$20 Fisheye Digital Camera


I know the camera pictured looks kind of wonky, “They just glued a peephole to a digicam, right?” The fisheye camera guide from Aggregate.org goes much further than that. They’ve tried out the $4 peephole lens on almost every camera in the office and have built dedicated ones using $15 pen cameras. I don’t plan on building one of these, but I did find their guide for removing “dark noise” from images really interesting. Sensor noise can be fairly consistent from shot to shot. So with some smart subtraction of a black frame from an image you can remove noise without blurring the image. They have information on masking and projection conversion as well.

20 thoughts on “$20 Fisheye Digital Camera

  1. is it worse to be the one going ‘first post’ or the one going ‘man, what a retard wasting a post to say first post’, thusly wasting a post saying how stupid it is to say first post?

    the cameras look pretty sweet, especially teh noise reduction

  2. or is it worse to have a guy complain about a guy complaining about a guy who is complaing about a guy who wasted a post.

    and jeez, i thought it looked cool, and other guys do this, they say w00t and stuff if they get the first post.

  3. John,

    There are plenty of “other guys” that do a lot of stuff. The holocaust, rape and murder are just three examples. Just because “ohther people” do things, doesn’t mean you have to. Moron.

  4. One of the problems that I, and possibly others have, with the “First Post” comments here is that Hackaday is not slashdot. There are 10 to 20 comments on a given entry and as such getting the first one is rather like freaking the crap out and yelling about being number one if you won a go-cart race at the local mini mall. I honestly feel more embarrassed for the poster than anything else when I see one. It is a feeling similar to what would be experienced if your dining companion at a fine eatery sneezed on the waiter. I don’t think Godwin’s Law need come into play here.

  5. Funny enough I actually used the peephole from the door in my dorm room as a cheap fish eye lens in college. I think the coolest part about this hack is the noise reduction technique. It makes me wonder why they wouldn’t build that into camera naturally. It seems like it’d be a surefire way to instantly improve the quality of your camera for nothing more then some simple extra built in software. (simply add an extra image slot on some built in memory and take a “black” picture at the factory. All subsequent images can use that for subtraction. You can bet I’m going to go take some black images with my camera right now…

  6. #9: I was thinking the same thing; since its probably partially heat related as well, perhaps a “calibrate” button would be handy; you put the lens cap on, press it, and it updates the “black image”. This would also get rid of dead / stuck pixels — say you have 4 “back image” slots, and if a pixel is white on each frame, you assume its dead, and instead blend the 8 surrounding pixels instead into its place.

  7. i have an infrared webcam I made, and the image quality is not the greatest – partly because of the dark camera film filter i used, and partly because it’s a cheap webcam. it would be nice to see a tutorial done with conventional programs (i.e., adobe photoshop) that shows you how to capture and use the dark images for filters – i’d like to see how much filtering would improve my images.

  8. This is really weird seeing this here!

    Tomorrow I was planning on going to the hardware store to pick one of these up and attach it onto the front of my digital camera (a canon a510). I had a different idea to mount this though, so it would use a threaded filter to hold it in place so it could be screwed on or off.

    I also think the ability to use this with a manual focus camera is important, as i’ve used wide angle conversion adapters before on this camera and it has trouble focusing otherwise.

    So yeah, hopefully in a week or two I will have something working.

    Also, I don’t know why they’re knocking the $30 wide angle adapters. I use one on my a510 that I got off ebay (along with the adapter tube so my camera can accept 52mm threaded lenses) and it works great for full-frame. I want to use the peep-hole thing more as a novelty for the true fish-eye look.

  9. I don’t know about other cameras but my Nikon D70 has an option for noise reduction and what it does is it takes a second picture without releasing the shutter then uses that to reduce noise, it’s a nice feature but it just takes more time. Also it only really does stuff on long exposure, it already has a fairly low noise sensor anyways.

  10. I too found the noise-reduction part most interesting, but it’s worth noting that you won’t be able to do that with most cams. (as the article mentioned)

    It requires that the cam save/send data in a raw format, not jpeg or whatever. Otherwise the cam’s demosaic and jpeg routines mix and mash adjacent pixels together. If you were going to try this trick with jpegs you’d get a little to no noise reduction, depending on the compression.

  11. Actually, the noise reduction technique does work with some cheap cameras using JPEGs (such as the DCS-900). However, the 8×8 DCT in JPEGs causes frequency-domain interference with image features. Thus, the technique still reduces noise, but primarily by removing the lower-frequency components. The finer grain pattern that results sometimes looks funny, but is at least a modest improvement.

  12. Great idea. You can see my design at http://teacherresourceexchange.org/blog/?cat=7.
    I’m working on a physics classroom demonstration that will place a fisheye lens on the surfae of a globe, to show what we would see if we were on the surface of the globe (with a bright light modeling the sun, and the orientation changing for day/night and the seasons).

    Anyone able to help me with attaching a true fisheye lens to a real CCD/CMOS camera (to not get the large black region caused by this hack)? I’m looking at a 180 degree lens from Sunex.com, and I have specs for the lens, I just need to get a camera to fit it in. It’s not the same size as the web cam I used for my “version 0.9”.


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