Software for Canon Powershots

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April 4, 2006 at 12:11 pm #175275
Avatar of Haukinger
Haukinger

Hi all !

I got my hands on the Canon SDK and wrote a little app for remote-capturing images. By now it has live-preview via USB, full resolution capturing, one level of onion-skinning and of course a possibility to review the already captured frames.
I’m going to add the following features: autofocus-lock (a shame manual focus isn’t possible remotely), macro-mode-switch, multilevel-onion-skinning and playback at constant (selectable) framerate. It won’t be an all-in-one solution, only for frame capturing (no sound or colour-keying or whatever, there are better tools for that)
Currently, I tested it with my A520, but nearly all Powershots should work.

Anyone interested ?

EDIT:

To get CSMC, look here… (free download)

April 4, 2006 at 12:50 pm #175279
Avatar of eventide
eventide

Sounds neat. I assume this is for Windows? I don’t run Windows myself, but do you have any screenshots? I’d be interested to see how you laid things out, or any tips you might have on programming your Powershot. I am (very slowly) attempting to integrate something similar into my small Linux frame capture software.

April 4, 2006 at 1:18 pm #175282
Avatar of Haukinger
Haukinger

Yes, it’s for windows. The SDK is available for windows only… using it is quite simple actually, you have a function to ‘connect’ to the camera and put it into remote-capture mode. Then you have another function to activate the live-feed. That comes in standard windows-DIB-format, so you only need to bitblt it to the screen… Screenshots follow when I get back to my development-pc ;)
BTW – you can’t attach images to posts here, can you ?

April 4, 2006 at 1:27 pm #175283
Avatar of Watson
Watson

I’m extremely interested, and I’ll bet that others would be as well.

“Haukinger” wrote: you can’t attach images to posts here, can you ?

You can. Here’s the code:

[img]url of the image[/img]
April 4, 2006 at 1:59 pm #175288
Avatar of Mirko
Mirko

You can insert images with the [img]-Tag but they need to be hosted somewhere else.

Information on Canon cameras under Linux is available here and here. But I assume eventide has already gathered all the information there is.

Someone on brickboard.de pointed me to the first URL recently and I instantly fell in love with the idea to use such a camera, so I bought a used A70 on Ebay (plus the filter ring tube thingy and polarizer…). As soon as I’m finished with my current film project I wanted to look into this, too.

Mirko

April 5, 2006 at 8:19 am #175517
Avatar of Haukinger
Haukinger

I made a screenshot.

The live-feed looks horrible compared to my QC4000, but the captured frames are ok. The bad thing is you have to rely on the autofocus and have no chance of knowing wether the cam got it right or not before shooting a frame. But once you have it focussed as you like, you can lock the af. You can’t save or restore it though, so you have go thorugh one scene without powering off the cam or disconnecting. Not that bad actually, but a limitation…
The “new” and “load” buttons on the left are greyed out because they are only available until one of them is pressed. Once everything is in there I think of changing the layout of the controls to tab-panes. One for new/load/save, one for capture-mode, one for playback/editor-mode.

No comments about the crappy blue-screen, pleasse ;)

April 5, 2006 at 1:35 pm #175557
Avatar of Watson
Watson

So far it looks nice and straightforward. If you can add all of the features that you mentioned in the first post, then I’ll be very pleased with this. Nice work.

April 5, 2006 at 5:33 pm #175595
Avatar of Nick Durron
Nick Durron

This definitely does look very interesting, but one of the reasons I’m about to get a Canon Powershot A520 is for all the manual features, so I don’t think this program would be of much use to me.

April 5, 2006 at 5:57 pm #175601
Avatar of Mirko
Mirko

The only feature you cannot use manually while in remote mode is the focus, and you can still lock it to make sure it stays as it is. This is unfortunate but still acceptable. The problem is that this is not the software’s fault but the camera’s. It would be so much cooler if you could change the focus from the computer, making possible automated focus pulls, e.g.

Mirko

April 5, 2006 at 6:09 pm #175602
Avatar of SlothPaladin
SlothPaladin

You may want to post this at http://www.animateclay.com and http://www.stopmotionanimation.com as there may be users at both sites that would be interested in such software.

April 5, 2006 at 6:11 pm #175603
Avatar of mrgraff
mrgraff

Is this for Canon hardware only? Any chance that other digital cameras with (hopefully standard output formats) could possibly work?

April 5, 2006 at 7:00 pm #175614
Avatar of Mirko
Mirko

There don’t seem to be many cameras that comply to a standard in this regard. A standard would be PTP (Picture Transfer Protocol), which many cameras support – but only for downloading images. A camera that is said to support PTP is not automatically remote controllable over that protocol and the commands sent to the Canon cameras on top of PTP seem to be Canon specific. Also, I don’t think I have ever before had a camera that can send the viewfinder image over USB. This doesn’t seem to be a wide-spread feature from my experience. But as the usual spec sheets and reviews don’t often tell us these things, I don’t know for sure.

Mirko

April 5, 2006 at 9:15 pm #175656
Avatar of eventide
eventide

Mirko, I am sorry to hear that the Canon’s ability to be somewhat remote controlled is rare. Based on what I’ve seen, I can confirm that my PowerShot A70 can send the viewfinder image over USB as well as a full camera capture, but the controls for adjusting white balance etc. are Canon-specific extensions atop PTP. With Saul’s pointing it out, I’ve used ptpcanon to do this, a Canon-specific fork of ptpcam. (Canon does support its own completely proprietary protocol in addition to PTP).

A plea to all interested parties: write to the camera manufactures and ask them to support open standards, such as PTP, for controlling cameras from a computer, and ask them to publish details on how to do this using their cameras. If you buy a camera that is controllable from a computer, consider letting the manufacturer know why you chose their model.

Just an FYI, there is an IEEE1394 standard for aquiring images from still cameras and adjusting brightness etc, called IIDC or DCAM, supported in Linux by Coriander. Coriander states IIDC is used by industrial and scientific cameras; I am unaware of any cameras that use this. This is in addition to the 1394 standard for acquiring DV over 1394 (the Linux drivers refer to it as AVC, not sure of the official name), but as far as I know it does not support any commands to control a camera (aside from a few to play or rewind the tape in a camcorder).

P.S. Thanks for the screenshot.

April 5, 2006 at 10:22 pm #175674
Avatar of Mirko
Mirko

“eventide” wrote: Based on what I’ve seen, I can confirm that my PowerShot A70 can send the viewfinder image over USB as well as a full camera capture, but the controls for adjusting white balance etc. are Canon-specific extensions atop PTP. With Saul’s pointing it out, I’ve used ptpcanon to do this, a Canon-specific fork of ptpcam. (Canon does support its own completely proprietary protocol in addition to PTP).

Yes, ptpcanon is what I have tried, too, but I haven’t done much more testing than that.

This is the third camera I’ll be using for brickfilming. I have had an Olympus C-5050, which can be controlled almost entirely from gphoto2 using a proprietary protocol, but apparently has no preview over USB (and it turns off the LCD when you connect the USB cable, which means you cannot really focus manually). A Nikon Coolpix 885, which supports PTP (for which I bought it) but could take pictures with neither ptpcam nor gphoto. And no preview, I suppose. The A70 looks promising, though. I have no idea how complicated ptpcam is, but I would assume controlling the cam from software is not that difficult, if one just looks at ptpcam’s code.

Just an FYI, there is an IEEE1394 standard for aquiring images from still cameras and adjusting brightness etc, called IIDC or DCAM, supported in Linux by Coriander. Coriander states IIDC is used by industrial and scientific cameras; I am unaware of any cameras that use this.

Here is a list of (mostly industrial) firewire cameras, the table also states whether they support IIDC. Most of the usable ones seem to be >=$1000, though. I believe a consumer camera is more value for the money (though a c-mount would be cool).

Mirko

April 6, 2006 at 7:29 am #175759
Avatar of Haukinger
Haukinger

A problem with manual focus might be, that you never know whether you are in focus or not until you actually capture a frame. So manual focussing would not be very useful, BUT I would like to be able to restore the af-state, in case something unpredictable interrupts your shooting.

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