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Old Jan 6, 2005, 6:12 PM   #1
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Hi every body!

I work for a software developer company. For an special project we need a camera that let us shot a frame every second automatically for about 2 hours, save each shot in an specific directory inside a pc. We have tried a couple of cameras and software but none had worked.

Does anybody has any ideas?

Tanx a lot
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Old Jan 7, 2005, 10:21 AM   #2
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Everything I say is about consumer and prosumer digicams; I'm pretty sure you can find DSLRs and other high-end solutions if you spend more.

A lot of cameras have interval shooting but the problem is that you can't find too many that can shoot 1 frame per second for HOURS. I would say that 1 fps is kind of fast. (BUT if you are ok with lower resolution then some cameras can satify that requirement).

Have you tried some of the Canons? I have the S1 IS, which may or may not be suitable for your needs (it's an ultra-zoom and only can shoot around 1.7fps which is kind of slow), and I think the Canon software (it's called Remote Capture(??) or something like that--have to check at hhome) seemed like it can capture remotely timed pics onto a PC. Some of the faster Canon cameras may be able to satisfy your needs. Look into them...

If you want, I can try testing my camera and let you know how good it is. I'm guessing that there will be problems with speed when you try storing on a computer (writing to memory card is much faster than writing to computer hard drive). If my camera seems ok, then you can go and try some faster cameras, like the compacts or mid-end prosumers (which are faster than my ultra-zoom).

-----

In any case, is there anything specific you need? Specs that I would want to know are:

* resolution (higher resolution usually fills up the internal camera buffer and you can only shoot 5 to 10 pics before the camera slows down)
* environment (do you need to shoot in low light? do you need to capture fast moving things? what frame rate/aperature are you going to be using?)
* quality/control/zoom/etc (do you need to be able to control the camera during the shoot? Do you need to zoom while shooting these pics?)
* PC specs (kind of obvious but you would really need a pretty decent PC that has fast hard drive, fast port (eg. USB2--if camera supports it), etc)
* cost (how much are you willing to spend? are you looking at mid-end cameras or high-end ones?)
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Old Jan 7, 2005, 10:22 AM   #3
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BTW the feature that lets cameras shoot interval pics is called 'intervalometer'. Check to see if a camera has this and look into how fast you can set this...
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Old Jan 9, 2005, 8:57 PM   #4
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Thanks a lot for your answer!

I do not need big photos. Each picture must be around 500k. You are right when you say that storing in the card is faster than storing in the HD. We tried doing this with a Canon 10D but after a dozen shoots the camera began to slow down in every shoot and after 10 min of consecutive shots it was impossible to store more pictures.
Money is not really a problem... well we cannot spend more than 2000 dollars for the camera.
We are trying to shoot with a video camera but at the end the pictures must be printed and with this solution the quality of the pictures is very bad.

Tanks!

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Old Jan 9, 2005, 10:38 PM   #5
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Hopefully some of the more knowledgeable folks here, like JimC, and give some ideas...

romanominghi wrote:
Quote:
I do not need big photos. Each picture must be around 500k.
That's not that THAT helpful. Because you can compress pics using different amounts, 500k doesn't mean much. I guess 500k sort of indicates the throughput required but how about resolution? Do you need to print big prints? If you want to print average 8"x10" pics, you need around 3 megapixel resolution, which is around 2048x1536 pixels... Are you looking at smaller or larger prints?

Quote:
You are right when you say that storing in the card is faster than storing in the HD. We tried doing this with a Canon 10D but after a dozen shoots the camera began to slow down in every shoot and after 10 min of consecutive shots it was impossible to store more pictures.
hmm... if a DSLR like Canon 10D can't handle it, I'm not too sure what choices are available to you. How did you try to use the 10D? Did you try using bundled Canon software or something? I'm not familiar with DSLRs so I'm curious.

Also, do you know what was the bottleneck? Was it the hard drive slowing down (i.e hard drive thrashing--often observed when the hard drive light constantly stays on) or did the camera slow down?

One thing that MAY have slowed down your camera is that the Canon 10D has USB 1.1 (according to specs; I have never owned the camera). USB 1.1 has a throughput of 12 Mbps (megabits/second) which is 1.5MB/s (megabytes/second). If you are shooting a high resolution in raw mode, I think it would surpass the 1.5MB/s quickly (my Canon S1 IS, which is a mid-end ultra-zoom that costs half and only has 3 megapixels writes around 1.2MB per pic at highest res/least compression) so yours will likely write way more). If you are storing using RAW it would surpass that. What would happen is that the camera will shoot until the internal buffer fills up and then really slow down (this could be what you observed with it slowing down after 2 minutes). I think you may want to try a camera that has USB 2.0, which has theoretical maximum throughput of 480Mbps (60 MB/s).

If you still have access to the Canon, can you try shooting in lower resolution and/or in JPEG mode (instead of RAW mode--although I'm not sure how much of a difference this makes)? This requires less bandwidth (files will be smaller).

Try borrowing a camera with USB 2.0. For example, the Canon 20D, the latest version, has USB2.0 (so does nearly ever other recently released camera). You can even try to borrow a relatively cheap low-end camera with fast continuous mode (i.e. can shoot lots of pics per second) and with USB2.0. I am pretty sure you are hitting throughout limits of USB.

Quote:
We are trying to shoot with a video camera but at the end the pictures must be printed and with this solution the quality of the pictures is very bad.
It'll be difficult to shoot with video I imagine. THe pic quality just isn't there. (BTW, how big are your prints?)

I'm sure that you are not the only one who has ever done what you are saying....a solution exists... we just need to find it

Can someone with USB2.0 camera try shooting continuously (if your camera supports it?). My camera only has USB1.1 and besides, I have an obsolete computer with only USB1.1 ports :angry:
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Old Jan 10, 2005, 10:18 AM   #6
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Tanks a lot. You are right. I'm going to try a usb2 camera. I hope this will solve my problem. If it does i will write you back so you can have it for the record.

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Old Jan 10, 2005, 3:52 PM   #7
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It sounds like you filled the buffer on the 10D.

The USB1.1 interface has a theoretical max of 12 Mbit/s; practically it's more like 6-8 Mbit/s. USB 2.0 has a theoretical max of 480Mbit/s, but again, it's limited to about 400Mbit/s. Firewire (if such a camera exists) would be better at a high sustained bitrate. Also note that the smallest JPEG on the 10D is ~400 KB - next lowest is 800KB. The USB 1.1bus wouldn't be able to keep up with anything other than the lowest resolution JPEG at 1/s. The other issue is how fast can the camera's processor grind through the raw data to produce the JPEGs - it may be that it takes more than 1 second per pic.

Maybe a USB 2.0 camera could help, but the in-camera processing time could be limiting. I guess an alternative would be two cheaper cameras, right beside/on top of each other, taking pics every other second..... I would imagine 30 pics/min would be sustainablewithalmostanyreasonable qualitydigital camera model. Use optical zoom to keep the perspective close to the same (the cameras further back from the subject). As a bonus, you could use the pics to make stereoscopic 3-D!

ECM
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Old Jan 10, 2005, 4:55 PM   #8
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The 10D will shoot every 1.12 seconds indefinitely after the buffer is full. If it is slowing more than that I would suspect the battery or write to the computer. If 1.12 seconds isn't acceptable you might need a different camera, but I don't know of anything faster after the buffer fills. If 1.12 seconds is acceptable you might try writing to the card and using an AC adapter.
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