Digital camera as webcam

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Christopher Pollard, Oct 22, 2004.

  1. I've tried asking on a webcam group about this, but they can't seem to grasp
    what I really want...

    I want to use a digital camera as a webcam, by controlling it remotely and
    automagically from the computer. I want to take a photograph every minute and
    ftp it to my site. Most webcams are optimised for video at 30fps and the quality
    isn't good enough. I want to take one decent picture every minute, not 30 crap
    ones every second.

    I remember my old Fuji DX-10 had a 'flash twain' (IIRC) driver which opened up
    like a scanner driver from within photoshop or whatever, and you could click the
    button and it would take a picture and send it down the serial cable, bypassing
    the memory card.

    I no longer have the camera, but wondering if there are any others which could
    do this either vis USB or serial. Something old, cheap and second hand would be
    ideal.

    The only suggestions from the webcam group was to plug the TV out fromthe camera
    into a video capture card. This isn't what I want to do as I want decent
    pictures, correctly exposed (without flash...).

    Any suggestions?
    --
    Chris Pollard


    CG Internet café, Tagum City, Philippines
    http://www.cginternet.net
    Christopher Pollard, Oct 22, 2004
    #1
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  2. Christopher Pollard wrote:
    > I've tried asking on a webcam group about this, but they can't seem

    to grasp
    > what I really want...
    >
    > I want to use a digital camera as a webcam, by controlling it

    remotely and
    > automagically from the computer. I want to take a photograph every

    minute and
    > ftp it to my site. Most webcams are optimised for video at 30fps and

    the quality
    > isn't good enough. I want to take one decent picture every minute,

    not 30 crap
    > ones every second.
    >
    > I remember my old Fuji DX-10 had a 'flash twain' (IIRC) driver which

    opened up
    > like a scanner driver from within photoshop or whatever, and you

    could click the
    > button and it would take a picture and send it down the serial cable,

    bypassing
    > the memory card.
    >
    > I no longer have the camera, but wondering if there are any others

    which could
    > do this either vis USB or serial. Something old, cheap and second

    hand would be
    > ideal.
    >
    > The only suggestions from the webcam group was to plug the TV out

    fromthe camera
    > into a video capture card. This isn't what I want to do as I want

    decent
    > pictures, correctly exposed (without flash...).
    >
    > Any suggestions?


    The specs of the Canon dRebel say that you can use it for time lapse
    photography alongwith a USB cable and computer.
    Siddhartha Jain, Oct 22, 2004
    #2
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  3. Christopher Pollard

    Dps Guest


    >
    > The specs of the Canon dRebel say that you can use it for time lapse
    > photography alongwith a USB cable and computer.
    >


    I also know that canon provides with an SDK and you can fully control the
    camera from the PC. At least for the 10D, which we bought for capturing
    experiments in real -time.
    Dps, Oct 22, 2004
    #3
  4. Christopher Pollard

    Peter Guest

    2004-10-22, Christopher Pollard wrote:
    >[snip]
    > I no longer have the camera, but wondering if there are any others which could
    > do this either vis USB or serial. Something old, cheap and second hand would be
    > ideal.


    I use an old 1 MPixel Kodak DC200. I have it connected to the computer
    with a serial cable, and I wrote some Perl scripts to take a picture every
    15 minutes, download it from the camera to the computer, and upload it to
    my website. The computer runs Linux, and I use some free library which can
    connect to the camera and take/download pictures. The camera has taken
    more that 100000 photo's :)

    -peter
    Peter, Oct 22, 2004
    #4
  5. On 22 Oct 2004 02:45:26 -0700, "Siddhartha Jain" <>
    wrote:

    > Something old, cheap and second
    >hand would be ideal.
    >
    >The specs of the Canon dRebel say that you can use it for time lapse
    >photography alongwith a USB cable and computer.


    Hmmm... hardly old, cheap and second hand though, is it? :)

    --
    Chris Pollard


    CG Internet café, Tagum City, Philippines
    http://www.cginternet.net
    Christopher Pollard, Oct 22, 2004
    #5
  6. On 22 Oct 2004 12:37:31 GMT, Peter <> wrote:


    >I use an old 1 MPixel Kodak DC200. I have it connected to the computer
    >with a serial cable, and I wrote some Perl scripts to take a picture every
    >15 minutes, download it from the camera to the computer, and upload it to
    >my website. The computer runs Linux, and I use some free library which can
    >connect to the camera and take/download pictures. The camera has taken
    >more that 100000 photo's :)


    That sounds exactly what I'm looking for, could it be done with Windows?

    --
    Chris Pollard


    CG Internet café, Tagum City, Philippines
    http://www.cginternet.net
    Christopher Pollard, Oct 22, 2004
    #6
  7. Christopher Pollard

    Jim Townsend Guest

    Christopher Pollard wrote:

    > I've tried asking on a webcam group about this, but they can't seem to grasp
    > what I really want...
    >
    > I want to use a digital camera as a webcam, by controlling it remotely and
    > automagically from the computer. I want to take a photograph every minute and
    > ftp it to my site. Most webcams are optimised for video at 30fps and the quality
    > isn't good enough. I want to take one decent picture every minute, not 30 crap
    > ones every second.


    Many Canon models come with 'remote capture software'. This allows you to
    plug the camera into a computer and use the computer to operate the camera
    'by wire'. Images taken are stored directly on the computer hard drive.

    This software does allow you to set unattended interval shooting as well.

    With remote access software (such as Norton's pcAnywhere or perhaps even WinXP's
    remote assistance feature), you can sit at a distant desk and run the camera from
    there.
    Jim Townsend, Oct 22, 2004
    #7
  8. Christopher Pollard

    RacerX Guest

    If 1 Mp is a good enough size some new webcams can produce that good of an
    image now, i have a logitech Orbit that can do 1.3 Mp. Also i have a digital
    Rebel that can remote capture and do what your looking for @ 6.3Mp.

    Check them out

    Racer






    "Christopher Pollard" <> wrote in message
    news:eek:...
    > I've tried asking on a webcam group about this, but they can't seem to
    > grasp
    > what I really want...
    >
    > I want to use a digital camera as a webcam, by controlling it remotely and
    > automagically from the computer. I want to take a photograph every minute
    > and
    > ftp it to my site. Most webcams are optimised for video at 30fps and the
    > quality
    > isn't good enough. I want to take one decent picture every minute, not 30
    > crap
    > ones every second.
    >
    > I remember my old Fuji DX-10 had a 'flash twain' (IIRC) driver which
    > opened up
    > like a scanner driver from within photoshop or whatever, and you could
    > click the
    > button and it would take a picture and send it down the serial cable,
    > bypassing
    > the memory card.
    >
    > I no longer have the camera, but wondering if there are any others which
    > could
    > do this either vis USB or serial. Something old, cheap and second hand
    > would be
    > ideal.
    >
    > The only suggestions from the webcam group was to plug the TV out fromthe
    > camera
    > into a video capture card. This isn't what I want to do as I want decent
    > pictures, correctly exposed (without flash...).
    >
    > Any suggestions?
    > --
    > Chris Pollard
    >
    >
    > CG Internet café, Tagum City, Philippines
    > http://www.cginternet.net
    RacerX, Oct 22, 2004
    #8
  9. Christopher Pollard wrote:
    > On 22 Oct 2004 12:37:31 GMT, Peter <> wrote:
    >
    >
    > >I use an old 1 MPixel Kodak DC200. I have it connected to the

    computer
    > >with a serial cable, and I wrote some Perl scripts to take a picture

    every
    > >15 minutes, download it from the camera to the computer, and upload

    it to
    > >my website. The computer runs Linux, and I use some free library

    which can
    > >connect to the camera and take/download pictures. The camera has

    taken
    > >more that 100000 photo's :)

    >
    > That sounds exactly what I'm looking for, could it be done with

    Windows?

    You do have perl for Windows so if Peter lends you his scripts, you
    should be able to.

    Cheers,

    Siddhartha
    Siddhartha Jain, Oct 22, 2004
    #9
  10. Christopher Pollard

    Peter Guest

    2004-10-22, Siddhartha Jain wrote:
    > Christopher Pollard wrote:
    >> On 22 Oct 2004 12:37:31 GMT, Peter <> wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >> >I use an old 1 MPixel Kodak DC200. I have it connected to the

    > computer
    >> >with a serial cable, and I wrote some Perl scripts to take a picture

    > every
    >> >15 minutes, download it from the camera to the computer, and upload

    > it to
    >> >my website. The computer runs Linux, and I use some free library

    > which can
    >> >connect to the camera and take/download pictures. The camera has

    > taken
    >> >more that 100000 photo's :)

    >>
    >> That sounds exactly what I'm looking for, could it be done with

    > Windows?
    >
    > You do have perl for Windows so if Peter lends you his scripts, you
    > should be able to.


    Well - the problem would be the library I use to talk to the camera - I
    have a linux version which has some commands like take picture/
    download/etc which I call from the Perl script. Something like
    that for windows would be needed as well. (Which probably exists, but I
    don't know about it). But even for other camera's similar software must be
    available (I would think :) ).

    -peter
    Peter, Oct 22, 2004
    #10
  11. Christopher Pollard

    Peter Guest

    2004-10-22, Christopher Pollard wrote:
    > On 22 Oct 2004 12:37:31 GMT, Peter <> wrote:
    >
    >
    >>I use an old 1 MPixel Kodak DC200. I have it connected to the computer
    >>with a serial cable, and I wrote some Perl scripts to take a picture every
    >>15 minutes, download it from the camera to the computer, and upload it to
    >>my website. The computer runs Linux, and I use some free library which can
    >>connect to the camera and take/download pictures. The camera has taken
    >>more that 100000 photo's :)

    >
    > That sounds exactly what I'm looking for, could it be done with Windows?


    Yes!, although I have no experience with that. I used the Linux with Perl
    and the kodak library with commands to take a picture and download it
    because Linux is what I use mostly at home and work.

    There must be more (older) camera's which can be controlled with software
    (from Windows this would probably be easier, as Windows software is
    usually included with camera's). The problem is you would also need
    something to upload it to a website again... Maybe looking at reviews of
    older camera's on www.dpreview.com would give an indication of the kind of
    software included...?

    -peter
    Peter, Oct 22, 2004
    #11
  12. On Fri, 22 Oct 2004 08:04:55 -0700, "RacerX" <> wrote:

    >If 1 Mp is a good enough size some new webcams can produce that good of an
    >image now, i have a logitech Orbit that can do 1.3 Mp. Also i have a digital
    >Rebel that can remote capture and do what your looking for @ 6.3Mp.


    1MP is plenty, however the light in here isn't too great, and a camera which can
    make the correct exposure ratner than digitally enhancing the video frame would
    be much better.

    Check the link in my sig to see how it is just now.
    Go to webcam (see earlier pictures for a selection), then compare that with the
    first picture in the 'inside' section.
    That's taken with my old DX10 from a similar perspective. If I could get results
    like that from the webcam I'd be happier.

    --
    Chris Pollard


    CG Internet café, Tagum City, Philippines
    http://www.cginternet.net
    Christopher Pollard, Oct 23, 2004
    #12

  13. >I use an old 1 MPixel Kodak DC200.


    Found one on ebay, I emailed the seller about shipping here (Philippines). His
    reply "sorry, it won't work as a webcam..."

    --
    Chris Pollard


    CG Internet café, Tagum City, Philippines
    http://www.cginternet.net
    Christopher Pollard, Oct 23, 2004
    #13
  14. On 22 Oct 2004 21:45:21 GMT, Peter <> wrote:

    >> That sounds exactly what I'm looking for, could it be done with Windows?

    >
    >Yes!, although I have no experience with that. I used the Linux with Perl
    >and the kodak library with commands to take a picture and download it
    >because Linux is what I use mostly at home and work.


    Well, I have some linux experience. I could set up a linux box here just for
    that, and in time I could slowly turn it into a router, firewall, proxy server,
    whatever else I need here in this internet cafe.

    Might make a nice project. :)

    --
    Chris Pollard


    CG Internet café, Tagum City, Philippines
    http://www.cginternet.net
    Christopher Pollard, Oct 23, 2004
    #14
  15. Christopher Pollard

    Peter Guest

    2004-10-23, Christopher Pollard wrote:
    >
    >>I use an old 1 MPixel Kodak DC200.

    >
    > Found one on ebay, I emailed the seller about shipping here (Philippines). His
    > reply "sorry, it won't work as a webcam..."


    Not with the included software, that is correct.
    But I have the same camera, and I assure you, it works :)

    Anyway, you mentioned you had Linux experience in your other posting, so I
    could send you the library and scripts I have. Note that the camera is
    quite slow with the serial transfer of pictures - it takes me a minute to
    download a picture to the computer. To be honest, I have never
    experimented with higher speeds, because my webcam only took one every 15
    minutes :) (If you want one picture a minute it could be too slow.)

    -peter
    Peter, Oct 23, 2004
    #15
  16. On 23 Oct 2004 08:26:14 GMT, Peter <> wrote:

    >quite slow with the serial transfer of pictures - it takes me a minute to
    >download a picture to the computer.


    At what resolution? one per minute is what I'm running at right now (did you see
    it? link in the sig) but I could slow it down if need be.

    --
    Chris Pollard


    CG Internet café, Tagum City, Philippines
    http://www.cginternet.net
    Christopher Pollard, Oct 23, 2004
    #16
  17. Christopher Pollard

    Peter Guest

    2004-10-23, Christopher Pollard wrote:
    > On 23 Oct 2004 08:26:14 GMT, Peter <> wrote:
    >
    >>quite slow with the serial transfer of pictures - it takes me a minute to
    >>download a picture to the computer.

    >
    > At what resolution? one per minute is what I'm running at right now (did you see
    > it? link in the sig) but I could slow it down if need be.


    I take at 1152x960 (the max resolution of the camera). I did some timing,
    at fastest speed it downloads about 9 to 10 kB/s to the computer. A 200 kB
    jpeg would take 20 seconds. So once a minute would be okay.
    (My time of a minute was a bit exagerated :) )

    -peter
    Peter, Oct 24, 2004
    #17
  18. On 24 Oct 2004 19:44:53 GMT, Peter <> wrote:

    >
    >> At what resolution?

    >
    >I take at 1152x960 (the max resolution of the camera). I did some timing,
    >at fastest speed it downloads about 9 to 10 kB/s to the computer. A 200 kB
    >jpeg would take 20 seconds. So once a minute would be okay.


    That's way more than I need. presumably it can be set to, say, 640 x 480? That
    ought to be enough. I have to consider my viewers' bandwidth too...

    Could I possibly see your site, or is it just for personal viewing?

    --
    Chris Pollard


    CG Internet café, Tagum City, Philippines
    http://www.cginternet.net
    Christopher Pollard, Oct 25, 2004
    #18
  19. Christopher Pollard

    Peter Guest

    2004-10-25, Christopher Pollard wrote:
    >
    > That's way more than I need. presumably it can be set to, say, 640 x 480? That
    > ought to be enough. I have to consider my viewers' bandwidth too...


    Yes, that's possible. What I do is download the big one, and scale it for
    viewing (to 640x480).

    > Could I possibly see your site, or is it just for personal viewing?


    Sure, if you go to http://www.durian.org/showlast.pl you will get the
    webcam view (rain and more rain :) ). Unfortunately it is through a
    plastic window (we just moved, haven't had time to improve things yet). I
    only update once every 15 minutes though.

    -peter
    Peter, Oct 25, 2004
    #19
  20. On 25 Oct 2004 06:38:32 GMT, Peter <> wrote:


    >Sure, if you go to http://www.durian.org/showlast.pl


    That's quite clear. way better than the crap I'm serving up...

    Durian eh? Tastes like heaven, smells like hell. Love the stuff. :)

    --
    Chris Pollard


    CG Internet café, Tagum City, Philippines
    http://www.cginternet.net
    Christopher Pollard, Oct 25, 2004
    #20
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