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Old Jun 17, 2004, 5:05 PM   #1
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Hello,

I just came across this list after talking to Nikon and Canon and getting nowhere with finding out about remote control of cameras. I am doing vegetation research and want to put a camera on an ATV mounted boom, about 2-4 m up in the air. I would like to see what the camera is seeing before I take the picture (or maybe get a small thumbnail) and would like to control the camera from a laptop. Ideally this would be done in a wireless fashion, but if that is not possible, a cable would have to do if it can be that long.
I came across the Breeze remote control programs( DSLR REmote), then after looking at the Canon 10D as a possible camera, I saw they have the Remote Capture software. Does this do the same things as the Breeze software? What does it not do?

What other cameras should I consider? I need at least 4-5 Megapixels, because I need good resolution for image analysis, lithium batteries, would like tiff outputs, and of course the remote control and preview from a laptop.

Thanks,

Andrea


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Old Jun 18, 2004, 9:26 AM   #2
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Since the 10D has a mechanical mirror in the viewfinder that must flip up before taking a shot, there is no way to preview the image remotely. Some astronomers will take a shot and download it with the capture software, make adjustments, and take another and continue until they get what they want.

What you want a Proconsumer camera with an electronic viewfinder (Lots of these on the market canon, nikon, olympus, sony, etc.).See steves camera reviews at http://www.steves-digicams.com/hardware_reviews.html.The camera will need a video output so that you can monitor the image on a TV orcomputer with video capture.

Wireless is possible but cost will probably be restrictive. Best to go wired. You will need at lesast two cables: 1 for video, 1 for USB for controlling camera and downloading image to computer. These cables should work okay up to 10 meters or maybe more. I have used this setup at 30 meters with no problem but specs say otherwise. I use the Nikon Coolpix 5700 and Harbortronics( http://www.harbortronics.com/ ) control w/ serial cable instead of laptop and USB.I also have a small 5" lcd tv monitorfor the previewbut others cameras and setupsare also just as suitable.

You also might want a power cable for the camera save batteries.

Ted
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Old Jun 18, 2004, 10:22 AM   #3
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Ted,

Thanks for the information. One other question. I was really curious about the Remote Capture software with the Canon 10D. It seems you can take a lower resolution image, look at it, not save it, change camera position and then take the desired image. This would have the advantage of just using 1 cable, if I interpret this correctly.



Andrea
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Old Jun 18, 2004, 11:00 AM   #4
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lalibera wrote:
Quote:
... One other question. I was really curious about the Remote Capture software with the Canon 10D. It seems you can take a lower resolution image, look at it, not save it, change camera position and then take the desired image. This would have the advantage of just using 1 cable, if I interpret this correctly.
You have to click on release button on the GUI before you can see the picture, so yes the picture is saved on the computer 1st. You have the option of not storing to the flash card and straight to the computer if this is what you're worrying about... (or delete the picture). BTW you can change the prefix of the picture in remote capture (and it's storing directory) which is one of the question asked in the other forum, but not from the camera!
:idea:


twcoffey is also correct that with an EVF based camera you can have full live preview before releasing the shutter:
http://konicaminolta.com/products/co...e-a2/10_4.html
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Old Jun 18, 2004, 11:19 AM   #5
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Yes That is possible. The download time would be greatly reduced. I think I now see what you are trying to do. The lower resolution image would tell you what the framing of the image was and then without moving the camera you would switch to Raw mode(best image available) and shoot the image again.

Since I also have a 10D, I just tested it for the smallest image available under remote cature(1536 x 1024 pixels) it took about 4 seconds to download and then Iswitched to RAW (3072 x 2048 pixels), took another shotand it took about 30 seconds to download. I did this with Remote Capture version 2.7 which is over 1 year old so there may be a later version.

You may need several extra batteries if you will be in the field for several hours at a time.

I hope this helps.

Ted
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Old Jun 18, 2004, 12:55 PM   #6
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Ted,

That sounds like what I want to do. I was concerned about the power drain. Do you have an idea how long a battery lasts? I assume those are lithium batteries?

Thanks,
Andrea
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Old Jun 18, 2004, 3:07 PM   #7
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Andre,

I sent you a seperate e-mail about some of the limitations in using remote capture with the 10D.I'm sending you another e-mail with readme file for Remote Capture as an attachment. You can better evaluate the remote capture features available for all of the Canon digitals. The powershot series of canons is going to give you more flexibility and much lighter weight which will be important on a boom.

Actual battery life can vary greatly based on number of shots and amount of idle time. Maximum drain occurs when shooting and minimum when idle but with remote capture you cannot use the normal auto power down feature of the camera. I am not sure of total battery life in your application butI would guess itunder one hour.

When using the 10D and remote capture and the camera is idle after 5 minutes the camera will disconnect and go to sleep and the camera manual shutter release must be pressed to restart. The only option to this is to catch the disconnect warning which will be on the computer screen for only one minute. This will become a major annoyance for your application.

Ted
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Old Jun 23, 2004, 8:29 PM   #8
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You have mentioned something I have been studying. It is called "pole aerial photography", or PAP (except I wouls like to get 40 or 50 feet up. I stumbled onto "kite aerial photography" or KAP. Use these keywords in a search engine and you will be enthralled for many hours. My recommendation at this point is to either buy "Brooxes Basic KAP" kit at http://www.kapshop.com/bbkk/BBKK.html or use the pictures to make something like it to attach to the top of the pole. Instead of hanging from a kite line, you turn it around and mount on a pole but the operation is the same. It uses modified R/C model transmitters and servos to pan and tilt the camera. If you search KAP you will find many examples of video downlinks, including the XCAM. Check it out and you will find many useful ideas even if most don't directly apply.
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Old Jun 25, 2004, 4:03 PM   #9
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Also, search using "Mast Photography" and "pole photography".
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Old Jun 26, 2004, 12:41 AM   #10
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FYI, we've had a number of customers use the DigiSnap 2000, and a seperate video monitor with Coolpix cameras in this application. Very simple to implement. A couple of poles out thereuse Snap360's, which allow for automated panorama acquisition.

For those applications that need tohave imagesreviewed in the field, we have the SnapUSB, which allows switching from remote control (serial port) and image download (USB port) to a laptop without having to swap cables anywhere.

SLR cameras are certainly nice enough, but for most remote control applications, you really ought to look at the Coolpix cameras.
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