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-   -   Computer-controllable camera for time lapse movie images? (

corkypa Jan 22, 2007 10:35 AM

I want to take a time lapse film of a construction project, taking one frame every 30 seconds during daylight hours. The whole project is going to run for 4-6 months. Right now I have a video camera hooked up to a capture card and a program running on a linux machine that snaps the images. It works very well, but the image quality is not so great. I'm looking for a cheap setup (using software running on Windows or Linux), and an old model camera is fine because I am just building video from the images.

Some more details
  • I need only 640x480 images, so even old cameras works fine.[/*]
  • I'm happy to operate the camera tethered to a computer, so it need not have time lapse facilities built into the camera if the computer can control it. In fact, it would probably work out best to have a computer run the show so I can control the start and stop times for image capture and automatically download images to storage[/*]
  • The camera needs to be runable from an AC adapter.[/*]
  • I need a very wide angle (about a 90 degree horizonal view, which is about 18mm lens in 35mm film terms), which probably means that the camera will have to take some kind of wide angle lens attachment.[/*]
  • It should be inexpensive, preferably less than $100, because I am just playing around. DSLRs, although very nice, are too much.[/*]
In general, Canon cameras seem very computer controllable, and I have seen software for Nikon and Olympus cameras, too. Sonys cameras don't seem to be controllable.

I'm thinking an older model camera would be fine, and even a camera with a busted LCD would be ok if I can fully operate it when it is tethered.

[code]I know of the camera control page Steve's site (, and on the linux side, gphoto2 ( sounds very capable and it has a list of cameras ( that are remote controllable.

Any suggestions?

alvevind Jan 25, 2007 10:53 AM

Since you say you only need 640x480 images, and prefer a computer controlled setup - how about considering a USB webcam instead? A 100$ webcam should deliver quite acceptable 640x480 images I believe.

Ultra wide angle (90 degrees) is not too common on webcams though. Some have almost 80 degree though.

If you really need wide angle and are on a tight budget, you might consider something like this:

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