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  1. #81
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    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    Red face Some more follow-up on this idea ...

    After visually inspecting the Logitech Quickcam Orbit AF Web camera, I do not believe it work as nicely for this application as a standard clip-on laptop webcam would.

    Creative Labs Live! Notebook USB Webcam
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    Not only would the laptop webcam be a bit cheaper, but it would be dedicated to "peeking through the lens" ... and not hunting around with the tilt/pan capability. Its diminutive size also makes for a smaller installation ... and that is always good, too.

    Because of its inherent design, the Logitech Quickcam Orbit AF Web camera's orientation is more for a flat, top of the desk mounting,

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    not on a ceiling, which makes placing its base rather difficult, directly behind the camera (which would more than likely obscure any forward looking capability) and with an upper tilt to operate. Anyway, let's just say ... I don't think so. Do not get me wrong here ... it is a marvelous device, but just is too cumbersome to deploy with my set-up.

    So, with that issue, the pan/tilt of the tripod-robot is all you get, while looking TTL. Still, Remote "Live View" is your real need ... the "look around" was just gravy. Boy, if that new Alpha has USB Live View in it ... that will be something.

    This Second Version poses to be:
    • less "Frankenstein-looking"
    • weigh less overall,
    • wireless (via WUSB)
    • significantly less cost
    • far more portable
    • integrated for the laptop.


    The system will be entirely USB controlled and operated ... and that makes life a lot simpler and most of all ... absolutely doable for the "rest of the planet."

    I just didn't want anyone copying this until I was sure. Thanks for following along, if you still are. It is still a 'field experiment' of sorts ... or, just call it ... "a work in progress."
    Last edited by DonSchap; 04-11-2009 at 01:57 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  2. #82
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    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    Cool Through-the-lens made easier

    In dr4gon's words: "α700 Live View"

    Okay ... I wasn't able to get the cheaper Notebook Webcam, so I settled for the $50 Pro model. It's a little more flexible, anyway.

    It works pretty good and is a lot smaller, as I had hoped. That decreases overall weight, allowing the tripod robot to do things faster. I needed to secure it tightly to the viewfinder, but make it easy to remove. After evaluating how I could achieve this and make it easy, I came up with the idea of using the camera's "hot shoe" mount with a FS-1100 "SONY proprietary-to-standard hot-shoe" adapter. I fashioned a piece of mounting foam that came with the web camera's packaging into a small wedge, sandwiched it between the camera and the FS-1100, in order to tilt the webcam iris snugly against the α700's viewfinder. When it was properly positioned, I secured it tight with a lightweight cable tie.

    Creative Notebook WebCam Pro & FS-1100 Flash Adapter

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    It snaps right off and on, just like a SONY flash, complete with the "release" button.

    Mounted on the α700's hot shoe, it is almost conformal.

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    Below, is the "working screen" with the necessary applications running ...

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    (taken with tripod-robot system - α700 w/ T 28-75mm f/2.8)

    1 the DSLR captured image in SONY Image Data Lightbox SR,
    2 the DSLR Camera Remote Control,
    3 the "live view" Notebook Web Cam Pro control panel,
    4 the Tripod Tilt/Pan Control panel,
    5 the Web Cam "live" image (through the DSLR lens)


    Everything you need for the remote control, in one place.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 04-19-2009 at 05:03 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  3. #83
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    Cool Hiding among the trees

    The camouflage really helps not only disguise the camera from quick-moving birds ... but, also provides a level of security from folks "spotting " it when you're not immediately around.

    For example:

    From one direction ... it's not too difficult to see, but it's not too obvious


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    but, from another ... it's practically invisible

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    A little camo-netting goes a long way, here.

    I would have liked to have this one, again, at a little faster shutter speed. Wow!
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    EXIF A700 W/ CZ 135mm f/1.8
    @ f/4.5 - 1/60 sec - ISO-1600 - Center Weighted Average Metering - Spot Focus - M - Remote - Cloudy
    Last edited by DonSchap; 04-14-2009 at 09:26 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  4. #84
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    2,204
    You need a black ethernet cable
    flickr

    Canon 7D - 5D | 550EX - 430EX II - (2) PW FlexTT5 | 24-105 f4L | 70-200 f2.8L IS | 100 f2.8L IS | 50 f1.8 II

  5. #85
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    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    Question What color is invisible?

    More like a camo-cable ... I may just use a sleeve or camo-tape.

    I hooked a USB 1.1 "4-port" hub to the USB extender and it acted just like a multi-plug for the system, so I was able to hook up the tripod-robot, the webcam and the DSLR, just like in my drawing. As you might recall, the "Remote" USB-Extender portion only has two USB-ports.

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    Just add a little of that "I'm not taking 'NO" for an answer" and answer the call!
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    Part of the pleasure of doing this is actually seeing things work. I feel too many people love to say: "Oh, it cannot be done."

    Well, I hope to be here to say, "See ... tol' ya!" Again, the magic is in the effort ... and I guess in the fruits of that effort, too. It's a standing joke, around here, that you have to camouflage yourself as a bush to get close-up shots of the wild bunch. They just do not like company when they are eating. They sit up in the trees or on the power/telephone lines, watching until you "disappear."
    Last edited by DonSchap; 04-19-2009 at 04:22 PM. Reason: Information change
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  6. #86
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    Nov 2008
    Location
    Monmouthshire, UK
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    Nice work Don. Got to hand it to you.

  7. #87
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    Jan 2008
    Location
    Ohio, USA.
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    1,161
    My god Don!! I am away for a few days check back on this and it just keeps going! You are one hell of a handy man.......all I want to be able to do is take 'photographs' with my camera not just 'pictures' one day maybe..we will see. Keep up the thinking outside the box Don.
    Sony A700_____________Minolta AF 50mm. F/1.7
    Minolta AF 70-210mm F/3.5-4.5 Tamron AF 17-50mm F/2.8 XR DiII LD Asp. [IF]
    Tamron SP AF 70-200mm. F/2.8 DI LD [IF] Macro
    Tamron AF 70-300mm F/4-5.6 Di LD Macro 1:2
    Tokina AF 28-70mm F/3.5-4.5
    Tokina AF AT-X 80-400mm F/4.5-5.6
    http://flickr.com/

  8. #88
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    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    Red face Hubba-Hubba

    As anticipated, I received the WUSB-Extender Hub, today ... and it turned out to be a mixed bag. The great thing is that the tripod-robot and the SONY α700 Remote Control work through it. I have only tested in the house, but the work will move out in the yard in short order.

    Unfortunately for the WebCam ... not so much.

    Problem: Every time I plug the WebCam into the WUSB Hub ... the WebCam forces the Hub to "drop the load' with a protest-message from the USB system. I mean it downs everything and requires re-initialization of the wireless link. When I plug the WebCam into the wired USB-Extender, operating at the same time as the WUSB Extender, everything is hunky-dory. Obviously, not the way I want.

    I am of the belief that it has a lot to do with the bit-refresh/transmission rate ... and that "live image feed" is just exceeding the WUSB transmission rate. At 54MHz, it just cannot keep up. Obviously, wired USB is clocking a heck of a lot faster. So much so, I have noticed a complete image transfer process slow-down in the WUSB exchange, as the usual 8 to 10-second per image transfer at full-size (L) image at extra-fine resolution is now taking more like 40 seconds!

    To reduce the impact of that issue, I have dropped the α700's image-size to "S" and quality to "Standard" (the smaller image levels). I know some of you guys are rolling your eyes and saying, cripes, he's back to shooting with a friggin' SONY 5D. Now, the images come at 5 to 10 seconds each, wirelessly. A drawback? Call a compromise for speed. You can still go right back to the α700's full 12.2MP, extra-fine images, selected from the α700 remote-control panel, but you need to realize that it takes much longer between shots. You can still get the great and sharp images ... but, they come a bit slower.

    So ... what have we learned?

    A: USB Photography may be a bit slow, but Wireless USB Photography is a lot slower. Wirelessly, I also am blind BEFORE the shot (as I was with just the SONY α700 "Remote Control" software, at the beginning of this effort), do to the loss of the WebCam.

    Is there a "reasonable" work around for the "live view" I was getting from the WebCam?

    A: Perhaps. Maybe by using a 9-volt X-10 battery-operated security camera, I could fashion another "live view" idea. They are pretty cheap. Also, I may use the 9-volt 2.4GHz "wireless" rocket cam, "BoosterVision", to replace the Creative USB WebCam. Unlike the X-10, the "Boostervision" has a range of nearly 4000-ft!

    Obviously, this is going to take a bit of work in order to refine it to truly usable condition. What I do like is that I have been able to work through a lot of these initial issues right away. It is not taking weeks ... but, only a few hours to survey the problems and resolve them, once I have the parts handy. For those following this effort, I will continue let you know that happens. For every up, there seems to be a down.

    Where I am now, is a far cry from where I was with this project in the beginning. Every incremental step has offered a new slant to my photography and this is a "building/refining process" of sorts. How far can it go? I hazard to guess. It was pretty rudimentary when I started ... it usually is. As I consider the difficulties involved with WUSB, its use is very, very limited ... unlike other RF methods. It requires true line-of-sight and no movement between the sender and receiver. They must remain stationary. That is an idea-killer, to be sure. The experiments continue ...
    Last edited by DonSchap; 04-17-2009 at 11:30 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  9. #89
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Monmouthshire, UK
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    2,152
    Don, wireless USB is designed for optimal performance when the devices are less than 10 meters (33 ft) away from the computer. Although speeds of up to 480 Mbps are advertised, this is a theoretical maximum but it is reasonable to expect performance upwards of 50-100 Mbps at short range, with performance decreasing as distance increases.

    40secs for a 12meg file indicates a transfer rate of 2 to 3 Mbps which is pitiful. Have you tried it at short distance to see if the transmitter is anywhere near spec?

  10. #90
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    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    Cool The "standard" issues

    Yes ... I conducted the initial tests at 1 meter. The second set I did during the day, at 4 meters ... but, the walls appeared to be too hard to get over, during the evening and nighttime, inside the house. I lost the link and could only reacquire it where they were back "in the clear", with no obstacles in the way. Out in the yard, intermittent operation, at best.

    It could be that there was some interference from the other wireless installations I have around my house, as well as the increase in activity in the neighborhood, as these devices are using the same frequency band set aside for 802.11G Wi-Fi standard technology. Personally, I thought that rather stupid, but that is the "government" for you. Right now, though ... it is quite insufferable. I cannot even imagine it in use in a business, were you need to have a reliable link at all times. I mean, if someone walks by with a WiFi laptop or other handheld (Blackberry or iPac) device ... your WUSB link could be lost and you would NOT even know why!

    I've also had issues with "Bluetooth" technology being pretty unreliable in this house, but then again, I have always preferred a wired solution for complete reliability ... and a wireless "option" if it, indeed, worked. There is nothing worse than encountering "battery failure" while you are in the middle of typing up or "mousing" something important.

    This definitely had to be explored and was worth a look. But, I can now see that I have reached the extent of my effort. WUSB may have some useful applications. Digital Photography, at this time, is not one of them. I suspect it may just be a little too new and have limits that were not tried, before.

    The catalog advertises its features were:
    • Provides the freedom to operate USB 2.0 peripherals away from the computer
    • Extends ANY USB 2.0 device up to 100 feet (33 meters) from the computer
    • 802.11G specification
    • Save space on your desktop
    • Supports both low and hi-speed USB peripherals (1.0 & 2.0)
    • Supports peripherals that use hi-speed USB 2.0 connectors
    • Maximum data transfer rate of 37 Mbps
    • Eliminates noise in the work area


    Well, in the "REAL" world, not so much. "ANY" is a heck of a word. For the moment, I guess I am kind of stuck at 150-feet from the PC. While certainly a "good reach" ... well, I am pretty sure we all can think of what you could do with MORE!

    The best result was getting that WebCam to function through-the-lens. That aspect cannot be dismissed as unimportant for remote control (R/C). I knew it the moment I started this development and struggled to find a truly workable way to do it. While the "sighting cam" idea was a good start and helped get the camera aligned ... it lacked the real precision you want and truly need. At first, adding the Angle Finder to allow through-the-lens was an awesome advantage, but it was a little too tricky to get completely lined up and eliminate glare between the bubble and the eyepiece. Also at $200/per ... uh, that is really a little too much to ask, in my opinion. The miniature WebCam, on the other hand, gets in there real snug and using FS-1100 adapter as a mounting solution, it can be immediately removed without any trouble at all. It just eliminates so much question of whether or not you are properly lined up on your 'subject.' The convenience of having the image right on the monitor, along with all your controls and "final shot" is simply ideal for R/C.

    I hope you found this exercise amusing, if anything. It does have a purpose and I have successfully used it for that. Heh, what more can you ask? Yeah, I know -> WIRELESS R/C! I thought I could nail it. Apparently, not quite yet.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 04-18-2009 at 09:19 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

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