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Homemade Digital Cameras

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the lie-down-on-the-camera dept.

Hardware Hacking 230

Michael Golembewski writes "For the past three years, I've been taking apart cheap secondhand flatbed scanners and turning them into homemade large format digital cameras. They are well over 100 mexapixel in resolution, and produce results that are both similar to and significantly different from traditional digital and conventional cameras."

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230 comments

Amazing tech skills with art value! (4, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507593)

That is some eerie art! Is your initial part of your last name really pronounced "Golem" by chance?

Very cool effects. When I read the snippet I figured this was going to be something like the old "Make an E-size scanner out of any hand scanner" fraud that was popular for a few years back in the old days (remember stitching manually on a Pentium 200, anyone?).

For some reason I can't believe this works. I figured the scanning element (CCD) needed an intense amount of light to properly "read" an image on the bed.

The fact that you use duct tape to get everything "light tight" put a good smile on my face, as well as the fact that you even got this working. If you're thinking of selling artwork, I'll be the first in line (the lady and I realized it's time for more photo-prints in the house). By the way, the image taken of the actual camera doesn't seem very high res. Was this by choice?

Re:Amazing tech skills with art value! (-1, Troll)

NoGuffCheck (746638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507622)

the lady and I realized it's time for more photo-prints in the house

This lady you refer to, this is your mother perhaps? I imagine a basement devoid of any natural light could really benefit from a couple of crazy digital prints.

Re:Amazing tech skills with art value! (5, Funny)

adyus (678739) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507634)


"That is some eerie art! Is your initial part of your last name really pronounced "Golem" by chance?"

Talk about ADD...

Oh, and I guess he's using the Dark side of the duct tape?

Re:Amazing tech skills with art value! (1, Informative)

dirvish (574948) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507682)

I agree. This is very unique and interesting art. There are some very unflattering portraits on the oddities page [scannerphotography.com]

Re:Amazing tech skills with art value! (2, Interesting)

Council (514577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507834)

The fact that you use duct tape to get everything "light tight" put a good smile on my face

Although this can be problematic. At one point, I was trying to make a pair of 'blindness goggles' for some experiments, and I wanted to block absolutely ALL light reaching the eye, so there would be nothing external stimulating the vision centers. I tried layering duct tape on a pair of swim goggles, but it seemed that no matter how much I added, a little light would get through from bright sources. I ended up putting a layer of modeling clay over the outer surface of the goggles to get a light seal, which worked pretty well.

why not just post-process? (0, Flamebait)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507604)

While it's a neat (if not original) hack, why bother making actual photographs with it? The point of large format digital is very high quality, and it doesn't look like you're getting that.

If it's the look and effect you are going for, you can achieve that more easily with a regular digital camera and a bit of post-processing.

Re:why not just post-process? (2, Insightful)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507616)

If it's the look and effect you are going for, you can achieve that more easily with a regular digital camera and a bit of post-processing.

I don't see hwo you'd do that without a lot of photoshop work (go and look at some of the fun distortions they get due to the way a scanner scans the image).

Re:why not just post-process? (3, Informative)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507647)

The grayscale, banding, and vignetting are easy.

For the scanning effects, you take a video or continuous shooting (most digital cameras support both) and simulate the scanning by taking scanlines sequentially from successive frames.

Re:why not just post-process? (5, Insightful)

lamasquerade (172547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507686)

From TFS: "This effect is impossible to create to anything near this level of detail or clarity using traditional digital tools. This is because the refresh rate of a video camera is 25 frames per second, and the refresh rate of a digital stills camera is even slower - between one and three seconds per image. Scanner photographs are made up of 15,000 individual slices of time, spread over 15,000 lines. Using any standard video camera to capture images this way can be done, but is limited to 720 lines, and the fastest capture rate is 40 milliseconds. This means that the images will be much low resolution, and the slower capture rate leads to blocky, jagged edges between the frames of video that are used to make up the composite."

So that's one point. But more broadly, it seems to me to be a bit more organic than using photoshop. He says the effect is reletively predictable, but given unpredictable environments, such as cars on a road, the picture could end up more interesting than anything you could concieve and then coerce into existance

Finally, I really, really, really don't understand why these types of comments are made. Every bloody hack article there's some grim, sad comments about how the hack sucks because a) it could be done easier in some other way, b) it's 'pointless', c) it's 'try-hard', or whatever other reason. It's so infuriating - do you have any sense of exploration and experimentation? Or understand the desire to tell others about your experiences?

Re:why not just post-process? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14507748)

Don't bother. It's obvious your parent poster is an unexploratory [atspace.com], inhibited dweeb [atspace.com]. Things which seem readily apparent to people like you and me [atspace.com] are simply incomprehensible to those boring little men performing boring little tasks. Nothing we say or do can convey to them the creative philosophy of good taste. It's sad that we are forced therefore to abandon them to their miserable desperation, this quietly raging pain that may never find voice while trapped within these poorly articulated souls. But remember, my friend: they did this to themselves.

Two questions. (2, Funny)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507804)

First, what does [apple]-shift-3 do [atspace.com]? Apparently in Panther it takes a screenshot, but why is that cool enough to get tattooed on your neck?

And second, why on earth is this so hot [atspace.com]? Mmmmf.

Re:Two questions. (3, Funny)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 8 years ago | (#14508021)

Sigh. Only on slashdot. Who cares what [apple]-shift-3 does when this picture [atspace.com] is only two pictures to the left.

I mean, there's a freakin' G5 box in that picture. Those things are awesome ; )

Re:why not just post-process? (2, Informative)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507764)

This effect is impossible to create to anything near this level of detail or clarity using traditional digital tools.

You can buy a high-resolution scanning digital camera off the shelf, which gives you exactly the same distortions but actually produces excellent still images. You can buy a used Horizon camera and get the same effect on film, minus the banding, stuttering, and poor focus. You can look on the web for "slit-scan photography" (used, among other things, in the film "2001"). You can do this sort of thing with any old large format camera. Or you might look around the web for the same hack done in the mid-1990's, multiple times.

Finally, I really, really, really don't understand why these types of comments are made. It's so infuriating - do you have any sense of exploration and experimentation? Or understand the desire to tell others about your experiences?

No, what's infuriating is when people do the same "hack" over and over again. At some point, it ceases to be a hack and just is a pathetic display of inexperience.

Re:why not just post-process? (5, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507788)

For fuck's sake. I've got a Horizont, several large-format cameras, and a Panoscan. I still think this is cool. Not everybody can afford the equipment I use, and none of it is exactly the same as this, anyway. Good art is still made with disposable cameras. Why have a chip on your shoulder about non-elitist equipment?

Re:why not just post-process? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14507821)

Why have a chip on your shoulder about non-elitist equipment?

I don't. I have a chip on my shoulder about people claiming something as artistically and/or technically new when it has been done numerous times before, and often better.

Here [sentex.net] is one link. Here's [rit.edu] another one. There have been a number of other variations, including leaving the scanner in the film plane of a LF camera.

Re:why not just post-process? (4, Insightful)

dangitman (862676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507847)

I don't. I have a chip on my shoulder about people claiming something as artistically and/or technically new when it has been done numerous times before, and often better.

But nobody claimed this. The article says:

"... and produce results that are both similar to and significantly different from traditional digital and conventional cameras."

The examples you provide are not provided by the standard use of traditional equipment. The article does not claim this effect has never been done before.

What do you mean by "better"? Art is very subjective, there is no absolute scale of goodness. Does it matter that Andy Warhol used mediums that many other people used?

Re:why not just post-process? (2, Insightful)

nexarias (944986) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507954)

So what if it's been done before, and better?

It's an individual accomplishment, and perhaps he discovered this himself. If you discovered an algorithm, made an invention, or such by virtue of your own intellect and effort, wouldn't you think it were nice? And that you wanted to share it?

Just ease up a little. Don't be so picky about prior art. ; )

Re:why not just post-process? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14507802)

Why is it that Linux geeks [atspace.com] like yourself seem always to lack imagination [atspace.com], inspiration [atspace.com], and flair [atspace.com]? And always so critical of lo-fi [atspace.com] creativity [atspace.com]! Hardly a nurturing [atspace.com] environment for the budding artiste [atspace.com], I'd say.

Not only at "some point," sir, but at beginning, end, and everyplace in between: you are the pathetic hack.

Lot of it is frustration in result expectations. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14507958)

The frustration occurs in that while the exercise is interesting, the tease of having a 115MP camera for pennies, and be just as easy to use as any digicam you can buy nowadays is not there. His camera is cool, but most of us are better served just plunking down the $200 for a Kodak and start snapping away. Many final usable pictures, not an exploratory quest into hacking, is what the most of us want to accomplish.

Re:why not just post-process? (1)

jibjibjib (889679) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507857)

You might as well say, "Why have a camera at all when you can just use pov-ray?"

Re:why not just post-process? (1)

flewp (458359) | more than 8 years ago | (#14508019)

Or... "why use pov-ray (or maya, 3ds max, lightwave, etc) when you can just take a picture?"

Sorry about posting again, found quote (1)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507923)

Thanks be to google. Took longer than expected because Google suggests variant spellings, but in fact I had the right one and it suggested the wrong one!

So ist's mit aller Bildung auch beschaffen:
Vergebens werden ungebundne Geister
Nach der Vollendung reiner Hoehe streben.
Wer Grosses will, muss sich zusammenraffen;
In der Beschraenkung zeigt sich erst der Meister,
Und das Gesetz nur kann uns Freiheit geben.

Re:why not just post-process? (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507632)

How would you know what effect to strive for in Photoshop unless you've already built something like this and found out what it looks like?

Methinks you're missing the point a bit here :)

Re:why not just post-process? (1)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507701)

How would you know what effect to strive for in Photoshop unless you've already built something like this and found out what it looks like?

I suppose it's a question of whether you consider photography as something where you visualize something and then create it, or whether you randomly snap things until you get something that looks cool.

In this particular case, however, the effect itself is quite old--far older than digital; you get the same effect, for example, with panoramic film cameras, which work by moving a slit across a piece of film. Any reasonably experienced photographer should know this type of image since it's pretty classic.

And if you want to replicate it with digital, it's pretty easy (see other message).

Re:why not just post-process? (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507645)

But that would skip the fun of the hack. Hacking projects are not always attempted as a more efficient/practical way of doing something.

Re:why not just post-process? (2, Informative)

HaMMeReD3 (891549) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507677)

If you rtfa it's because the distortion from a camera like this is because it captures the image in a series of scan lines, each scanline is a small exposure, but the entire picture is made up of thousands of slices. This is different from a regular digital camera where the entire sensor is exposed which gives a motion blur effect. A scanner camera does not give you motion blur but actual clear distortion as the world changes during the exposure.

It's a different effect and it's captured through optics and time, it can not be replicated perfectly in a computer and photoshop is not the solution to all problems artistic. This is a very creative idea and I plan on personally converting my 4x6 scanner to take picture like this. It's an original idea, I'd be interested to see if color filters on the lens would allow you to take multiple exposures for red/green/blue and mix them in the computer to create a color image. I think it could make some very interesting pieces of art.

Re:why not just post-process? (2, Informative)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507720)

If you rtfa it's because the distortion from a camera like this is because it captures the image in a series of scan lines, each scanline is a small

But it is the same way existing digital line cameras work, and it's the same way film-based line cameras work, yielding, not surprisingly, the same effects.

It's an original idea,

No, it's not. Even the consumer-scanner-as-large-format-camera is old.

I'd be interested to see if color filters on the lens would allow you to take multiple exposures for red/green/blue and mix them in the computer to create a color image. I think it could make some very interesting pieces of art.

You mean like Technicolor? Or like Autochrome? Or like three-CCD analog camcorders, digital cameras, and digital camcorders?

Re:why not just post-process? (1)

public transport (864195) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507678)

While it's a neat (if not original) hack, why bother making actual photographs with it?

These photos are, in addition to their subject, also "photos of the scanner" which is a tangible thing. That makes it more interesting, or at least different, than digital effects. I think the process is part of the artwork. But maybe most importantly, its seems a lot more fun duing it like this.

I can see you're not a photographer (5, Insightful)

Flying pig (925874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507910)

The whole point of this kind of photography is that the equipment forces you to work and think in a different way. At that point, working with and against the equipment and conditions is what produces art. No amount of post processing or Photoshop is ever more than an artisanal job, which is why there is no Photoshop fine art.

You'll find it in Goethe. I can't remember the original word for word, but in effect he says that without working within restrictions we never reach the highest levels of achievement; whoever wants to make something great must submit to the limitations of some medium. This guy has found a restricted medium that can be used to produce something like art. Arguments about megapixels are as irrelevant as arguments about how fine Renaissance artists could grind up their paint.

Re:I can see you're not a photographer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14508064)

It reminds me of the 'demoscene' - I was always much more impressed by what amazing effects someone could fit into an 8k or 64k 'intro' then a multi-megabyte 'demo'.

Erm, you miss the point... (4, Insightful)

blorg (726186) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507975)

Yeah, maybe he should just strap three of these [hasselbladusa.com] together and post-process in Photoshop.

Well, post-processing actually only works on the image you have in front of you. Given that the scanner exposes individual lines in the image over time (e.g. it - "scans") to generate the end image, you would actually need a movie to be able to generate the same effect with post-processing. A movie with very high-quality frames, and an unbelievably high frame rate (effectively you would want a frame for each line, so depending on the scan speed up to perhaps a few thousand frames a second - and then you would throw out the entire frame except the single line you wanted.) The scanner idea is starting to sound better to me.

On a more general note, this whole attitude is endemic now. Sure you can correct stuff later, but it is generally better in photography to try to get the best image you can at the moment you are taking it; you've then have got a lot more to work with! The phrase "polishing a turd" comes to mind...

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14507605)

whooooooooo!

Analog hole (4, Funny)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507623)

Well, well. Since the quality exceeds those provided by "consumer-level" equipment, how are these guys going to deal with the Digital Transition Content Security Act?

laser mouse -- poor man's scanner (-1, Offtopic)

Douglas Simmons (628988) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507639)

This reminds me about that article a couple weeks back about a guy who figured out how to use a common laser mouse as a "ghetto" scanner. Has anyone successfully fired that project up?

Recycling in a Good Way (4, Interesting)

core plexus (599119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507653)

This is a good idea for recycling old equipment. I have several of those laying around, and I'll make something useful to donate to our local schools.

Opened a path to new computer technologies and related devices [suvalleynews.com]

Re:Recycling in a Good Way (2, Informative)

dangitman (862676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507803)

This is a good idea for recycling old equipment. I have several of those laying around,

Several of what? An old scanner is pretty useless without a decent lens with large area coverage, and a housing to mount it in. That's not exactly cheap. If you have old large format cameras or lenses just lying around, then getting a scanner is the least of your problems.

I don't know about you, but I have Horseman 4x5 cameras coming out of my ass.

Re:Recycling in a Good Way (1)

core plexus (599119) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507899)

"I don't know about you, but I have Horseman 4x5 cameras coming out of my ass."

Sounds painful, however, FTA: "Things from the thrift store...

As a way of improving on the results of my first primitive scanner camera frames, the redesign of existing optical devices and simple cameras proved to be extremely valuable. While large format camera frames are traditionally prohibitively expensive for the amateur photographer, there are a number of alternative sources that can provide high-quality results. The redesign and modification of devices such as magic lanterns, overhead projectors, and box model cameras of the 20's and 30's worked quite well. These hybrid digital cameras provided fairly high quality results, and were much more versatile and easy to use than the more primitive variants."

The article also mentions cardboard and duct tape.

Re:Recycling in a Good Way (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507979)

You actually have to understand what is being said. 'Alternatives to the primitive models' aren't all cheap either. Good luck finding a cheap magic lantern. And you should note that it says "fairly" high quality.

In other words, you won't be getting the same results as the pictures you see taken with his Horseman 4x5 version. Especially if you use a Box Brownie lens. And then there's the time to assemble it - a task which is more difficult without a pre-built camera to modify. And this guy seems pretty experienced with photography. An amateur is going to have a much steeper curve, and worse results.

Don't get me wrong, it would be a fun project. But don't expect the results you see here from a cheapo setup. They are used for education because that's about all they are good for. There's just no way that the cost of a scanner is the major investment here. They are free for anyone to take from the dump. It's the time, workmanship and optics that really count. Not the scanner.

A Modern Salvador Dali (5, Funny)

CarnivorousCoder (872609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507656)

Salvador Dali meets a camera. Brilliant stuff!

Re:A Modern Salvador Dali (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507891)

A couple of years ago I accidently left the flash turned off on my digital camera. The pictures were hopelessly smeared, but I took a closer look in gimp one day when I was looking for interesting images for a web page background. You should try it. CCD does not smear like film. The results can be very interesting.

Brave guy (4, Funny)

loraksus (171574) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507659)

Sticking 25+ mb images on your server and submitting it for a slashdotting.
Still, quite cool. He did a good job of describing the effects - made it informative, yet simple enough for most people to understand.

Re:Brave guy (2, Interesting)

Rob Simpson (533360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14508062)

Heh, all of the pics I saw on the site were scaled down considerably, apparently enough to survive a ./ing, for now. It'd be neat to see a few of these images at full resolution, though. Maybe a bittorrent...

I'm sold (2, Interesting)

Belseth (835595) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507665)

This has got to be one of the more fun geek mod projects. I'm definately assembling one. Got to keep an eye out on Ebay for a suitable camera. A great new use for my notebook. I'd love to try some shots at a carnivale. The spinning rides would make for some interesting shots. I'd love to try some high res landscapes though. Could also do some stunning macro photography as well.

Re:I'm sold (2, Funny)

heatdeath (217147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507852)

I'd love to try some high res landscapes though

If you want to do landscape photography with this, then you've missed the point entirely. =P (Unless you're talking about clouds or something)

Re:I'm sold (1)

nacturation (646836) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507970)

If you want to do landscape photography with this, then you've missed the point entirely. =P (Unless you're talking about clouds or something)

There were two points. First, cool effect with the motion and all. Second, 100+ megapixels!!
 

Re:I'm sold (0, Troll)

heatdeath (217147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14508015)

There were two points. First, cool effect with the motion and all. Second, 100+ megapixels!!

Have you seen the pictures? The quality is fairly poor, and they are black and white. 100+ megapixels only does you good if you have a lens that can produce that kind of quality image, which he didn't.

Those are some cool photo (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14507681)

Those are some very cool and orginal photos. I also think if I ever wanted to know what the world might look like after taking acid, the question how now been answered for me.

Here's another idea. (2, Interesting)

robbak (775424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507692)

Disable the motor (maybe just remove the carriage), and set it up to take pictures of things going past it. Cameras like this are used at finish lines at athletic meets. Interesting distortion. Might be an interesting project for someone still at school - I was once around the teachers trying to work out who won a 100m dash: some of them were a little bald(er) by the end of the day.

Re:Here's another idea. (2, Informative)

robbak (775424) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507700)

Self-reply: they are called "line scan" cameras, for anyone searching .

Re:Here's another idea. (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507949)

how about re-sitting the motor so it rotates the whole device? you could grab full 360 degree panoramas that wouldnt need stitching

Wow (1)

somethinghollow (530478) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507702)

What a great idea. It reminds me of when I got my first scanner and I'd scan my face, following the light down as it passed my eyes or mouth, which created some very Blackhole Sun video type images. I can't decide if the details he gives on how to make the camera aren't detailed enough because a) I just haven't played with it enough to see that it is self explanatory or b) because it really isn't detailed enough. I can't tell if this is a really old school camera obscura type hack that would require moving parts or if it just focuses the image small enough onto the CCD (or whatever the proper TLA is) that it doesn't have to move. I'm guessing moving parts since the cameras are so big. I need to watch eBay for a cheap scanner. This would be fun to play around with.

Re:Wow (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507826)

I had an Amiga with a Newtek digitizer. It would scan the analog video input one line at a time. So, connect a black-and-white security camera, and scan my friend's face as he rotates his head. One picture distorted his nose so he looked like a camel. If I can find those pictures on an old floppy, I will post them.

Time-lapse photo finishes (5, Informative)

Kayamon (926543) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507710)

This is kinda similar to the technology they use for doing photo-finishes in track & field races.

See here - http://www.sportingworld.co.uk/newyearsprint/pics/ 2004/photofinish_75pc.jpg [sportingworld.co.uk]

The best ones are when somebody puts their feet on the finishing line, and it gets stretched out to several "metres" long.

Re:Time-lapse photo finishes (1)

uncl_bob (529354) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507999)

One more thing learned, thank you! :-) I always wondered how those pictures were made, now I know.

Argh! (3, Informative)

HoneyBunchesOfGoats (619017) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507713)

It seems he figured out how to script the camera to take continuous photos, and animated them into movies [scannerphotography.com]. Unfortunately, these movies require Flash 8 to play, and the latest Linux Flash Player is v7! This is the second site today that has kept me from viewing content because of this issue (though in this case it simply seems inadvertent; by contrast, you can't access any of animationmentor.com [animationmentor.com] with Linux).

Re:Argh! (2, Informative)

heatdeath (217147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507859)

The movies are actually not very good at all. (The pictures themselves are far more interesting)

Re:Argh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14507893)

I find that flash is so rarely used for anything other than irritating advertising animations that I haven't bothered to install it after upgrading my browser. I really don't miss it, and would rather forego seeing those scanner movies than put flash back on.

man... (1)

heatdeath (217147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507745)

That's the kind of thing that makes you wish you'd thought of it first. =)

Those pictures are amazingly one-of-a-kind.

Well, maybe not the first... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14507856)

Looks like the guy in the article takes it to a new level, but this guy here [alotofdots.com] has been using a scanner as a artistic hand-held photographic device and making some really cool looking images too.

115 Megapixels? (5, Interesting)

lhk (196041) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507747)

I find it hard to believe that he can get 115 megapixels out of that scanner. Since he is using a 4x5 camera, that works out to a scanner resolution of 2400dpi. That is the kind of resolution of high-end film scanners, not a cheap flatbed (whatever the marketing material says).

lhk

Re:115 Megapixels? (2, Informative)

heatdeath (217147) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507921)

The scanner he uses on his primary camera is 600x1200 dpi, so he's clearly not talking about that. (a full 8x10 scan would be 65 megapixels, but the 4x5 frame would only be about 15 megapixels) Kinda confusing as to why the images are so large then...that's not much bigger than my DSLR. Even a RAW image with my 8 megapixel camera is only about 8Megs.

Re:115 Megapixels? (5, Insightful)

markandrew (719634) | more than 8 years ago | (#14508045)

Firstly, 2400dpi is not "high-end" for a film scanner. My Scan Dual III (several years old, and only GBP 200 new) has a 2820dpi resolution. That gives around a 10-mpixel image for 35mm film. You can get consumer scanners of 4000dpi and more for not much more than that. I know of at least one flatbed scanner [epson.co.uk] which is quite cheap and easily exceeds your supposed limit - and this from a person who has never bought a flatbed scanner in my life (there are sure to be many others). As for supposed "marketing" claims - I've yet to hear of a scanner which doesn't deliver the advertised resolution. They may not make full use of that resolution, and many high-res scanners may produce subjectively worse scans than lower-res scanners, but any scanner which advertises 2400dpi and only delivers 2200dpi would be false advertising, apart from anything else.

Secondly, just because it is a 4x5 camera doesn't mean that the image being scanned is 4x5; if the scanner is placed behind the film-plane of the camera, the projected image size will increase. In fact, even if it is ON the film plane exactly, it's likely that there would be a (slightly) larger area than 4x5 inches available, as the projected image would be cropped to fit the rectangle of the film frame in normal use.

Re:115 Megapixels? (2, Insightful)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 8 years ago | (#14508069)

Take a look at the pictures again. Yup there are 115 Mega pixes for sure, but these are not numbers you can compare with your typical digital camara. This just a case of counting the pixels.

You can see the scanning lines in a lot of the pictures and they are not a result of the art, but from techincal shortcomings. The time distortion effect is nice however.

Better than in Make for so far (4, Interesting)

s0l3d4d (932623) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507753)

Nice. My first thought was that it would be just one of the many how-to-make-your-own-digital-camera articles that have been around for ages at Make magazine and other similar media... so a lot nicer and more creative than that. And now I want to find an old, old camera, with an old flatbed scanner and try some of that stuff myself.

Dicomed digital camera back.. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14507761)

Back in the early 90's Dicomed introduced a digital camera back for 4x5 cameras for commercial use. It used the same theory, slap a scanner on the back of the camera. You had to use hot lamps, a studio environment and nothing could move. But the results were stunning, 100MB files that could easily be printed on the cover of a 150 line screen magazine. Wonderful.. What is really cool about your work is that you are celebrating all of the motion artifacts that studios were killing themselves to remove when using this technology. Your stuff is pretty creative and fun, and most importantly makes one look at the world differently.

My first digicam (5, Interesting)

David Off (101038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507784)

Interesting project, it reminds me of the digital camera I built with a fellow student as a degree project. We ground the top of a 256 byte DRAM using a grinding machine in the mech.eng lab and fitted a glass window. The DRAM capacitors discharge at a different rate when exposed to light. We mounted the chip to a PCB, cut the back out of a 35mm Zenith camera and mounted the PCB. Obviously the optics and chip were poorly matched, we were only using a small part of the lens.

Knowing the discharge rate of the DRAM and the time to load and scan all 256 elements you could get a black and white image. We used the camera for some image recognition work. One application was counting the number of cups remaining in a drinks machine hopper by edge detecting the image then counting the "lips" that we saw.

That was back in the autumn of 1986. We've come a long way.

Open Source Makes It Work (5, Interesting)

anagama (611277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507797)

Check out this: http://www.scannerphotography.com/cameras/software /index.html [scannerphotography.com]

The scanner software that comes with the scanner he's presently using shuts the thing down if there are hardware faults. All his mods count as hardware faults thus making the shipped driver useless to him. He discusses a closed source pro driver which is a bit better, but still not perfect for his needs. Then explains how he uses SANE to make the thing actually work like he wants.
The true usefulness of the SANE drivers lies not in the front-end applications, but rather in the fact that the raw code for the back-end is open source. ....I was able, with a bit of practice and programming study, to disable the calibration and error correction routines found in the driver for the Canon LIDE 20. This allowed me to use the more extensively modified scanners easily and effectively, and was vital in letting me create the higher quality photographs of the later-model scanner cameras.

That's cool -- an artist embarks on getting enough programming language to modify a program so he can use it like he wants to. That's owning your hardware in the purest sense. And it's made possible by the community that generates all that great open source software.

Wrong assumtion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14507842)

I'm sure he already knew how to code. He probably just learned the new syntax/language specific to the project. I took 2 years of coding, and there's no way I learned enough to be doing what he did.

Re:Wrong assumtion (2, Funny)

nagora (177841) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507956)

I'm sure he already knew how to code. He probably just learned the new syntax/language specific to the project. I took 2 years of coding, and there's no way I learned enough to be doing what he did.

Then you should ask for your money back; that's pathetic.

TWW

Tell me what I should be able to code, then. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14508003)

I exaggerated, I only took 3 semesters of C++. Intro, Data Structures, File Structures, and Assembly were the four classes I took. But I was an absolute beginner, I had no years of messing with Basic in High School. I came in with zero knowledge of anything having to do with coding. So with just with this core knowledge, what exactly is the level of code you think I should I be able to crank out? I don't think Linus would be clamoring for my skills anytime soon with this instructional set under my belt.

Re:Open Source Makes It Work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14507881)

That's cool -- an artist embarks on getting enough programming language to modify a program so he can use it like he wants to. That's owning your hardware in the purest sense. And it's made possible by the community that generates all that great open source software.

Karma whore. =P You don't know any of that - in fact, given the fact that he posted to slashdot, and commented quite a few times on the fact that the other solutions he tried were closed-source, I'd say that he was already an open-source fanboy.

Re:Open Source Makes It Work (1)

anagama (611277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507962)

Fanboy?

I also modified a program once to serve my needs, although my mod was on software of a much simpler type. I had that option because I could muck about in the source. The fact is, he couldn't modify the closed source drivers, and he could the open ones. Open source puts the power over hardware in the hands of anyone who wants to learn a thing or two. That's empowerment -- not a fanboy rant.

Mexa-pixels? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14507800)

"They are well over 100 mexapixel in resolution..."
Does that mean each pixel can hold 100 mexicans worth of optical information?

Re:Mexa-pixels? (5, Funny)

wildsurf (535389) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507819)

"They are well over 100 mexapixel in resolution..."
Does that mean each pixel can hold 100 mexicans worth of optical information?


That's nothing. My camera has a brazilian pixels.

Nice Creative Work! (1)

Whiteox (919863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507806)

Excellent work! You've created something 'original' and as well, replicating some of the effects of distorted paintings of the 18th century.
Technically you've cobbled together some cheap equipment to produce interesting timeslices of reality.

I was thinking that the lenses you have used should create a focused image on the glass? If so, does the image cover the whole area of the glass or just a portion of it?
Is the focussed image large (A4 size for eample)?

What if you use the scanning engine from a slide scanner? This way the scanner-camera would be physically much smaller and yet achieve comparable resolution? (and would probably scan faster when required).

Brilliant work!

motion distortion (1)

holdp (24965) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507843)

Is well known - it happens with focal plane shutters.
Much less pronounced of course since an FP scans a
little faster.

Very interesting! (1)

Kunt (755109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507909)

The cameras seem to be put together with nothing but spit and scotch tape, but the results are astonishing. I think I'll go and hack my old Epson scanner now!

Possible improvement (2, Funny)

Nuffsaid (855987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507917)

Putting aside for a moment the artistic effects, this project could be turned in a distortion-free ultra-cheap ultra-hi-res digital camera. You only need to "fix" the image so that it stands still while the scanner works. For example, you could expose to light a plate covered with some photo-sensitive chemical (like, for example, a silver halide) and then putting that in front of the scanner. I wonder why nobody thought of this before...

Repeating History (5, Interesting)

Betabug (58015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507922)

This seems to be actually repeating early developments in professional digital photography. The first digital backs for cameras like the Sinar, and the Arca Suisse were miniaturized flatbed scanners like that. Obviously they were really good only for still life. But still (back in 1992 or so) when I was in photographers school and we visited someone who had one of those backs, we managed a portrait of someone sitting very still. There were little smears where his breathing caused motion.

Sadly we did not experiment with more motion. I think the "experimenting" with motion is the interesting part (as far as photography is concerned). Some of the pictures on the site are enjoyable. Hacking it all together yourself is interesting too, at least for us geeks.

As for the comments in the style of "large format photography is only about the image quality"... it isn't exactly only about that. It is also about stuff like parallax control (putting buildings "upright" with parallel lines) and depth of field control (laying the plane of the depth of field folded through the scene in order to allow image to be sharp on other areas). All this can theoretically be achieved even with smaller formats, but due to mechanics it gets harder the smaller the format (Arca Suisse's 6x9cm cameras seem to be the smallest that still work very well, at least in my experience).

Therefore the "experiments" done with this hack to in a line a bit with stuff like putting ordinary photographic paper into a large format camera or using polaroids for transfer prints. The "long exposure" part of it is also a reference to the times way back, when due to old processes like the daguerreotype, portrait subjects were held up with wire constructions. Very cool, all of this hack, congratulations.

This reminds me (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14507935)

of my first bit of experimenting with digital photography in the late 80's using an Amiga computer. You had to sit very still for several seconds if you wanted a decent picture. Moving your head slowly up and down would give "Elephant-Man" portraits.

Inspirational! (1)

Big Nothing (229456) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507978)

This is the first HE hack I've seen on /. that made me go "I wanna do that!". Perhaps it's because photography has become a bigger hobby of mine than computers?

Geek Badge (1)

HaveBlue34 (142274) | more than 8 years ago | (#14507985)

You have earned a Photography Geek Badge for your efforts.
Bravo sir.

And to anyone who says 'why' or 'whats the point': go stuff yourself.

Download the original photos?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14508033)

How can I download the large images? It seems that on the website there are only down-sized images, not the originals...

TIA
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