Posts Tagged ‘guide’

How to build a Digital 3D Camera rig [part 1]

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Over the past few years, a lot of my friends have commented on my unusual camera rigs, as a hobbyist with keen interest in stereoscopy, I’ve been dabbling in 3D (stereoscopic) photography for about 6/7 years now.

I get asked a lot of questions about my cameras and how they were built etc, novelty factor aside, these cameras can get some fun, cool and interesting images. It was only in the last 2-3 years that it became “affordable” to synchronise a pair of digital cameras without spending thousands.

That all changed when the bods working on the CHDK (Canon Hack Developer Kit) found a way of loading its own control software on top of the existing firmware. This allowed for all sorts of camera control, including sync. And a version of the CHDK called Stereo Data Maker (SDM) was released for various cameras.

A short series of blog posts to follow will guide you through how to source and build your  own syncronised digital 3D camera. Of course last year, Fuji announced their W1 compact 3D digital camera, a worlds first. But unless you’ve got £400+ going spare, its still only going to be in the hands of a very few. I’ll talk you through how for approx £200 you could get your own 3D camera together, not only will it do 3D, but you will be able to utilise all kinds of amazing features the software has to offer.

  • timelapse (intervalometer)
  • motion detection
  • screen masks
  • raw capture
  • custom grids

And much more.

There are only a few brands of Canon cameras that will work with this setup so you have to make sure you get the right models, or it won’t work. Here are a list of some of the  cameras that are currently supported by SDM (Stereo Data Maker) that I would think about getting, they all vary a lot in price / resolution and capabilities:

  • SX1IS
  • TX1
  • SX200IS
  • IXUS100 / SD780
  • IXUS 960
  • G9
  • A1000
  • IXUS 870 / SD880IS
  • IXUS 970 / SD890IS
  • SX10 IS
  • IXUS 80
  • SX110 IS
  • A590
  • G11
  • IXUS 980 / SD990IS

I currently have a working pair of A590IS cameras and have been shooting 3D with them for over a year. But for these posts I am going to run through the setup of a pair of IXUS100’s. At the time of writing this, there are some auctions on eBay for refurbished IXUS100’s including a 4GB SDHC card for under £90.

For now the homework will be to choose which cameras you want to mount together, the IXUS range is good, due to its low profile and the ability to bring the cameras close together. I’ll run through a basic prep and setup next.

Continue to Part 2