360° Photography Made Easy


The graphic above wasn’t painstakingly stitched together by rotating a camera lens on a lazy suzan a tiny bit, taking a picture, and repeating the process fifty times. This is high tech stuff, courtesy of Zcapture, a tool for automated 360 degree photography of small objects.

For the last 15 years, [Jared] has been spending a lot of time on eCommerce and found existing solutions to displaying products online to be very lacking. After playing around with the Basic Stamp eight years ago and most recently the Arduino, [jared] decided he would build something to solve his problem – an automated box that takes pictures of a rotating product.

Inside the Zcapture is an Arduino connected to a motor and the software to control Canon and Nikon DSLRs. Put the Zcapture in a soft box, light it up, set up your camera, and you have a computer-controlled lazy suzan robot that will take pictures of any object, then stitch them together into an animated GIF or a fancy eCommerce rotating image viewer


  1. Jstylen says:

    I assume I’m not the only one thinking 3d scanner?

    • Merlin says:

      No, because he mentions that in the video. Does no one click the links?

    • Earl Mobilé says:

      its not even mentioned in the text that its a kickstarter. I remember earlier articles where its said “we dont often promote kickstarters here but this one is really worth it…” or something like that. I wish Hackaday will keep away from more commercial stuff like kickstarter campaigns again in the future

      • Innovation Advocate says:

        I fail to see what’s wrong with someone who is basically like any other reader here taking their project to the next step. Hacks are great, but when a hack turns out to be something that could make someone else’s life easier, why not make it accessible?

  2. h_2_o says:

    OK so it says open source, but try and find any source code for anything and you wont. they say it will be available but where. Sorry this looks more commercial than open source to me.

    someone please prove me wrong

    • sneakypoo says:

      Even if they don’t share the code for this specific project it isn’t hard to find the building blocks elsewhere. Tutorials for driving a stepper motor are all over the net. Pinouts for camera connectors are also plentiful. Code for IR remotes can be found as well without much effort.

      I’m not saying they shouldn’t release it themselves but if you can’t wait there are options :)

    • jared says:

      I will be releasing source code and final board designs at the end of the kick starter.
      it is open, hackable, modable hardware.


  3. P says:

    This looks just like arqspin, but more expensive.

    • Tommy Boy says:

      This is nothing like Arqspin. Arqspin is a turntable alone. There is no smarts in it. No control it shoots a video and then craps it out as separate images. It is like comparing a drag race car to a rokon because it has wheels and a motor…
      AND you don’t have to pay 200 a month with this.

  4. Nate B says:

    I like that it’s *not* a 3d scanner. You don’t need a fully meshed skinned model of something, if you’re just trying to show a buyer what it looks like. Simple photos and a simple interface are exactly the right solution, for a limited but common class of problems.

    In other news, CHDK and an egg-timer. But a packaged solution is nice too. :)

  5. Nova says:

    This is closed-source until all the components are readily available for download. “Open-source” is becoming somewhat of a sensationalist term to gain from lately. Their website has no downloads available and mentions nothing about open-source.

    That said it’s a neat little package between the motorized lazy-susan and the camera automation.

  6. Mangozac says:

    HAckaday previously featured a photo turntable: http://hackaday.com/2012/04/11/automated-turntable-photography/

    I built one for a friend using the PCB files, schematics and code provided by that creator.

  7. ejonesss says:

    if the process was reversed and you rotated the object instead you could 3d scan an object for copying in a 3d printer.

  8. Jeff says:

    Could this not be done with Linux cnc? It seems to me that the HAL could command a video capture every n steps of the stepper motor.

  9. hemalchevli says:

    There are so many ways you can build it yourself, this product is not for DIYers or hackers

    • voxnulla says:

      Of course it’s for photographers, but this is targeting a niche in a niche. Small product commercial photography is a small segment of the potential audience for this.
      I build my rotation platform for heavy object and use in the field (outdoors middle of nowhere). I think that anybody who seriously needs a solution like this, really needs a custom build, not a one size fits no one.

  10. henry says:

    This looks like advertising

  11. jaromirs says:

    Or this one http://asdasd.rpg.fi/~svo/packshotnik/
    Warning! No kickstarter BS included, just engineering work.

  12. Adobe/Flash hater says:

    Was I the only one trying (reflexively) to find the way to roll the view?
    It spins things nicely in the demos I tried
    just wondering how badly the end users
    will be able to foul that..
    (insert standard scripting, 3rd party, etc grumbling here)

    I’ve run across some apps (Flash based, no less)
    that would use your photos
    ( that you have to shoot on your own)
    to make a nice spin and/or roller view.

    [ wonders to self IF I could ever track down
    where any of those cool looking programs
    were downloaded and saved ..
    too many HDDs sitting around :P ]

  13. Dwx says:

    Nice output. Slight wobble on spinning table. Should paint it a solid lumi green to knock out in editing. Good hd video camera and technics 1210 and convert to gif would suffice. Nice work tho

  14. ColdTurkey says:

    “The graphic above wasn’t painstakingly stitched together by rotating a camera lens on a lazy suzan a tiny bit, taking a picture, and repeating the process fifty times.”

    Except that’s exactly how it was created just getting a computer to do the painstaking part.

  15. fartface says:

    No thanks plenty of open source solutions that wont cost me money.

  16. Pedro says:

    I’ve bought a kitchen timer on IKEA costed me 5$ does the same job.

  17. jesse valapauro says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhsj23wsOPA gotta say that my hack is alot better :P

  18. why not take a video of a rotating object and turn the frame by frame video into an animated gif, reinventing the wheel, but backwards.

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