a question that’s not covered below?

Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your project.

System Capabilities

What is the fastest shooting and uploading frequency?

photoSentinel Mini

Every 10 minutes, over the 3G network.

photoSentinel Mach II

With good cellular reception, the photoSentinel Mach II can shoot and upload photos as fast as every minute, though this will be limited by power supply and data costs.

For short periods, the Mach II can shoot and save as fast as every 5 seconds with end of day batch photo upload or every 5 minutes with immediate photo upload. At the end of the fast-take event, you can either collect the images from the unit manually, or set the system to upload them as a batch overnight

Maximum speeds are only possible provided:

  • Photo uploads are performed at the end of each shooting session (for 5 second intervals).
  • The unit has sufficient on-board storage space (if batch uploading photos).
  • The unit has a sufficient data plan and time to upload the large volume of photos per day.
  • The unit has a stable power supply for continuous activity.

As a general guide, for a long-term timelapse lasting more than 6 months, one photo every 10-30 minutes will provide more than enough images to produce a final video of reasonable length.

For a more in-depth discussion on intervals, see our article on the topic.

 

Can I run the photoSentinel 24/7?

Yes, provided the system has a stable power supply to allow it to take and upload photos during the night. If your intervals are fast, a solar panel alone may not provide enough power to shoot 24/7 continuously. 

Can I get a 'Live View' from the photoSentinel over the internet?

photoSentinel cameras do not have a ‘Live View’ function.

What is the difference between CCTV and timelapse cameras?

CCTV cameras are used for security purposes as surveillance equipment. They are placed in strategic positions to cover high risk areas, entry points and corridors. The cameras are used to capture unplanned activity and are often a low picture quality video feed that runs 24/7 or is triggered by activity.

Timelapse cameras are used for monitoring of planned construction activity, project management reporting, progress tracking, and marketing material. They are designed to capture high quality images at regular intervals over the period of activity. These are used to create high resolution timelapse videos, marketing assets, or to allow users to zoom in and view construction activity for project management purposes.

 

Product Information

What is included when purchasing a Mach II?

Mach II Standard Package hardware:

  • 4G controller and camera cables (camera interfacing intervalometer)
  • 64GB flash storage
  • Weatherproof housing with visor, IP66 rated
  • Housing mounting plate (pan, tilt & yaw)
  • Pole mounting brackets, clamps and bolts
  • 20W solar panel

Mach II Premium Package hardware:

  • All Mach II Standard Package items
  • External high-gain antenna
  • Ethernet port
  • 500GB SSD

Standard software:

  • Monthly service and photo gallery subscription (to configure and manage your photoSentinel units, and upload, store and display your photos). Charges apply.

Optional hardware add-ons:

Optional software add-ons:

  • Secure Custom Domain service (to host a photo gallery on your own domain)
  • Additional photo forwarding locations (we provide uploads to one location of your choice, free of charge)
  • Timelapse Generator (includes advanced photo filtering and editing, with on-demand and scheduled video generation)

What is included when purchasing a Mini?

All-in-one package hardware:

  • Fujifilm XA-3 camera
  • 3G controller (camera interfacing intervalometer)
  • 4GB microSD storage
  • Weatherproof housing, IP66 rated
  • 10W solar panel OR indoor AC power supply

Standard Software:

  • Monthly service and photo gallery subscription (to configure and manage your photoSentinel units, and upload, store and display your photos). Charges apply.

Optional hardware add-ons:

Optional software add-ons:

  • Secure Custom Domain service (to host a photo gallery on your own domain)
  • Additional photo forwarding locations (we provide uploads to one location of your choice, free of charge)
  • Timelapse Generator (includes advanced photo filtering and editing, with on-demand and scheduled video generation)

What is the ongoing cost of running a unit?

The monthly service and photo gallery subscription is US$50 per month.

You will also need a mobile data plan for the photoSentinel camera to connect to the internet to upload photos and status updates.

We offer optional extras which may incur additional monthly costs:

  • Additional photo forwarding locations will incur an ongoing cost per month per additional location. We provide uploads to one location of your choice, free of charge.
  • The Timelapse Generator incurs an ongoing cost for each month that it is active.
  • We offer an AT&T SIM card and data plan with US purchases, which will incur an ongoing cost. (US$60/5GB per month)

What is included in the monthly service and photo gallery subscription?

Access to our global technical support team.

Usage of our web application, which allows you to:

  • Configure photo interval and upload settings
  • View your unit status and performance logs
  • Configure user accounts and manage who can view and configure your units
  • Manage photo storage options
  • Generate timelapse videos (optional paid service)
  • Manage your custom branding

Bandwidth and storage on our server, to upload and host your photos on your photo galleries. 5GB for data uploads and 15GB of photo storage.

Creation of custom photo gallery homepages, with the following features:

  • Customisable branding
  • Customisable watermarking
  • “LiveLapse” video generation
  • Timelapse video links
  • Custom web links
  • Photo time filtering
  • Photo weather data
  • Photo comparison tool
  • Photo sharing

Do I still need to pay for the monthly service and photo gallery subscription when a unit is not in use?

No. The monthly service and photo gallery subscription is only charged when the camera is active.

You may need to de-activate other paid features (such as the Timelapse Generator) manually to avoid additional charges.

For customers in the US, if you would like to de-activate an AT&T data plan, please contact Support.

How does the photoSentinel cloud work?

  1. You can setup and configure your photoSentinel camera via our web application.
  2. Your photoSentinel camera captures the photos.
  3. The photoSentinel controller connects into our server to upload photos and status logs. It downloads any new configuration settings.
  4. The photos uploaded to our server are then displayed on your photo gallery.
  5. The photos are uploaded to any photo forwarding locations you have set up (e.g. Dropbox).
  6. Your clients can view your photos on the photo gallery.
  7. You can use the photos in your photo forwarding location for post-production.

What technical support is available?

With offices in Australia, the USA, and Dubai, you can raise a ticket with our global technical support team anytime.

photoSentinel can be configured to alert you by email and/or SMS when your camera behave irregularly or reach a threshold (e.g. your storage space is almost full, or the voltage to your unit has dropped unexpectedly). You can use these alerts to troubleshoot or submit a ticket to our Support team.

 

Cloud Storage & Project Management Integration

Where are my images stored?

  • Images taken by the photoSentinel are stored immediately on the controller’s microSD card (Mini) or on the in-camera SD card (Mach II).
  • A Mach II can be configured to copy photos to an external SSD or USB drive that is plugged into the controller.
  • Images are uploaded and stored on our servers to display on your photo gallery.
  • If configured, photos are forwarded to additional locations, e.g. Dropbox, Google Drive, your own FTP server, etc.

How do I access the photos taken by the photoSentinel?

  • Images can be viewed at online using the web gallery.
  • Users can download images from the gallery, if configured to allow high resolution downloads.
  • Images can be forwarded to a photo forwarding location, such as Dropbox. From there you can easily download your photos or transfer them to other devices.
  • For units with limited internet connectivity, photos can be saved to an external SSD or USB drive connected to the controller. An on-site visit is then required to copy and delete the photos from the drive before they reach their storage limit.
  • For units shooting in RAW format or fast intervals, photos can be saved to an external SSD or USB drive connected to the controller. An on-site visit is then required to copy and delete the photos from the drive before they reach their storage limit.

What cloud storage services are supported?

In addition to the photoSentinel FTP server, our current supported photo forwarding services include:

  • Dropbox
  • Google Drive
  • Amazon S3
  • FTP

Can I use my own FTP server instead of the photoSentinel server?

To make the magic work behind the scenes of our web gallery and web application, we require files to be uploaded to the photoSentinel servers. We can then display information regarding your photoSentinel’s performance and serve your files to display on the photo gallery; or they can be used with one of our web application services, such as the timelapse generator.

There is no way to bypass the photoSentinel server, however we can forward photos to your FTP server in addition to the photoSentinel server.

 

What project management software does photoSentinel integrate with?

Our current supported integrations include:

Is there a photoSentinel API?

Yes. Contact us for more information about our API and integrating with your software.

 

Network Connectivity

Can I run the photoSentinel offline?

The Mach II has been optimised to work with connectivity and does not have offline functionality. The Mach II Premium Bundle features an ethernet port for LAN if mobile network connectivity is not an option.

The Mini system can be run offline, however it is not recommended. You will not be able to remotely view the units status, alerts, or make configuration changes. For more information about running a Mini offline, contact Support.

If your project requires offline functionality, we recommend the Cyclapse Pro from our partner brand, Harbortronics.

 

Can I use the photoSentinel on 3G?

The Mach II can run on 3G when 4G is not available.

3G is currently the only network option for the Mini.

If you are planning to use 3G, we recommend checking with your network provider for their 3G network shut down dates.

 

Can I use the photoSentinel on 4G?

The Mach II runs on 4G and is fully supported.

3G is currently the only network option for the Mini.

 

Can I use the photoSentinel on WiFi?

The Mach II does not support WiFi out-of-the-box; however, we can supply a WiFi modification kit. Contact us to discuss your requirements if you would like to use WiFi.

3G is currently the only network option for the Mini.

 

Can I use the photoSentinel with an ethernet connection?

The Mach II Premium Bundle includes an ethernet port.

The Mini does not support ethernet.

 

What mobile networks is the photoSentinel compatible with?

The modems used in photoSentinel equipment are international standard and are supported on most networks that use SIM cards. If you have concerns about your local network, contact us to assess the compatibility.

Camera Information

Does the system come with a camera (and lens)?

The Mini comes with a Fujifilm X-A3 integrated with our housing and controller.

When purchasing a Mach II, we can provide a camera and lens or you can supply your own. Check our camera compatibility list below to see if your camera is supported.

 

What cameras are supported with the Mach II?

As of December 2019, our currently supported cameras are listed below. This list is subject to change as older models stop being actively supported and newer models are released.

Older cameras marked with * are not recommended for new projects as they may not remain supported for the lifetime of your project.

List of supported Nikon cameras:

  • D3300*
  • D3400
  • D3500
  • D5200*
  • D5300*
  • D5600

List of supported Canon cameras:

  • 60D*
  • 200D (Rebel SL2)
  • 750D (Rebel T6i)*
  • 1300D (Rebel T6)
  • 1500D / 2000D (Rebel T7)
  • 5D Mark III*
  • 5D Mark IV

 

Can I use an unsupported camera with the Mach II?

We don’t recommend using an unsupported camera as we cannot guarantee its performance with the Mach II controller.

Cameras not listed above might function with the Mach II controller, however they have not been tested or have failed compatibility tests.

Contact sales to discuss your requirements if you would like to use an unsupported camera.

Can I use a full frame camera?

Yes, though for a range of good reasons we recommend using an APS-C camera.

The regular Mach II housing is designed for APS-C cameras and will not accommodate all full-frame camera and lens combinations. If you do wish to use a full frame camera, contact sales for more information about our larger ‘Beast’ housing.

Can I use a camera with a zoom lens?

Yes, though you may need to use our larger ‘Beast’ housing. The regular Mach II housing can accommodate the average APS-C kit zoom lens, but other lenses may be too long.

Contact us to discuss your project requirements.

With any zoom lens, we recommend you tape the zoom ring into position to ensure it doesn’t subtly shift mid-project.

Will the housing window obscure photos from a wide-angle lens?

  • A 10mm wide-angle lens will fit when using an APS-C sensor.
  • A 10mm wide-angle lens will have window edges in view when using a full frame sensor.
  • If using a fisheye lens, there will be significant obstruction.

If you would like to use full frame or a fisheye lens, we recommend using our larger ‘Beast’ housing.

Can I shoot in RAW format?

The Mini does not support RAW format.

The Mach II supports shooting in RAW, however the photo gallery cannot display RAW format images. You can configure your unit to capture both formats simultaneously, allowing clients to view JPEG on the photo gallery and RAW photos are saved for later use. The unit can be set to upload JPEG only, RAW and JPEG, or RAW only.

Before shooting in RAW, consider that RAW files are typically 20MB+ per file, and therefore will be much more expensive to upload on a data plan. We recommend storing the RAW files locally on an SSD that can be manually copied from or swapped out, whilst uploading the JPEG files to display to clients. Alternatively, with a premium Mach II, an ethernet cable can be used to transfer via LAN and avoid high 4G data costs.

Can I remotely change non-intervalometer settings? (exposure/focus, etc)

The Mini’s camera settings must be configured during installation.

The Mach II’s camera settings should be configured during installation. However, we have a camera control feature that is currently in beta, which we can enable on request. If you would like to use this feature, contact our Support team.

Housing, Parts & Mounting

Can I purchase the housing by itself?

No, we do not sell the housing as a stand-alone product.

What is the internal space inside the Mach II housing?

To fit inside a Mach II housing, the camera and lens combination must be no longer the 150mm long. If you would like to use something larger, contact sales for information about our larger “Beast” housing.

What weatherproof rating is the housing?

All our housings are rated to IP66 (NEMA 4X), which is as weatherproof as possible before a full submersion rating.

Can I buy just the controller (intervalometer) by itself?

No, we do not sell the controller as a stand-alone product.

If you wish to purchase just a long-term timelapse controller, we recommend the DigiSnap Pro from our partners at Harbortronics.

What power options are available?

The Mini comes with a 10W solar panel.

The Mach II comes with a 20W solar panel.

An indoor AC power supply is available as an add-on.

For heavy duty outdoor use, we have an external battery box, which you can use with a 12V sealed lead acid battery or gel battery (not included). We recommend using the battery box in situations where:

  1. Solar is available but there is little daylight in winter (e.g. far northern locations).
  2. A rigorous shooting regime is required and there is no access to AC power (e.g long hours and/or high frequency).
  3. There is no access to solar or AC power (e.g. an underground project).

 

Can I use my own components? (solar panel/battery/external storage, etc)

We highly recommend against using your own components as we cannot provide warranty cover for non-photoSentinel parts.

If your unit is returned for warranty and a non-genuine part is determined to be the cause, shipping and repair costs will be charged.

What is the maximum on-board storage capacity?

On-board storage allows photos to be stored on the hardware in the event that there is a connection issue and captured photos cannot be uploaded immediately. It provides a buffer to keep shooting during potential network dropouts or issues with a SIM card.

On the Mach II, it allows fast shooting intervals and RAW format photos to be collected manually to avoid high data fees.

  • The Mini has an on-board storage of 4GB on its microSD card.
  • The Mach II Standard Package has 64GB on-board storage on its USB flash drive.
  • The Mach II Premium Bundle comes with a 500GB SSD.

How do I mount a photoSentinel?

The most common option is to mount the unit to a pole nearby or on-site. Your unit will come with a pole mounting bracket, clamps and bolts. Depending on where you are installing, you may need to rent a scissor lift or other machinery to install in hard to reach areas.

If you do not have a pole or similar available, we recommend Australian suppliers EZYpole, and Surefoot.

For more advice about mounting, contact sales to discuss your project requirements.

Do you offer any other mounting options than the pole mounting brackets?

No. You will need to provide your own mounting parts if you have a specific requirement, however we can advise you about different options. Contact sales to discuss your project requirements.

Do you sell poles for mounting?

No. We recommend Australian suppliers EZYpole and Surefoot.

Payment & Shipping

Can I pay by credit card?

Yes. There will be a surcharge fee. Payment options and surcharge amounts will be advised when ordering.

Can I set up automatic payments for monthly services?

Yes. For the monthly service fee, we recommend setting up your credit card details so that payment can be deducted automatically. You will receive instructions about how to do this with your first photoSentinel purchase.

What will shipping cost?

Nothing! Shipping costs are included in the retail price of all photoSentinel cameras.

What will customs, duties and taxes cost?

Customs, duties and taxes vary by country.

To estimate customs, duties and taxes in your country, use this calculator, or contact your local customs office for more detailed information.

How long will it take to receive my order?

Please allow two weeks from payment for production and dispatch of your equipment.

If you communicate with us and let us know that a job is likely, we can plan to have your unit ready in advance, and the dispatch time will often be much shorter.

Once shipped, our couriers will generally deliver within 3-5 business days. We can take no responsibility over how long it may take for photoSentinel equipment to pass through local customs, so please contact your local customs office for further information.

Renting & Reselling

Can I rent a unit?

Yes, we rent out our photoSentinel equipment. Contact us for more details.

You may wish to consider renting if:

  • Your project is shorter that 6 months.
  • You only have a single timelapse job.
  • You are just breaking into the timelapse market and this is your first job.

Renting is not cost effective if your project will run longer than 10 months.

What is the upfront cost of renting a photoSentinel?

We require a deposit for the hardware, payment for shipping and 1 month’s advance on monthly rental fees. Contact us for a full rental quote.

Do I need to insure a rental unit?

We do not insure rental equipment so we recommend that you add the equipment to your regular insurance inventory. If the equipment is damaged or stolen, you will be liable for the full retail value.

Do you have a reseller in my country?

We have offices in the US and Dubai, and beyond that we generally don’t operate through resellers. Because we offer an on-going service, we prefer to personally develop a relationship with all our clients rather than work through others.

Instead of resellers, we work with partners – companies who use photoSentinel equipment to offer a service to the construction industry (or other industries). To learn more about partnership, you can download our ebook about how to grow a business through timelapse.

Can I become a reseller?

We are always interested to hear about business opportunities around the world. We generally steer away from reselling for the reasons outlined above, but we love to hear from photographers and producers who are interested in building a business with photoSentinel long-term timelapse.

Still Got Questions?

Still got a question that’s not covered above?

Don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your project.

Sign-up to receive your free copy of The Ultimate Project Planner!

 

The comprehensive photographer's guide to successfully planning your construction timelapse project.

Your download link has been emailed to you.