66% or better

Sound blimp makes camera quieter and waterproof

soundBlimp

The D-SLR “crunch” sound can be pretty satisfying. Your camera has moving parts and those cell-phone amateurs can eat your shutter actuation. If you’re a professional photographer behind the scenes on a sound stage or at any film shoot, however, your mirror slapping around is loud enough to get you kicked off the set. [Dan Tábar] needed his D800 to keep it down, so he made his own sound blimp to suppress the noise. As an added bonus, it turns out the case is waterproof, too!

[Dan] got the idea from a fellow photographer who was using a prefab Jacobson blimp to snap pictures in sound-sensitive environments. Not wanting to spend $1000, he looked for a DIY alternative. This build uses a Pelican case to house the body of the camera and interchangeable extension tubes to cover lenses of various sizes. [Dan] took measurements and test-fit a paper cutout of his D800 before carving holes into the Pelican case with a Dremel tool. One side got a circular hole for the extension tubes, while the other received a rectangular cut for the camera’s LCD screen and a smaller circle for the viewfinder.

Lexan serves as a window for all of the open ends: LCD, viewfinder, and the lens. [Dan] snaps pictures with a wireless trigger, saving him the trouble of drilling another hole. You can hear the D800 before and after noise reduction in a video after the break, along with a second video of [Dan] trying out some underwater shots. If you’d rather take a trip back in time, there’s always the 3D printed pinhole camera from last week.

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DIY film projector fits in the palm of your hand

altoids-pocket-projector

DSLRs aside, the price of digital cameras these days can make it easy to consider just tossing your old one out when it breaks. [Leonidas Tolias] had another idea, and with a few broken cameras he had on hand he constructed a slick little pocket-sized projector.

The project started out as a pair of lenses from busted cameras and an Altoids tin in which he mounted them. The larger lens from a video camera was installed on the exterior of the tin, while the smaller of the two was mounted inside. Bits from disposable cameras were used to create a set of film reels, which he supports with some hand cut scrap aluminum. He made some test photo slides by printing some images on transparency paper, which he can cycle through using a film advancement rig he built out of string and a couple of gears.

While you won’t be using this projector for your next boring PowerPoint presentation, it does work pretty well as you can see in pictures on [Leonidas'] site.

[Thanks, Taylor]

Controlling a DSLR with a Nintendo DS

At Hack a Day, we’ve seen dozens of intervalometer builds that open and close a camera shutter remotely. [Luke Skaff] decided to take these builds to the next level by automating a camera’s focus and shutter with a Nintendo DS.

[Luke]‘s build is based on the Open Camera Controller project that puts the power of an intervalometer, sound trigger, sequencer, and HDR bracket shooting into the hands of professional photogaphers. The Open Camera Controller is built to run on a Nintendo DS with an AVR-based card attached to the Game Boy Advance cartridge port.

The Open Camera Controller attaches to a camera’s shutter port, but [Luke] stepped things up a little bit by using a USB host controller and implementing the picture transfer protocol. Now, instead of [Luke]‘s controller telling his camera when to open and close the shutter, the focus of the camera can be adjusted as well. [Luke]‘s build uses an Xilinx CoolRunner-II CPLD and a USB host controller to convert the DS cartridge port to a USB port every DSLR can connect to.

[Luke] still has a mess of wires on his hand, but even we can see the power that inexpensive automation would bring to the world of digital photography.

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Building a digital camera from scratch

Sure, [Stan] could have bought a nice full-frame DSLR like a Canon 5D or a Nikon D3, but where’s the fun in that when he could build his own digital camera? The build isn’t done yet, but [Stan] did manage to take a few sample pics.

The 14 Megapixel sensor [Stan] found was originally used for benchtop applications. There isn’t any reason it can’t be used for photography, so all that needed to be done was design a camera around this sensor.

[Stan] built his hardware around a DSP, an FPGA and a pair of ADCs, an amazing piece of engineering. Of course building a full-frame digital camera has as much to do with mechanics as electronics, so [Stan] used a 60mm cage system and a 3d-printed nylon enclosure.

Of course, [Stan]‘s camera doesn’t look much like and off-the-shelf DSLR. There’s a reason for this; the sensor in the camera has a rolling shutter, much like the last few iPhones instead of a focal plane shutter. Not a bad piece of work, we only wish there were more build pics.

Vintage camera retrofit perfect for trolling strangers

vintage_camera_retrofit

[John] likes making things out of unusual junk, and decided to build something for the sole purpose of trolling others. He thought it would be funny to stuff a new digital camera into the body of an old, obsolete camera, just to see how people would react to it.

He considered several different cameras, including a bulky old Polaroid, eventually settling on a far more manageable Argus C3. The camera wasn’t quite big enough to fit his new digicam inside, so he built a mock body using black micarta. He attached the Argus’ front and back to his plastic box, then spent some time fitting his digital camera inside. He transferred knobs from the original camera to his new false body, adding to the authenticity, before taking it out for some test shots.

You can see the final result above, and we think you would be hard pressed to notice that there’s something amiss with his camera unless you spent some time taking a closer look at it. He says that it works well for the most part, and it’s definitely a conversation starter. People are always puzzled by the fact that he is using such and old camera, and doubly so when he tells them it can take about 4,000 shots before he has to “develop” his pictures.

Go ahead, let the kids play with your digital camera… after some additions

Would you throw this camera around on pavement and trust that it wouldn’t get broken? We have a hard time believing it too, but that’s exactly what happens in the video after the break. The colorful add-ons are pieces of Sugru creatively positioned to help protect the camera. From what we’ve seen this adds quite a bit of shock absorption, letting the normally delicate hardware bounce and roll. After all, the stuff is made from Silicone.

It doesn’t look like the protection is meant to be removed from the camera, although we have seen Sugru used for that in the past so this method may be adaptable. A mistake was made during the project which prevented to battery compartment from being opened but it turns out you can peel the stuff of the camera later on, so this isn’t a completely permanent transformation.

We’d wager the camera component to be most concerned with is the LCD screen. We’ve got one that cracked without any plausible cause to point to. But if you’re just reinforcing the device to hand to your kids, who cares if the LCD doesn’t work? It kind of makes it like a film camera again if you have to take all the pictures and then wait to use a computer to “develop them”.

Don’t forget, if you don’t have Sugru on hand you can try mixing your own.

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Homebrew weather station plus a pan and tilt camera rig

[Sebastian] wrote in to share his web site, where he has a bunch of different electronics projects. After looking through them, we found a pair that we thought you might find interesting.

The first project is a homebrew weather monitoring station that [Sebastian] put together. He designed a weather shield, incorporating humidity, pressure and light sensors, along with digital I/O ports for monitoring an anemometer. The entire setup is powered using solar panels, and data is relayed to his computer via an Xbee.

The second item that caught our eye was a digital camera pan and tilt rig. The system was built using a Lynxmotion pan and tilt kit, which is controlled by an Arduino. The code he provides allows him to capture very large composite images without having to spend too much time “sewing” them together. While this second project mostly consists of schematics for a base plate and pan/tilt code, it struck us as something that could be very useful for any budding photographers looking to take panoramic shots.

All of the schematics and code for his projects are available on his site, so be sure to look around – you might find something interesting!