YA camera choice help request

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YA camera choice help request
« on: 14 / January / 2012, 19:39:14 »
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Howdy,

I am looking to buy a camera to run CHDK on, for a high altitude project. I plan to write a script that will wait for motion, then take a set of photos at varying zoom and exposure settings.

My priorities are high sensitivity (via large aperture or low noise at high ISO) and image quality, as well as supporting as many CHDK features as possible. Some zoom is good, but I don't need it to be huge. Image stabilization would be really nice.

Just based on version numbers on http://mighty-hoernsche.de/ , I'd be led to choose something like the SX130IS, but it's a bit low end. Does the SX10 firmware work with the SX10IS? Can the version numbers be compared between different models, or is one model's 1.00F a different feature set than another's 1.00F?

I tried searching, but didn't have luck due to the commonness of the terms.

Further, is that link the "Allbest" version, or is that somewhere else? I want the motion detect subroutine, but the documentation isn't quite clear where to get it specifically.

Thanks,
Ben

Re: YA camera choice help request
« Reply #1 on: 14 / January / 2012, 19:49:46 »
I am looking to buy a camera to run CHDK on, for a high altitude project. I plan to write a script that will wait for motion, then take a set of photos at varying zoom and exposure settings.
There are quite a few balloon projects posted here in the forum if you do some searching.

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Just based on version numbers on http://mighty-hoernsche.de/ , I'd be led to choose something like the SX130IS, but it's a bit low end. Does the SX10 firmware work with the SX10IS? Can the version numbers be compared between different models, or is one model's 1.00F a different feature set than another's 1.00F?
The version numbers you mention refer to the firmware version on the camera.  All CHDK cameras are held at the same version - no difference between them.  Ans the SX10 is the same as the SX10is.

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Further, is that link the "Allbest" version, or is that somewhere else? I want the motion detect subroutine, but the documentation isn't quite clear where to get it specifically.
Anything that points to Allbest is at leas 3 years out of date.  Stick with the official stable 1.0 release. MD is available on all cameras.

Re: YA camera choice help request
« Reply #2 on: 14 / January / 2012, 20:13:02 »
About sx130is - I have it and I can say something.

It has quite nice zoom and not bad image stabilization, but also high noise level. For me any ISO above 200 is useless (unless I don't care about noise). At low ISO but long exposure (at tripod) noise is not high so this is good camera for night shots with tripod, but I guess not the best for your appication...

Motion detection works not very fast on this camera (fastest for me was around 150 ms, but maybe  got not the best settngs).

CHDK works very stable and very good on this camera. It should not crash (unless you do something strange :D ).

I hope that helps you a little :)

PS. I have read somewhere (probably on sx130is porting thread) that sx120 have better parameters (meaning lower noise and lower lowest Av at high zoom). I'm not sure about it but it's to be checked ;)
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Compile error: poor Yorick

Re: YA camera choice help request
« Reply #3 on: 14 / January / 2012, 20:14:24 »
There are quite a few balloon projects posted here in the forum if you do some searching.
Interesting. Punching balloon into the search up there just shows your post, but going through a site: search on Google yields more results. However, they all seem to be based on "I have this camera, what should I set it to?", rather than "what camera is best?". I'm also not doing a balloon project, but some of it may be relevant.

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The version numbers you mention refer to the firmware version on the camera.  All CHDK cameras are held at the same version - no difference between them.  Ans the SX10 is the same as the SX10is.
Aha! The page doesn't quite explain that, but it is good to know.

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Anything that points to Allbest is at leas 3 years out of date.  Stick with the official stable 1.0 release. MD is available on all cameras.
Ok great. I read it somewhere on the wiki, but documentation is always the last thing to get updated.


Re: YA camera choice help request
« Reply #4 on: 14 / January / 2012, 20:36:41 »
Interesting. Punching balloon into the search up there just shows your post, but going through a site: search on Google yields more results. However, they all seem to be based on "I have this camera, what should I set it to?", rather than "what camera is best?". I'm also not doing a balloon project, but some of it may be relevant.
As you have discovered, the forum search engine is quirky.  Here's a link to a script used in a recent balloon project :  http://www.box.com/s/mnf6le1sj5t5ts2xnnus.  BTW - it made the mistake of flying over Area 51 and attracting the attention of the "black helicopters" :

Other links of interest :

http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php?topic=5720.msg79247#msg79247
https://sites.google.com/site/ledzeppelinweatherballoon/paylaod-details/diy-instructions
http://www.youtube.com/user/armadilloaerospace

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Offline reyalp

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Re: YA camera choice help request
« Reply #5 on: 14 / January / 2012, 22:30:10 »
Interesting. Punching balloon into the search up there just shows your post, but going through a site: search on Google yields more results. However, they all seem to be based on "I have this camera, what should I set it to?", rather than "what camera is best?".
The forum search is weird sometimes. Forum member fbonomi had some very successful balloon flights:
http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php?topic=3766.msg36402#msg36402
http://chdk.setepontos.com/index.php?topic=2877.15 (content of some posts seems to have gone missing in the forum move :(, There's some info on his site http://francescobonomi.it/stratosphere-photography )

Most of the balloon projects I can recall used quite low end cameras.
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Some zoom is good, but I don't need it to be huge.
If you don't need a whole lot of zoom, you might be better off with the G series rather than SXnn for a fairly high end camera. The next step down would be the SXnnn or the Snn. All else being equal, I'd stay away form the ixus/elf subcompacts unless you need the small size.

For sensitivity and image quality, review sites like http://www.dpreview.com/ should give you a good idea what to expect. CHDK won't change any of that. If you go for a cheap camera or subcompact, be aware that many of them don't have an adjustable aperture. If the Canon specs include an Av mode, then it should have a real aperture.

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Image stabilization would be really nice.
Pretty much every semi-recent Canon except the bottom of the line (cheapest A series) has image stabilization. It's designed to compensate for hand shake in long hand held exposures, so I'm not sure how well it will perform in other vibration environments.

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as well as supporting as many CHDK features as possible
CHDK mostly supports the same features across all the cameras. You should be able to do what you describe with any completed port. Individual ports do have their quirks, but unfortunately they aren't documented in any central location (if at all :-[). Your best bet is to check the wiki page and porting thread for the models you are interested in. Or come up with a short list and ask if people know of any outstanding issues on them. You can also poke through the cameras platform_camera.h to see what is enabled or disabled, but be warned enabled doesn't guarantee it works!
Don't forget what the H stands for.

Re: YA camera choice help request
« Reply #6 on: 16 / January / 2012, 06:16:51 »
If you have any questions about the SX130IS (you mentioned it), ask (I have the camera). I have looked into the differences between the SX120IS, SX130IS and SX150IS as well   :)

Re: YA camera choice help request
« Reply #7 on: 16 / January / 2012, 13:32:10 »
Thanks for the links to prior projects, everybody. I read through them all, there's been a lot of cool projects done.

reyalp, I hadn't really looked at the G line, that does seem like a better match. I'll probably end up going with the G12. I shall report back with results.

waterwingz, I like that you linked to one of my YouTube channels. That is what this camera will be seeing, I want to get better photos this time than the stills from the HD video cameras on the last launch. And with CHDK, I'm going to try to also get a (undoubtedly blurry) star photo in the middle of the day.


Re: YA camera choice help request
« Reply #8 on: 16 / January / 2012, 13:44:43 »
I'll probably end up going with the G12. I shall report back with results.
Did you look at the S95 as well ?  If space and/or weight is an issue that might be an option.  They score fairly comparable from a picture quality perspective.

Re: YA camera choice help request
« Reply #9 on: 16 / January / 2012, 14:11:57 »
I'll probably end up going with the G12. I shall report back with results.
Did you look at the S95 as well ?  If space and/or weight is an issue that might be an option.  They score fairly comparable from a picture quality perspective.
So many options... Dpreview gives them very similar reviews. Considering that I don't need the swivel back of the G12, and f/2.0 is attractive on the S95, maybe that is a better choice.

 

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