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A 5MP stereo-camera for pictures and movies!

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Picture of A 5MP stereo-camera for pictures and movies!
This Instructable describes how to combine two normal cameras into one new stereo-camera that can even record movies!

To connect two cameras you need to open the camera and solder some small wires to all relevant pins. Then we apply a pinhead to the wires, fix it on the outside and connect the pinheads of both cameras via a cable so they act as one camera.

What you need is: 

two identical cameras (may be old and cheap, I used two Concord5040, for 10€ each)
The simpler the better. Stereophotography works best if everything is the same except for the viewing angle.

thin copper wire (0.15mm diameter)

a solder iron with tin

two pinheads, number of pins depending on how much functions you want to synchronize

two jacks for the pinheads with cables

Mounting for two cameras

 
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Step 1: Open Camera and identify pins

Picture of Open Camera and identify pins
So first you have to open the camera and identify the relevant pins.
All cameras I know have the case screwed on.
As the screws are very tiny and small, I advise you to work in some kind of box with a small rim. The top of a shoe box is ideal. If anything falls down accidentally it won't roll away and nothing is lost.
If the casing has different screws it is good to glue them successively to some clear tape in the sequence as you unscrew them. This way you can easily keep the track which screw belongs to which hole. I also used small dots beside the holes to identify the used holes.

You could also take some pictures during disassembling, to remember the steps.
Wo0kiE3 years ago
just curious as to how long it took you to figure this one out...

BRILLIANT!

I am gonna start looking for some cheap dig. cameras now!
jekan7773 years ago
should try
madmanmoe644 years ago
 If I found a two stage switch would it be possible to add a remote shutter release to the wires? So that I don't disturb the whole set up when I try to take a picture.


also do you have a link to where I could find those pin connectors, I'm sure I've tried Maplin (u.k electronics store) and can never find them.
andyk75 (author)  madmanmoe644 years ago
Of course you could release it externally. Try just shortening the pins with a screwdriver in the right manner! 

You're might be looking for this: 
Pin strips: www.maplin.co.uk/
You just break them to the desired length.
Connectors: I didn't really find them at Maplin, but in principle you can use the matching opposite to this: www.maplin.co.uk/

Emsaid4 years ago
so do you have to wire them together? or could you just take the pictures at the same time. Also how do you put the two pics together
andyk75 (author)  Emsaid4 years ago
You don't need to, but its much easier. I tried it that way too, but pushing the button with my left hand always shook the camera. This way is much more comfortable and precise.
I use the Stereo Photo Maker. You can search for it or find it at the website I cited in step 8.  
kelseymh4 years ago
What a great project!  Enough detail, with good macro pictures, so that someone with electronics experience should be able to do this with different cameras.

One question, though.  With the two cameras positioned as you show in Step 7, the focal distance will be different for each lens (offset by the thickness of a camera).  What effect does this have on the clarity of the stereo result?
andyk75 (author)  kelseymh4 years ago
Thanks for your comment.
Here is the answer for your question: The camera is a fix-focus camera, that means it doesn't focus actively. This is why the focus is always the same on both pictures. Think of two cameras focusing on different parts of the image, that would give you a real bad stereo impression.
So to be precise, the pictures are only sharp for all objects that are further away than a few meters and here the thickness of the camera doesn't really matter. If you try to make a micro-stereo things might be different, but there are several other problems in that case.

Thank you!  Mine has a mechanic focus (and zoom).  You're quite right that for a fixed focus, images at infinity will be the same, regardless of the small offset in distance.  And (unlike "close in" stereo) you don't have to deal with convergence effects; all the rays are parallel.
rimar20004 years ago
You can put the cameras in Z arrangement. There are many free programs to make 3D taking into account one cam is "topsy-turvy". That way you have both cam at same distance from the object. Your arrangement works, too, but for near objects the size difference of the images turns noticeable.
BobS4 years ago
Great work! You took the risk of ruining a camera, but you ended up with a flexible stereo solution.

One suggestion for dramatically enhanced stereo effects of far away objects (hyper-stereo- I did this with mountains and clouds): as you indicate, the further apart the cameras are, the smaller it all seems (doll houss effect).

For very large objects, like geological features, cloud structures or large bird/ fish flocks, hyperstereo reveals a completely hidden dimension, as normally, we have a single eyed view for these things. Hyper-stereo requires camera spacings of 1 to several 100s of meters. For astronomy: millions of kilometers to light years!!!

I found a single camera solution by using the fast motion of a train/ car/ airplane to take pics at the required spacing How to make 3D images of clouds

Making 2 adapters from your pin-outs to a network CAT5 cable socket (as found in any junk computer), would make it very simple to inter-space the cams to larger distances.

A few years ago I wanted to do this, but 2 identical digicams were really too expensive then (A $ 10 digicam is a really good deal even now I think!!! -For Holland...).
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