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gavino200

Best camera for fun pics?

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gavino200

Sometimes I take pictures of stuff with my cellphone. I find that it's fun to get in as close to "eye level". I'm limited in doing this by the size of the camera or cellphone itself. I was thinking it would be fun to have a camera with a little flexible tentacle that the actual lens was on. You could get right in and even take pictures of trains arriving from the point of view of a person standing on the platform. Anyone know if technology like this actually exists?

 

On a related note, I see that some people strap little video cameras onto a flat car and push them around their layout, to get a "Train driver's" view. Anyone know where to go to look for a camera like this?

 

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bill937ca

With the increasing use of smart phone cameras unfortunately there are fewer cameras on the market today.   I have a Canon SX170IS which i've had for about four years. It takes good 1:1 photos of the prototype, but 1/150 photos can be a bit more challenging. It's small enough that I can hold in my hand and people standing enxt to me are completely unaware of it until I take tram photos.

Edited by bill937ca
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railsquid

You can get cameras which are basically built into a USB stick for a few $currency_units, I have one I use for running shots which fits onto a flat wagon. Picture quality is not that great but good enough. It could also be used for static shots.

 

Otherwise I use a Panasonic DMC-TZ30 compact-ish, which is good for close-up shots in macro mode, though obviously doesn't fit everywhere.

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gavino200
3 minutes ago, railsquid said:

You can get cameras which are basically built into a USB stick for a few $currency_units, I have one I use for running shots which fits onto a flat wagon. Picture quality is not that great but good enough. It could also be used for static shots.

 

Otherwise I use a Panasonic DMC-TZ30 compact-ish, which is good for close-up shots in macro mode, though obviously doesn't fit everywhere.

 

Thanks. I'll look for the USB size camera. I have a very similar camera to that Panasonic. I'll check out macro. I basically never use it anymore because the cellphone takes such good pics. 

 

I found this. This and a camera to attach would be perfect......in a world where money was free.

 

https://usaborescopes.com/product/micro-fiberscope-5mm-x-500mm/?gclid=CjwKCAjw4avaBRBPEiwA_ZetYk86-GSeJykNqr3-y2PXehPo48NHO3wGHDOzaG42sWq0kEx-kNNoGhoCuGsQAvD_BwE

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gavino200

This one is cheap and small. If you scroll down the page there's a picture that seems to suggest it can be used for some fairly non-legit purposes.

 

https://www.ebay.com/i/253706229354?chn=ps

 

 

With more searching, I'm discovering there are a LOT of creepy spy products out there on the market.

Edited by gavino200

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gavino200

The technology is definitely on the market. Mainly two things are available. 

 

Tiny cameras like this.

https://www.amazon.com/Portable-Wireless-detection-Warehouse-Travelling/dp/B07D7YPX7X/ref=sr_1_22?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1531696838&sr=1-22&keywords=micro+camera#customerReviews

 

And boroscopes like this. 

 

https://www.amazon.com/Endoscope-Pancellent-Waterproof-Borescope-Inspection/dp/B01MR8EONS/ref=sr_1_19?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1531696838&sr=1-19&keywords=micro+camera

 

 

Neither of these seem like takers. It sbeems like most of the products are wireless. This, no doubt, increases complexity, and the chances that it'll break. I'm going to keep searching for wired version of both. A decent price/quality balance would be good.

 

 

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cteno4

Gavin

 

we have a number of threads on this stuff and discussions on the different types. The little usb spy cams so ok, but their major problem usually is they use a focal lenght that starts like a foot or more from the camera so stuff up close cannbe very blurry. No way to tell till you have one in hand unfortunately. Some of the older ones used almost a pinhole lens that gave a huge depth of field but not picture great at any.

 

some have tradeoffs at frame rate and size of picture.

 

boroscopes are cool but get expensive to get one that gives decent quality is expensive and they also give you that round picture and they tend to have focal depth se very close so stuff further may be blurry.

 

there are cheap usb sort of boroscopes with a very tiny usb camer on a long wire that attach to your smart phone that don’t give hd pictures and high frame rates. They come with 1-5m cables, some or all of which has a bendy wire quality. These are great to have to stick in a tunnel or somewhere you can’t easily see to look for a train or dropped screw. they usually have a magnet and 90 degree attachment as well to see around corners a bit and grab the stray screw. I picked one up for under $30 a few months back to check if we had bats in a section of roof eves. Perfect for work stuff, not really for pretty stuff.

 

there are also the broadcasting cameras that are getting smaller and better from the drone stuff, but again the lens focus is usually set pretty far out. A few have the lens mounted on a screw to change focus some but tough to know till you have it and play. I just picked up a 5.8 ghz camera and transmitter and receiver. Need to set it up to see what I can do on focal range for train cam.

 

There was a great rain cam made by a boroscope company that had a rechargeable battery from track power above 5v and nicely focused lens but unfortunately it’s not on amazon.jp anymore. A couple of us have it in the club and just fits inside a train just have to select one with a big front window!

 

as Bill said fun cameras are now all over the place from cell phones and seem to rev like ev3ry 6 months. Usually want good macro for train stuff and small size to get in places and tracks. Dpreview.com is a good place to see what fits your need. I’ve usually done canon for the pocket cams as I liked the overall feature set, others like Nikon or Panasonic etc. they are pretty inexpensive these days.

 

cheers

 

jeff

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gavino200
6 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

Gavin

 

we have a number of threads on this stuff and discussions on the different types. The little usb spy cams so ok, but their major problem usually is they use a focal lenght that starts like a foot or more from the camera so stuff up close cannbe very blurry. No way to tell till you have one in hand unfortunately. Some of the older ones used almost a pinhole lens that gave a huge depth of field but not picture great at any.

 

some have tradeoffs at frame rate and size of picture.

 

boroscopes are cool but get expensive to get one that gives decent quality is expensive and they also give you that round picture and they tend to have focal depth se very close so stuff further may be blurry.

 

there are cheap usb sort of boroscopes with a very tiny usb camer on a long wire that attach to your smart phone that don’t give hd pictures and high frame rates. They come with 1-5m cables, some or all of which has a bendy wire quality. These are great to have to stick in a tunnel or somewhere you can’t easily see to look for a train or dropped screw. they usually have a magnet and 90 degree attachment as well to see around corners a bit and grab the stray screw. I picked one up for under $30 a few months back to check if we had bats in a section of roof eves. Perfect for work stuff, not really for pretty stuff.

 

there are also the broadcasting cameras that are getting smaller and better from the drone stuff, but again the lens focus is usually set pretty far out. A few have the lens mounted on a screw to change focus some but tough to know till you have it and play. I just picked up a 5.8 ghz camera and transmitter and receiver. Need to set it up to see what I can do on focal range for train cam.

 

There was a great rain cam made by a boroscope company that had a rechargeable battery from track power above 5v and nicely focused lens but unfortunately it’s not on amazon.jp anymore. A couple of us have it in the club and just fits inside a train just have to select one with a big front window!

 

as Bill said fun cameras are now all over the place from cell phones and seem to rev like ev3ry 6 months. Usually want good macro for train stuff and small size to get in places and tracks. Dpreview.com is a good place to see what fits your need. I’ve usually done canon for the pocket cams as I liked the overall feature set, others like Nikon or Panasonic etc. they are pretty inexpensive these days.

 

cheers

 

jeff

 

 

From the way you said that, I'm guessing there were no bats in the eaves. 

 

Thanks, this is great information. 

 

I wonder if it's possible to remove the lens/photodetector unit of a phone or pocket camera, from the motherboard and put it on a long wire cable instead. That way I'd have a "tiny lens on a string" with the excellent focus and quality of a phone/pocket camera. Same idea as the Arduino project but better usability.

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gavino200
1 hour ago, cteno4 said:

We have a number of threads on this stuff and discussions on the different types.

 

I found good threads about in-car video. I didn't find any discussing, high quality still pics using a small lens on a wire. So I'm going to keep this inquiry open here regarding only still pics.

Edited by gavino200

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gavino200

Cellphone cameras look fairly easy (doable) to remove and replace. But the connection and ribbon are complicated. Zero chance of interposing a cable between the phone and the camera.

 

It's a pity, because otherwise it would be ideal. Tiny, great focus, and all the functionality of a cellphone camera.

 

It wold be nice to find a simple camera like this, on a cable that could be connected to a computer to take photos. Wifi or Bluetooth would be unnecessary.

 

 

Edited by gavino200

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cteno4

No bats yet, but some more places to check!

 

some of the little endoscopes can be stills at 1600x1200. Mine is not cellphone quality. With a lot these little cheap cameras the higher the resolution the video the lower the frame rate. Not usually mentioned in the specs.

 

probably could lengthen a cellphone camera connections and make a new back formthe phone. But then you need a smart phone. Many start at around 3” focal min.

 

jeff

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gavino200
2 minutes ago, cteno4 said:

No bats yet, but some more places to check!

 

Did you invent the "bats" concern, just to justify buying the scope??? Be honest!!

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cteno4

No I got it for looking for bats. Our eves are sealed on the bottom and vent space at the top edge. We got one small bat in the house which I think came in the furnace flue but knew there were vent openings into the attic as well from the eaves and small bats can squeeze thru tiny spaces! 

 

It is handy to have when something rolls under something instead if being on your belly with a flashlight! 

 

Jeff

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JR 500系

I have this strange idea to install multiple copies of those spy cameras on my layout, since it is a recessed layout hence making it quite hard to view at an eye level... so I reckon having cameras would be great to view the trains running about at various parts of the layout! 

 

Would be even greater to be able to broad cast these feeds onto a LCD screen stuck on a building in the city centre! But these are just ideas and dreams...

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kvp

The trivial solution could be a tiny mirror. Just put it down in a 45 degree angle upwards and shoot through it with your favourite camera. It should be good for static shots from hard to reach, but otherwise non covered places. If you glue a small stand onto the back, the angle would be always correct.

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JR 500系
1 minute ago, kvp said:

The trivial solution could be a tiny mirror. Just put it down in a 45 degree angle upwards and shoot through it with your favourite camera. It should be good for static shots from hard to reach, but otherwise non covered places. If you glue a small stand onto the back, the angle would be always correct.

 

That's a great (and cheap) solution! Now why didn't I think of that? 😛 Thanks!

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cteno4
53 minutes ago, JR 500系 said:

I have this strange idea to install multiple copies of those spy cameras on my layout, since it is a recessed layout hence making it quite hard to view at an eye level... so I reckon having cameras would be great to view the trains running about at various parts of the layout! 

 

Would be even greater to be able to broad cast these feeds onto a LCD screen stuck on a building in the city centre! But these are just ideas and dreams...

 

I’ve wanted to do this with the little rf security cameras you can get with the controller that flips between each camera for like 15 secs for the club layout to show views like this.

 

jeff

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gavino200
7 hours ago, kvp said:

The trivial solution could be a tiny mirror. Just put it down in a 45 degree angle upwards and shoot through it with your favourite camera. It should be good for static shots from hard to reach, but otherwise non covered places. If you glue a small stand onto the back, the angle would be always correct.

 

That's great. I think quite a few interesting shots could be arranged with mirrors.

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gavino200
7 hours ago, JR 500系 said:

I have this strange idea to install multiple copies of those spy cameras on my layout, since it is a recessed layout hence making it quite hard to view at an eye level... so I reckon having cameras would be great to view the trains running about at various parts of the layout! 

 

Would be even greater to be able to broad cast these feeds onto a LCD screen stuck on a building in the city centre! But these are just ideas and dreams...

 

JR, I think that's actually a pretty good and cool idea. It probably wouldn't cost more than a few trains.

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Welshbloke

Look up the GoPro Hero 5 Session camera. It's a little cube which can shoot 4k. Fits nicely on a HO KoKi and works well for lineside shots in N. I've managed to wedge it in the cab of a G scale loco before now, hanging out of the cab door for a driver's eye view.

 

There's also a Hot Wheels chassis for it which is probably the most fun you can get for a couple of buckquids.

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Sheffie

Regarding small hi def cameras, Garmin makes some really nice ones. 

 

If you see a model you like, talk to me. I get a 45% discount. 

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