Camera Choices  (pros/cons)

BamaNative

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Does anyone know what all camera choices have been tested and what problems have been faced.  I hoped I could start this topic and track several camera models.  I currently use the OWL BF(or AF, can't remember) and PF. And have not run across any problems, even when keeping the relay closed for prolong periods of time.  They delay on the PF kinda scares me because the deer will have enough time to bolt and dissappear before the pic is taken.

Also, has anyone went to Amazon.com  they have the cameras marked down to 49.99 and they also carry the Snappy QT date and the Sure shot BF.
 

jayber

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My first prototype was with the PF Owl Date and it worked great!  Actually had a buck walk towards the camera to investigate.  Caught him on film since it was not on delay.  Anyway, I know the PF has a more powerful flash than the Owl Date.  That's all I've got to offer.
 

Archilochus

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Hi BamaNative,
I've used (or tried to use) the following cams:

Olympus Infinity Jr. (no longer made).  A good cam for this purpose.  It did have this odd problem of stripping out the film drive gears on about 10% of the cams used (out of 110).  Great batt life.

Canon Sureshot Owl "AF" (no longer made) - The older all-black model with no knob on the front.  I seem to have a unique problem with this cam in that it shuts off after about five minutes and then I have to turn the power switch "OFF" then "ON" to get it to turn back on.  No one else has a similar problem with this cam so far, so I'm guessing that it will work fine.

Canon Sureshot Owl "AF" (is this cam still being made??)- The newer one with the silver panel around the viewfinder and the knob on the front.  Works fine.  After sitting inactive  an hour it does have about a 1 second or so delay before it will take a pic, probably to "top-off" the flash charge.  I've eliminated most of this delay by having my circuit send a "refresh pulse" to the cams "half  shutter press" contacts every 10 minutes.  Good batt life.

Fuji AF 60 - Works OK.   This cam goes to sleep after about 15 minutes of inactivity, but can be kept awake with a "half shutter press" refresh pulse similar to that I used on the Owl above.  Also has a VERY annoying "feature".... It will keep counting frames even after the roll of film is used and rewound!  You can not tell if the film is actually done without opening the back!  Good batt life.  Disconnect the green flash indicator LED near rear viewfinder to save power.

Canon Sureshot Owl PF  -  Seems to work fine  (just finished modifying it).   It has about a  1 1/4 second delay before taking a picture if the camera sits inactive for over an hour or so.  Can use same "refresh pulse" as with the Fuji and Owl above to eliminate this delay.  Good batt life so far...

Bell + Howell 970 - Absolutely horrible battery life!!  I've heard that the other "low-end" Bell+Howell models have similarly poor battery life.

Samsung?? - Can't remember the model.  Got this cam home and opened it up only to find that it had a *Mechanical* shutter release!!  (rather than the typical electronic release).   Returned it the next day.  Check any Samsung Point+Shoot for similar shutter release before using. If you're using a soleniod to push the shutter button, this camera might work.

Canon Elph LT - Made a "mini-cam" out of this APS camera.  Great battery life.  Weak flash and lower pic quality due to 24mm film format.  This cam also goes to "sleep" (can't remember exactly how long it takes to shut down) and can be kept awake and ready with the  same "refresh pulse" described above.

Olympus Stylus Epic "Champagne Model"-  Seemed like it would make a good candidate - water resistant, small, good batt life from what I read.  Got the thing home and tried to take it apart and could not get the front cover off in one piece!  Looks like it was glued on to keep water out.  Guess the factory wasn't interested in ever fixing this cam if it needed service!  Returned the cam.   The remote control for this cam only starts the 10 second self-timer (that's what I was told by the sales rep anyway - they had no remotes in stock to test).  That makes the remote almost useless for this purpose.


Good Luck!,  Let us know if you find any other camera models that work well.

Archilochus
 

SWAMPFOOT

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archilocus---

on the infinity mini or jr do you remember which way to wire this camera if so will you explain how to?

i tore one apart a few months ago was unable to get it to do right i had it doing crazy things couldnt get it to work right . i still have it man i found out in a hurry not to touch those 3 little posts sticking out on the front   it hurts when they zap you.
 

Welby

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Archilochus, you are THE MAN when it comes to cameras, aren't you!  How many of these things have you built?  And, more importantly, what does Archilochus mean?

Have a great day!
 

quackmaster

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hello mr archilocus

and Wleby if you could read this also.

Is the 'half shutter press, refresh' that you say you have wire to cameras such as the PF, is that the same as a single stage timer or something completely different.
If so, could you elaborate please?

thanks.
 

BamaNative

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Archilochus,

Thanks for the input.  Sounds like you've experimented quite a bit.  I have tried several cameras also but the Canon's just seem to work better.  Have you ever seen the problem about the camera going off in the weeds and having to be cut off and back on to work.  I have seen this before but it was only because I tried to share batteries with a walk test LED and the PIR.  I let some voltage leek through and it put the camera to sleep.
 

jayber

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I've seen a couple systems that use a Yashika camera.  One used a solenoid and the other had wires coming out.  I think the solenoid operated camera was a S33 and the other a T4 model.  Anbody tried either of these?  Might be some other options.
 

Welby

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<font face=arial size=1><blockquote><hr noshade size=1>Quote: from quackmaster on 8:47 am on April 4, 2001
hello mr archilocus

and Welby if you could read this also.

Is the 'half shutter press, refresh' that you say you have wire to cameras such as the PF, is that the same as a single stage timer or something completely different.
If so, could you elaborate please?

thanks.
<hr noshade size=1></blockquote></font>

quackmaster, on the half press refresh, that is different from the timer entirely.  On some cameras, a half press of the shutter button is required to set the auto focus and refresh the flash.  On the Owls, that problem is bypassed by soldering a jumper in the appropriate place on the camera board.

The timer, on the other hand, is used to prevent a different problem altogether.  These cameras shut down if the shutter button is pressed (or electronically activated) for more than three minutes.  Then, you have to turn the camera off and then back on to reset it.  The timer insures that the shutter is only pressed for a specified amount of time regardless of how long an animal keeps the PIR tripped.  

Usually it only takes a two second (or shorter) trigger of the camera to take a picture, but sometimes a wondering animal can keep the PIR tripped so long that it turns the camera off.  That is the task of the single stage (or one shot) timer.

One more thing I have to tell you quackmaster.  Your name reminds me of the name I painted on the last pirogue, or duckboat, that I built:  "Quacker Smacker"
 

BamaNative

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Welby,

I have a question about the timer you have.  Does it connect to the relay already on the ms20 or is this relay simply "repositioned"
 

Welby

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BamaNative, I build my cameras according to the most basic instructions.  I replace the factory installed relay on the MS20 with the Radio Shack relay and use it to either trigger the camera directly or the timer itself.

Great to see another Southerner on here!
 

BamaNative

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Thanks Welby.. Thats how I was reading the schematic.  I am going to try to design one using only one relay to cut down on battery usage.  If I get it I'll post it.  I made one last night that used the the relay to pull the output out of the comparator to ground making the relay only stay on for the time set by whatever RC combination is used.  The hitch there is that if there is movement as soon as the relay releases than it may cause the relay to chatter.  I've got some good hardware engineers here that I'm going to ask some favors.  Its amazing how much you forget about hardware when the boss tells you to become a software guy. :)

So your a Southerner too?  Thats great.  Where exactly are you from.  I am from Northwest Alabama and hunt there also.  Ever heard of Natural Bridge.  Thats where my club is at.
 

Archilochus

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Hi all,
I'll answer Welbys important question first:  Archilochus is a name that an ornithologist friend gave me.  It's a play on my name (Archie) and the genus name of the Ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris).  He applied this name because of my obsession with devising a way to detect and automatically photograph hummingbirds.  No luck yet! - Too light for a switch and too small for a PIR sensor.  I'm working on an active IR "beam" detector.... maybe that'll work.
I built 110 Infinity Jr switch triggered cams for a graduate student who was working with the USFWS back when that cam was still being made.  We also used some Trail-Masters with the active IR detectors.  Lots of fun and piles of pics.  Sadly, I only have the negatives from that job and no access to a decent negative scanner!!  Currently I have the "mini-cam" with the Elph LT, one with an older Owl, 2 Fuji AF 60's, and am working on 2 Owl PF's.  They all have PIR's and inputs for external switches.

Swampfoot.  I sent Jesse some pics of how I wired the Infinity Jr cams so that they could still be used as a regular camera.  Don't know if he's posted them on his web-site, but I can send them to you if you want.. Let me know.

quackmaster.  Welby seems to have answered your question.  The "half shutter press" pulse is also used to prevent certain cameras (Fuji AF 60, Canon Elph LT) from entering their "sleep mode".  The circuits I use have 2 relays ( I have actually switched to opto-couplers instead of relays - smaller, cheaper, lower power).  One 'relay' triggers the "half-shutter press", and both 'relays' energized trigger the full press causing a pic to be taken.  The circuits I use do not 'allow' the shutter to be pressed for more than about 2 seconds - even with repeated PIR triggerings, so I have never had the problem with the cams shutting down due to an extended shutter press.

BamaNative.  Sounds like you've maybe experienced the problems others have had.  It seems that if the shutter is 'pressed' and held for several minutes, certain camera models will shut down.  I've not had this problem - (see above).

Good Luck experimenting!,

Archilochus
 

Tinhorn

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Archilochus

Your response about the Hummingbirds reminds me of a Push Button setup I tried on Hummingbirds with one of my Movement Cam's.  

When the Bird landed on the Feeder, I'd push the button, after half dozen pix's of what I thought were closeups of "Perched" Hummingbirds, I figured that was enough.

But when they were developed, most photo's were empty or had flying birds,  they were so quick, they flew off the perch before the camera took their pix.....

Tinhorn
 

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