Technology playing Musical Chairs
After another cheep Sonycan died, the is only an old model SX-Canon Power-Shot camera left. Although it’s just a small point and shoot camera, it has very good electronics for manual control, better than many SLRs. A small round red button is for video recording. But it is a camera and fits onto a proper camera tripod.
The drawback with this kind of camera is that it has only a small screen on the back. There is no Eye-piece (view-finder). For an old bugger like me, is that when shooting outside on a bright sunny day, I can not see anything on that small screen. Don’t get me started about the small type fonts of the info and settings. A solution had to be found for this problem. Even with the screen up on full, I can not see clearly what is in frame on a sunny day.
Designing a New Contraption:
Back to the Interweb. Looking at very old cameras in the late 1900’s where there was a very large camera on a tripod, with a 7 x 10 inch glass plate film in the back. The camera operator would put his head under a black cape to see the viewfinder to line up the shot. He would then remove his head from the camera cape at the back, and take the photo by removing the lens cap for the time he decided best for the lighting conditions, replace the cap, then change the glass plate before taking the next shop.
In the 1950’s they had a visor over radar scopes. Leanord Nimroy (Star-Treck’s science officer popularized the visor shape on the bridge of Star-ship Enterprise) sound effects not included. Such a visor could be attached to the back of my camera, could substitute the old-school Viewing eye-piece of the expensive SLR cameras.
1st Build – Visor Prototype
Materials; Cardboard and black duct tape for strengthening.
Measure and mark out the base plate with a hole where the stand screws in to secure the visor to the camera. As the hinge closes from below-rear, the camera will be secured into place by a front wall edge-frame at the front (to secure the camera from moving about). Holes are marked for the sensors on front.
On the right side of the visor, is a small flap to allow easy access to all of the rear camera controls. The flap is quickly closed to block out light, making it easier to see and track objects more clearly.
This prototype was used to make some basic layout and operation decisions. Although the principle is good and results can be a lot better, a telescoping focal length and also reducing the amount of tape would be an advantage. The 2nd prototype build will be built in plastic with a lot less tape.
Planning a 2nd Build Prototype Visor
- The Base plate will be much longer, supporting the camera mount in the front
- When the visor is closed it’ll be in line with the top of the camera (short roof long floor)
- A clasp at each end will secure visor in place to the top strut (click audio not included)
- Flanges on the side walls will secure the camera from twisting about.
- On the visor’s right wall, a flap will open (from the top) for access to the camera controls
- There will be a plastic top strut, positioned to prevent the flash [top left] from opening
- On top Strut, only gap will be for the shutter button and zoom leaver at the top right
- Base Plate will be of thicker plastic (2 layers), enough for the tripod to secure through.
The next task is to take a few measurements to work out the focal length. I might try out a telescoping visor to adjust for both sets of glasses I wear. It could be 4 inches longer to get the best focus for reading the display and framing a target for digital video and stills. Another thing about this project, a couple of 2L Ice-cream containers were consumed through the making of Project Visor. Premium Awesome Chocolate & Fudge flavour.