RGB LEDs can be found on everything from motherboards to sticks of RAM these days. [dslrdiy] wanted to bring this same visual flair to his camera setup, so built what he’s calling the world’s first RGB camera grip.
The build is based on an existing off-the-shelf camera grip. It’s disassembled for the build, with a pair of 18650 lithium batteries installed inside as a power supply. They run a small DC-DC converter, which powers a Raspberry Pi Zero and a WS2812B LED strip which provides the lovely colorful lighting effects. The LEDs light up a translucent spacer installed in the camera grip solely for the purpose of aesthetics.
So far, so straightforward. However, [dslrdiy] also implemented one more useful feature. The Pi Zero is able to scrape photos from the camera, and automatically load them on to a Windows network share. That’s a nice zero-fuss way to get pictures off your camera when you return to your home network.
We’re not sure too many professional photographers will rush after the RGB grip, as it’s often poor practice to introduce strange uncontrolled colorful lights into a scene. However, the wireless tethering feature does seem attractive depending on your usual workflow. Video after the break.
[Sebastian Staacks] built a video booth for his wedding, and the setup was so popular with family, that it was only fitting to do one better and make some improvements to the setup, Matrix-style. The “bullet time” video effect was introduced by the classic movie franchise and makes for a splendid video transition effect for video montages.
Hardware-wise, the effect is pretty expensive, requiring many cameras at various angles to be simultaneously triggered, in order to capture the subject in a fixed pose with a rotating camera. Essentially you need as many cameras as frames in the sequence, so even at 24 frames per second (FPS), that’s a lot of hardware. [Sebastian] cheated a bit, and used a single front-facing camera for the bulk of the video recording, and twelve individual DSLRs covering approximately 90 degrees of rotation for the transition. More than that is likely impractical (not to mention rather expensive) for an automated setup used in as chaotic an environment as a wedding reception! So, the video effect is quite the same as in the movies, as this is a fixed pose, but it still looks pretty good.
[Sebastian] did consider going down the Raspberry Pi plus Pi-cam route, but once you add in a lens and the hassle of the casing and mounting hardware, not to mention availability and cost, snagging a pile of old DLSRs looks quite attractive. Connectivity to the camera is a simple 3.5 mm jack for the focus and trigger inputs, with frames read out via a USB connection.
For practical deployment, the camera batteries were replaced with battery eliminator adapters which step-up the 5 V from the USB connection to the 7.4 V the cameras need, but the current spike produced by the coordinated trigger of all twelve cameras overwhelmed any power supply available. The solution, to be practical, and not at all elegant, is to just have lots of power supplies hidden in a box. Sometimes you’ve just got a job to do.
Reproducing this at home might be a bit awkward unless you have exactly the same hardware to hand, but the principles are sound, and there are a few interesting details to dig into, if you were so inclined.
If you’ve spent much time looking through a microscope, you know that their narrow depth of field can be a bit challenging to deal with. Most microscopes are designed to only have a very thin slice of the specimen in focus, so looking at anything above or below that plane requires a focus adjustment. It’s tedious and fussy, and that makes it a perfect target for automation.
The goal behind [ItMightBeWorse]’s microscope mods is “focus stacking,” a technique where multiple images of the same sample taken at different focal planes can be stitched together so that everything appears to be in focus. Rather than twist knobs and take pictures manually, he built a simpler Arduino-based rig to do the job for him. Focus control is through a small stepper motor connected to the fine focus knob of the scope, while the DSLR camera shutter is triggered through a simple relay board. There’s also lighting control, with an RGB LED ring light that can change both the light level on the sample as well as the tint.
The code is very simple, and the setup is quite temporary looking, but the results are pretty impressive. We could do without the extreme closeup of that tick — nasty little arachnids — but the ant at the end of the video below has some interesting details. [ItMightBeWorse] doesn’t mention how the actual stacking is being done, but this CNC-based focus stacking project mentions a few utilities that take help with the post-processing.
Sony used to sell digital cameras that recorded on actual floppy disks. We’ve come a long way, but [Mathieu] put a floppy in a digital camera recently for an entirely different reason. First, though, he had to modify the camera to work on the full spectrum, something he covered in an earlier video. You can see both videos, below.
As you might expect, he didn’t actually put an entire floppy inside the camera. He used the internal disk portion as an infrared filter to obtain some striking photos. In all honestly, the results were not as nice as what you get from a very expensive professional filter. But the pictures looked great and the difference was not as much as you’d expect compared to the cost difference.
The real work, though, is converting the camera to full spectrum as seen in the second video. A normal camera has an IR filter to prevent the sensor from seeing IR light. This prevents the image sensor from capturing things your eyes don’t see. The modification replaces the filter with a clear filter.
If you plan on building your own motorized camera mount, a 3D printer can definitely be of help. But in this case, [dslrdiy] didn’t use it for printing out parts — finding himself with little use for an old printer built from scrap back in the day, he decided to repurpose it and turn it into a remote controlled DSLR camera mount that’s capable of panning, tilting, and sliding.
The main goal was to not only salvage the stepper motors and controller board, in this case an Arduino Mega 2560 with RAMPS board, but also to keep the original firmware itself in use. For this to work, [dslrdiy] redesigned the mechanical parts that would allow him to perform the different camera movements using regular G-Code instructions operating the X, Y, and Z axes to pan, tilt, and slide respectively.
The G-Code instructions themselves are sent via UART by an accompanying control box housing an ESP32. This allows the camera mount to operated by either via joystick and buttons, or via serial Bluetooth connection, for example from a phone. The ESP32 system also allows to set predefined positions to move to, along with speed and other motor tweaks. You can see it all demonstrated in the video after the break.
These days, camera lenses aren’t just simple bits of glass in sliding metal or plastic housings. They’ve often got a whole bunch of electronics built in as well. [Dan K] had just such a lens from Sigma, but wanted to get it working fully with a camera using the Canon EF lens fitting. Hacking ensued.
The lens in question was a Sigma 15-30mm f/3.5-4.5 EX DG, built to work with a Sigma camera using the SA mount. As it turns out, the SA mount is actually based on the Canon EF mount, using the same communications methods and having a similar contact block. However, it uses a mechanically different mounting bayonet, making the two incompatible.
[Dan] sourced a damaged EF lens to provide its mount, and modified it on a lathe to suit the Sigma lens. A short length of ribbon cable was then used to connect the lens’s PCB to the EF mount’s contacts. When carefully put back together, the lens worked perfectly, with functional auto-focus and all.
If you’ve got old family photos on slides there’s an excellent chance you’ve considered digitizing them at one point or another, but perhaps didn’t know the best way of going about it. In that case, this 3D printed adapter designed by [Rostislav Persion] that lets you photograph slides with a standard DSLR may be exactly what you were waiting for.
The idea is simple enough, you place the slide inside the adapter, get your focus right, and snap a picture. But of course, you’ve also got to provide some illumination. In this case, the camera is mounted on a tripod and pointed at an appropriate light source. Once you’ve experimented a bit and got the image backlit the way you want it, you can lock everything in place and easily power through a stack of vintage family memories in no time.
For such a straightforward concept, we really appreciate the little details in the execution. For example, rather than just sliding a 3D printed cylinder over the DSLR’s lens, [Rostislav] came up with a foam-padded “shim” that’s strong enough to hold the adapter on without marring anything. The two-part slide spacer that features a bit of springiness to hold everything tight is also a very nice touch.