OT Digital camera mod

nick hull writes:


All the Canon DSLRs wake up from sleep and shoot from the shutter remote, which is nothing but simple switch contacts. Standard 2.5mm 3-conductor plug on the 300D/350D/400D, or the proprietary N3 connector used on the more expensive models can be cannibalized from a $10 import remote.
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The R/C hobby industry has many wireless video modules for onboard video. Cheap. Range over 1k ft. You could run it real-time to the receiver and to a loop or frame program in a computer with a video card. JR Dweller in the cellar
nick hull wrote:

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Why not the USB cameras ? Might be able to wireless some.
Look at Sams and Costco and like stores for security systems. For ideas. Martin
Martin H. Eastburn @ home at Lions' Lair with our computer lionslair at consolidated dot net TSRA, Life; NRA LOH & Patron Member, Golden Eagle, Patriot's Medal. NRA Second Amendment Task Force Charter Founder IHMSA and NRA Metallic Silhouette maker & member. http://lufkinced.com /
nick hull wrote:

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    Hmm ... note that the thing which seems to slow down the power-up cycle of most digital cameras is involved with the autofocus and the "live view" display.
    In contrast, a *good* digital SLR (interchangeable lenses with the older film cameras for the most part) can power up much more quickly. An example is my Nikon D70 -- which (assuming that I've left the lens cap off) I can switch it on as I'm lifting it to my eye, and by the time it is there, it is ready to take pictures.
    But the longest that it can be set to stay powered up is 30 minutes, IIRC. Note that just a touch on the shutter release button (to half-depressed) will wake it up as quickly.
    The Digital SLRs happen to be the most expensive digital cameras in general, so are probably not what you want.
    However -- what I would suggest is that you look at some of the digital video cameras. You'll need a video capture card on your computer to grab what it sends, of course, but it will stay on full time. These cameras can be obtained for very little (IIRC, I got one -- uncased but with lens -- for about $25.00 at a hamfest last summer. These are *made* to be security cameras.
    Try looking at eBay auction #170182244508 for an example of a packaged one.

    If you can involve a computer, and you simply watch and then hit a button to tell it to save a picture -- this should do.

    Look at a used Digital SLR. Anything which does not try to use its display as a viewfinder should be pretty quick to turn on. And maybe you can find one inexpensive enough. Do you want to put it in a weatherproof housing -- or just bring it in when the weather threatens?
    Good Luck,         DoN.
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I don't need autofocus, I know the distance to a good enough approx., and I would not use the live view display. How do I look look a camera that LACKS these common features?

A nuisance to be sure for remote opeation

True, the camera will be at risk from weather and vandals.

Finding a video camera is easy, getting the signal 1000' and recording it is tougher. I cannot simply capture the entire feed, often 24 hrs goes by without a significant 'event'.

I want it principally when I CANNOT watch, when I'm sleeping or gone.

It will stay in the weather 24/365, I'll make a housing to protect it.
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This camera http://tinyurl.com/287m7f is a digital SLR, and it does have a setting where it stays on. The LCD display is not active except possibly after a shot -- and that can also be turned off.
It can be triggered by IR remote. There is no direct connection to the camera, but an electrically-triggered (and silent) IR remote would be simple enough to make -- or modify the one that comes with the camera or an available replacement. (They're available for about $29)
I have one of these cameras. It's dated, but still an excellent camera. I don't lust for a newer one.
There is no provision for external power supply, but one could easily contrive something to go in the battery compartment. It uses 5 to 5.2 volts DC, normally supplied by four NiMH AA cells.
Another possibility might be a cheap laptop 'puter and a webcam. House the laptop in a suitably secure container. A cheap laptop would cost considerably less than a current-model digital SLR. Thousands of .jpg images can be stored on the harddrive of even an old laptop.
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On Tue, 01 Jan 2008 12:02:29 -0600, Don Foreman

I wonder how much bandwidth an ordinary 56K dialup modem requires to work. Phone lines are nominally 300 Hz to 3000 Hz but I think most are better than that.
Inexpensive voice-bandwidth "walkie talkie" VHF and UHF radios are readily available that easily work over a range of 1000 feet (more like miles) without direct LOS contact.
A webcam probably needs a PC to work, but old PC's are easily found for 50 bux or so. Once you get it going, it needn't even have a monitor. I see a used 600-MHz Dell Portege laptop on Ebay for $159 with 6 minutes to go.
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    [ ... ]

    Actually it is *not* a digital SLR. Note the wording from the auction:
=====================================================================You're viewing an Olympus C-2500L
I used this camera Until I could afford the Expensive Lenses and Body of ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ more expensive DSLR.
It is an excellent reliable camera that gives you some of the control of ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ an SLR Camera without all the associated costs. ^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ====================================================================    So -- it may do what is needed here -- but it is not (and does not claim to be) a DSLR. Two physical differences:
1)    A SLR (digital or non) has a moving mirror which redirects     the image to the viewfinder. From the location of the     viewfinder eyepiece, I don't think that this is the case here.
    I *think* that what it has is an internal display in the     viewfinder, which could slow it down as much as using the     external display.
2)    A SLR has interchangeable lenses. This one has only a fixed     zoom lens.

    O.K. Just don't call it a DSLR. :-)

    It is not really clear what he wants this for -- though it sounds like he needs an anti theft camera.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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Yes, I need an anti-theft, anti-trespasser driveway gate camera and the Olympus C-2500L seems to be real close to what I need. I want to fix the focus, I know what the distance will be (about 30'). I do not need interchangeable lenses, the camera will be set up outdoors 24/365 and it looks like I can power it externally and trigger it by IR and set the aperture manually and let it set the speed to light conditions. I will not use a flash on the camera (too far) but might want a remote flash closer to the subject. Floodlights might be available.
Since I will principally aim the tripod mounted camera by trial & error I don't even have to have a viewfinder
I would appreciate feedback from readers who have this or similar cameras as to the suitability. My requirements are;
* Can be powered from an external AC source and set to never shut down. OK if I have to modify the battery compartment for AC connection.
* Can be remotely triggered and sets the speed for correct exposure
* Digital, uses a chip I can remove and read with a card reader on my computer
* I would LIKE a fast response between triggering and picture taking, i,e, no 5 second warm-up. If I use a remote flash it will be powered up either 24 hrs or during darkness. I do not want a viewfinder or moving lenses to slow the response time, I need to snap the pix within 1 sec of trigger.
Any help or suggestions greatly appreciated. I would rather do this with a camera rather than a video link if possible - I don't need real time but do need a compact easy to review output; I'd normally review the output every week or 2.
nick
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1 sec of trigger.

Nick, I had "neighbor visitors" for a long time, who thought my barn was an attractive meeting place. Things got messed with, and occasionally taken. (especially the beer; damn!)
I set up an inexpensive Wally-World video camera, and a junked-out old desktop PC. I run the freeware "HSSVSS", which monitors up to two channels of video (up to 8 in the purchased version), and saves still frames upon motion detection.
It has been _perfect_ for me. It will monitor as long as I want, and save up all motion frames for future review, with an option to re-cycle the frames after a certain amount of storage has been used. It will also e-mail me whenever there's an event, and allow me to review the frames or watch the real-time video remotely (as from my business, 10 miles away).
The whole rig (discounting the old PC, which cost, essentially, nothing) came in at $119, including software, cabling, camera, and video-to-USB interface.
After a quick advertising around the community concerning the fact that I had 24-hour surveillance, and we've not had another visit, except for the errant deer who wanders into the shot now and again.
LLoyd
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On Wed, 02 Jan 2008 09:24:54 -0600, with neither quill nor qualm, nick

Couldn't you use a good video camera with telephoto lens mounted on the hill between you so you could use wired video for the gate. I was thinking that it might not work well during rainy or foggy nights, but a closer camera might not, either. Light the area.
Alternatively, use RF vidcam and set up a repeater on the hill.

Vidcams are always on and software for the recorder can work with motion sensors.

If it's that far between reviews, perhaps a wildlife cam is in order. Build a secure metal enclosure for it.
Just remember that if things are happening at your gate, a single flash picture won't tell you the whole story where a short run video would. Only you can weigh the advantages. G'luck.
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Too much woods in the way

Sounds possible, I'm studying it

I have one, am building a thicker metal enclosure; the first one got broken into and stolen. I would also like to be able to take pictures on signals, not just warm bodies.

Video can be nice but still cameras have much better resolution. Maybe some day I can afford both, for now digital cameras seem easier and cheaper.
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Yes. It can be set to never shut down, and you can supply 5 to 5.2 VDC to the battery contacts within. There is no external power connector.

Yes
Yes. It uses either SmartMemory (now obsolete) or CF (still available). USB readers are readily available for about $25. SanDisk is one, available at BestBuy. The camera itself has an RS-232 serial port that is abysmally slow. This is probably the last digicam that didn't have USB. I always use the card reader.

Shootin' out the back door, about half a second or a bit less from full press to click -- no half-press to focus and meter exposure. Might be quicker if set to manual (preset) exposure and focus, this was in full auto mode. The camera has contacts in the "hot shoe" for external flash, and the built-in flash is actually pretty good. 20 or 30 feet, no problem. It can be supressed, just don't deploy it! The available (on EBay) FL-40 external flash is excellent and quite powerful.
"Film speed" to ISO400 is an available setting. The images get a bit noisier but it works well in low-light situations. I've taken photos with a flashlight and by moonlight with this camera.
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On Wed, 02 Jan 2008 13:07:23 -0600, Don Foreman

Make that a regulated supply, pls. Probably goes without sayin' but ...
I haven't measured it, but I'd guess it could take at least half an amp at times. I'd allow for an amp. An LM7805 regulator chip would provide the regulation for under a buck. Email if you want more info.
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On Wed, 02 Jan 2008 13:07:23 -0600, Don Foreman

CORRECTION! (I finally found my manual) There is a jack for external power, and an AC adapter was sold separately. The camera does not power down automatically when the external supply is used.
Now the bad news: while the camera responds quickly to the shutter button, there is a 2 second delay when actuated by the IR remote. I don't see a way around that, other than to operate the shutter button mechanically with a small solenoid.
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wrote:

See http://www.steves-digicams.com/c2500.html
The viewfinder does indeed view optically thru the lens. When I press the shutter I can hear the mirror slap within if I put my ear right on the camera. It's a quiet "tic tic", and the viewfinder goes momentarily dark when that happens.
There is no electronic viewfinding function on this digital camera because the image sensor is obscured by the mirror when viewfinding. This camera gets considerably better battery life than most digital cameras because it need not ever use the LCD display to take photos.
SLR literally means "single lens reflex". Many SLR's do indeed have interchangable lenses, but that is not a condition for being an SLR.
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    [ ... ]

    [ ... ]

    O.K. So it has the mirror -- but most would not call this an SLR. Instead they would call it a "ZLR" (zoom lens reflex).

    O.K. ZLR.

    Agreed that that is one of the major killers of battery life.

    The closest to that which I have ever had was the Zeiss Contaflex -- which had only the front element of the lens interchangeable, because it had a between-the-lens leaf shutter. The Kodak Retina had the leaf shutter, but just behind the interchangeable lens. The medium format SLRs like the Hasselblad have interchangeable lenses with shutters included in each lens -- the expensive way to go.
Normally -- the major benefit of the reflex design is to allow focusing and accurate framing with interchangeable lenses. No parallax problems, unlike with a rangefinder -- or with a TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) such as the Rolliflex.
    Even the earliest SLR which I have known of -- the Graphflex -- had interchangeable lenses (just as the Speed and Crown Graphics had, mostly for 4x5 film. The Graphflex was far from the most convenient camera to use -- but it did get around the parallax problem at least.
    If you go into newsgroups such as rec.photo.digital.slr-systems, you will have to work to find anyone who would be willing to call a ZLR a SLR.
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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wrote:

Olympus called it an SLR. Steves'digicams called it an SLR. Wikipedia defines a DSLR as: "A digital single-lens reflex camera (digital SLR or DSLR) is a digital camera that uses an automatic mirror system and pentaprism to direct light from the lens through the viewfinder." Nowhere does it mention interchangable lenses. I still regard the C2500L as an SLR, albeit a rather early digital model. You may call it whatever you like!
Heck, if it has only one lens, that really makes it an SLR, right? Not a MLR -- multiple lens reflex, or ILR -- interchangable lens reflex. It may be the only true digital single lens reflex! <G>
(snip)

Well there ya go! It's so hard to be correct...
If you put a zoom lens on your SLR, is it not then a ZLR? Maybe an SLR(Z) or an IZLR?
Perhaps the parlance has evolved among the cognoscenti in the 8 years since the C2500L was a current model.
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    [ ... ]

    Olympus is guilty of "advertising-speak", just like we know that those "titanium" drill bits are really (hopefully) HSS coated with Titanium Nitride.
    I know that you know better than to want a drill bit made of titanium. And I usually consider your optical information to be good, too. But I do have to disagree with you on this one thing.

    Steves' is probably taking the maker's advertising-speak as gospel. And they may be getting an advertising kickback from the manufacturer, or may have been doing so at the time that was written. This is something which some web based camera testers are accused of these days. In any case, this would make Steve -- or anyone else in a similar position -- a bit less likely to argue the point.

    At which precise time did it say that? You know how likely to change Wikipedia's definitions (especially those which may be controversial) can be. :-)
    Note that the collection of newsgroups aimed at digital cameras is currently:
rec.photo.digital 0001456307 0001435796 y rec.photo.digital.point+shoot 0000002230 0000002082 y rec.photo.digital.rangefinder 0000000356 0000000341 y rec.photo.digital.slr-systems 0000118052 0000109228 y rec.photo.digital.zlr 0000003880 0000003516 y
    Note that the ZLR cameras have their own separate newsgroup.

    The "Single lens" is in contrast to a rangefinder (which had separate optics for the viewfinder) or a TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) such as the Rolli which had two lenses of identical focal length one above the other. Sometimes the two were also the same maximum aperture, other times the taking lens would be a bit faster than the viewfinding lens (e.g. f:2.8 for the taking lens and f:3.5 for the viewfinder lens. The benefit of this is that you had a better idea of what you were getting in terms of depth of field.
    There were even some interchangeable lens TLRs -- such as the Mamyia -- aimed for professional photographers. There was a manual cover plate inside to protect the film while the lens pair was being changed. This, of course, made the ability to change lenses cost more, since you had to change two at once.

    No. A ZLR has *no* choice of lenses. It has *only* the single zoom lens, with no provisions for changing to another lens which might be faster, or longer focal length, or shorter focal length. You are stuck with the range of the zoom (3:1 IIRC in this one). Not that this matters for the planned use which triggered this discussion.
    And don't claim more by "digital" or "electronic" zoom. That gains you nothing which you cannot get by using a computer program to crop the image and blow it up -- and loses a bit of flexibility in fixing framing errors.

    Or the cognoscenti were not willing to accept advertiser-speak from the start. :-)
    I would not want something which *claimed* to be an SLR which did not offer interchangeable lenses. I like to be able to use the older lenses from the same maker, and to mount the camera on a Catadioptric telescope for a really serious telephoto lens. (And yes, I do know that is a mis-use of "telephoto", as it really refers to a long focal length lens combined with a secondary cluster of lens elements near the back to allow the lens to be physically shorter than its nominal focal length. :-)
    Enjoy,         DoN.
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wrote:

Yesterday, 1-3-08. I'm not sure what precise time.

I do.

Understood. I'm not trying to sell anyone anything!
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