View Full Version : Digital Photo Camera Synchronization – Summary

03-15-2007, 12:46 AM
Digital Photo Camera Synchronization – Summary of

My grateful acknowledges to everyone who kindly
responded to my questions. They have been very
helpful. Here is a summary of responses:

“Dear Colleagues,

I need to use a digital photographic camera activated
remotely by a computer or microcontroller. I did not
bought the camera yet, since I'm looking for some
model able to do this job. I do not need a very high
shooting speed, say bellow 5 fps.
I would like to make a few questions:
1. Does anybody known if is there some protocol
tocommunicate with a digital photographic camera?
2. Is there some chip or hardware with this protocol
3. The communication can be done by a simpler
interface, like RS232, or must be done through USB?
4. Some particular camera model/brand can be
I will post a summary of responses.
Thanks for all”

Here is a summary of responses (some were in
Portuguese, which I translated):

>From Wagner de Godoy, AACD, São Paulo, Brazil

I have a capture software that works for some devices:
Active WebCam http://www.pysoft.com/

Perhaps you can use a photo camera in film mode, low
frequency, and save a file remotely in the computer
via USB.

It should possible, tests necessary, a security board
to manage images from the camera, that should work
like a video-camera.

Take a look at the forum:

>From Uli Fehr, Germany

“depending on the further circumstances I would
suggest following two
possible ways:

1) A camara with a simple remotetrigger like the one
with the good old
SLR-Cameras - no protocol, no USB, just two wires.
Perhaps with manual
focus if possible (increase in speed for triggering).
Perhaps you need a
digital SLR- dont know if there's a simple digicam
with remote trigger and
not all models are able to do 5 fps with full
2) A videocamera with direct connection to notebook/pc
via firewire with a
sinple kind of special software, which captures
picture to harddisk every
time you want. Poor quality in comparison with an
digital 5+ megapixel

>From JAMES (Jim) S. WALTON, Ph.D., President, 4DVIDEO,

“This is fairly simple to do with Nikon Digital
If all you need is an ability to take a few frames per
second ...

D200 specification is 5 fps
D80/D40 specification is 3 fps

(see spec sheet attached)

and an ability to trigger from a computer ...

the D200 and D80 can be triggered by a small 50mm x 25
mm x
5mm remote which would not be difficult to "fire" by
a closure across the button (generated by a PCI card
in the PC)
and your problem is solved for the cost of the
camera and a cheap PCI card for the PC.”

>From Matt Patterson, Canada

“Yes, it is difficult to get a digital camera to be
controlled by a
computer or microcontroller. UNLESS, you purchase a
digital camera
that comes with a remote, then the camera already has
the internal
devices to deal with external signals and it is easy
to control with a

>From Keith Fitzpatrick, University of Limerick,

“I have performed some work by remote shooting.

I used the Canon 350XT, but I believe it can be done
on lower spec cameras as well. The software which
came with the camera allowed for remote shooting via a
USB lead. This software is free to download on the
canon website. We required to be 6m away from the
camera and with the average length of a USB cable
being 2m, we simply connected 3 cables with no loss of
quality. The system allowed us to name and rank the
photos and save them directly onto the computer, which
made post analysis much easier.”

>From Edward Morra, MSME, Lutheran Hospital, Cleveland
Clinic Health System, Cleveland, Ohio

“You may find what you need at edmundoptics.com. They
have a variety of
digital cameras, more suited toward research, that
connect via different
protocols such as RS-232, Ethernet, USB and Firewire.
DCAM compliant is a
standard used by the industry to describe uncompressed
VGA video

>From Rod Whiteley, University of Sydney

“Depending on the image quality required, a digial
video camera can do this
natively through both windows and Apple's OS (Linux
probably can as well,
it's just that I'm not as conversant with that OS) If
you used one of the
newer HighDefinition (HD, or HiDef) cameras, then the
screen resolution may
be acceptable, and you are capturing at 24.96 or 30
frames per second
depending on PAL or NTSC ,and have full control over
record and playback
from the software, a lot of which is freely

>From Dino A Palazzi, ASPIRE, Academy for Sports
Excellence, Doha – Qatar

“You can try Canon EOS 20D or Canon EOS 30 D. They can
be connected and controlled by the computer through a
USB cable. The maximum frame rate is 5 fps and 8.24

>From Clark R. Andersen

“Canon offers an SDK (free, last time I checked) for
its digital cameras which would allow this sort of
control. I'm not aware of any non-usb Canon digital
cameras, however. Google "Canon SDK" for more

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