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Old Feb 12, 2009, 4:00 AM   #1
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Hello forum,


I've been googling around, in the forums included, and I could not find any answer yet.

I am looking for a digital camera that could be controlled by a computer (remotely through cable, or even better, wirelessly). The control should include a preview of the picture that'll be taken, pixel-exact, as well as a control of most camera's function (modes, shutter-speed, aperture, flash, white-balance...).

My interest is twofold:
  • pedagogic: to me and my children, this would give a large toolset to play with, all cameras are full of feature but they're just too small to control most of the time

    sense of control: the fact that a full-screen view would be possible gives me a much higher sense of control of the expected result

Does such a camera exist?

thanks in advance

paul

PS: I wish to do this on macs even... maybe that adds to the complexity.
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Old Feb 12, 2009, 7:02 AM   #2
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The camera would have to be able to transfer the entire image through the connecting medium, to the laptop, so you could control it. That would take a while. USB is only so fast, and even the fastest wireless connection couldn't do it in 'real time'. There are remote control applications available for some digicams, but they are for controlling camera settings. To do what you want, I think the best solution would be a webcam. Logitech has a whole series of 2 megapixel webcams, which is about the limit of how fast an image can be transfered from a camera to a computer in 'real time'.
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Old Feb 12, 2009, 7:07 AM   #3
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Real-time is not a requirement, sure... I fully understand it'd need at least 1 or 2 seconds to grasp the picture. I'm fine with USB but I know 802.1g would also be fast enough.

I don't think a webcam is a solution, even 2MP it will never have the quality of a digital camera. I'm looking at something closer to entry-level SLR.

thanks

paul
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Old Feb 12, 2009, 7:50 AM   #4
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I'm not sure why you need a preview. Digital images are free, delete them if you aren't happy.

If you can live with "review and adjust for the next shot", rather than preview. (Which is how most studio shoots work.) Then there are a wide range of options. Most DSLR cameras allow this form of tethered shooting. It's certainly a feature of all the high-end cameras, though you will have to check for specific models at the lower end.

The only camera I can think of off-hand that has a proper preview mode on the LCD (as opposed to live view) is the Sony A900, and in fact it doesn't have live view. I don't know whether that preview mode can be used when the camera is tethered to a laptop. The A900 is fairly expensive though, so may be more than you want to spend.

[Edit: Actually it looks pretty unlikely that it works in tethered mode. The tethered package for the A900 is not very comprehensive at this time according to forum gossip.]
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Old Feb 12, 2009, 8:06 AM   #5
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Tethering is exactly what I was looking for as concept!

The following page helped me:
http://www.systeminsight.co.uk/Digit...g_Overview.htm

thanks!

paul
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Old Feb 12, 2009, 8:20 AM   #6
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polx wrote:
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... I'm fine with USB but I know 802.1g would also be fast enough. ...
Not really. USB is a full-duplex,point-to-point connection (for the most part), while WiFi is a half-duplex, packetized connection. For this type of application, USB is likely to outperform WiFi for some time, and USB 3.0 is likely to be available before 802.11n.
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Old Feb 12, 2009, 9:52 AM   #7
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Nikon camera control 2 software will allow you to change all camera setting at take the pictures via your lap top. If you have a D3, D700, D300 or D90 Live view will be available on the computer but it may look quite different than the actual shot. The image files go directly to the computer. It can be set up with USB or a Nikon wireless transmitter. (USB only with the D90) I had the opportunity to try this with my D50 and USB. The Raw files uploaded and opened in the viewer with very little delay.

Be aware all this will cost some real money

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Old Feb 12, 2009, 10:22 AM   #8
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Canon also includes remote control software with a number of models.

You can also get third party software to provide remote control ability via USB with many Canon, and some Nikon models. You can see info about Breeze Systems remote control products here. The table will point you towards cameras that include Live Viewfinder support.

http://www.breezesys.com/products.htm#dslr


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Old Feb 12, 2009, 4:04 PM   #9
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If we are talking DSLRs - you can use any Canon DSLR for remote shooting, the basic software is supplied with the camera, or you can splash for a DSLR Remote Pro, mentioned by JimC. Canons with Live View give you an option of Live View preview on the computer screen. Not very fast, but usable, especially with static objects, great for macro and product shots. You can control and change almost all shooting settings from your keyboard, including focus, apart from zooming (manual only option), also exposure bracketing, time laps etc. Many Canon P&S also give you remote shooting, works very well
Olympus E-series DSLRs also have a remote shooting option with a 3rd party prog:
http://www.pinetreecomputing.com/camctl.asp

The Nikons were mentioned above already.
The photo below was taken with my Canon 40D hooked up to an Acer One netbook with a 9"LCD using a DSLR Remote Pro. 9" screen is a lot better than 3" LCD of the camera for LiveView shooting and the setup is quite portable :lol::



Hope this helps a little,
cheers,
Alex
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Old Feb 12, 2009, 4:33 PM   #10
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Thanks to all,

I warmheartedly agree with algold that a large screen for such a shot as the one below makes a difference: evaluating the readability of the writing for example is simply a catastrophe on a small screen, however good it is. Aiming at close to 1-to-1 makes the difference I think.

This thread is really looking good and I dare blame all the resellers I met and asked who claimed it was non-existing.

From all that was proposed here I saw many software for Windows only (which is a problem to me) where only Olympus Studio and Nikon Camera Control work on Mac.

Among the two, only the Olympus Studio seems to reach a price below 600$. Correct?

thanks again guys!

paul
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