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Open Source Camera For Computational Photography

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the let-i-range-from-1-to-100-while-saying-cheese dept.

Graphics 167

David Orenstein writes "Stanford Computer Science researchers are developing Frankencamera, an open source, fully programmable and finely tunable camera that will allow computational photography researchers and enthusiasts to develop and test new ideas and applications — no longer limited by the features a camera manufacturer sees fit to supply. Disclosure: The submitter is a science writer for Stanford and wrote the linked article."

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Listen up camera manufacturers (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307141)

Please make a camera with:

1. A built in clock that actually keeps time.
2. Built in GPS.
3. Some sensible connectors to upload videos in real time using appropriate external devices, or,
4. Built in Wifi/3G.
5. And all the good camera stuff.

In one device. Oh, and if you can actually make a scanning range finder at a sensible price and embed that too, that'd be great.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29307211)

Don't forget the wheels and remote control so I can take some awesome upskirt pix.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29307217)

It's called a smartphone, ya moron. You know, a cell phone that's been made in the past 3 years.

The only thing different with the TFA gadget is that it will have an open spec to access all of that shit at a 10,000% price markup and enough hype that you and the other ramen noodle-eating stinkies will be fighting over it in the lab.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29307251)

Well, it also might have a lens larger than a few square millimeters.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307267)

No photographer worth their memory card uses a smartphone camera for anything more important than taking a shot of where they parked their car.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (2, Funny)

callinyouin (1138469) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307667)

Um, we also use them to snap shots of boobs at parties.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308289)

The camera you have to take pictures of the boobs you have is better than the camera you left at home not taking pictures of boobs you wish were in your face.

or something like that.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

TSPhoenix (1367187) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308001)

As they say the best camera is the one you have with you. News outlets will usually take the low-quality shot from the person in the right place at the right time over all the reporter photos of after an incident.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

dredwerker (757816) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308435)

No photographer worth their memory card uses a smartphone camera for anything more important than taking a shot of where they parked their car.

Thats a great idea. If I could just remember that I was making a cup of tea or why I went up stairs my life would be complete.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (3, Insightful)

quanticle (843097) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307235)

And what exactly do you mean by *good* camera stuff? I mean, not everyone needs (or wants) 12 megapixel full-frame sensors. For the vast majority of (not-professional) shooting, the sensors in DSLRs these days are overkill.

Personally, I'd rather have a point and shoot in my pocket (meaning I can actually use it) versus a super-expensive DSLR that always gets left at home due to bulk or concerns about damage.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (4, Interesting)

Entropius (188861) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307277)

Then you want something like the Panasonic LX3.

There are also small-ish DSLR's and DSLR-likes that are a far cry from the full-frame beasties. See Olympus E-620 (a small DSLR), or any of the Micro Four-Thirds cameras.

You can have good image quality and optics along with small these days.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (2, Interesting)

PaintyThePirate (682047) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307433)

None of the cameras you suggested would fit in a sane person's pocket. Pocket sized implies something more along the lines of a Canon Powershot, complete with a tiny sensor and mediocre optics.

Though, with CHDK [wikia.com] , you can do some nifty things with them.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29307543)

"None of the cameras you suggested would fit in a sane person's pocket"

A Nikon F & 45mm F/2.8GN will. And, properly stored Ektachrome chromes will last over 70 years. Kodachrome, over a hundred (if you don't project the latter too often.) Digital is fabulous but something is still being lost in the death of film, and very few people realize it.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (2, Informative)

RuBLed (995686) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308013)

The size and weight difference between those mediocre Powershots and LX3 is almost negligible. LX3 is still pocketable. I could say that LX3 is a superb camera vs those mediocre Powershots. Powershot G10 would be the closest competitor during their launch last year but most agree that the G10 would be harder to pocket than an LX3.

I own an LX3 and had seen/felt a G10. I bring my LX3 with me almost everyday. Could not say the same with the DSLR which rarely see office/street time.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

Anne Honime (828246) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308987)

Agreed. I've got a lx2 myself (for the 60mm tele end of the lx3 zoom is IMO too short for close-up portraits), and I'm currently drooling over the Olympus ep-1. But as soon as light dims, I get back to my dslr. The smallish sensor of the pany gets very noisy real quick.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29307575)

And what exactly do you mean by *good* camera stuff? I mean, not everyone needs (or wants) 12 megapixel full-frame sensors. For the vast majority of (not-professional) shooting, the sensors in DSLRs these days are overkill.

Personally, I'd rather have a point and shoot in my pocket (meaning I can actually use it) versus a super-expensive DSLR that always gets left at home due to bulk or concerns about damage.

Its overkill until you want to take a decent picture in really bad lighting without a flash.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (2, Funny)

Cheesetrap (1597399) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307849)

Its overkill until you want to take a decent picture in really bad lighting without a flash.

Stop peeping in her window bro, that's not cool.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

whatajoke (1625715) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307877)

A 5 megapixel camera phone is enough for you then. There are some with optical zoom too.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29307937)

That's why I don't even bother - my smartphone does p&s even with a shitty camera, my dslr for the actual serious stuff.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (2, Informative)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308499)

Agreed. Not everyone wants a huge camera. Not even a over-the-shoulder-sized superzoom or micro four thirds one.

However, interestingly, the point-and-shoots waste a lot of resources and space by exceeding the diffraction limit on common apertures. Plus their "noise-reduction" algorithms is really all about selective downsampling while maintaining file size when you operate within non-limited apertures.

You buy a 12mpx point-and-shoot, but the files themselves are closer to 6-8 mpx in terms of resolution.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29309083)

and then everyone views and prints photos using only 2mpx, so what's the point?

I once saw a picture which had been taken with a film camera which used 4'x4' film. It was a spectacular shot, looking at the result (which was the size of the wall it was on), I couldn't even tell that it was a photograph, because it looked just like a painting.

Of course, it's worth noting that paintings have horrible resolution.

The point is: resolution doesn't matter. You can go out of your way to produce something which is incredibly "sharp", but once it goes beyond a certain point, it doesn't matter anymore.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308579)

Having a program to eliminate depth of feild problems by co-ordinating with a mobile light source (deep-field photomacrography on the cheap) is one use I can think of instantly for a programmable camera. Watermarks or logos are another. Being able to do things with various USB devices would also be nice (printer, disk, whatever) as would remote control.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (2, Informative)

hughk (248126) | more than 5 years ago | (#29309107)

I like a larger sensor, but don 't need the extra pixels. It's partly down to the high pixel density why we have so many problems with low-light noise.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (2, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307249)

Most of those things aren't software-related at all.

How would Open Source help?

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (2, Insightful)

supernova_hq (1014429) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307271)

Because an open source phone would most likely have open source, easily upgradable circuits so you could add the devices yourself and KNOW they will work. You could even make your OWN devices and hook them up to it, then write your own driver and have them configurable just like everything else built into the camera.

Does it really matter? (2, Interesting)

gillbates (106458) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307343)

Look, here's the disclaimer: I am a software engineer. No, not hardware, software.

But I've written camera drivers from schematics and datasheets alone. It's *just not that hard*. Even for a software guy. I don't have an EE, just an interest in electronics.

And digital electronics are, quite frankly, rather simple. If you know ohm's law, and can read a datasheet or two, you could very easily put together a digital camera module. PCB express will happily etch the board for you, and you *might* have to do some soldering. Unless, of course, you buy one of the cameras from sparkfun or other hobby supplier.

If you can't learn drag and drop PCB design, or can't master basic electronics (ohm's law doesn't even require an understanding of calculus), maybe you shouldn't be tinkering with cameras at the circuit level. A fast fourier transform is far more complicated and difficult to understand than the electronics which go into camera sensors, and yet, is the foundation for all modern video and image compression. If you can't understand that, you will most likely not be contributing much of value to computing applications involving a camera.

Granted, I like open source stuff. But there's already plenty of it out there today - just pick the resolution, frame rate, sensitivity, etc... and go. You don't need the frankencamera. You just need the time and interest, and be willing to spend a few bucks on the hardware.

Re:Does it really matter? (1)

robbak (775424) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307439)

Great! Now, where can I download the schematics and datasheets for a Canon 50D?
And they don't just want camera drivers (that's done, thanks gphoto!) They want to write their own firmware.

If we could just get those, we wouldn't need FrankenCamera. But we aren't going to get them, based on past experience, so the wheel must be reinvented, again.

Re:Does it really matter? (2, Interesting)

appoose (714348) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308321)

From what I gather, the emphasis for the project is not mainly on facilitating re-implementation of incorporating existing features found in modern cameras, but to enable researchers and developers to add onto to new functionality very seldom found in today's camera. Computational Photography ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computational_photography [wikipedia.org] ) is currently a hot research area in academia. A huge chunk of computational photographic work is purely software driven, and do not involve any hardware tweaking (Think HDR imaging, panorama) . Thus, what a programmable (open) camera will enable me is to pick up a recently published work (or device my own technique), implement it and add onto the functionality of the camera. ** snip from the quoted article ** Of course users with Frankencameras would not be constrained by what is already known. Theyâ(TM)d be free to discover and experiment with all kinds of other operations that might yield innovative results because theyâ(TM)d have total control. ** snip ends **

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

simcop2387 (703011) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307255)

well one and two there are really the same, and i'd love a camera that spoke wifi, or even just bluetooth to upload pictures (don't think this'd be fast enough though) to either a laptop or something else.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

Entropius (188861) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307319)

They have SD cards that themselves speak wifi now. No dice if your camera uses CF (or some mutant format like xD or Memory Stick), of course.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29307261)

a samsung i8510 will do all of the above in 8.1mpx glory.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308157)

But it doesn't take very good pictures. My N73 gave me much better quality photos than the i8510. Maybe those Carl Zeis lens really do make a difference.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (5, Informative)

mrmojo (841397) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307325)

I hear you - we want the same thing. Our target is basically a Nokia N900 (which covers 1, 2, 3, 4 and runs linux to boot), plus a much higher quality sensor and lens.

- Andrew (one of the grad students working on the project).

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

karit (681682) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307405)

If you have GPS who cares about a clock which keeps time? As you are being sent the time from GPS all the time

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (3, Insightful)

Miseph (979059) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307465)

People who have reason to believe that they will want to both take pictures AND be somewhere that cannot obtain GPS data at the same time. Like inside of a cave, or a large reinforced concrete building (such as those in which many photo studios are located).

I'm pretty sure that covers virtually everyone, and I'm also pretty sure that the timekeeping chip from a $10 digital wristwatch would pretty well do the trick.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307483)

I'd rather have 5 different devices which worked well.

Professionals still swap lenses because lenses are expensive and it's sometimes cheaper to replace a camera than a new lens. I've never had my camera lose more than a second over the 5-6 months that I sync it.

I have a kick ass GPS tracker that logs every 1+ second (Q-1000x). A portable drive that dumped every CF card to mirrored drive so you could keep shooting. Toss in a wireless card and make it upload too. If I wanted video, I'd get a video camera.

I really didn't see anything 'revolutionary' about those videos other than it did live HDR pictures. Woohoo. I have Photoshop. I'm sure GIMP can do it, etc.

And you're not going to get a good OSS camera for cheap because of economies of scale. It'd cost a ton to make 1 small injection molded case, one circuit board, etc.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29308257)

I really didn't see anything 'revolutionary' about those videos other than it did live HDR pictures. Woohoo. I have Photoshop. I'm sure GIMP can do it, etc.

That's not revolutionary, even in-camera. Both Pentax and Sony have DSLRs that are capable of creating HDR images in-camera. Pentax's has already been commercially available for several months, although it does require use of a tripod. While Sony's won't ship for another month or two, it actually does the micro-alignment necessary to allow handheld HDR photography in-camera.

So yeah - in camera HDR, nothing new.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

MrMr (219533) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308841)

I really didn't see anything 'revolutionary' about those videos other than it did live HDR pictures. Woohoo. I have Photoshop. I'm sure GIMP can do it, etc.
You missed the detail that those programs are running real-time inside the camera, building panorama's and correcting dynamic range and removing noise, while taking the picture?

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29307627)

I believe this demo [youtube.com] shows the camera you want. It will be out in the third quater.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29307707)

It doesn't make much sense to put GPS in a camera. Odds are you wouldn't get reception most of the time (indoors, urban canyons, vehicles, under forest canopy). It really is better to have an external one.

dom

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307811)

No, YOU make it with options 1-5 because it's open source!

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307855)

That's basically an iPhone or similar device but with a much more high-quality camera than at present. So basically, the device you're talking about already exists, or will exist as soon as there is sufficient demand.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

AdamInParadise (257888) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308325)

Samsung ST1000: 12 Megapixels, Wifi, GPS. 3G is a difficult feature to sell since it requires a subscription to a mobile network and that's expensive if you only use it from time to time.

This camera is a point&shoot. I guess that anyone carrying a DSLR would not mind carrying a separate GPS module.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308413)

Please do it if you need it. It is open source.

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

bemymonkey (1244086) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308489)

For the love of God, why WiFi? I've been seeing articles about WiFi-enabled memory cards for ages now, and I truly have no idea what the hell anyone would use them for... is everyone so Facebook/Flickr/Twitter addicted now that all snapped photos must automatically and immediately be uploaded so that everyone has near-real-time updates of your pictures?

My God, I'm pretty much as geeky as they come, but why, WHY do you need WiFi on a camera?

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308755)

To quote from the webcomic Too Much Information [tmi-comic.com]

Wait... "They've automated stalking?!?"

Re:Listen up camera manufacturers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29309039)

Nikon Coolpix P6000 is the answer for you.

MG

hackable cams already available (2, Informative)

v1 (525388) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307143)

My PowerShot S3-IS is scriptable. (example [wikia.com] ) And it's not even a cutting edge camera. Lots of cams support scripting.

Re:hackable cams already available (1)

mako1138 (837520) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307229)

Yeah, CHDK is awesome. I haven't tried all the features, but biggest thing for me is RAW support on a point-n-shoot (I have a Canon SD1000).

Re:hackable cams already available (1)

riegel (980896) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307269)

This seems to go way beyond simple scripting. Might I recommend the actual article.

Sort of like the difference between an ms-dos batch file and a C program

Re:hackable cams already available (1)

PaintyThePirate (682047) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307479)

Indeed. For example, the CHDK way of doing HDR photography is a script that shoots a sequence of images at different exposure levels so you can post process them into a single image later on your PC.

Per TFA, the Frankencamera plans to take the pictures and then do the stitching and blending on the camera itself.

Re:hackable cams already available (5, Informative)

mrmojo (841397) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307303)

The existence of prior art doesn't mean we shouldn't try and do it better. There's plenty of related work and similar projects.

We're aware of chdk (and have used it for a bunch of stuff), and it's close in some respects, but it's not the same thing. Chdk doesn't turn your camera into a fully functioning linux box, which is part of what we're trying to do, though this has also been done before sans viewfinder (www.elphel.com). You can plug random stuff in over USB, you can control the sensor with extremely low latency (by hacking the kernel if all else fails), you can ssh in, you could even run a web-server off your camera if you wanted to like the elphel cameras. Last week I plugged an SSD drive in over USB (alas no sata interface yet) to save off raw data faster. It's a fairly standard linux so it just worked.

You also have a lot more compute than you might get in something like chdk. You have access to a unified shader architecture GPU, a DSP, a CPU with an SSE-like vector coprocessor, and a fixed-function set of image processing tools (like histogram generation).

The other half of what we're trying to do is make a really good API for a programmable camera, including stuff for synchronization of multiple external devices (eg flashes), optimized image processing routines, frame-level control of the sensor at high frame rates, and camera user interface stuff, including physical widgets like buttons and dials (we use a phidgets board for this).

- Andrew (One of the grad students working on the frankencamera)

Re:hackable cams already available (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29307669)

If you are saying Nokia N900 a-like above, you mean with a PowerVR SVX or whatever it's called right? And since AFAIK the drivers are still closed source for that how much access does that give the average hardware/software hacker to the gpu?

Re:hackable cams already available (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308167)

That's pretty cool. I've always wanted to try to implement a digital deshaking algorithm by cutting a shot in lots of short exposures (i.e. the final exposure time would be the same but instead of being a long exposure it would be cut into a thousand shorter shots added together) that would work by correlating each new sub-frame with the sum of what was previously obtain, so that you can correct the shaking by adding the new sub frame at the position and with the angle it should have with respect to the image that's been put together so far. Do you think something like this could be achieved with a camera like that? The interest of this being that this is not just a post processing algorithm that works on the final raw, but obviously for that reason it might demand a pretty low level kind of access to the captor and even be computationally demanding.

Oh and don't even pay attention to people who say it's already done before, every time someone makes something quite novel but that's already been done in a way or another before there's always going to be a significant ratio of feedback that will consist in "X already did it before", even if what you did blows X out of the water and does a lot more and a lot better.

Re:hackable cams already available (1)

mrmojo (841397) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308189)

Yeah, that's exactly the kind of thing we're talking about. You need low level access to the sensor for it to work. In fact, that idea works so well that its one of the few things from the area that has made it into a commercial camera - the Casio EX-F1 does it.

CHDK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29307149)

Not exactly revolutionary. CHDK [wikia.com] has been adding features to Canon firmwares for years.

Could there ever be a view camera version? (3, Insightful)

e9th (652576) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307231)

This looks promising. But optics being optics. a version with swings & tilts [wikipedia.org] would be really exciting for landscape/architectural/product photographers.

Do want (1)

EsJay (879629) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307245)

My knee-jerk reaction was that the proprietary lenses (Canon) and imaging chip (Nokia) would limit customization. But they could be interchangeable, like monitors and printers on personal computers.

Re:Do want (4, Informative)

Entropius (188861) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307287)

The Canon lens-to-camera communication protocol has been reverse-engineered for a while. Manufacturers like Sigma and Tamron are making (very good) lenses compatible with Canon (and everyone else's) bodies.

Re:Do want (4, Informative)

mrmojo (841397) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307355)

It's not a Nokia imaging chip, it's just the one that happens to be used in Nokia N95s. Aptina makes it and sells it to anyone who wants one. They do make you sign an NDA to get the full data sheet, but that's pretty much impossible to avoid.

As the poster above mentioned, Canon lenses have been thoroughly reverse-engineered.

The lenses would be fairly easy to swap out for a different optical system - we communicate with the lens controller over a simple serial link. The sensor is more involved - for one you'd need a linux kernel driver for your new sensor. Also, it's a pain to properly mount a sensor and get the all support circuitry working. None of it is secret or proprietary though, beyond the NDA you usually need to sign to get the register map for the sensor you want to use.

- Andrew (one of the grad students working on the project)

Re:Do want (1)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307759)

A truly open source camera would publish its lens specifications, curvatures, focal lengths, refractive indices. This one doesn't. So it is, in fact, partially closed.

Canon license the protocols, and some manufacturers have reverse-engineered them. But that's not my idea of a truly open-source project.

...laura

Re:Do want (2, Informative)

mrmojo (841397) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307953)

You can find such lens specifications available for most lenses in patent databases. The patents list the curvatures, indices of refraction, etc, etc. That's kind of the point of patents - when used correctly they remove the need for trade secrets. I'm not sure if this holds true for Canon lenses in particular.

I agree with you that many aspects of the hardware are not as open as they could be. However, we're trying to make a camera that actually works well as a camera without reinventing too many wheels. We'd also like to be able to replicate and distribute the camera to other researchers. That means off-the-shelf parts that anyone can buy, like Canon lenses.

- Andrew (one of the grad students involved)

Similar work for Canon cameras... (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307265)

I haven't tried it yet, as my current camera is a Canon G5, which isn't supported, but this site really wants my next camera to be another Canon: http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK [wikia.com]

Re:Similar work for Canon cameras... (2, Interesting)

Entropius (188861) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307307)

Is there a way to enable block storage mode on Canon DSLR's?

Seriously, this is a royal PITA. My father is only semi-computer-literate and has a Canon 350D. The hoops he has to jump through in order to get the pictures off of that thing are *insane* -- it literally takes an hour to copy an 8GB CF card, and if he messes up one step in the process he has to start over. (It still takes me forever, but I just let the transfer run in the background).

You could just use a card reader, but the camera craps the pictures into 234897234 different folders -- and he's nowhere near good enough with computers to be able to deal with that.

Meanwhile, I can plug my (also old) Olympus camera into my computer, select "Mass storage" from the menu that appears on the camera, and it's just like a thumbdrive -- with all the pictures in one directory, no funny stuff necessary.

Apparently the modern Canons *still* don't have USB mass storage mode. (Well, not the affordable ones anyway.)

Re:Similar work for Canon cameras... (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307477)

The multiple folders thing is a bit annoying, but you don't need a card reader to see that. I have a 350D myself, and have no problems with plugging the thing in and going into the camera's file system to DCIM\ folders and copying them to the hard drive.

Re:Similar work for Canon cameras... (1)

ljw1004 (764174) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307857)

If he switches to Windows 7, its "Picture library" is a sort of virtual folder that encompasses multiple filesystem folders and can arrange the photos independently of those filesystem folders. It might help.

Re:Similar work for Canon cameras... (1)

penguinchris (1020961) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308427)

I have a Canon 40D, and previously had a 350D, and with either if I actually attach(ed) it with a USB cable rather than using a card reader I do not have the issues you described... I am not sure if you are doing something wrong, or what - as EvanED already said in his reply, you really should be able to access it as a normal USB mass storage device - but it doesn't matter. The real solution for your father is to change his method of downloading and sorting photos.

There are multitudes of programs that are designed to make this really easy, whether you plug the camera in directly or use a card reader (you should use a decent card reader - it will cut the download time to a few minutes at most). They can be completely automated to store the images in whatever filing system you like on your hard drive. It doesn't matter how Canon stores the files on the memory card, they're reorganized automatically in the way you like - I organize by date. I use digikam, which I consider the best option on linux, but I am guessing your father doesn't use linux - in that case there are even more options. You might try something like Google's Picasa (which runs on linux too actually) as something simple and easy to understand. For a semi-computer-literate person, the only sensible solution is the use software that's designed to make this easy. The included Canon software, even, is not terribly bad!

Re:Similar work for Canon cameras... (2, Informative)

Cheesetrap (1597399) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308727)

You could just use a card reader, but the camera craps the pictures into 234897234 different folders -- and he's nowhere near good enough with computers to be able to deal with that.

One would assume the camera generates unique (or at least very seldom-repeated) filenames for each photo... I don't see what is difficult about a recursive 'move' command? I'm a complete noob @ programming but it only takes a one-line batch file..

<20 minutes later>

Okay, damn you for making me work it out, here you go :P

File: dumpdir.bat

@echo off
set listfile=c:\temp\list.txt
if "%1"=="." (echo %cd%>%listfile%) else (echo %1>%listfile%)
dir %1 /b/s/a:d>>%listfile%
for /f "tokens=*" %%s in (%listfile%) do (xcopy "%%s"%4 %2 %3 /v /f /z)

And this can be called with:

Normal usage:dumpdir path1 path2

Test mode (lists files only): dumpdir path1 path2 /L

Restrict to matching string: dumpdir path1 path2 /R \*.ext (backslash required)

Note that path1 and path2 must be enclosed in quotes if they include spaces - and if you are running the batch from the directory you are wanting to consolidate, you can use a period instead of typing out the path (e.g, dumpdir . c:\pics).

Hope that helps someone ;)

Re:Similar work for Canon cameras... (1)

Rah'Dick (976472) | more than 5 years ago | (#29309135)

My Canon EOS 450D puts all files (JPEG and CR2) into one directory per 10.000 files. Actually, I dislike this behaviour very much, so I wrote a script that moves all files into directories named after the file creation date (YYYY-MM-DD). All I need to do afterwards, is to add a short description to the directory name. The script has a context menu entry for directories, so it's as easy to use as it gets.

By the way: when you connect the 450D via USB, Canon's driver only shows JPEGs on the cam, even if you shot in RAW mode. For RAWs, you'll just get the 6MP JPEG previews, that are embedded in the .cr2 files. If you want the actual .cr2 files, you have to use a card reader. Great, isn't it?

Nikon offer an SDK for many of their cameras (4, Informative)

jamesswift (1184223) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307279)

http://sdk.nikonimaging.com/apply/ [nikonimaging.com]

D5000, D3x, D90, D700, D40, D60, D3, D300, D200, D80
And NEF (RAW) files

Always wanted a printer (3, Interesting)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307311)

I have always wanted an Open Source printer. One that can be built and whose consumables made by those with the means without worrying about patents and all the nonsense. Think about what this could do for students and government departments.

I am personally sick and tired of shelling cash to the Lexmarks, HPs and Epsons of today. Why hasn't this taken off [yet]?

Re:Always wanted a printer (1)

Kinky Bass Junk (880011) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307453)

If you think it's such a great idea, you should seek funding for this and get to work on organising it.

Re:Always wanted a printer (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307523)

If you mean the ink: If you still shell out big time cash for that, you must be blind, because there are more offers for cheap ink, than there are banks in Luxemburg and Switzerland combined! ^^

Re:Always wanted a printer (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307695)

I am personally sick and tired of shelling cash to the Lexmarks, HPs and Epsons of today. Why hasn't this taken off [yet]?

Because manufacturing stuff in the real world, especially complicated precision stuff like printers - is very expensive. It's nothing like software.

Re:Always wanted a printer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29307751)

It hasn't taken off because hardware requires money.

Open source software requires people to write it in their own (spare) time. Then you can copy the product however many times you need it.
Open source hardware requires people to make things in their own time, and spend money on the bits and pieces.

Re:Always wanted a printer (2, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308923)

Because a printer costs almost nothing nowadays, certainly less than its component cost to a hobbyist when you can get Lexmark's etc. for about £20 brand new. Old printers are a great source of stepper motors because of this. The major problem is the ink, which is the hard bit to make effectively and cheaply on anything other than a mass scale - so actually with a £20 Lexmark printer and some "clone" ink refill, you've basically got something orders or magnitude more efficient than you could ever make yourself.

The tech being "open source" is a different matter, but we all *know* how printers work. An inkjet is no different to a dot matrix, except instead of hitting a physical pin into an inked ribbon, the carriage heats the ink through a very fine nozzle (probably out of the hobbyists reach without considerable skill/expense). The basic technology is a geared-down belt on a stepper motor. Try getting that working to within 300ths of an inch (300dpi) for less than £20. After that, the actual imprinting technology is either out of reach or difficult to manufacture / time accurately. Then you need control circuitry (WAY more than £20 worth of chip / effort / programming). Then you need the consumable in the first place, which doesn't clog, dry up, leak, etc. And laser printers? Don't even go there for hobbyist use.

Even back in the primarily-hobbyist days, "normal" types of printers around weren't in the hobbyist scene because you couldn't "make" them - the ZX printer on the Spectrum is one example - aluminium-coated paper which was printed on by an electrical "spark" because that's the only way it could be made affordable. Printers are one of those things that you can't make for anywhere near the price that 10 or 12 throwaway ones wouldn't cost. You don't gain anything at all. It's like saying, why doesn't someone make an "open-source" car? Because at the end of the day to make it would actually cost you more than just buying a new car anyway.

Why use the EOS mount? (2, Funny)

insane_membrane (1366135) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307373)

When the best cameras in the world use the F-mount ;)

Re:Why use the EOS mount? (1)

mrmojo (841397) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307921)

Because we have a lot of Canon lenses lying around. It's not a fundamental part of the system - it would be easy to switch in a different lens mount.

- Andrew (one of the grad students involved)

Re:Why use the EOS mount? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29307941)

Because the best lenses in the world use the EOS mount. The EF mount allowed Canon to pioneer things like ultrasonic focusing motors and image stabilizers.

dom

The split exposure demos was cute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29307501)

and hands-off too, which is what people want. When I was souping B+W with the right combo of film, over exposure and under development I could manage over 12 stops without burning or dodging the print. Post-WWII the army developed film and techniques to cover 22 stops. This camera is easier, certainly, but hardly a breakthrough. Well, it is color, I'll give you that.

The lens mount (1)

sectionboy (930605) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307549)

It appears that they are using a Canon EF or EF-s mount, but Canon is missing in the list of sponsors (Nokia, Adobe Systems, Kodak, and Hewlett-Packard). So they either reverse-engined the communication protocle between the lens and the camera, or they just skip that part all together. Either way, it's not a completely open source camera unless lens manufacturers open up their mount designs.

Re:The lens mount (1)

wronskyMan (676763) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307677)

It should be fairly easy to reverse engineer - Sigma and Tokina among others produce third-party lenses that mate with Canon/Nikon/etc DSLRs.

Re:The lens mount (1)

spaceyhackerlady (462530) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307767)

It should be fairly easy to reverse engineer - Sigma and Tokina among others produce third-party lenses that mate with Canon/Nikon/etc DSLRs.

Not the protocols: the actual lenses themselves. The optical stuff.

Besides, I always thought the best lenses had M42x1 threads on them. :-)

...laura

Re:The lens mount (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29308251)

This project has nothing to do with creating "open-source lenses", it's an "open-source camera" that is compatible with a huge variety of already existing lenses.

What about CHDK? (5, Interesting)

rdawson (848370) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307571)

This kit is FREE open source for the Cannon Powershot, with many of the features mentioned in the article, including HDR. Download it onto a cf flash, and it replaces the Cannon OS. Many amazing images 1/50,000 milkdrop captures, night scenes etc can be found at http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK [wikia.com]

Re:What about CHDK? (1)

davmoo (63521) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307729)

Damn...the one week I don't seem to have mod points. Your post should be modded "+100 one of the most useful replies ever"!

nice PR stunt (2, Informative)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307735)

This sounds like an academic trying to make a name for himself again by labeling something that already exists with his own label. "Computational photography"? Well, how exactly did digital photography ever work without that?

Open source camera OS? Nice try, but the reason manufacturers haven't standardized on anything yet is because the technology keeps changing.

However, FWIW, Canon cameras effectively can be reprogrammed using the CHDK [wikia.com] firmware.

Re:nice PR stunt (5, Informative)

mrmojo (841397) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307931)

Computational photography is the accepted term for this subfield of computer graphics and computer vision: http://lmgtfy.com/?q=computational+photography

Secondly, we're not making an open source camera OS for existing hardware, we're making camera hardware that runs an existing open source OS - linux - with particular drivers and APIs to help you program the camera.

We're very well aware of CHDK and have used it for many projects. This is not like that (I have an earlier post that elaborates above).

You call that computational photography? (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 5 years ago | (#29307787)

When I see "Computational Photography", I think of the flatcam, a button-sized wafer with a photon-sensing surface. No lens, it instead computes the image of its surroundings. Described in fictional "Michaelmas" by Algis J. Budrys.

Re:You call that computational photography? (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308035)

Is this possible without knowing the angle of incidence of the incoming photon? Even if you sort by photon frequency and have a huge temporal bandwidth?
This works in holography, but the focal point and coherence of the light comes from the laser and not a lens.

Re:You call that computational photography? (1)

jimmydevice (699057) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308083)

Oops, I remember reading about white light / incoherent holography in SciAm in the 70's, but I think it still required a "point illumination source" to work.

I may be incoherent too.

What scammers might do (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308053)

... once they have infected the camera with their spyware, is leave the camera collecting images constantly, looking for any personal identifying, security, or financial info, and send it over to their servers in a foreign country when network access is available.

Re:What scammers might do (1)

silanea (1241518) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308383)

Sure. Just after they have ported their spyware to Linux. Which will happen during the Year of the Linux Desktop, I am sure.

a push to compete (1)

bgd73 (1300953) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308829)

it is about time.

Open Source Camera... Pornography (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29308959)

..That's what I read. Must be early in the morning.

Where's the source? (2, Insightful)

ITMagic (683618) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308961)

Ermm, Just where, exactly, is the source? Links to CAD designs, specs, software, etc? As far as following the Stanford links is concerned, I can't see how this project can be labeled "Open Source" without this...

True black and white sensor. (1)

Anne Honime (828246) | more than 5 years ago | (#29308969)

What I would really love is a CCD or CMOS without bayer color matrix nor antialiasing filter. This camera would be limited to black and white photography (or studio pack shot with 3 exposures behind R,B,G filters), but I expect the result would be outstanding. At the moment, we're fighting with slightly fuzzy shots (thanks to the AA filter) to recreate true pixels intensity after they've been distorted by various digital process. There's been one digital b&w camera, made by kodak. It's said the production number was 80, but from reviews, images were already gorgeous with 6 Mpix 10 years ago. Today, bayer matrix and AA filters are glued on the chip in the manufacturing process, and it's impossible to get rid of it afterwards.

Maybe dynamic range not the best example (1)

Cico71 (603080) | more than 5 years ago | (#29309071)

Some cameras already use technologies to optimize the dynamic range e.g. using Apical solutions: http://www.dpreview.com/news/0903/09031801apical.asp [dpreview.com] not really like multiple shots with different exposures, but still very effective. Moreover, I prefer to leave such things to the post-processing phase of my work flow. Still nice that the camera is open, I hate manufacturers issuing dozen of new cameras every six months with very small increments in the feature set every time.

Alignment and bracketing (1)

janwedekind (778872) | more than 5 years ago | (#29309163)

The camera does alignment and bracketing of an exposure series on-site. That would be really neat and much cheaper than current HDR sensors. At the moment I need to do this offline using Hugin [sf.net] and QtPfsGui [sf.net] .
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