So that’s how the Raspberry Pi camera fits in the CamdenBoss housing …

 

The CamdenBoss Raspberry Pi Camera Enclosure (data sheet, suppliers: RPI CAMERA BOARD – RASPBERRY-PI – ADD-ON BRD, CAMERA MODULE, RASPBERRY PI | Newark element14 Canada, MCM Electronics Carbon Raspberry Pi Camera Case 83-15493 – Micro Center) comes with no instructions. Maybe the lighter coloured ones are easier to work out, but on the faux-carbon one I bought, the little guide slots the board has to slide into are very hard to see.

Given all the warnings about static, I was a little too careful trying to install the camera into the housing. Slip open the camera case, then put the board in at an angle with one side in one slot, then (with a bit more force than I’d like) spring or flex the housing so the other side of the board can click into place. You have to make sure that both sides are fully engaged in the slots before the cover will slide back on.

So here it is, all set up:

raspberry_pi_and_camera_agh_my_retinas

Oh, sorry;  should’ve warned you about the bright pink case and the awesome/appalling Lisa Frank sticker. The sticker is in no way to cover up where I cut the wrong place for the camera connector, nope nope nope …

Too many QR Codes

I have, of late, been rather more attached to QR Codes than might be healthy. I’ve been trying all sorts of sizes and input data, printing them, and seeing what camera phones can scan them. I tried three different devices to scan the codes:

  • iPhone 4s – 8 MP, running either i-nigma (free) or Denso Wave’s own QRdeCODE ($2). QRdeCODE is better, but then, it should be, since it was created by the developer of the QR Code standard.
  • Nexus 7 – 1.2 MP, running Google Goggles.
  • Nokia X2-01Catherine‘s new(ish) phone, which I can’t believe only has a 0.3 MP VGA camera on it. Still, it worked for a small range of codes.

QR Code readability is defined by the module size; that is, the number of device pixels (screen or print) that represent a single QR Code pixel. Denso Wave recommends that each module is made up of 4 or more dots. I was amazed that the iPhone could read images with a module size of 1 from the screen, like this one:

hello_____-ei-m01-300dpi

On this laptop, one pixel is about 0.24 mm. The other cameras didn’t fare so well on reading from the screen:

  • iPhone 4s – Min module size: 1-2 pixels (0.24-0.48 mm/module)
  • Nexus 7 – Min module size: 2-3 pixels (0.48-0.72 mm/module)
  • Nokia X2-01 – Min module size: 3-4 pixels (0.72-0.96 mm/module)

So I guess for screen scanning, Denso Wave’s recommendation of 4 pixels/module will pretty much work everywhere.

I then generated and printed a bunch of codes on a laser printer, and scanned them. The results were surprisingly similar:

  • iPhone 4s – Min module size: 3-4 dots (0.25-0.34 mm/module)
  • Nexus 7 – Min module size: 4-5 dots (0.34-0.42 mm/module)
  • Nokia X2-01 – Min module size: 8-9 dots (0.68-0.76 mm/module)

A test print on an inkjet resulted in far less impressive results. I reckon you need to make the module size around 25% bigger on an inkjet than a laser, perhaps because the inkjet is less crisp.

I have to admit I went a bit nuts with QR Codes. I made a Vcard: my vcard

(and while I was at it, I created a new field for ham radio operators: X-CALLSIGN. Why not?). I even encoded some locations in QR Codes.

Just to show you what qrencode can do, here’s a favourite piece of little prose:

a_real_man

The strange world of the 808 Car Keys Micro Camera

They have no viewfinder, no way of focusing, no controls beyond a power button and a multi-function shutter button (and two other seemingly useless buttons). They come with no manual, no readily identifiable manufacturer and you don’t really know what you’re going to get until you turn them on — yet they sell in their thousands. They are the 808 Car Keys Micro Camera.

I first heard about them from This Camera is an Adventure on MetaFilter, then someone suggested one as a solution to my Halfbakery idea “Tiny high quality digital camera”. So I bought two:

  • a #3 from ebay seller liangmin9888. Total cost $14.59 shipped from Hong Kong.
  • a #16 from ebay seller elehomegood. Total cost $40.99 shipped from Hong Kong.

I chose these sellers for their high reputation, and they didn’t disappoint. The cameras? They’re no Leicas.

The #3 is supposedly the best of the standard resolution cameras. They have a large yellow timestamp permanently inscribed in the corner of any image or video. The one I have is loaded with lens aberrations, and makes a Lomo look like a view camera. Still, I see some potential in it.

The #16 is a bit better. It still is miles behind my phone camera, and it only takes slightly soft 0.9 megapixel images. No video samples yet, but here’s a squinty picture I took in Lakefield today:

Lakefield, rather wonkily by 808 #16

I do feel a bit self conscious about using such a covert camera, but I’ll see what I can do with them.

S100 things

I think I like the S100. It’s small, fast, handles well, and has a bunch of goofy features (like lomofy, fisheye, pseudo-tilt-shift, ultravivid). It also has a semi-useful HDR mode, and best of all, a built in GPS for photo-tagging. This does kind of eat batteries, though, so I’ll have to remember to keep it turned off unless I need it.

help for the Weston user in your life

Talk about displacement activity: in the week or so before selling the house and upping and off to Canada, I scanned and converted the Weston Master V Exposure Meter and Invercone Instruction Book to HTML.

perhaps a slightly easier way to make SD cards bootable for CHDK under OS X

Now that CHDK has a working beta in the source tree for my Canon PowerShot SD790is, I actually have to prepare SD cards for it. The Bootable SD card – OS X instructions seem a bit contrived, so I took a look at the linux instructions, and modified them accordingly. These instructions should work for FAT16-formatted SD cards of 2GB capacity and under. It will not work for SDHC cards, which are generally formatted to FAT32.

This is all command-line only for here on in. It seems to work. Please note that you will be modifying raw file systems with root permissions here; there is no safety net. If you b0rk your main hard drive, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Firstly, you’re going to have to find out where the SD card in mounted. Do this with:
df
I got:

Filesystem    512-blocks      Used Available Capacity  Mounted on
/dev/disk0s2   487463200 318749896 168201304    66%    /
devfs                222       222         0   100%    /dev
map -hosts             0         0         0   100%    /net
map auto_home          0         0         0   100%    /home
/dev/disk2s1     3969280      3328   3965952     1%    /Volumes/CANON_DC

There are three important concepts to note when looking at the mounted card:

  1. The mount point (or volume) – in this case /Volumes/CANON_DC. This is the location that you see in Finder when moving files around.
  2. The filesystem – here /dev/disk2s1. This is the partition on the disk, arranged according to a certain formatting scheme like MS-DOS FAT16.
  3. The disk device – which for me is /dev/disk2. This is the disk device itself, and it may contain several filesystems.

Your locations for these three could well be different, so please substitute your values.

You’ll need to unmount the device, as writing to a raw filesystem while the OS thinks it has control often results in hilariously unexpected results. I used the OS X-specific command

diskutil unmount /Volumes/CANON_DC

You should get a message like Volume CANON_DC on disk2s1 unmounted. Now you need to write the boot instruction:

echo -n BOOTDISK | sudo dd bs=1 count=8 seek=64 of=/dev/disk2s1

This will prompt you for your password.

If you need to, you can remount the filesystems on the card with

diskutil mountDisk /dev/disk2

(Note that we used the disk name here, not the filesystem. If there were several partitions on the disk, this command would mount all of them that it could. It’s also kinda handy for remounting USB devices that you’ve accidentally ejected from Finder.)

Update: Knowing a difficulty getting the firmware update method of getting CHDK to work on a Mac? Running a Leopard or newer machine? Then you need to learn all about Apple’s quarantine attribute and how to remove it with xattr: FAQ/Mac – Still having trouble?.

she says I’m boring her camera

pentax mx + 40mm f/2.8 pancake

I missed my old Pentax MX. Of all of the cameras I’ve ever owned, it was probably the one with the most charm – and I don’t mean that in the same way that former Eastern bloc cameras were “charmingly” unreliable.

The MX doesn’t do much, but does all you need. It is tiny, but it’s a very solid chunk of metal. The shutter/mirror makes a very civilized little klipp! when fired. All the controls are where you’d expect them. The pancake 40mm lens gives my MX a snub-nosed appearance. I used to have the bigger and heavier 50mm f/1.4, which some lens nerds consider to be one of the finest lenses ever made.

Sure, it has its faults. The advance lever will poke you in the eye if you change shutter speed on the fly. And, well, y’know, film.

teh smrt

I carried my digital camera around all last week, forgetting that the battery was still in the charger at home …

That wouldn’t be a problem if it were the RB67 (all mechanical; no batteries), but I’d end up looking like Louis Cyr if I did.

big camera

Got the RB67 back from Kominek, and they did a great job. While it still looks a bit beat-up, everything runs silky-smooth. It did cost a bit more to CLA  than the camera cost to buy, but I’m very happy with what they’ve done.

all the cameras I’ve ever owned

In approximate chronological order:

  • Kodak A-1 — got for Christmas or birthday when I was about 8, probably after being insufferable that my sister had a spiffy little Voigtländer Vitoret. Took 110 film and those awful flash strips. Was disappointed when wildlife photos taken with it (fixed focus, fixed aperture, fixed shutter speed) didn’t work too well. Those tiny brown things were supposed to be sparrows, dammit!
  • Panasonic AF thing — I don’t actually remember having a camera through my teens, and I think I got this just before going to Japan. I took hundreds of pictures with it, but barely remember anything about it.
  • Pentax MX — my first serious camera, and one I really regret getting rid of when I discovered the realities of Negative Cash Flow when I moved to Glasgow G1 in the mid-1990s. I had three lenses; 28mm f/2.8, 50mm f/1.4, and 135mm f/3.5. A very small SLR, it worked a charm; except, that is after coming back from Fair Isle when the salt jammed the innards. It was fine after a CLA.
  • Lubitel 166Jessop’s were selling these for £19. It acquainted me with the dreadful packaging and unique smell of Eastern Bloc photographic equipment. It also introduced me to squinty focussing and rampant vignetting that this camera is well known for. Sold on eBay before we left Scotland for about fifty quid; miracles will seldom (if ever) cease.
  • Minox 35GT — lovely, tiny, but too delicate for my ham-hands and careless ways. Bought on the recommendation of my sister’s then-fiancé. Managed to crack the top plate and focus ring; oops.
  • FED 5B — Think I got this early ’93; a spectacularly shoddy Leica-clone rangefinder. I’d heard about eastern camera copies whilst on Fair Isle, and tracked down someone in Russia on rec.photo who’d sell me one for £50. I sent off my cash in late 1992, and heard nothing for months. I really thought I’d been scammed, and gave up the money for lost. Months later, a small box arrived; it was the FED box with my address written on the back, still sealed. No wrapping. Manual in Русский (or perhaps Українська; my script-fu has never been strong). It worked fine for one film, then the focal plane synch went south. Managed to get it repaired in a magical old-time repair shop just off George Square (Peterson’s?) run by an ancient camera-wizard with a heavy European accent. In true magical ways, the store was gone the next time I looked for it. Sold on ebay for a derisory £20.
  • Fujifilm DX-5 — my first digital camera! All of 640×480 resolution, too! Wasn’t quite state of the art by the time I bought it, but cheap things from Morgan’s seldom are.
  • Yashica T5 — I probably most regret selling this of any camera. Tack-sharp and contrasty Zeiss Tessar T* lens; nifty waist-level finder. Only a so-so AF system, but very small and solid, like a budget Contax. Sold before moving to Canada. These have subsequently rocketed up in price, so my casual interest in them doesn’t warrant buying one.
  • Fujifilm MX-1200 — 1.3 megapixel; w00t! I still actually have this, and it amazes me how nifty I thought this was when I see how clunky and slow it feels now. Bought from Morgan in Brum; I seem to remember actually walking from Cobuild’s office to the store to get it.
  • Voigtländer Bessa-R— of all the cameras I’ve ever owned, I think I’ve had the most lenses for this one. Was a bit sad to see it go (trade-in for the D70), but I took many (good?) photos with it. The lenses I owned (not all at once) were:
    • Super Wide Heliar 15mm f/3.5 — a lens so good I kept it after selling the body.
    • Snapshot-Skopar 25mm f/4 — never got the hang of this one. Sold it very soon after getting it with the camera.
    • “Pancake” Color-Skopar 35mm f/2.5
    • Ultron Aspherical 35mm f/1.7.
    • Nokton 50mm f/1.5
    • Color-Heliar 75mm f/2.5
    • APO Lanthar 90mm f/3.5
  • Yashica-Mat — an eBay purchase from a market trader in Hemel Hempstead. Was a bit beat up, and had the wrong size of case, and occasionally misfired, but a pleasantly solid unit. Took some early photos in Canada with it, but it mostly sat around. Discovered, on trading in in 2004, that the taking lens was a spider-web of fungus.
  • Yashica Electro 35GT — nice lens, and can meter down to almost nothing. Auto-exposure only, and handles flair, um, creatively. Really quiet shutter, but (on mine at least) the meter circuitry made a weird groaning noise. I used a Yashica Guy battery; you might want to too.
  • Voigtländer Vitoret 110EL — I actually had two of these. One was very beat-up, while the other was absolutely mint, complete with flash. It’s a shame that 110 film was almost dead by the time I got this, as it was an ultra-stealth camera and had great metering.
  • Olympus mju/Stylus Infiniti — I was carrying my Bessa-R everywhere wrapped in (what I thought was) an adequately-padded hat when I discovered that the rigours of the TTC had induced a ding in the top plate. Immediately rushed out to buy a 35mm compact that I wouldn’t cry over if it broke. The mju was my carry-about camera for years (even after I went digital). I think I still have an unprocessed film from it. Traded in mid-2004 as a (tiny) part of the D70.
  • Nikon CoolPix 2500 — first digital camera in Canada. Bought when I worked across the road from Black’s HQ in Markham, so got it at one of their tent sales. Not a bad wee camera, but a little slow so you sometimes missed a shot or photographed your feet.
  • Zero Image 2000 — beautiful wooden pinhole camera which I bought from Karen Nakamura. She’s too kind about some of the imagery I’ve made with it. It’ll get a good workout on the 29th of this month.
  • Pentacon six TL — a huge brick of a camera, but the lens was unspectacular, and the innards too fragile. Partly traded-in for the D70. I still have my info page on the Pentacon six TL.
  • Voigtländer Bessa-L — I never actually used this. I bought it from Stephen Gandy to use with the 15mm Super Wide Heliar (along with a Kaidan pano head), and sold it on eBay.
  • Zorki — an eBay purchase, but there was a spool missing. The guys at russianplaza refunded me without question.
  • Nikon D70 — you don’t want to know how much I paid for this, but I have had it since summer 2004 and had great use from it.
  • Sony Cybershot P100 — this was my first (and probably only) peacock-blue camera. Henry’s had this for $200 less than the silver model.
  • ThreeEyeFish digital minicam — makes a Lomo look like a Leica.
  • Panasonic Lumix LX2 — what a lovely looking camera! Shame about the operation …

flash bang wallop

I’m rather taken with the Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2. Not merely does it look like a proper camera, it doesn’t handle like a gimmicky electronic toy. I love the wide-aspect images, and it stores all the EXIF information I need for panoramas. I could do without the proprietary USB/video connector, and it would have been really nice to have auto-bracket enabled on raw shooting for exploring HDR images, but it is not a huge deal. Neatest basic function is the ability to view your pics as a calendar, each day opening up the ones you took then. Nice.

Barnack’s ghost is probably troubled by the use of the Leica name on such a frivolous device. I will be able to claim the famed “leica glow” on my shots now, though.

I’m thinking that this camera is targeted towards the sophisticated grandpa. It’s able to track the ages of two children, so your pictures can be tagged as being of Baby X at age Y. Useless? Well, someone could use it.

Oh okay … some photos are here: http://scruss.com/gallery/v/lumix_lx2/

camerangst

I told myself that I wouldn’t upgrade my P&S until the pixel count doubled for an affordable price. I didn’t define ‘affordable’, though, leaving myself perhaps too much consumer wiggle room.

Anyway, 10+ megapixel compacts are here, but there are many contenders. The Panasonic DMC-LX2 has a nice lens, but is expensive and looks a little soft unless you shoot raw. The Canon SD900 is lovely and tiny, but maybe that’s all.

Do I really need to upgrade at all?

a narrow escape

I narrowly avoided buying an old Speed Graphic camera on eBay today. I regretted bidding almost immediately; film is a pain, and I’m glad I didn’t win. It would have been a nice ornament, but nothing more useful.

in the running

Almost ‘Best of The Year’ time. In the running are:

A Hawk and a Hacksaw – The Way the Wind Blows
A.C. Newman – Souvenir of Canada – EP
Beck – The Information
Calexico – Garden Ruin
Casper & the Cookies – The Optimist’s Club
Colin Meloy – Colin Meloy Sings Shirley Collins
Eels with Strings – Live At Town Hall
Elf Power – Back To The Web
Erynn Marshall – Calico
Faun Fables – The Transit Rider
Grandaddy – Just Like The Fambly Cat
Grant-Lee Phillips – nineteeneighties
Hidden Cameras – Awoo
Joanna Newsom – Ys
Jolie Holland – Springtime Can Kill You
King Biscuit Time – Black Gold
Mayor McCa – Cue Are Es Tea You
Peter Stampfel – The Jig Is Up
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – Olé! Tarantula
Sufjan Stevens – Songs For Christmas – Volume V: Peace
Sufjan Stevens – The Avalanche – Outtakes And Extras From The Illinois Album
The Be Good Tanyas – Hello Love
The Decemberists – The Crane Wife
The Essex Green – Cannibal Sea
The Flaming Lips – At War With The Mystics
The Handsome Family – Last Days of Wonder
The Instruments – Cast A Half Shadow
The Sadies – In Concert Vol. 1
The Wailin’ Jennys – Firecracker
Thom Yorke – The Eraser
Thomas Dolby – The Sole Inhabitant
Wendy Arrowsmith – Crying Out
Yo La Tengo – I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass

Miraculously, all of them fit on my iPod Nano, so they’ll be in heavy rotation over the next week or so while I decide.

zeiss it ain’t

fish sculpture

For no good reason, I bought a very cheap ($20) mini digital camera at the airport. Its limitations make it quite fun to use:

  • has the astonishingly high resolution of 352 x 288
  • fixed-focus lens chock-full of chromatic and spherical aberration
  • no display, except for a cryptic 2-digit LCD
  • takes 20 images, then it has to be downloaded
  • grossly inaccurate viewfinder, which shifts when you press the shutter button
  • images have pronounced scan lines
  • refuses to take images in low light
  • weird non-standard USB connector

It is very small, and can also work as a webcam. It also works as well as it could under OS X (use macam to download the pictures, or enable the webcam). Using the webcam does seem to delete the pictures, so make sure you download ’em first.

I’ve made a minicam gallery, which I’ll add to until the novelty wears off.

i like to caress rusty cameras …

Derek just bought an old view camera on eBay. If you’re quick, you’ll still find the original item listing. Here’s an image of its ground glass:

the face of salad fingers

Now, look at that, and tell me that it’s not the image of David Firth’s disturbing Salad Fingers character?
salad fingers

not particularly my bag

Since I now have a big DSLR, as opposed to a subtle wee rangefinder, I need a new camera bag. I like the one I have, so I went to the manufacturer’s website.

I knew that Crumpler was an odd company, but I wasn’t expecting demented music, a “Nerds” button which sprays poop over the screen, or animated chickens. The question is, would I trust my camera to these people? Could I trust it to anybody else?

gone digital

I got rid of nearly all my film camera equipment yesterday. Digital was calling, and I was barely using what I had. To Burlington Camera, I traded in:

  • Cosina-Voigtländer Bessa R 35mm rangefinder outfit, comprising:
    • Bessa R 35mm rangefinder body
    • Ultron Aspherical 35mm-f/1.7 lens
    • Nokton Aspherical 50mm-f/1.5 lens
    • Apo Lanthar 90mm-f/3.5 lens
  • Pentacon Six TL outfit, comprising:
    • Pentacon Six TL MF SLR body
    • Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar MC 80mm-f/2.8 Lens
    • Pentacon Six TL WLF
    • Pentacon Six TL metered prism
    • Pentacon Auto extension tubes
  • Voigtländer Vitoret 110EL 110 camera outfit with matching V200 flash
  • Yashica Yashicamat MF TLR
  • Yashica Electro 35 GTN 35mm rangefinder camera
  • Olympus Stylus Epic Infiniti 35mm AF compact
  • Metz 20BC6 Flash

…  all towards a Nikon D70. I like it a lot.

There is some film equipment I kept, like the amazing 15mm f/4.5 SW Heliar lens. I even bought a Bessa L body from Cameraquest so I could keep using it with my Kaidan KiWi panoramic head. I also kept the Zero Image pinhole camera, as it’s too nice to sell.

Coming back from the camera store, the taxi driver was an artist fae Balornock. I guess there’s a lot more people fae Balornock than in Balornock.