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Thread: Robotic View Camera

  1. #11
    Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: Robotic View Camera

    What kind of enlarger is that IC?

  2. #12
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: Robotic View Camera

    All that is interest ing,; now what about a robotic Grafmatic style film magazine?

    It could have a smart phone sized imaging system for preview and then expose 4x5 films.
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  3. #13

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    Re: Robotic View Camera

    Thanks for links! I haven't seen it before.

    It's a cool device (especially the fully computerized version) but in the perfect world I'd like to see something more practical. That means:
    1) Something more transportable.
    1.a) Smaller. I canít find measures for CapCam but it looks pretty big. Iíd say that the device shouldnít be larger than a 4x5 field camera.
    1.b) Lighter. "Tripod load for a fully equipped camera is 15kg.". So, 33lbs.. I believe all my Sinar F1 equipment (including tripod and film holders) is lighter. 4-5 lbs for the device body would be good
    2) Something more affordable.
    Lenses with electronic shooter + digital back are really cool, but the price!..
    Iím ready to sacrifice the quality and get APC-S images only but for a reasonable price. If we use 3d printer components (they have moving/positioning parts too), we could expect similar prices (about $500-$700, for serial production).
    3) Batteries + smart phone instead of power supply 230VAC/24VDC + PC.

    Let there be Smaller, Better, Cheaper!

  4. #14

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    Re: Robotic View Camera

    I just need to add a back to this:
    Click image for larger version. 

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  5. #15

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    Re: Robotic View Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Bedo View Post
    All that is interest ing,; now what about a robotic Grafmatic style film magazine?

    It could have a smart phone sized imaging system for preview and then expose 4x5 films.
    I see two ways to make a previewer:
    1) To design a new full-sized 4x5 matrix. It could have a low resolution like 100-300 dpi, but it's a new device that would be quite expensive to develop, I guess.
    2) To make an optical system a-la viewfinder that could redirect the image to the phone lens.

    But in any case a previewer won't provide a lot of propositions. Just a preview + kind of light meter. Is it so valuable?
    To calculate tilt/swing angles we need to know points' coordinates (on the ground glass) and bellows extensions. We could try to set a touch sensor to ground glass to select points and input bellows extensions into the phone manually. Then, an app could calculate optimal angles.
    It's not a "single button" solution, but the app could calculate angles much faster than most people can (especially if you have more than 2-3 points).

  6. #16
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Re: Robotic View Camera

    This is a bit like chasing Unicorns in the mist. I believe that these concepts amd many others are well within the grasp of today's technology—that it is just a matter of investing in the design, engineering and production of any of these "Gee-Wizz" ideas. Marketing and return on investment is the limiter.

    My father-in-law was a successful business man with a lifetime career in production management and industrial sales. After hearing me spinning out some really great sounding idea (seemed good to me) he matter of factly said, "Sure Drew, many ideas are great. The limiting aspect is always the money."

    I'd like to see a lot of products re-engineered or brought out new using the new design and production tools available now, Sadly, I am not in a position to act on these things due to a lack of talent, skill and resources. I'm hust not going to learn the CAD/CAM software necessary to access the 3D printing world (I dread the day when I will have to give up my flip phone).

    Yet I'd like to see a re-issue of Mido-type holders, a plastic Grafmatic, extension backs for my TravelWide (or a re-designed model), and a host of other similar things. In electronics, I'd like to see a shutter tester (there are a couple of threads on this: Lets not re-visite that discussion here), and the digital sensor based view camera pre-view/TTL light meter.

    Heck, I think a view camera body for a micro 4/3rds or APS body that isn't thousands of dollars would be neat too.

    I am sure that all these things are possible, but not commercially viable.
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  7. #17

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    Re: Robotic View Camera

    I agree with Drew, a digital scanning back for the Graflex is technologically doable today. Very risky that a device would ever sell enough to earn back its investment, let alone a profit!

    It is on my list of things to do. I would try first with a using the Spy Camera for Raspberry Pi, The cable length is 300mm, well above the 127mm needed for 5 inch width. My guess is that the sensor is about 6mm, so for a 50% overlap, you're talking 3mm captures.

    Let's talk 4x4 to keep things simple. We'd need 33 captures for 33 rows, or 1,089 captures. The problems with those little cameras is they aren't fast at capturing full-resolution images. Video at 30fps is misleading about their still capabilities.

    We could create a row of 4 of them (there is a camera multiplexer out there). That would drop our scans quite a bit.

    If the capture is too slow, could use video mode, and find some way for the controller to flash a light just as the stepper motor paused, and use that flash to indicate we'll have a still video frame.

    The biggest obstacle is a lack of low-cost, and various, linear actuators. Well, lots of obstacles, but again, the tech is out there.

  8. #18

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    Re: Robotic View Camera

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. And you are right when saying that money is the main limit.
    However, technology is not the only domain that developed during the last years. Product development was improving too. Such approaches as open source, crowdfunding, lean start-up, etc. can help to reduce risks and initial investment needs.

    For instance, I could describe the aim of the project as to make view cameras (cameras with movements regardless of the frame size) accessible to mass customers. Where "accessible" includes: a) affordable price (comparable with good lenses), b) easy to use. Yes, it sounds like chasing Unicorns in the mist, but we could split it to a several stages:
    1) tilt/swing angles calculator for LF users. A free web page/smart phone application that allows users to input coordinates of focused points (using ground glass grid) and bellows extensions to calculate optimal angels.
    In the beginning of the stage we need only a few users (out of the development team) that would be interested to play with the tool just "for fun". The goals are: a) to prove a theory that computer can calculate needed angels faster than a man can, b) getting usersí feedbacks, to improve usability. Success can attract new users, with more practical motivation.
    2) Angle meter. A problem is that most field cameras donít have angle marks, so the tool would be useful for monorail camera users mostly. A cheap solution could be to attach smart phones to standards and use their accelerometers. Again, in the beginning we would need only a small amount of tech geeks (people, who like to research new technologies), who would use it for fun. Having a working soft, we could move to compact independent accelerometers, which could be valuable for practical-oriented users.
    3) Further automation.
    3.a) Bellows extension meter. An LF camera-attachable device that could measure bellows extensions automatically.
    3.b) Ground glass with touch screen. IR touch frames could be used, for instance.
    In that moment we would have a quite valuable solution for LF users, but the more important is that we would have a full stack of working software and working prototypes, so we could raise investment (through crowdfunding, for example) to move to the mass digital market.
    4.a) Small manual field camera with mirrorless camera as a digital back.
    4.b) Robotic view camera.

    Thus, the main idea is to increase product value step-by-step without revolutions. Every step should not be very complex. So, we donít need to attract dozens engineers and start massive marketing campaigns immediately. Yes, itís not a super-fast way, but it is realistic and starting investments are the time for pleasant activities only

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