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Old Feb 24, 2008, 1:16 PM   #1
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I plan on modifying a digital camera to make a time-lapse movie of the construction of my house starting this summer. I did this a few years ago when a friend built his house but the camera I hacked (an Aiptek Pocket DV2) had several quirks that made it less than ideal for this endeavor. I hope to do a better job this time but am having trouble finding a camera without a lot of the same problems. Many of the "features" I need are not the sort of things that are discussed in reviews or that you find in the user's manual. Because of that, I was hoping the people that frequent this forum could point me toward some cameras that have the features I need.

The biggest problem the Aiptek had was, when you turned it on, it would search through all the pictures on the card to figure out what the next file name/number should be. We had to turn it off between photos (using a microcontroller) to conserve power. By the time there were 1000 pictures on the card this search took almost 30 seconds. To get the battery life we wanted limited us to a 1/3 duty cycle so our picture rate could be no faster than 1 picture every 90 seconds. That was not at all fast enough, we really needed to take one pic every 15-20 seconds. Because of this, I'm trying to find a camera that doesn't do this search every time you turn it on. I would think that a camera that doesn't reset the counter to "1" when you erase the pictures on the card would have the desired property.

Another characteristic I'm looking for, and which the Aiptek had, is it shouldn't have any moving parts except switches. Especially, it can't have a mechanical shutter or automatically adjustable aperture. This is because the camera will take about 500,000 pictures over the life of the project and I fear the mechanisms wouldn't survive that. I would prefer a camera without optical zoom or autofocus for the same reason but I can probably work around those.

Finally, the camera will take about 25,000 pictures between downloads. To achieve this will require the equivalent of 640x480 resolution with fairly high compression and a 2GB memory card. I think this will eliminate about all of the current Aiptek cameras (can't do 640x480) unless they can actually be used with a larger card than the manual states. If you know of a camera that meets the other requirements and also know that it works with a larger card than stated, I'd be interested in hearing about it as well.

Note that an out-of-production camera is a valid option. Also note that I posted this in the hybrid forum because I think that type of camera is the most likely to meet my requirements. If you know of a non-hybrid camera that can do these things that's just as good.

So summarizing, can you suggest a camera that:

1) Has a start-up time that is independent of the number of pictures already on the memory card.

2) Does not have a mechanical shutter or aperature.

3) Can store at least about 25,000 pictures on a memory card.

Thanks for any leads you can give me!

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