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I.R. Synched Digital Stereo Camera

Sychronization is through the Infrared remote control mounted on the grip. One press of the remote triggers both cameras. There is however a 3 second delay before the shutters trip (this is presumably so you can hide the remote in your pocket before photographing yourself). The time delay actually helps a bit, since you have a moment to finalize your composition and when the shutters fire, there is no camera shake. In testing,  I have discovered that the synchronization varys each time you turn the cameras on. This is also true with many wire linked cameras, including with the LANC Shepherd. The difference with this camera is that you won’t know how good the sync is until you take a photo. The sync also depends on the cameras being identically set up (same program setting, zoom, everything), having similarly charged batteries, and only briefly pressing the remote button. When the cameras are out of sync, you must switch the cameras off and start them up again, as close together as possible. Unfortunately this is not usually good enough for action photography, but I have had considerable success taking photos of an active child and pairs with moving flags. I don't think there is an issue with the remote trigger (i.e. the time to focus and the count down are as perfect between the cameras as you can get). The issue is with the startup sync. A circuit,  (designed by Rob Crocket , available on the internet at http://www.ledametrix.com/syncshep/index.html)  plugged into the AV out port  of both cameras, can be constructed so that you can check the sync and restart the cameras if necessary. This circuit seems straight forward to make, and can be plugged into the cameras without modification.

Here is one of only two photos taken of the three Olympus stereo cameras I made. This photo was taken just before two of them found homes around the world. . This is the left image of a stereo pair taken cha cha style. The moving flash makes the pair a bit hard to view, so here is the 2D version.

These cameras are hard to beat. They are sturdy, yet small and lightweight, and are stunningly attractive. They gather attention wherever you take them. They are also very functional and ergonomically great. A joy to use.


Wire synched cameras

I have made many wire synched cameras which use SDM software which allows two Canon cameras to shoot in perfect synch.


Back View

It's hard to see but the stereo viewer is tilted 3 degrees to match the small offset of the camera displays. This viewfinder is shown in it's closest position. With this set up, the inside edges of the displays are slightly vignetted, when the cameras are set to 65mm stereo base. Moving the viewer to the outermost position, the entire display is visable but the camera becomes "larger" to carry. You can find which position is best for you and your particular shooting conditions. You can also remove the viewfinder when you want the maximum convenience. This viewfinder has also been modified with  2 diopter lenses, to allow those of us who need reading glasses to focus the review screens. A great improvment, included at no extra charge.



This camera built from two Canon  SD850 cameras.  They are synched by using a camera software hack called StereoDataMaker, and wire connected through the USB ports. The synch is within an average of one 3600th of a second. It comes with a removable stereo viewfinder, similar to the one on my Olympus camera. You will be able to do the same type of  hyper and hypo stereo that the Olympus camera can do, plus this camera has a variable stereo base from 65mm to 99mm. It has a  superior shutter switch, and a scale for direct reading of your stereo base. This camera also has the exclusive feature of a stereo viewfinder, which lets you set up and review your shots, in stereo. This feature is not available yet, on any other custom stereo camera. Chargers, Lithium Ion batteries and 2 GB memory cards are also included. It is ready to shoot, straight out of the box. I will also include an extra stereo viewer for viewing your stereo images.

Bottom view of the Prototype (old switch style) showing access to battery and memory card door, and central tripod socket. This camera (unlike most custom cameras) will sit flat on a table. This is not an insignificant feature!

Improvements

Direct reading scale, so you can set the stereo base from 65mm to 99mm. Improved shutter release switch. Inside the grip is a pair of AAA batteries in a standard holder. The 850s use 3 button cells in a custom holder). I am not sure how often you will need to change them since I have not needed to, thus far.


SD800 rig

SD 1100 rig

clodedopenSD1300

SD1300 rig

A note for Digital camera engineers 

I think the ideal solution for a digital stereo camera is not an integrted camera anymore. I think the solution is for a major camera maker to start offering a new feature on a whole line of cameras. This feature would be the ability of 2 similar cameras to be connected by a cable and have one camera control everything on the other , including synchronized shutter release. This would require minimal cost on the part of the manufacturer, but would provide maximum benefit for photographers (stereo, panorama, film special effects , etc.). The manufacturer's risk would be low, since the cameras would all sell exactly the same to the general user or professional. Indeed, most camera users would not even know that a new feature has been added, or perhaps will know but won't care. Providing this feature will, however, sell multiple cameras to those who do care.

Bonus (fasteners from space)

The Imax "In Cabin Camera" (camera #2, rebuilt for use on the Space Shuttle) was my responsibility when I worked for Imax. We did not reuse fasteners when servicing the camera, (to avoid stripped hex sockets). I saved many of the discarded screws, some of which are used in this camera. Some of the hardware on this camera has flown in space!

Image to the right - A much younger me, with the MKII camera underwater housing (no pictures were allowed of the in cabin space camera).

Contact me at: newportts@bellnet.ca