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Image capture system

  1. Dec 18, 2008 #1
    I know this may not be the right place to post this question, but I figured some of you engineering folks might have some suggestions. I am looking for a way of capturing images through a device that easily interfaces with a computer. Scanners are out of the question for my application for several reasons. The best I can come up with is a web camera, but most that are available are lacking in necessary resolution. A digital camera is doable but more complicated since only the higher end cameras have software available to capture images from a PC. I am needing a low cost solution. Any suggestions?
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  3. Dec 18, 2008 #2


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    How many pixels do you need
    How much light do you have available
    Is the object moving, how fast do you have to take the picture
    What range, how fancy a lens do you need?
    Is the object fixed, do you need autofocus?

    You get an awful lot of image quality for your money from regular digital compact cameras
    A lot of people have done hacks to control them from computers eg. http://www.camerahacker.com/books/Hacking_Digital_Cameras/ or http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK
  4. Dec 18, 2008 #3
    The image will be still and fixed, and will be approximately 10 to 14 inches away. As far as lighting goes, I can probably provide as much as I need. I'm not sure how many pixels I need. The more the better. However I will probably be stuck using a web camera, and most are under three megapixels. I'm basically trying to capture fine details at fairly close range. What I am trying to accomplish might just come down to figuring out how to get the best image quality with a less than ideal camera.
  5. Dec 18, 2008 #4


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    If you need megapixel moving images then a webcam is probably the cheapest - but the lenses are poor so you might have to do a lot of calibration.

    If you can settle for a single shot then either a compact or SLR digital camera would be best value. There are a number of official or hack ways of remote controlling the camera and downloading the data.
  6. Dec 18, 2008 #5
    I will only be capturing still images, but I plan on sticking with a web cam since I can have captured images immediately saved on the hard drive and don't have to worry about batteries. An SLR camera is way out of my price range. I wouldn't have any problems with this project if I had a decent budget. I'm curious about what you mean by calibration. What calibration can I make with a web camera?
  7. Dec 18, 2008 #6


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    You may also consider mating a webcam to an SLR lens if the webcam lens proves insufficient...
  8. Dec 18, 2008 #7
    That sounds rather interesting. How would I do such a thing? And what exactly will that accomplish? Is it actually possible to get decent images with a 1.3 megapixel camera? I would love to hear about any other simple enhancements you can suggest.
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