RE: Cameras, video capture, source code

Steve Loboyko (EST)
Tue, 22 Nov 1994 22:39:11 -0500

I had mentioned in a previous message:

>I am getting a small black and white (good enough) CCD camera module from
BG Micro (1-800-276-2206) that is 12 volts >in, RS-170 out, US$150.00. It
needs a case and power supply (I'll derive the PS from the PC). I will post
my results with >this camera - I wouldn't advise getting one until I post.
Again, note that it is not a complete consumer unit; you have to >do a
little mechanical and electrical work. But it's really small (like, maybe 4
cubic inches). A note to foreign readers; >sorry, I don't have the non-800
number in front of me, but, its an NTSC camera anyway.

The module is from an unknown mfr in Korea. A spy camera? Specs:

1/3" image sensor, 512*492
400 H lines, 350 V.
Auto shutter/iris
Lens/FOV - 3.6mm hor 71 deg vert 53 deg
Min. illumination 0.1 lux F 1.6
S/N 50 dB
1.8 oz
Dim 1.5 x 1.78" x 1"D

I got the module, and it is of excellent quality. The lenses are coated!

I stuck this module in a $1.99 project box from Radio Shack, and drilled a
few holes in the box for the lens and power in /RS-170 out via RCA jack. I
tapped the +12 off of the PC and this powers the module (it uses a 7805
regulator, which gets a little warm, but within spec). I added an LED and an
ON/OFF switch. I don't have a video capture board in this PC, so I hooked
the box up to my TV's video in and powered it off of 6 volts from 4 AA
batteries. Voila! A nice picture, albeit black and white.

The field of the lens is fairly wide angle, and perfect for a head shot,
with a very good depth of field.. The auto-iris and shutter work well. The
picture seems to be of better resolution than my rather expensive camcorder,
but this is because it's black and white, I think, and the camcorder
probably dedicates 1/3 of its photosites for red, 1/3 green, 1/3 blue, etc.

I put Velcro (alright, TM) on top of my monitor and to the bottom of the
camera box and mounted the camera to the monitor. COOL.

Incidentally, I am told that this camera, like all silicon based TV cameras,
is sensitive to infrared. You could light up a room with about 20 jumbo
infrared LEDs. This thing is scary. Anyone see "Sliver?"

So, it you have a modicum of electronic and mechanical talent, you can have
a state of the art B/W camera for around $170.00.

I would like to see specs on the Mac QuickCam camera. How does it send video
serially? what resolution and fps? How many photosites? How the heck can
they sell it at that price and make a buck?

Hoping that CU-SEEME will support a hardware compression board,

Steve Loboyko
Software Engineer
cR Solutions, Incorporated