BigShot: Build Your Own Digital Camera

November 18, 2009 | Zoltan Arva-Toth | Digital Compact Cameras | Comment |

Professor Shree Nayar at the Computer Vision Laboratory at Columbia University and his team have come up with a prototype for a DIY digital camera. Though the BigShot camera is primarily intended to be an educational aid targeted at schoolchildren, we think it could be a potential hit with a large group of adults, too. The main parts of the camera include a gearbox, a lens wheel, a flash, a circuit board, a battery and… a dynamo! Since the Bigshot does not have an LCD of any sorts, it does not need too much power to take a photo - which means the battery is only needed if you want to use the flash. Otherwise you can use a hand crank, connected to the dynamo via the gearbox, to generate the necessary power to capture a shot. The Bigshot’s 2-megapixel sensor is mounted onto the circuit board. The lens is probably the most interesting part of the camera - while the primary lens is also fixed to the circuit board, the BigShot comes with three optical modules, which are built into a polyoptic lens wheel. “Switching lenses” is done by way of turning the wheel. Each optical module has a matching viewfinder module on the opposite side of the polyoptic wheel, so the photographer looking through the optical viewfinder can see (almost) the same view as the taking lens. Given that the BigShot does not have an LCD, using it is a lot like using a film camera, as you cannot review your photos until you download them to your computer via USB. Currently, there are only prototypes floating around and being used in workshops worldwide - there is no information as to when the BigShot will be available commercially.

Website: Bigshot: A Camera for Education

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